Dodging Trains – Sunniva Dee

dodging trains sunniva dee


I was twelve when a stranger at a train station taught me the meaning of ugly. He forced himself on me and threatened to kill my family if I told.

I stayed silent, and the ugliness grew.

Now, that word rolls in film clips through my mind. All I’ve done since my best friend, Keyon Arias, left town is cement how ugly I am. Ugly on the inside—deep down to my core. On the outside… I am a Vixen. I flash men a smile and make them moan out pleasure I control.

Not them. Never them.

After five years of being away, my beautiful boy has come back to town for his father’s masquerade ball. He’s different. Hard muscle supersedes the skin and bone of his once boyish frame. One thing hasn’t changed though: the murderous look in his eyes when he slaughters his opponents. In the ring, I see the bullied boy, all grown up, dominating in ways he couldn’t in high school.

He’s the mayor’s son. The rising MMA fighter. The beautiful one.

I’m not the Paislee Cain of before, not the sweet girl he once knew, the one who chased away his bullies. I’m the town slut. The dirty girl whose shame will never fade no matter how many men I use. He’d disown what I’ve become.
Because beautiful can never love ugly.

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***I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are 100% my own.***

Paislee and Keyon knew each other as children. He was bullied because he was smaller than everyone else and he was really pretty. The boys took exception to it and treated him horribly. Paislee didn’t care and loved him anyway, and they became friends, crushes, first kisses. But after a while stuff like that wears on a person and they snap. And when Keyon snapped, he turned into the very bully he hated. It was so bad, he had to move away. And for Paislee, who didn’t have many friends, this was devastating. See, Paislee felt tainted since that man forced himself on her in the train station bathroom. Paislee turned to sex as a method of exerting her control and trying to “own” herself. But when Keyon comes back to celebrate his dad’s mayoral inauguration, things between the two of them heat up.

These two very broken individuals haunt me. I have friends who’ve handled their rape much like Paislee did. It seems contrary to someone who’s never been in that place before, but it’s all about control. The romance between them had been happening their whole lives, though it seems sudden and quick at the point of this book. If ever a couple NEED to be together, it’s these two. GAH! I just don’t even know how to express myself.

Ms. Dee ‘s prose in this particular story is different than her others. Leon’s Way is dark and violent and controlling, not much different than this. But the WAY Ms. Dee writes this one is very different, almost broken and fragmented. Interruptions of current moments with “clips” of before permeate the book. Ms. Dee poured heart and soul into this book. It’s obvious from the first chapter. This book is dark. It’s harsh. It’s filled with anguish and sadness and hate. But there’s so much love in this book too. Not just love between the two main characters, but there is love between parents and children, mentors and students, sisters and brothers, and between friends. So, would I recommend this book? Wow…yeah I really would. If you have triggers though, you might want to hold off. Though, Ms. Dee handles it wonderfully, it’s still really RAW and GRITTY and PAINFUL.


Between studies, teaching, and advising, Sunniva has spent her entire adult life in a college environment. Most of her novels are new adult romance geared toward smart, passionate readers with a love for eclectic language and engaging their brain as well as their heart while reading.

Born in the Land of the Midnight Sun, the author spent her early twenties making the world her playground. Southern Europe: Spain, Italy, Greece–Argentina: Buenos Aires, in particular. The United States finally kept her interest, and after half a decade in Los Angeles, she now lounges in the beautiful city of Savannah.

Sometimes, Sunniva writes with a paranormal twist (Shattering Halos, Stargazer, and Cat Love). At other times, it’s contemporary (Pandora Wild Child, Leon’s Way, Adrenaline Crush, Walking Heartbreak, and Dodging Trains, coming in late March 2016).

This author is the happiest when her characters let their emotions run off with them, shaping her stories in ways she never foresaw. She loves bad-boys and good-boys run amok, and like in real life, her goal is to keep the reader on her toes until the end of each story.

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