Jax lost the genetic lottery. Descended from Cain, the world's first murderer, he's plagued by a curse that demands violence in exchange for his happiness. He left everything behind, including the girl he loved, but thriving on the pain of others is lonely... And it's killing him.
After a series of heartbreaking losses, Samantha put rubber to pavement and headed for college as fast as her clunker could carry her. But she can't outrun her problems. When an attack at school drives her back home, she's thrown into the path of a past-and a guy-she's been trying to forget.
Sam strains Jax's control over his darkness, but running isn't an option this time. Someone-or, something-followed her home from school: a ruthless monster with a twisted plan centuries in the making. Forced together to survive, and fighting an attraction that could destroy them both, Jax and Sam must stop a killer bent on revenge.
Hell is looking for a way to break loose...
Eternal Balance Book 1: Ruined
Eternal Balance Book 2: Embrace
Eternal Balance Book 3: Released
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By Jus Accardo, Heather Howland, Liz Pelletier
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Jus Accardo
All rights reserved.
Why? Why the hell had I picked up the phone?
Because I was a damn masochist, that's why. Finally, the years of violence and torment had fried my fucking brain.
I'd already been on a bus speeding down Route 11, no more than six miles from Uncle Rick's house, when the cell went off. I ignored it at first. Picked it up, saw the number on the caller ID, and tossed the phone back into my pocket without giving it a second thought.
Then it rang again. And again. And again.
I caved. It was either that or hum the thing out the window. Since money wasn't something I could magically pull out of my ass, replacing the phone wasn't an option. But listening to it scream wasn't either. The bastard calling wouldn't have given up anyway.
Now, instead of sticking to my vow to stay the hell away from my hometown, I was standing in the shadow of the alley next to McCarthy's, the local diner. This was my uncle Rick's fault. The only reason I'd agreed to come back to this pit was because he swore my twin, Chase, would be out of town.
Or maybe he hadn't. Maybe Chase had played him. The guy was sneaky. I wouldn't put it past my brother to weasel the info out of the old man. It wouldn't be the first time he'd done it.
Rick had a blind spot when it came to Chase. The whole damn town did. He was the golden boy. The shining example of perfect manners and intelligence wrapped in a snappily dressed charmer.
I on the other hand was rotten fruit. The deformed apple that fell to the ground too early and had gotten picked at by animals. I was all the bad habits and diseased bits from the drain of the Flynn family genetic tub.
But none of that mattered now. Chase had called and said it was an emergency. There was something he needed to talk to me about before I went to see Rick.
So here I stood. On the sidewalk. Trying to drum up enough strength to walk inside.
There were so many reasons I shouldn't be here. At the diner. In town. On this godforsaken earth ...
The main one, though, was a nasty little affliction passed down from a family curse that forced me to share my body with a demon. A violent, cruel monster that survived on the pain and misery of others.
Descendants of Cain, the world's first murderer, some of the male children in my line came into this world with a demon attached to their soul. Infested, my father said once. Cain killed his brother, Abel. I figured that was why the thing inside hated Chase so much. We were destined to keep repeating the same mistakes.
Fratricide at its fucking finest.
Unhappiness was like chocolate to the damn thing. And rage? Like pure crack.
Demons, in general, were like that. They fed on negative human emotions, sucking them down like high-end whiskey. There were differences between them; for example, I was unique. A human saddled with a demonic stowaway, while the others were purebreds. They did share common traits, though.
I stepped out from the alley and took several steps toward the diner. Wanda Falkner walked past with an armload of groceries. She stooped down as she went, lifting a hand to wave, then froze when she saw me.
I knew that look. Horror and disgust mixed with fear. It was the expression everyone in this damn town wore when staring me down. Just another reason to get this shit over and done with and leave this place in the dust forever. I was like a plague to these people. The Antichrist and Hitler rolled into one horrible package.
Wanda straightened and scurried away as fast as she could.
I was proud of myself. I hadn't even flipped her off. That was progress.
Three years ago I'd walked away. Turned my back on everyone and everything I loved. It was fine. I did what needed to be done. It wasn't a huge loss. No one here missed me. Uncle Rick was able to move on with his life without having to worry about finding a corpse in Chase's bed each morning, and Chase, well, he'd moved on just fine, too. He spent his days as a successful photographer, and his nights screwing a path across Jensen County.
The only thing that made leaving hard was her. Samantha Merrick. The girl who, to this day, still pulled me from the mire and made it possible to go on, even if she didn't know it. She was my anchor and kryptonite all at the same time. Salvation and damnation in one beautiful, unattainable package.
Thank fucking God she wasn't living in Harlow anymore. She'd gone off to college several months ago. I could probably suffer being in the same room with Chase for a few minutes, but being forced to pull a face-to-face with Sam? That would have gutted me.
The smell of demon wafted through the air, faint but noticeable. A quarter mile, tops. They were everywhere. Schools, shopping malls, local food stores. No place was safe. Like a permanent rodent infestation, they were always around. Always lurking in wait for scraps.
I could see my brother through the diner window, at the back booth. Of all the horrible things I'd done, none were worse than what the demon wanted me to do to Chase. The monster hated my brother.
It flashed an image of Chase, pinned against the wall and struggling for air. I could feel his skin beneath my fingers in the all-too-real vision, and as I leaned in closer to savor the fear and confusion, Chase let out a scream that made the hairs on my arm dance. It wasn't real, but it sure felt that way. One quick movement. That's all it would take to snap his neck. Dead, brown eyes would stare into the distance as the demon rumbled with satisfaction. The contented warmth it felt would flow through my body, and for just a moment, I wanted to do it. To walk into the building and end my brother's life, if only to gain a moment of peace.
The flash ended and left me breathless. I slammed a fist into the tree behind me. "Fuck!"
I waited until everything evened out before turning back to the building. One step toward the alley. Then another. This wasn't going to happen. It couldn't. Chase was leaning forward again, as the person sitting across from him did the same, giving me a perfect view of her profile.
A wave of fury rolled over me. "Motherfu —"
Samantha Merrick, who was supposed to be away at Huntington College, was about to kiss my brother.CHAPTER 2
Chase Flynn flashed a lopsided grin as I slid into the booth across from him.
