Published by Tillie Cole Ltd on 28th April 2014
Genres: Abuse, Cults, Dark Romance, Issues, Mature New Adult
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
Sinning never felt so good...
A fortuitous encounter.
A meeting that should never have happened.
Many years ago, two children from completely different worlds forged a connection, a fateful connection, an unbreakable bond that would change their lives forever…
Salome knows only one way to live—under Prophet David’s rule. In the commune she calls home, Salome knows nothing of life beyond her strict faith, nor of life beyond the Fence—the fence that cages her, keeps her trapped in an endless cycle of misery. A life she believes she is destined to always lead, until a horrific event sets her free.
Fleeing the absolute safety of all she has ever known, Salome is thrust into the world outside, a frightening world full of uncertainty and sin; into the protective arms of a person she believed she would never see again.
River ‘Styx’ Nash knows one thing for certain in life—he was born and bred to wear a cut. Raised in a turbulent world of sex, Harleys, and drugs, Styx, unexpectedly has the heavy burden of the Hades Hangmen gavel thrust upon him, and all at the ripe old age of twenty-six—much to his rivals’ delight.
Haunted by a crushing speech impediment, Styx quickly learns to deal with his haters. Powerful fists, an iron jaw and the skillful use of his treasured German blade has earned him a fearsome reputation as a man not to be messed with in the shadowy world of outlaw MC’s. A reputation that successfully keeps most people far, far away.
Styx has one rule in life—never let anyone get too close. It’s a plan that he has stuck to for years, that is, until a young woman is found injured on his lot… a woman who looks uncannily familiar, a woman who clearly does not belong in his world, yet a woman he feels reluctant to let go…
*Contains sexual situations, violence, taboo subjects, offensive language and mature topics. Recommended for age 18 years and up*
Reviewed by Joanne
*An eARC was given by the author in exchange for an honest review*
I have to start by admitting I didn’t really know what I was letting myself in for when I started this book. It went something like this… “Oooh Tillie Cole has a new book coming out? A runaway meets an MC club leader? Sounds good, I’m in!”
I love Tillie’s Sweet Home series, but in case you haven’t already realised, THIS story is nothing like those books. This story has taboo content, I found it to be harrowing and sickening at times, and I also thought it dark even though I’ve been told there are much darker books than this. I’ll put my hand up and admit that had I realised how graphic some of the scenes were then it wouldn’t have appealed to me. So I’m glad I didn’t know, I’m glad I didn’t miss out on this book, because this story was GOOD!
It’s testament to the writing skills of Tillie that even though the storyline tested me, and pushed me way out of my comfort zone, I was riveted, I couldn’t put it down, and I read it in a day. It did take some getting into – I’ve never read a book about MC clubs before, so a lot of the terms they used and their lifestyle took some getting used to. The glossary at the beginning certainly helped.
I loved Mae and Styx.
Styx has a speech impediment, and only speaks to his best friend Ky. In order for him to converse with others, he uses sign language and Ky translates for him – hence his nickname of The Hangmen Mute. When he first met Mae he felt some connection to her, and to his surprise he was able to speak to her. This came as a shock because before that he’d only ever spoken to his father and Ky. Now Mae is ‘number three’. I loved that Styx, the much feared hard man and the Prez of the Hades Hangmen had held onto the fleeting moment he met Mae 15 years ago and never forgot her. He was the hard man, the infamous Hangmen Mute, yet he almost turned to mush when Mae turned up at his club.
Mae is known as Salome in the commune she’s running from. Deemed too beautiful to mix with other members, she has lived a life segregated from the others, only allowed out of isolation for the most horrific of reasons. My heart went out to her when her full story was revealed, it’s something that you can’t comprehend happening in this day and age but shockingly it does.
Despite all the darkness this is also a love story, but it’s not a soppy one.Yes, it’s gritty, it’s raw, it’s shocking, it’s sickening, it’s graphic, but at the same time it’s beautiful. Two people who are lost finding each other again after such a long period of time. Styx never gave up hope that he would see the beautiful girl he encountered behind the fence all those years ago – and Mae, who’d never forgotten the strange boy who found her on the darkest day of her life, bringing some much needed light, even if it was just for a moment.
Fate definitely brought them back together, but the people that Mae was running from won’t let her go without a fight. The climax of the book was gripping, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, I was desperate to find out the outcome, and I hoped that certain characters would get what they deserved.
I hope we hear more from The Hades Hangmen, I would like to see more from the characters in the story, particularly Flame and Ky, and of course more from Styx and Mae.
Guest Post from Tillie Cole
What Inspired Me to Write It Ain’t Me, Babe?
First of all, It Ain’t Be, Babe was a very different story for me to write. I have only been an ‘official author’ for just under a year, and the books that I have released comprise of a romantic comedy and two new adult novels. It Ain’t Me, Babe is a dark romance and was inspired by real life events. VERY different to anything I have done before.
I understand it is a risk for me, releasing a dark romance, when my readers probably expect a more college-aged sweet romance. I decided to take the chance as It Ain’t Me, Babe meant so much to me and a cause I feel strongly about.
When I was at university, I studied Comparative Religion. Whilst studying the module ‘New Religious Movements (NRM’s), Cults and Sects’, I was fortunate to meet many real life members of NRM’s. For the most part these members were happy with their chosen belief system and life, despite it being alternative and alien to most, others however had endured much abuse and heartache at the hands of opportunist cult leaders.
In a small number of NRM’s, both past and present, certain despotic individuals have manipulated innocent people through their faith for sordid pleasures, and there have been many examples of these so-called ‘cults’ over the last fifty years or so, using false doctrines and people’s good natures for their own selfish gain.
When I was at university, I was shocked to hear the testimonies of several women who bravely shared their horrific experiences with my class. Even ten years later, I still remember in detail what they went through, many at a young age, and it has never left me.
When I decided to become a writer and the stories I would write, I would always think back to these women and how little awareness there is on this issue. Most people I talk to about these ‘opportunist cults’ know very little of what happens day to day in their communes and some of the ‘practices’ they are forced to partake.
I wanted to shed some light on a very controversial, yet a very secretive area of everyday life. The female protagonist, Salome, in It Ain’t Me, Babe is a woman who was born and raised in a cult and through her PoV, I share some of the stories told to me by real-life survivors. Some of the experiences Salome endures are difficult to read, sensitive in their subject matter and are taboo, but they are vital to the story, and inspired by true events. It was a way of giving people a voice, who are so very often not heard. Not everything in life is fine, and to honour the testimonies that inspired this novel, I had to be honest and truthful in my writing.
On the other side of the coin, I decided to write about an outlaw MC (motorcycle club), as I wanted Salome to end up with a group of people who would be so far removed from her isolated world of the cult commune, thsat it would create interesting developments for the characters. A young female who ends up with sinful and morally corrupt men, I thought, would make for a very interesting novel. The relationship between the MC and Salome is very dynamic, especially with Styx, the male protagonist.
It Ain’t Me, Babe is the journey of a woman and a man, from completely different worlds, somehow finding their salvation in each other, in the most unlikeliest of circumstances.
My hope for this novel is that people will be inspired to read more about NRM’s and that A) They realise that the negative media that surrounds these groups are not always correct, and that for the most part, they are just misunderstood.
And B) that some of the experiences many women and men have faced in the ‘opportunist cults’ and hopefully bring awareness to a very hush-hush topic.
I am very interested to see how people react to this fast-paced, gritty, rip-roarer of a tale.