I finally read Does It Hurt? by H.D. Carlton and I loved it! I couldn’t put it down. If you’ve read Carlton’s Cat & Mouse Duet (Haunting Adeline and Hunting Adeline) it’s less dark than those, but still a really good dark romance.
This is an enemies to lovers dark romance and also features the forced proximity and only one bed tropes.
Does It Hurt? is a dual POV and follows Sawyer and Enzo. Sawyer has been on the run for the past 6 years because of bad things in her past. She’s made it to Australia and is hoping to someday soon make it to a country that won’t extradite her to the US if she gets caught. In the meantime, she has been stealing people’s identities by copying their IDs, credit cards etc., to be able to pay for food, a place to stay etc. This leads to Enzo, an Italian shark expert who has lived in Australia since college and now owns a research center. Sawyer meets Enzo one night and the two are instantly attracted to one another. But, Sawyer can’t get attached to anyone because of her situation. Her and Enzo have a one passionate night together and while he is sleeping, she steals his information.
Fast forward a few weeks later and Enzo knows what Sawyer did. Instead of reporting her to the police, he’s intent on finding her and making her pay. When he finds Sawyer, he forces her onto his boat to confront her and scare her. A storm surprises them and they end up shipwrecked on a small island with a not in use lighthouse and an old man with a peg leg, Sylvester, who was the lighthouse keeper for decades before it was decommissioned. Sylvester informs them that a supply ship only comes to the island once a month and his radio is broken so there’s no way to contact anyone for help, but they can stay with him in the lighthouse.
Sylvester seems helpful and friendly, but he’s also creepy and Enzo and Sawyer don’t completely trust him. Although Enzo and Sawyer hate each other, they need to survive and since they don’t know if they can trust Sylvester or not, they’re going to have to work together. Add to this creepy sounds and sights in the lighthouse and on the island and the two are desperate to find a way off. Can they make it off the island unscathed?
I loved this dark, enemies to lovers romance. Enzo and Sawyer were both really good characters and I loved how they hated that they liked each other until they couldn’t deny it anymore. They both had messed up pasts and there was something beautiful about the development of their relationship and how they found love, comfort, safety, and security in each other.
As mentioned earlier in the post, it’s not as disturbing/dark as the Cat & Mouse duet which made it a lot easier to read for me (more-so for Hunting Adeline – I was never disturbed by Zade, but when Adeline is kidnapped in Hunting, it was hard to read. This was much easier to read and just as good in my opinion! Plus Enzo is def up there in book boyfriend material as Zade, minus the stalker thing haha.