"You never get anything different. Always pie." I tugged the menu from my best friend's hands and skimmed the dessert section.
McCarthy's was his guilty pleasure. They made the best key lime pie on the East Coast — according to Chase. The tartness of lime always turned my stomach.
I preferred excessively sweet things like chocolate mousse or strawberries slathered in homemade cream. One of the few vivid memories I had of my mother was Saturday morning strawberries and cream ...
"Amen to pie, baby," he said with an easy laugh, eyes fixed on mine. Today he was dressed in a tight-fitting forest-green T-shirt and well-worn jeans with a small hole in the left knee. On another guy, the outfit would have been weekend casual. On Chase, with his classic features and Greek god cut, it was runway chic. Although he could have donned clown shoes and a series of strategically taped paper bags and still caught the attention of every girl in the room.
Chase had lived in the house next door with his uncle and brother from the time I was six. He'd stolen my Aunt Kelly's heart from the instant he'd arrived on the doorstep with a plate of warm brownies and that infectious charm that seemed to ooze from every pore. From that moment on, my aunt was determined to hook us up despite the fact that Chase — ironically named — was with a different girl every other day. Pass. I wasn't interested in being anyone's flavor of the week.
"So the movie was fun." He flashed a sultry smile, and my pulse hastened despite the fact that I wasn't interested in him that way. It was just the effect he had on people.
The two women at the next table were not-so-subtly eye-humping him in addition to the occasional, pointed giggle. They were older — midthirties if I had to guess — and apparently saw no shame in cougaring it up.
Chase ignored them and focused on me. "I liked the shower scene. I didn't think it was possible for human beings to bend that way. We should test it out some time."
He'd delivered countless lines to girls over the years, but none had ever been aimed my way. Not seriously, anyway. I laughed and leaned forward, elbows on the table. We'd played this game a thousand times before. With a wink, I joked, "And after we're done there, we can do it doggy-style in the rain."
Of course the waitress chose that moment to stroll over and set down two plates of hot apple pie. With a disgusted shake of her head, she turned to the table across from us to take their order. I was more tired than hungry, but Chase grabbed his fork and went to town.
"Just name the time and place, baby." His lips tilted into a mischievous grin. Guys like this were dangerous. They knew the sway their smoldering stare held over girls, and exploited it at every turn to get what they wanted. I'd seen many a girl fall to that overpowering, swoon-worthy stare and heart-stopping grin.
I yawned and poked at the pie with my fork. Apple wasn't my favorite, but it was better than cherry. "Yep. And after we do that, we'll shave a llama and take it to dinner."
He pushed his pie aside and took my hand, grin morphing into a solemn expression. "What if I said I was serious?"
His words were like a punch to the gut, stealing my breath and sending goose bumps across my skin. I didn't know whether to laugh or jump up and run like the hounds of hell were on my ass and looking for a new chew toy. I wasn't his type. Not even close. There were runway models and sorority house fashionistas with enough artfully applied makeup to warrant a flammable sign — and then there was me. Jeans, T-shirts, and a small tattoo of my favorite Disney character, Stitch, masterfully hidden away on my left hip. "This is a joke, right?"
Chase was smiling again, but his eyes darted over my shoulder for a moment. "Is it a bad thing if I say no?"
"It'd be a confusing thing." I pulled my hand away and said, "For starters, you're not known for having actual relationships, and I'm not into the one-night-stand scene." I'd done it while away at college and wasn't interested in repeating the experience.
He leaned back, subtly glancing around the room as though he was looking for someone. Feigning insult, he said, "You think I'm itching to make you another notch in my post?"
Distraction was one of the biggest tools in his arsenal. I'd seen it at work a thousand times. Whenever he wanted to avoid a question, he'd answer with one of his own. But there was no way I was playing into that crap. "Secondly, I'm not your type. You're not my type, either."
"You're not dating anyone at the moment, correct?"
"Have I mentioned anyone lately?" The truth was, the last time I had a date, it ended with a clammy handshake and a forced smile. The time before that, the guy kissed me, and it was less like a kiss and more like an ice cube with a slimy tongue and sweaty palms.
I was too picky, according to Aunt Kelly. But that wasn't it. I knew exactly what I wanted. Screaming need and desperate kisses so hot, they'd melt the sun. Something that had slipped through my fingers ... A fire I'd been chasing without success ever since. "But so not the point."
"I know I have a certain ... reputation. But it's not like I'm proposing marriage." He winked. "Even though that would make Kelly happy ..."
I couldn't believe we were having this conversation. Out loud. He was right, though. My aunt would shit bricks of happy, since she'd been shoving us together for years, but ick. He was like a brother. "Don't you think it'd be a little weird? Us? Together?"
"Is this because of my brother?"
Silence. I didn't answer. Couldn't. The subject of the other Flynn was off-limits. An unspoken rule, and I intended to keep it that way.
Chase shook his head and stuffed another forkful of pie into his mouth. His eyes all but rolled back as he swallowed. "He made his choice and he has to live with it. I don't."
I opened my mouth, then closed it. He had to be screwing with me.
"What do you say? Interested in giving it a try? No expectations. No pressure. Maybe just one little kiss ..."
It was a thought I'd entertained deep in the never-in-a-million-freaking- years part of my brain more than a few times but had never considered actually acting on. Chase was one of my best friends, and yes, he was hot as hell, but not in an I-want-to-hook-up-with-him kind of way. The attraction was less about how he looked and more about who he looked like. His twin brother, Jax ...
Standing, he leaned across the table, and his cologne drifted pleasantly through the air. I'd been with him when he bought it for the first time. Some expensive thing imported from Italy in a tiny bottle that cost more than my monthly rent. Eyes darting to the door again, his lips bloomed into a wicked smile. "Kiss me, Samantha."
I have no idea what possessed me to actually do it, but I kissed him. When our lips met, the sensation caught me off guard. His tongue slipped across my bottom lip, teasing for just a moment before capturing it between his, and my pulse quickened. He seemed eager to show me what I'd be missing if I turned him down, and when he deepened the kiss, my insides ignited.
But not because I was kissing Chase.
