The Degas Girl

Rated 4.43/5 based on 14 reviews
Sold as part of a drug deal, Serenity Bishop suffers her captor Angelo’s twisted abuse.

Zachary’s handsome face masks a cold man whose abusive childhood has honed him into a remorseless killing machine

Zachary is about to take an intense disliking to Angelo.

A violent tale of mob rule and dark romance. Warning contains explicit scenes of dubious consent, graphic violence and sex. Adults only More

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Words: 109,170
Language: English
ISBN: 9781311318619
About AJ Adams

Enter into the violent world of the Cartel, Camorra, Belial's MC and Prydain where death and romance go hand in hand. AJ Adams novels are all self-standing and although some feature the same families, you need not read them all - although it would be awesome if you did!

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Review by: Colleen Derringer on Nov. 22, 2015 :
I really enjoy these Mexican mafia books! ms. Adams writes these well! I couldn't put it down
I can feel the relationship between Zachery and Serenity.. I also liked the action between Zachery and his family.
Maybe what he done was not right but I sure it must happen. I didn't feel sorry for the victims as most got what they deserved.
I have read 2 before this and highly love each book. Also the fact that they are full length novels.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)

Review by: Kristi Cramer on Aug. 22, 2015 :
Broken people. That is what kept going through my mind when I stopped enjoying the story long enough to try to process what I was reading. Serenity and Zachary are broken people.

This story was not nearly as dark as I was expecting, as much of what I consider the horrific darkness happened "off scene", before we meet Serenity. Then again, maybe I'm just getting accustomed to AJ Adams' stories.

I liked that Serenity is a fighter, and I liked that Zachary grows and changes for the better as the story progresses. I like the exchange of power that occurs. I disliked the bad guys intensely. They were lovely to hate, and I looked forward to them getting their come-uppance.

Oh, and Ms. Adams does seem to know a thing or two about art and classic literature. I enjoyed reading the brief bursts of Art 101, and the way Serenity used the classics to analyze a situation.

I do wish there was another way to get these character's rich backstories without so much telling. There were a few times I was wishing to get back to the action, even as I was soaking up their histories. I'm probably just too impatient.

I think the thing that bugged me most is that it kind of came off as a fairytale in the end. I'm not opposed to fairytale endings in general, but it just seemed like the arc was a little too sharp at the end. I was 40 pages from the end, and knew the other shoe had to drop, and it did, and then bam, it was the wrap up.

Perhaps it was that the final conflict, while broadly hinted at, wasn't foreshadowed enough? I know, that means it isn't a twist, but I've never been fond of that kind of twist. Always feels a bit like a bait and switch to me.

So, with that quibble aside, The Degas Girl is definitely worth the read. The book has action, sex, and a thorough exploration of what it looks like when two broken people end up being the best thing in the world to each other.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: shelby herot on March 03, 2015 :
I was expecting something much darker then this story turned out to be, not that that is a bad thing.
Poor Serenity finds herself in an awful situation, she's been enslaved in Italy by a brutal and sadistic bastard. She has the scars to prove the evil she's lived.
Zachary, the dark anti-hero, is in the "right place at the right time" - and her ownership is transferred to him.
While there are dark aspects to this story, including her captivity and other organized crime aspects, the majority seemed rather light.
The characters were well written and I couldn't stop reading it.
Overall I enjoyed the story, the mystique of their situation, and will read more by AJ Adams!
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)

Review by: melissa pollard on July 16, 2014 :
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was a dark romance; however, it wasn't as dark as some I have read. The characters were amazing. I loved them and their story. The plot was smooth flowing and before I knew it I had read the entire book.
(reviewed 58 days after purchase)

Review by: TIFFANY MILES on July 10, 2014 :
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: prismseven on June 24, 2014 :
I received a copy of this story in exchange for a honest review. This story is defiantly a dark erotic read. If you enjoy reading taboo erotica (kidnapping, rape and abuse) this is the story for you. The author did a beautiful job of binding two broken souls.
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)

Review by: r2rimo on June 16, 2014 :
I was expecting The Degas Girl to be the sort of dark erotica you occasionally get a craving for but won't admit to liking in polite company. Yet despite the subject matter, this book wasn't nearly as dark as similar books (e.g., Captive in the Dark or The Erotic Dark), largely because the really difficult stuff was alluded to but never graphically described. In a sort of Jane Eyre meets The Godfather mash-up, orphaned, lonely sex-slave Serenity is more or less rescued by mobster, sociopath, and ex-sex-slave Zachary. In the beginning of this novel, I found both characters basically detestable, and my desire to keep reading stemmed from the same urge to rubberneck at a car accident. But damned if both Zachary and Serenity didn't grow on me by the end.

