Damian Tate. One look into his sad green eyes and I was hooked. I wanted to be the one to make him laugh, to make him smile. I hadn’t expected him to be the one to make me blush, to make me hot…to make me fall in love. He was my first kiss, my first love, my first everything. I wanted forever with him, but life got in the way.
He enlisted, I went to college, and for years we were never in the same place long enough to pick up where we left off.
Thirteen years after he left, tragedy brings him home. The stoic boy I fell in love with grew into a quiet, dangerous and wildly sexy man. He still tugs on all the right strings for me, but he seems determined to keep me at arm’s-length.
However, when trouble comes knocking at my door, he is the one to put himself between that trouble and me.
Spending time with him might drive me insane, or it might be our second chance at first love.
I can only imagine the undertaking it took for L.A. Fiore to bring Thea and Damian’s story to life. Thea always has so much to say in the text while Damian is the silent and brooding type – a man who thrives on discipline and control because his childhood, namely his mother, made him feel like a worthless monster not fit to love or be loved by anyone. But even though Damian is a man of few words, it’s essential to understand his thoughts about Thea and his love for her as well as the reasons he had to let her go all those years ago, allowing them both to focus on themselves and achieve their individual goals.
While Devil You Know is told mainly from Thea’s perspective, Damian’s voice is there to shed light on his time away from the girl who has owned his heart since they were 17, and while Thea, readers, and maybe even Damian’s friends/family may not understand why Damian did the things he did, pushing Thea to let him go and forcing himself to keep his distance from her, because readers are privy to Damian’s thoughts and the complicated mindset that he has when it comes to his mother and the devilish person she made him out to be, we can fault him for wanting to find his place…to find a new way to define himself away from his mother’s venomous words…to become a man deserving of Thea’s love.
Thea and Damian’s story spans over a decade, and while most of those years were spent apart, they were never far from each other’s thoughts, and they never stopped loving one another or hoping for a chance to stay true to their younger selves and the promises that were made all those years ago. Timing is everything, and for many years, it was always the wrong time and the wrong place for Thea and Damian to reconnect as adults, and unfortunately, the events that bring them back together and force them to address their feelings for each other are exactly what prevent Damian from losing his disciplined and controlled manner and giving into his reckless feelings for Thea.
The love that Thea and Damian have for one another has never been in question, but sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances that prevent even a bond like theirs from having a chance at forever, and while I never doubted that they would ultimately find their way back to each other, the struggle to get there along with Damian’s hands-off, closed-off approach and the dangerous situations that Thea finds herself in definitely made me nervous, frustrated, and a bit out of sorts; a love like Thea and Damian’s love should always reign despite the outside pressures and self-recrimination, but that didn’t seem the case for much of their story, so waiting for their time to come had me wanting to shake Damian even though I completely understand his frame of mind and his reasons for waiting to claim what has always been his.
Like all of Fiore’s other stories, Devil You Know has an amazing cast of supporting characters – ones who are family even though they’re not blood related…ones who have Thea and Damian’s backs at all times and ones who would willingly take on their burdens just so they didn’t have to deal with them alone. Thea’s family and best friends along with Damian’s teammates and friends are a testament to the kind of people that Thea and Damian are and they are there to protect as well as comfort them throughout the course of their journey to happily ever after.
L.A. Fiore definitely knows how to write broken alphas, and while I’ve adored her other heroes, there’s something about Damian Tate that stands out above the rest…I’m not sure if it’s his incredible discipline or his need to do right by Thea and her family at all times…maybe it’s his unwavering sense of honor or his ability to remain focused despite the chaos surrounding him.
The idea that Damian sees himself as a monster…a devil that will only drag those he loves down to hell with him is meticulously displayed, but as much as the ghosts of his past remain an albatross on his back, constantly negating any successes he’s had to unburden himself by reveling in Thea’s love, it’s also clear that Thea and those who love and support Damian don’t see him as a burden; they see him as a truly magnificent man – one who has battled the sins of his parents and found his salvation with his band of brothers and the woman who has always held his heart.
L.A. Fiore is an amazing storyteller; every time I dive into one of her books, I know I’m going to be immersed into a passionate, thought provoking story – one whose characters are meticulously developed and one that fosters a bond between them and the readers who Fiore allows into her characters’ world.
Damian is no longer lost, so now that he’s found, I’m hoping L.A. Fiore helps Anton find his way to redemption as well because out of all of the men introduced in Devil You Know, he’s the one whose story I need to read next!
A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 Poison Apples
L.A. Fiore is the author of several books including: Beautifully Damaged, Waiting for the One and A Glimpse of the Dream. She’s also the social secretary for her two children, a tamer of ill-mannered cats, the companion to one awesome dog and married to her best friend. She likes her wine red, her shrimp chilled and her social gatherings small and intimate.