I couldn't stop myself from imagining it was Jax's insistent lips doing the nipping, his name a desperate plea falling from my lips. Any minute now, he'd take mercy on me, sweep me into his arms, and ...
That's when reality crashed back like a semi through a china shop. Holy shit! I'd just used Chase as a fluffer in my own low-budget porno.
Slowly I opened my eyes, guilty heat rushing over my warm cheeks at the thought of Chase misinterpreting my enthusiasm, but it was a different gaze that gave me pause.
A towering figure stood in the doorway, his large frame blotting out the sun. With a mop of dark, unruly hair and eyes the exact shade of gray that graced the skies right before a violent storm decimated the city, he wore a long leather trench coat and an expression that was both fire and ice at the same time.
His eyes met mine, and the top right-hand corner of his lip hitched. Just a hair. I wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't staring. Which I was. How could I not? The newcomer's presence was one that demanded attention. Painfully beautiful, yet deadly. Like the poison apple from the Garden of Eden. Sinful and seductive, yet eternally damning.
I pulled away and blinked twice, sure his appearance was nothing more than imagination. Maybe even an apparition of guilt. But he was still there. Still staring. He looked rough, like he'd been to hell and back. There was a gleam of something close to madness in his eyes, and for an insane moment, I almost slipped from the booth and went to him. "Jax ..."
Identical twins, yet as different as oil and vinegar. Chase kept his face cleanly shaven and his hair trimmed short, while had Jax let his grow out. It was long enough that the tips of his bangs curled slightly, giving them a sexy, wild look. But it was their expressions that defined the difference between them. Chase was always smiling. There was something warm and welcoming about his expression that just drew people to him. Jax's expression on the other hand, screamed keep the fuck away.
Kind of like the way he looked right now.
Chase pushed forward again, lips tickling the tip of my chin. "Why are we talking about him?"
I pushed him back to his seat and nodded to the right where the tall, dark figure loomed, cloaked in a leather trench coat and black skullcap. "Because he's here."
Chase swiveled and met his carbon copy with a shit-eating grin. With a nod and an all-too-cocky smile, he said, "Big brother. When did you get back to town?"
Jax lunged forward and knocked him out cold.CHAPTER 3
After Chase hit the floor, I made for another go, but Sam jumped between us. She checked on my brother, then reluctantly agreed to deliver me to Rick's where I couldn't do any more damage.
"Still dealing with that impulse control issue, huh?" she said, starting the engine with a flick of her wrist and a yawn — the third one since we'd gotten into her car. There were dark circles under her eyes, and I couldn't help wondering how she'd been spending her nights.
Or with whom.
Her lips twisted disapprovingly, and I found myself having to recite the alphabet backward to keep from paying too much attention to the little details. The way she tilted her head, sending soft strands of chestnut hair across her shoulder. The soothing tone of her voice. The way she moved. I'd dreamed about these minute details a million times over the last three years.
This girl was the one thing I couldn't outrun. The only piece of my life I couldn't seem to shake — and a part of me hated her for it.
Excerpted from Ruined by Jus Accardo, Heather Howland, Liz Pelletier. Copyright © 2013 Jus Accardo. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
So, what if you were born cursed? What if because someone in your ancestry forever ago committed a sin you are now forced to share your body with a demon? That's where our main character, Jax, finds himself. He's sidled with a demon riding shotgun in his head all because of that first murder ever committed by Jax's ancestor Cain. While Jax may be a caring and good person, the actions that his demon demands of him most certainly aren't. Jax's demon craves violence and sends him images of the destruction it wishes to see Jax cause. This story is told between alternating POV's of Jax and Sam. Sammy is the girl next door, literally and figuratively. They have very different voices and it's nice to get the change of pace so I enjoy this POV setup for Ruined. The plot line is one that I haven't seen before and I thought the take on Cain's descendants was very unique. The setting and world-building feel like we're just at the tip of the iceberg on more interesting things that could come, but I wasn't left confused. All the information lined up and made sense to me. Accardo did an excellent job with showing the demon's penchant for destruction without making me shake my head or want to throw up. There was a darkness from Jax and the demon that hung over every interaction that ramped up the intensity. The Bad Though the romance was great, it sometimes caused the rest of the story to take a backseat. I would've liked to have seen a little less romance and some more action thrown in. The Romance These two are beyond spicy and want each other something fierce. Whether they are a good fit remains to be seen. I will say that Sam has a soft spot for Jax and doesn't feel like he's all bad where Jax wants to keep Sam safe, especially from himself. There's a lot of conflict to work out before this relationship will work, but I hope we see something good come out of it. Conclusion This is the second book by Accardo that I've read and I've enjoyed them both. The characters in Ruined drew me in and I was very interested in the story concept and world. I like the flare of romance and the flashes of darkness that hung over everything, and I'm looking forward to seeing more out of this series. Recommended. "I on the other hand was rotten fruit. The deformed apple that fell to the ground too early and had gotten picked at by animals. I was all the bad habits and diseased bits from the drain of the Flynn family genetic tub." *Originally given 3 1/2 stars at http://jcbookhaven.blogspot.com/2016/04/review-ruined-eternal-balance-1-by-jus.html - JC's Book Haven.
This book was amazing. I can't wait for more!
This is the first book I have read by Jus Accardo and it will not be the last. Jax is hot in that I'm a bad ass kind of way. Sam is just a typical girl who is heart broken over her first love leaving after expressing their feelings for each other. When she sees him again those feelings resurface and even though he tries to keep her at a distance because of what he is, she doesn't give up. She handles everything really well, maybe a little too well. I mean she was attacked, then she almost died more than once, then found out the huge secret Jax and Chase had been keeping from her. I was expecting a huge breakdown, but she sucked it up and went on. Other than that it is a really good book and can't wait for book 2.