The reason this was a three-star read for me, rather than four, is that the author needs to have "Show, don't tell!" spray-painted over every inch of his or her workspace. The plot of this book was DENSE in an enjoyable way, so much so that for the first time in the history of ever, I found myself wishing this book was a trilogy, and not in a fan-grrrrl-i-lurv-them-so-much-i-even-want-to-read-about-them-doing-laundry kind of way. Overall, this novel read like a very detailed outline for a two- or three-book series. Several times I wanted to beg for an honest to God flashback instead of the flat, lifeless recounting of past events that was all either Serenity and Zachary ever gave us. By actually describing some of their most poignant, character-forming moments in vivid detail, this OK book could be made into a truly OUTSTANDING series, especially because the delicious, Machiavellian machinations of the Schiavelli family provides more than enough plot to sustain such an epic.

And a note to writers: please don't create a main character who copy-edits for a living unless your novel is nearly free of typos and grammatical errors. Kristen Ashley made the same mistake in Mystery Man, and I nearly gave up on her. Of course, she's a freaking huge success, so maybe it doesn't really matter, but the cognitive dissonance is distracting!

*Received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)

Review by: loopylou123 on June 11, 2014 :
Copy received in exchange for an honest review.


Another enjoyable book by A J Admas.

She has a way of writing dark, not very nice characters that you still end up loving and rooting for.

These are flawed people, with past pains that have scarred and marked them and forged them into the person they have become!

"Zachary Schiavelli is an art thief and forger. His handsome face is merely the mask that hides a cold, calculating man whose own childhood of abuse has honed him into a remorseless killing machine."

"Serenity Bishop is a work of art. Her skin a canvas, decorated with the scars of her evil captor’s twisted abuse. But her tormentor, Angelo, is about to lose control.

Serentiy was "sold" as part of a deal by her then boyfriend and has been living in hell for the past few months.

Zachary is a man who had a terrible childhood and will not be crossed.

When Zachary's cousin tries to double cross him on a deal, he becomes aware of Serentity and who she is to Angelo, and decides to have her and use her to get revenge on Angelo.

He is quite cold and ruthless.

Serenity is distrustful (for obvious reasons) and tries to figure out Zachary and his plan for her.

Yet, over the weeks and months, they both find something neither ever thought they would find, or indeed ever looked for.

Past guilts and actions haunt them both.

"I felt nothing because I had completed the circle. I had been a victim, and I had taken that experience and used it to debase and exploit this girl. I hadn't survived; I had become the abuser.
I looked into those blue eyes and I knew myself for what I was: I was a monster"

How they both came to know all of the others secrets, accept them and saved each other, fought for and defended each other made for a beautiful story.

It is hard to take in places, the actions of the characters, Zachary in particular, and the history and abuse they have both had to live through, was at time difficult to read.

But, you rooted for them both, wanted it to come good in the end for them both and for them to be able to carry on their lives free on the past and stronger together.

"At her words, the first thought that entered my mind was that her directness was one of the things I loved about her. Love. That was a word that wasn't in my vocabulary.
I looked into her red rimmed eyes and suddenly it all clicked into place: the possessiveness I felt for her from the start, the way her emotions resonated with mine, and the peace I felt when she was near me were all symptoms of the same thing; I was in love with Serenity.
I'd been an idiot not to know it before maybe, but I didn't think I had it in me. Now I looked at my girl and knew she'd changed me forever. She'd shown me a side of myself I didn't know existed. Maybe it never had; maybe she'd created it. Either way she owned my heart"

A brilliant 4 stars.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)

Review by: ilovemyaura on June 09, 2014 :
A new favorite!

I was expecting this story to go darker than it did. I'm really happy with it, don't get me wrong.

