Keep Me Safe - Skye Warren My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...

My introduction to SW’s writing was with an essentially sweet love story between two people whom I thought so totally belonged to one-another. If you haven’t read it yet, Beauty Touched the Beast is a free novella, read it NOW! But compared to Keep Me Safe... well, I can’t actually begin to compare the two because the stories are so glaringly different from one another. I don’t usually read non-consent erotica, rape is not a fantasy to me but with SW, I thought I can take a chance. I’m glad that I did.

The blurb of the book gives you a fair warning of what was is inside the story or what you can expect from it. So, I knew what was in there, I was expecting a violent and scary story and I got it 100%. It had rape and sexual abuse of the heroine and how she tries to handle it throughout the ordeal, with her mental and physical pain portrayed pretty vividly. Well, I’ve been fairly warned! The hero, Zachary was just a secondary character here because this was Rachel’s story, from the beginning ‘til the end. We see her POV of everything, which was a plus point, to get an idea of the victim’s state of mind. Honestly, I’ve never known any rape victim in my life, unless reading about it in the newspaper. But even though she’s a fictional character, I have to give it to SW for being so honest, straight forward and in her own word ‘unapologetic’ through the description. Most people, while reading this, would probably judge the book on the basis of the surface. My two cents for them: the blurb already gives you a fair warning about what the book contains; if you do not like the theme, why read it and rate the book low? What did you actually expect from a book that clearly states that it’s about erotic non-consent, that it contains abuse and violence? Even though I have NEVER felt the ‘need’ to read one of those rape fantasy erotica (meaning: I skip those) out there, I still felt the difference in the tone SW used here. Then, I looked at it from a very realistic POV. Even though we do not like to read/know about these things, rape still happens... what Rachel went through happens to women in reality. And when I looked at it this way, it didn’t really seem that disturbing or abnormal to me. Also, as I’ve already mentioned, since SW’s tone of the story was pitch-perfect, I wasn’t distracted from the original storyline.

I don’t know why Rachel was abducted by the gang members, but she was. I don’t know about her past but it seems she’s had a history of sexual abuse by her past bfs’ hands. Zachary is an undercover FBI agent, who is also the nephew of the crime lord boss. He tries to help Rachel anyway he could, for which he had to rape her, just to show the other members that he is a part of that gang. Well, ‘rape’ here was a technical word since Zachary wasn’t brutal or abusive in the way a rapist would with his victim. It’s a really complicated situation. Although, Rachel knew nothing about Zachary being a cop, she still felt the difference in him. Zachary kinda stakes his claim on her so that no one touches her. Afterwards, Zachary was able to get her away from the gang. When Rachel is back from the hospital, he comes to her to apologize, knowing nothing can really undo what he had to do, even if was to save her. But Rachel doesn’t want his apology. I already said it was complicated... so when she wanted to have sex with him again, somehow I didn’t find it odd.

Sadly, it seems like Rachel had the worst luck a girl can ever have, so she’s kidnapped again by the same gang. This time, it was worst. She was tortured and raped by some of them. Zachery, again, tries to save her since he was still undercover... but the cover soon blows. Then, a twisted play, authored by the crime lord himself, was played out, making Zachary and Rachel as the lead in it. It was sick; the guy and his pathetic gang members were sick. But, Rachel was not to blame here, neither was Zachary.

I felt Rachel’s anguish, pain. I felt the process of her going numb at one point, her being in denial and even go as far as becoming sarcastic about this whole situation, just to make it bearable. Zachary sucked in doing his job no doubt but his remorse was genuine in every way. He was mad at himself, was tortured having to witness what Rachel was going through. He apologized over and over again for not being able to ‘keep her safe’. But somehow, Rachel felt his urgent need for forgiveness and the fact that, he actually makes her feel safer since his attempts were nothing less than earnest. I think it was great that the hero wasn’t made to look all invincible, like any other usual fictional leads would’ve been.

It being a novella, the story ended short. I don’t know if I should find this good or bad; ‘good’ because I couldn’t take Rachel’s suffering anymore and ‘bad’ because I felt a bit cheated since it ended when their relationship was on the healing stage... more specifically, on the starting of a healing process. I don’t know if they were healed. I don’t know if Rachel made a full recovery, by that I mean the psychological side of the trauma. I don’t know if their relationship survived this hellish ordeal, to which they were both a witness. But there definitely was something between them that I couldn’t deny, something born out of absolute necessity and yet, it went far beyond it in the end. I don’t know if that was love, even though they exchange ILU as the story ended. I definitely would’ve loved a few more chapters, hoping to find a HEA for Zachary and Rachel.

4 stars. I’m now thinking about reading Trust In Me, the next in the series.

Warning: If you do not like non-consent stories, stories of rape and violence, torture and abuse, this is NOT the book for you.