Ruined by Jus Accardo was everything I had hoped it would be and then some! I have always, ALWAYS enjoyed Jus Accardo’s books and this one blew me away! The cool part about this book is that the main character, Jax, is descended from Cain…you know, the story from the bible where Cain killed his brother, Abel. Basically, Jax has to live with a demon inside of him who wants nothing more than to repeat history and have Jax kill his brother, Chase. So, to protect his brother and get rid of the clawing need to kill his brother, Jax leaves town…leaving the only father he has ever really known, Rick, and the love of his life, Sam. But because life likes to throw in those curve balls, Jax finds himself back in town because of Rick’s health. Not only does he confront his brother again (who btw, the demon still wants to kill – absence makes the heart grow fonder – NOT), but he comes face to face with Sam. Old feelings come to the surface, and Jax knows that he needs to get the heck out of dodge, but something…or rather someone is making it difficult for him to say goodbye. Samantha had left town to go to college to get away from memories. But when she gets attacked on campus, she heads back home to try and start over again. But a blast from the past shows up from nowhere, and Sam has to revisit feelings that she has tried to forget. But it seems someone is out to get her, and no matter where she goes, her life is in danger. Jax vows to keep Sam safe…Sam vows to keep her feelings for Jax under control. Throw in a little supernatural excitement, and you’re in for one heck of a ride. Ruined by Jus Accardo had pretty much everything I want in a book: dark, mysterious, sexy bad boy? Check. Intriguing supernatural element? Check. Some sexy time that will leave you a little hot and bothered? Double check. Various twists and turns that leaves your head spinning? Checkity check check. As in all Jus Accardo’s books, it literally only takes the first few pages to get you completely hooked in the storyline. The characters in the book are ones that have their own personalities, and ones that readers will come to adore…bad traits and all. I loved reading how much difficulty Jax had in trying not to kill his brother, and how we are shown the flipside (aka the demon side) of what Jax’s demon wants to do to the brother. Very visual…very awesome! I will admit that there were a couple of plot twists in this book that had me gasp aloud and utter a shocking “no way!”. One of the cool aspects of this book that really had me wanting to read it was the twist on the story of Cain and Abel. Ruined by Jus Accardo kind of reminded me of Dexter, with a dash of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And speaking of BTVS, any book that references this iconic television series will always be a big WIN! Fans of supernatural reads and are curious about the Cain and Abel spin will completely devour Ruined by Jus Accardo. As a New Adult read, there is a little bit of something for everyone! And it also helps that Jax is hella fine…
This is my first taste of Jus's writing. The book takes an intriguing spin on the tale of Cain and Abel, a story outline I remember from my Sunday School days long ago but not the finer details. Twins, Jax and Chase are polar opposites in personalities, and they are both trying to win the heart of the heroine, Samantha, a girl the boys grew up with. The boys have very different agendas for why they want Samantha though. From the start we know that a demon is attached to Jax as penance for their ancestors sins, but the author added a clever twist near the end about what exactly Chase's penance was. Up till that point you thought Chase didn't have one but he was sneaky about keeping his a secret his whole life. An enthralling read about love with a dark paranormal twist. Very refreshing writing style that helped me enjoy a taste of life from a demon's point of view as I normally read books about angel and vampire paranormal elements. 4.5 stars *arc kindly provided by publisher via netgalley for honest review*
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Okay so the Flynn boys are just a-maz-ing! No joke! Chase is a bad good boy and Jax... Jax is a very bad but very very good boy, they are brothers and they are twins. I had no problem keeping the read going with this one. This is a book I say clear your day for. Um yeah... that good. It's gritty and rough and I love that. The characters are great the Flynn boys, yes! Uncle Rick and most definitely the strong willed Samantha. Even the dive bar employees are great and Jus Accardo paints such a good picture I could feel the sticky floors of The Viking and feel the shivers that Sam did from each touch from Jax. It was gripping and the plot was a mesmerizing thrill ride with twists and turns like I have never read before. The whole Cain and Abel thing was a really intriguing concept to say the least. The town of Harlow was a great backdrop to all of the interesting events. The entire situation kept me glued to the pages and reading as fast as I could, I zoned everything and everyone out on this read and got lost in all that is the turmoil of Jax Flynn. I was along and loving every twist, every agonizing revelation and every painful pleasure. And wow the climax and ending of this story are not what I expected and unpredictable and I like that alot. Jus Accardo is a brilliant author that I will most definitely be reading more of! I would most definitely recommend this NA Paranormal Fantasy read to anyone with a love for swoon worthy, action packed, supernatural plots. This one is unique in nature and as chilling as it is steamy and gripping. I don't thing five measly hearts is a high enough rating for the book that kept me hanging on every single word like my life depended on it. I received an ARC copy and it had very few errors. I would read this book again for sure and most likely will before the release of book 2 in The Eternal Balance series by Jus Accardo. Ruined was the subject of my Fab Read Friday #FRF2014 This is a snippet from that post... "I am smack dab in the middle of this book. I started reading Ruined this morning and have put it down reluctantly. I even missed dinner! It's been that good so far. I like the grittiness of the story and the storyline is pure genius. It is most definitely skyrocketing to the top of my favorite couples list of 2014 for sure. I realize it's early on in the year but I am pretty sure this one is gonna stay with me. It is indeed turning out to be the best NA Paranormal Fantasy I have read lately. Jax and Chase Flynn make this a swoon worthy read too. *sigh* Team Jax! (heehee) Samantha brings the edgy good but bad girl vibe to the table very well. Love it! The whole plot is really great and unique. I like something fresh and unlike anything else I have read. The characters are well developed and I am loving the interaction and the twisted nature of it all. It is action packed and has just the right amount of steamy goodness." - S.V.
The premise of Ruined is very different. From the synopsis you have a very good idea of what the story is about. I just can’t imagine the pain of always living with another being inside that is always hungry for pain and fear. Poor Jax, my heart broke for him. He tried so hard to be good, knowing all the time that a demon lived inside of him. It must be a terrifying feeling of helplessness. However, he is strong, loyal, with a big sense of responsibility and a healthy dose of ‘I don’t care’. Of course, it always helps that he's hot, sexy and strong. I’m not sure what to think of Samantha. She is definitely Jax’s match and partner in crime. She is stubborn, strong, and tries her best to be fearless. I admire that she was able to accept Jax because I don’t think I would be able to. Jax and Sam’s relationship is really complicated and I suspect that it will become more so. Chase is supposed to be the good twin brother, but I just didn’t like him from the beginning. He was way too happy to torture his brother and he was an expert at letting others take the blame for everything he did. Overall, the characterization is good, I really sympathized with Jax and his predicament. The plot is good and some of the twists and turns are unexpected, but I have to confess on having my strong suspicions from the beginning. The demon world building is based on common believes and well fleshed out. This is obviously the first book in a series and the ending left a lot to be desired. The writing is really good and the hotness level was way up there :) This book was different from my usual YA reads. Not bad by all means, just different and definitely more for NA and adult readers. I will definitely read the next book in the series, I need to know what happens with Jax and Sam next (a loophole please!)