Zachary is an anti-hero. He's a master art thief and forger; very precise, calculating and cold. He is the product of his upbringing, and unapologetic.

Serenity was abducted into slavery, and had the extreme misfortune of belonging to Angelo…Zachary's cousin.

The meeting that crosses Zachary's path with Serenity's, shows the slave girl to be anything but broken and tamed. Zachary is interested in the girl, and she presents an opportunity for Zachary to take Angelo out of power, so Zachary secures Serenity for himself.

I didn't like Zachary much at first…his initial act of sex with Serenity is not very nice…although downright loving compared to Angelo. He devises a plan to keep Serenity, manipulating her into willing obeying him, until the time is right to toss her aside.

Serenity is smart, determined, sassy, and just about unbreakable - despite a traumatic childhood, and recent months spent under Angelo's brutality. She doesn't trust Zachary, and she knows he's playing with her.

I love how the characters overcome themselves, and each other, unite, and pretty much defeat everything against them. This is my ultimate "Love Conquers All" story, and one of my favorite dangerous criminal heroes. Serenity's intelligence surprised me, as did Zachary's observant deductions. I love that they are both creative, in different ways. There is an element of mystery that wasn't terribly mysterious, and a dose of suspense that was enjoyable.

What I didn't like:
When Zachary comes clean to Serenity, she instantly forgives him. No animosity, no resentment, just "We're all good."

Zachary's plan and execution of the enemy family was totally out of character. The skillset he exhibited for that attack was totally wrong for a forgery artist/thief.

This was a delightful read. A strong, intelligent, yet victimized heroine slowly finds her place with a damaged, manipulative, cold, yet sweet professional criminal, and they beat ridiculous odds to find their HEA.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review*
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)

Review by: Carol Layton on June 02, 2014 :
WTF! I got a pre-publication copy for review. Still reeling. Sat up till 3AM to finish it. Loooooooove Zachary! And Serenity is something else. God I love them both and I never wanted it to end.

Right, this is dark and violent but also romantic. It's like nothing else I've ever read. It could be tagged kidnapping and sexual slavery but that doesn't describe it. You've just GOT to read this!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Blondie on May 29, 2014 :
Two damaged soles just looking for their place in the world both with difficult families. Serenity's family is selling her into slavery where she is almost broken after months of torture. Zachary's family are Italian Mob and bought Serenity as part of a drug deal. When Zachery meets Serenity he is instantly drawn to her eyes the eyes of a Degas girl. He enjoys taking Serenity away from his cousin Angelo the family mess up. He does not much care for him he is the son of the head of the family so humiliating him is the next best thing to killing him. Serenity is easy to like and as I feel sorry for her she is fighting and so you just like her for that and you realize that she is just being shaped into who she was meant to be. Zachary is also tough and he is the bad guy you can not help but to like.

As soon as Zachary takes Serenity from Angelo the book really starts to take off. The author's writing takes you in from the start and you never know where things are going. The dialogue flowed nicely. The characters are written well and fleshed out to the point I felt like I would have known them had we met. The plot was driven and packed full of an interesting fast paced story that I never wanted to end but at the same time I was dieing to see how it ends and who will be left standing will anyone get their HEA?

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)

Review by: snow14 on May 23, 2014 :
I have to agree with LH, but oddly enough I didn't want the story to end. good story!
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)

Review by: asjahstrina on May 18, 2014 :
This author has brought light on the on-goings of sexual slavery that is very much real in this world ,most of them are kidnapped,tricked and beaten into submission to be slaved by horrible monsters and the perverted sick monsters who buy them .Many women who are rescued are left broken with a broken body and spirit and take a lot of love and care to gain back their self .This issue is very close to my heart as a women and a human that so many women and children are being abused in this world ,my thanks to the author for writing on a very real and painful reality and did not sugarcoat it .The writing was good ,story flowed well and the hero and heroine had their own dark scars and fears .But was glad for their HEA and their solid tenderness towards the end.This read may not be everyone's cup of tea as it contains brutal violence against the women and the sex between the hero and heroine goes from rough to tender in the end but it's reality on what enslaved women go through.Read this in one straight sitting ,with a few typo's here and there.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: LH on May 17, 2014 :
Very intense, dark and in a weird kind of way, romantic. Well done!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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