Well. Shit. I love motorcycle club romance, but I will be the first to admit a lot of books involve violence against women– all in the name of “dark and gritty” plots that are meant to shock and titillate. I do my best to avoid the most egregious examples of the subgenre. I read other Hayley Faiman books before and thought I was safe. She took it too far in Unscrew Me.
Silver, the so-called hero, is a rapist. There is just no other way to say it. With a gun held to her father’s head, he “asks” a woman to go down on him. She complies. He rationalizes the act by saying it’s about a show of power and control on behalf of his MC, not sexual desire– which excuses nothing. It’s a forced sexual encounter under threat of violence. It’s rape.
Later, the heroine Presley is raped in the same way for the same reasons by another character. Why bookend the story that way? There are no parallels drawn between the first woman and Presley. And if that’s not enough, Silver goes on to blame Presley for what happened to her and she agrees with him. It’s her fault because she ran away and got kidnapped, the book says. What. The. Fuck.
There’s a lot more to dislike about the book. Silver refuses to be monogamous to Presley, just in case club business requires him to stick his dick in a woman at some point, some time. It’s literally the only thing she asks of him, and his best answer is “I’ll try.” He is an extreme jerk, even for an MC romance style alpha hero. Everything must be done his way and Presley must accept it if she wants any kind of relationship with him. There is no redemption through love. There is no journey to a mutually satisfactory ending. There is only capitulation.
I was really disappointed in Faiman for this book. It’s one thing to write something raw and gritty, to show the darker side of life. It’s quite another to exploit the sexual victimization of your female characters. 1 star.