Unique New Adult Paranormal I was just talking to someone the other day about how saturated the New Adult market is with Contemporary stories. Which is not to say I don't love a good Contemp, but I think that if "New Adult" is to become a solid, recognized genre, there needs to be a broader range of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal and Dystopian available. RUINED is a great start to the NA Paranormal! It''s unique, entertaining, and puts a whole new spin on the "bad boy". The story of Cain and Abel and the curse their descendants have to deal with is one that I have not come across yet in any level of my reading. It's fast paced, action packed with plenty of romance but the romance isn't what drives the plot - another plus in my book. It's nice to read a NA that doesn't just focus on getting to the sexy parts and staying there for the rest of the book. I enjoyed this, and I'm curious to see where the next installment of this series goes.
Review of Ruined by Jus Accardo… Okay, if you’ve read my blog for any amount of time you’ve probably noticed a theme when it comes to my reviews. I only post reviews of books I like. First, because—big surprise—I like them and think you might like them too. And second, because I don’t like posting bad reviews. I know how much work goes into writing a book and how personal an author’s work becomes. I don’t want to write a review, which are always subjective, that may be considered negative. After all, what I don’t like, you may and vice versa. I mean, I remember when Pulp Fiction (the movie…remember that one?) came out and the critics fell all over it. They thought it was the best thing since the invention of the wheel. Me? I turned it off after twenty minutes. I didn’t see the appeal. To each his or her own. So there. That’s why all my reviews are positive. The negative reviews I file away in my secret little drawer called the shredder. So, that being said (or typed as the case may be), you won’t be surprised by my next sentence. I LOVED “Ruined” by Jus Accardo. I could end my review right now because, really, enough said. The book is that good. It doesn’t need a review. It stands on its own. “Ruined” was one of the most original, creative pieces I’ve read relating to demons in, well, ever. In fact, it’s probably one of the most creative stories I’ve read in months. I loved the whole Cain and Abel angle. The “demon within” and fratricide thing. It was so very new and exciting. I read the book in a day and still wanted more. This was the first book of Accardo’s that I’ve read. It’s always a crap shoot when you pick up a new author’s work. You never know what you’re going to get (yeah, I thought about making that whole “life’s like a box of chocolates” joke. I barely restrained myself. Mainly because I’d really like some chocolate right now.) But I was really surprised by “Ruined.” Accardo’s work is not only original, but well thought out, has great pacing and well-defined and likable characters. And writing style that most readers will appreciate. What more can a reader ask for? Oh, I’ll answer my own question…Jax. More Jax, puhleese! Yeah, he’s part demon, but he’s all kinds of swoony-male-hotness. Just the kind of brooding bad boy that makes for great male characters. But the thing about this bad boy? He’s not all bad. Even if he thinks he is. And that just makes him all the more swoon-worthy. Yeah…Jax. Sigh. But the good characters might start with Jax, but they don’t stop there. “Ruined” is filled with them. Jax is the evil twin, so of course there is a “good twin.” Enter Chase. He seems to have life wrapped up and tied with a golden bow, but things aren’t all that they seem. Then there’s Samantha, the jilted ex. She’s a great female lead. She’s not perfect. She has her own set of problems to deal with. She’s relatable and likable. She makes the perfect second half of Jax’s character. “Ruined” also had a well-rounded cast of secondary characters that I found added a lot to the story, instead of being storyboard cut-outs. Bottom Line: Jus Accardo hit a home run with “Ruined.” She’s written a great story that’s entertaining and has a cast of great, well-rounded characters. But it’s also a story about familial ties, forgiving yourself, trusting others, and learning to believe in yourself. Layers, layers, layers. It’s more than just a paranormal romance. There’s substance between the lines of “Ruined” if you look for it. And that’s what’s going to make me search out more of Accardo’s work!
Ruined by Jus Accardo is the first book in her new Eternal Balance series. Lately I have read a lot of stories about Angels and Demons. Ruined is mostly about demons or tainted (humans and demons sharing the same body), but this story is totally different than most, as the bases of the story revolves around Good & Evil, or Cain and Abel. We meet our flawed hero Jax, as he returns home to visit his dying uncle. Jax considers himself the unlucky one, cursed with being a descendant of the world’s first murderer, Cain. He lives with another being inside him, a demon named Azirak. Jax left town a few years back to protect Samantha, the girl he loved, from danger of his fierce anger, that is part of him. But now that he is back, it all starts again, as he sees Samantha talking to his brother Chase, who is the one everyone loves. Before he has a chance to leave town again, Samantha’s life is now in danger, as she has been marked by a demon. Jax has to fight his feelings for Sam, at the same time find out why and who is targeting her. Together, he and Sam try to resolve this, and at same time not act on their raging sexual chemistry. Making things difficult is Jax’s needs to keep his demon under control and fed. Easier said then done, especially with the demon side showing interest in Sam. The other thorn is Chase’s continued interest in Sam, and his ability to create havoc against his brother. As for Sam, she tries to understand why Jax left originally, but she knows she loves him. When she begins to understand the truth about demons, and Jax’s violent mood swings; Sam is still determined to find a way to save Jax, at any cost. When I first started this book, I was not sure if it would keep my attention, as it was a bit perhaps redundant, with Jax constantly being angry, and talking to his demon or being nasty to Sam. He wasn’t very likable, and you sort of thought you knew why the town hated him; though I never liked Chase from the start. But about a third of the way in, the story got very exciting, with lots of action, which kept me anxiously turning the pages. We learn more about the curse, Jax, his demon, and Sam. The ending of this book was revealing with some twists, and just when I was somewhat relieved and starting to relax, Jus Accardo throws us for loop with a damn cliffhanger. Oh well this is a series, and their will always be good versus evil. If you like action, suspense, demons, violence, good vs evil, hot sex, heartbreak and a couple that are truly in love, than Ruined is for you.
Ruined is the story of Jax. On the surface, he is your typical bad boy. But underneath all that smug attitude is a guy who is tormented constantly by the demon that lives inside him. Forced to cause pain and misery to others in order to feed the demon and lead some semblance of a life, Jax also fights against the struggle to kill his own brother every time they are around each other. Jax is a descendant of Cain and is cursed to repeat the sins of the past. After leaving town to save Chase's life, Jax returns to see his uncle who is very ill. Expecting that Chase is out of town, Jax is shocked to run into not only his brother but the love he left behind years ago. Sam is everything he wants but can never truly have. After being thrown together because of a recent attack on Sam, the two find themselves unable to deny their attraction. Now that's how you start a series! Honestly, I've been avoiding paranormal romance since I started getting tired of the same old thing over and over again. I was drawn in from the very beginning with this one. I've read a couple other books from the author but this book just blew every one of them out of the water. It even blew me out of a reading slump. So thank you for the swift kick in the butt that I needed, Jus Accardo. The author took the whole demon concept and somehow made it original and fresh. Using the story of Cain and Abel as the reason for the curse definitely made for a dynamic relationship between Jax and his brother, Chase. Not only did the author construct a well written story, but she also threw in a fiery romance. Jax and Sam reminded me so much of Katy and Daemon from the Lux series. Their chemistry just ignited the pages. I swooned. I giggled like an idiot. I was outraged when Jax pushed her away. I wanted my very own Jax. Add in the twisted triangle with the demon. The demon falls for Sam and she realizes that by loving Jax, she has to accept the demon too because he's a part of Jax. It was just so twisted and insane but it worked. Ruined had such a perfect balance of romance, mystery and action that I could not put it down. I sacrificed sleep to know what happens with Jax and Sam. I hated Chase but I loved him at the same time. As for the demon inside Jax, Azirak, I never would have imagined liking him, but I did. I normally don't like alternating POVs and find them very distracting, but I loved it for this book. Jax and Sam both had such a distinct voice that I never got confused as to who I was reading. Sam, while probably having the worst sense of self preservation ever, was such a delight as a character. She was spunky and strong. She wasn't your normal good girl changing the bad boy. She accepted him unconditionally and she was a little bad in her own way. I loved it. And the two characters just complimented each other perfectly. I have no complaints other than the ending, which was actually very good, but so many things were left unanswered. Bombs were dropped and the aftermath neglected to address them. But I will give the author a chance to rectify this with the next book in the series. After all, you have to leave 'em wanting more. And that's exactly what I wanted after reading this book. More. Now, please! *I was given a copy of this ebook from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Jus Accardo... Yes! Just yes. Ruined was a new adult demon fest of sexiness that I just could not put down! It's full of darkness, forbidden secrets, and so much tension that it was just strangled the pages with it's amazingness. I'd say another slay (pun intended) by Jus Accardo, for sure! I've read about demons before, but nothing like this. Nothing about Cain and Abel that I was actually interested in. Nothing like Jax. Jax stole me right from the beginning. He never pretends to be something he's not. He doesn't push down his darkness, yet at the same time you see deep down how good of a person he actually is. There were so many times I wanted to hug him, kick him... Hey, even jump him. Watching Jax struggle with his demon, his family, and Sammy just stole my heart. On the other side is Samantha Merrick, she was a lead girl that I absolutely loved. She constantly was bad ass, strong, and had her head in the game. There was nothing weak about her. The other thing I loved was how set she was on Jax... There was no teter-tottering feelings and I absolutely loved to see that. I feel like a lot times we see these girl characters who know they love the guy, but are like "maybe it's for the best if I stay away"... not Sam. Sam was all "I know who I want and I'm getting him!" and it completely rocked my world, ha! There was nothing about this book that wasn't bad-ass. I absolutely adored the world, adored the concept, adored the seductiveness of not only the characters, but the demons, too. Jus Accardo outstandingly wrote this new adult stunner, and I cannot wait to read the next one!
RUINED is the story of Jax and Sam, best friends and would-be lovers kept apart by Jax’s demon. Yup, I said demon. Jax is a descendent of Cain, the world’s first murderer, and he’s cursed by a demon as a result. The demon feeds on violence, and hates Jax’s brother, Chase, so Jax left town three years ago, leaving Sam and his family behind to save them. But when Jax comes back to say goodbye to his dying uncle, he gets thrown into a mess with Sam. Minutes after their first meeting in years they’re in a car accident when Sam’s brakes don’t work. The action doesn’t let up after that, and what starts out as tension-filled banter turns into a story of good and evil. Jax and Sam’s relationship, which goes back and forth as Jax tries to keep Sam safe from his demon, is a big part of the book. But so is the demon storyline, which turns out to have much more importance than I originally thought it would. I’m really curious to see where the author will take that part of it, because I enjoyed her take on demons and good versus evil. RUINED is told in alternating viewpoints from Jax and Sam, which allowed me to get inside both of their heads. Sam is a character I really liked, because she doesn’t break down when bad stuff happens to her. And let me tell you, *lots* of bad stuff happens to her. But she doesn’t let it get to her — she just keeps going, and tries to cope as best she can. Jax is a sweet combination of a bad guy and a softie, a guy who has a *good* reason to be bad. The further away he keeps loved ones, the less chance his demon will hurt them. The chemistry between Jax and Sam is super strong, and there’s a ton of romantic tension. There were a few times where I wanted to tell them to just get on with it already! But once they do, it’s definitely worth the wait. The ending of RUINED did disappoint me a bit, because there’s a lot of buildup to it… and then it’s over. I expected more, but as RUINED is the first in a series, I’m sure more will come in subsequent books. I also had trouble connecting with the characters at first, which I think was due to the author’s writing style. I did get used to it eventually, and I’d definitely try another Jus Accardo book. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest view.
I swear Jus has done it again with another amazing series. This author is one of my favorite writers because she creates such complex characters that even though they are flawed and messed up you can't help but to fall in love with them. She has done it again in the form of Jax. Oh my where do I start with him. Jax is such a sweet guy even though he has a demon inside him. He fights so hard to control it and sometimes it works but most of the time it doesn't. I felt for Jax from the start of this book because he was so unhappy and couldn't have the one person that he wanted in his life which was Sam. I hated seeing them both so unhappy when it was obvious they were meant to be together. As we get further into this book we learn why Jax has the demon inside him and I felt the author created a unique story line with the way she told this well known tale. Jax quickly learns that Sam is in trobule and he has to stick around town to help her out. I mean after all he loves her and can't let anything happen to her. I have to say that once we learn who is after Sam I wasn't really shocked but I felt so bad for Jax. I knew he didn't want it to come to what it does but I was rooting for him and Sam to come out on top. The author threw in a good plot twist with that one and it took me by surprise. Overall this was another amazing read and the scenes with Sam and Jax were so hot and amazing. The author wrote such great chemistry between them that they were burning up the pages. I loved seeing them together and even when they were apart you could feel the love between them. I would highly recommend this one as a hot read for this great winter season. If all NA reads are as great as this one I will be adding more of them to my shelves to read.
When I started Ruined by Jus Accardo, I wasn't sure if I was going to like the story. I did want to read the story, because of the cover. Then I read the book blurb, which intrigued me more. Once I started reading I wonder what I got myself into. As I progress in the my reading the more the storied developed and was taken aback. Anyway, the story is about twin brothers who have hate each since birth. Chase has been viewed as the good brother, while Jax has been viewed as the bad seed. However, Samantha has always viewed that Jax as the one who has gotten a bad rapped and sees more in him. Also, she doesn't believe Chase is all that good. That girl might be on to something. Another thing about Jax is he has a demon living inside him. So, you have these brothers vying for the same girl, but the girl has chosen who she wants. However, Chase will stop at nothing to get everything he wants. Now there is a plot twist I wasn't expecting it has to do with Chase. I have to say that it truly blew my mind. Anyway, Ruined was pretty good once the story started to pick up. I think the twist in plot was mind blowing, and I can say "I didn't see that coming". However, by the end of the book you know there is more to the story, because there is a subtle cliff hanger. I wonder what is going to happen next and how some of the problems are going to work themselves out. Is there hope for Jax and Samantha or is it a doom relationship. I seriously, hope there is a chance for them to be together. So, if you are looking for a start of a new series that centers around demons, you might give Ruined a chance. Copy provided by publisher
Pretty Good Book!
Nooooo! This story cannot end this way!!!! I am not going to give anything away but let me tell you book 2 better have some quick fixes. This is a suspenseful, steamy and didn't see that coming book. Ruined is one of the best paranormal books I have read in a long. time. Hot, sexy twins, demons, a hard headed damsel and lots of action. What more could you ask for? I am eagerly waiting for the next book. Thank you Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for ARC.
A dark, thrilling, and engaging New Adult romance. Ruined was an absolutely brilliant read. I loved this book! It was just amazing. From the wonderful characters, to the action, to the shocking secrets, this book was perfection. Sam was a lovely heroine. She was incredibly strong and determined. Nothing was going to keep her from getting what she wanted and protecting her loved ones. I liked that she wasn't the type of character to needlessly hold a grudge (unlike some), especially once she knew the whole story. I really liked her. She was totally badass. Jax was also amazing. Despite his denials, he was a truly good guy who did his best in a bad situation. He might believe himself to be evil, but the contrary was obvious in how determined he was to protect not only his loved ones, but any innocent. He was really sweet when he wanted to be and I adored him. The romance was great. Sam and Jax were wonderful together. I thought it was so sweet how, despite their years they spent apart, they still had feelings for each other. I loved how both of them were willing to sacrifice for the safety of the other. And there was definitely tons of chemistry between them. I thought they were a lovely couple. One part of this book that I particularly liked was how the author portrayed the relationship between Jax and his demon (Azirak). I thought it would just be parasitic, with Azirak doing everything he could do make Jax miserable. But, Azirak was actually a fully developed character that I actually ended up liking. And, I really liked how Jax and Azirak complemented each other, basically two sides of the same coin. I just loved how it was done. The plot was fast paced and I was utterly hooked the entire way through. There were tons of thrills that kept me on the edge of my seat and quite of few surprising secrets that blew me away. This book definitely wasn't predictable. I really enjoyed the story and the ending has me anxious for book 2. Ruined was a brilliant New Adult paranormal romance. I absolutely loved this book. The romance, the action, the secrets, the unpredictability. It was all perfect. Romance lovers, this book is a must read. *I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
When I picked this book up I was in a major reading slump, probably my worst yet. With me being very busy at work I didn’t have time to read and then I just never got the desire to read anything. When I finally made myself pick up a book again I was so glad it was Ruined. I finished this in one sitting and it kicked that slumps butt. I love paranormal reads and I especially love when they are mixed with New Adult, because those are few and far between. Jax is cranky… so naturally I like him a lot. He is an antihero at its finest. He isn’t exactly a good guy, but he has a lot of redeeming qualities and he tries to do what is right. Also, it’s not really his fault and a lot of times that sounds like a cop out to make a bad guy good, but with Jax it is the truth. It’s kinda hard to be an angel when you have to share your body with a demon. He really has been dealt a crappy hand and my heart broke for him. His situation is pretty much impossible to deal with. Then there is Sam and I really liked her. She is a wonderful heroine, not whiny or clingy and she deals with the paranormal aspects realistically without being frustrating. She is also strong and determined. She wants to be involved but realizes that she can’t do it all herself. I love that she knows what she wants and goes for it and that she is willing to sacrifice for things bigger than herself. I really love the paranormal aspect to this one. It wasn’t just your typical demons and Jus Accardo gave them her own flair. Our story centers around the decedents of Cain (you know Cain and Abel). His descendants are still paying for his sins and that is how Jax ended up sharing a body with a demon. Not so fair if you ask me, but nobody ever said life is fair. As you can guess, that makes life difficult. Especially when you love a girl named Sam, but being near her makes you happy and happy isn’t so good for the demon since he feeds off fear and rage. Really all these things combined nicely for an awesome paranormal read. Now add in the other New Adult elements I love and we have a winner. Now while I did really enjoy this book, I do have some complaints. Jax was moody and he is very much stuck on the “he is no good for Sam” thing. Which does have some truth, but Sam is a big girl and is making an informed decision. Also that repeats a lot throughout the story. I also wanted a bit more happily ever after in my conclusion. I know it’s a series and there is more to come, but throw me a bone! Give me some sort of hope. Right now I’m sad. I mean I still am dying for more, but I’m sad. All in all, Ruined is a great read and one that paranormal fans are sure to enjoy. It’s a fresh twist on demons and also has a great forbidden romance that you root for.
Unique and fast paced. This is the start of a new series for Accardo and I for one cannot wait to see where she takes these characters.
This was a good twist. I enjoyed reading this. It was a little hard for me to get into it at first but then I was all in. The only thing that bugs me is all the “F” bombs. I just never heard it as much as I read it. Samantha is a good soul herself. She keeps Jax grounded. He has always loved her and she has always loved him. But Jax up and left one night and Sam never understood why he left. Then Jax came back because his uncle who raised Jax and his twin, Chase was dying. Samantha had tried to move on and went to school but when she was attacked on campus she came home. Chase was also home when Jax came home. Jax’s demon in him despises Chase and has wanted Chase dead. Jax has fought his literal inner demon on it for years until one night when he is over Chase with a knife in his hand and decides he needs to leave to protect his family. You see, this demon in Jax needs to feed off fear, lust or any severe emotion or violence. And Jax is too afraid of letting it hurt Samantha either so he leaves without so much as a goodbye or note. When Jax sees them both, he wants to leave but stays when he finds out Samantha is in danger. Then after being back and the sparks are still there between them, his demon decides he likes Sam too. Then Jax learns of the rules of the demons when he comes back and has to fight for his life and Sam’s too. Then all hell breaks loose as things get more complicated and Jax finds out who is inner demon really is and what he is. Now, he is running out of time to find out what demon has literal control over Sam. And then he has to figure out how to fix it. And with intimacy being a problem, due to the demon’s need for strong emotion and violence, things get more complicated and creative. But Sam will wait for Jax because even when she finds out about Jax, she is still there for him and believes in him. There are many deals made by the end of the book and it is both happy and sad. I want the next book NOW. I may lose it soon and find my inner demon; because Sam and Jax still need each other and I need to see that! I kind of knew where some of this was going but I didn’t guess it all. Now, I have more questions than answers. But, Jax, he is definitely swoon worthy material! If you like, demons, good vs. evil, wars, super strength, someone else getting the injuries and not you, because you have that kind of power, and fighting for what you want and overcoming what you are then you will like this. 4.5 stars for I am tired of all the F bombs. Quote to think on... ...I'd watched the girl with the long brown hair stand eerily still. She didn't cry. Didn't speak. Only stood there staring at the ground as her parents were lowered into the cold, wet earth. Even then, so early in my life, I saw pieces of myself mirrored in her eyes. Lost. Alone. Separated. Ruined. It was another one of those defining moments. I'd known, even then, that this girl would play a monumental role in my life. We'd grown up close. Inseparable, really. Friends. Partners in crime. It was the last step-love-that pushed me to leave her behind.
Ruined is book one in The Eternal Balance series and Jus Accardo revisits the story of Cain and Abel and integrates the world and rules of demons into it. If you like your new adult paranormals with continuous action, you will definitely like this one. Jax is back in his hometown and not happy about it. Three years ago he made the decision to leave in order to protect the people he loves and now due to things he can’t control, he is back. The only way he would agree to it is was if his uncle Rick could swear the two people who could do the most damage to him, his twin Chase and the girl he loves, Sam, wouldn't be in town. Imagine his irritation when he shows up to find that Chase is definitely in town and surprisingly, so is Sam. See, Jax is a Descendant of Cain. Somewhere in his family line, someone did something really horrible and ended up opening up the males of his family to infestation. It didn't happen to all the males, just some and those that it affects come into this world with a demon attached to their soul. Jax is one of those people. Being a Descendant, he suffers the same hate toward his brother as Cain did and that is ultimately what pushes him to make the decision to leave. Jax struggles with who he is and what is inside him. The demon requires him to do things he doesn't want to in order to survive and because of that, he doesn't feel like he can be happy nor does he feel like he deserves it. Now that he is face to face with Sam again, Jax is realizing just how much he has had to give up and he has a hard time walking away again. On top of the feelings he has he finds out there is another reason he has to stay close to Sam. The reason behind Sam being back in town is related to being attacked while at college. While headed home after a party one night, she was attacked and someone ended up scaring off her attacker. She couldn't make herself stay there and made the decision to move back home and get a job. Unfortunately, her problems seem to be following her home and she has to rely on Jax to keep her safe. With all of the stuff going on with Sam, we find there is more going on with Jax’s demon than he originally thought. I can’t say a lot mostly because there is a twist that has a major impact on the entire story as well as the relationships Jax has with the people in his life. Accardo did a great job sneaking that twist in and mixing things up. Overall this was a solid first book as it was filled with continuous action and characters I could like. I thought Accardo did a wonderful job of building the base of relationships and she ended this book well. There are definitely still some questions and I’m not sure where things are going to go for Jax and Sam but I will definitely be checking out book two when it is out. If you like paranormal and demons, you will want to check this one out.
uined is Jus Accardo's first foray into New Adult and it's a success. Ruined is dark, mysterious and sexy. There are some predictable plot points, but plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing. Jax's family dynamic alone keeps you interested. The relationship between Jax and Chase (the modern Cain and Abel) is intense and your heart will break for the brothers and their uncle. As for Sam and Jax, it's a tale as old as time. Two best friends fall in love, boy shares his soul with a demon that feeds off pain and suffering, boy leaves so that he doesn't kill everyone he loves as the demon demands. Girl, heartbroken tries to move on, but is attacked. Boy returns because of family obligations and stays to protect the girl. Well, you'll just have to read Ruined if you want to know what happens after that. :-) If you are looking for a New Adult taking on the fight between good and evil, you should check out Ruined. I cannot wait to see what is next for Jax.