Friday, June 3, 2016

ARC Review: Dirty Angel by Barbara Elsborg

Dying Sucks

Particularly when you discover there really is a hell. Aden thinks there’s no way he can avoid going down, but when an angel and demon can’t agree over his fate, Aden is given one more month to gain redemption. He doubts he can find a way to become a better man in so short a time. But it’s worth a try, right?

Living sucks

Particularly when you can’t shake free of an obsessive ex. Brody might be managing to hold down his job as a vet, but his personal life is a mess. If he doesn’t pull himself together soon, he’s going to be sliding downhill too fast to stop.

One wet night, on a dark country lane, two worlds collide and destinies change forever.

Dani's rating:

"Worried you'll get lost?"

"I've been lost all my life ... "

"Not lost ... Just undiscovered."

Even if you don't believe in an afterlife or heaven and hell, think about this: If you died tomorrow, would you be proud of how you've lived? Do your good deeds outweigh the bad? Are you selfish? Do you lie? Have you ever truly loved and been loved in return?

In that shadowed corner of your heart where secrets hide, how do you judge yourself?

Aden has had a hard-knock life. Raised by abusive, neglectful parents, he's learned to survive by putting himself first. Aden isn't honest. If he wants your jacket, he'll take it. If he sees a pretty boy he wants to fuck, he does.

Aden is at a concert in London when his world comes to an end. He doesn't believe it at first, but he can't deny the wings, one black, one white, and the agony when they grow and are later ripped from his body.

Aden doesn't belong in hell, not quite, but he doesn't belong in heaven either. As Raphael and Dante fight over his soul, Aden is given another chance, or rather seven chances: ONE month, SEVEN tries, to resist temptation and find love.

Brody is a successful veterinarian, but his heart is shattered and bruised. Brody saves the animals in his care, but he can't save himself. Driving home late one night, Brody hits and kills Aden with his car. Except Aden is already dead.

Brody is as fucked up as Aden. He's been in a twisted, abusive, on-again/off-again relationship for half his life. His ex, Matt, is older and stronger; he manipulates Brody, stalks him, controls him. Matt's love is a sick obsession, and Aden is convinced he has to stop Matt before he kills Brody.

This is a dark, angsty book. There's on and off-page violence, as well as physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, including the sexual abuse of a child. Even though there are no warning tags, I was prepared for the pain because this is Barbara Elsborg, and she makes her MCs claw and fight for their HEA.

The men's passion burns so brightly, it hurts, but Aden doesn't believe in himself and Brody doesn't trust that Aden won't leave. Aden can't tell Brody the truth, not yet, maybe never. Because who'd believe a Dirty Angel come back from the dead?

Amidst the darkness, there is this: Aden's relationship with Captain, Brody's horse, and his insistence on saving the last stray sheep ("I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me"); racing on the beach; triple-cooked chips; two children, saved.

Dirty Angel is intense and brutal and SEXY. It's a wicked fantasy of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong. It feels real because it IS real. Even if there's no judgement day, there's LIFE, the here and now, and we're obliged to make the best of it.

When I found out how Aden died (the first time), I cried. I can guarantee your heart won't come out unscathed. But despite the suffering, it's worth it. Love always is.

"You're going to fall ... Why bother trying not to?"

"Because I might fly."

Get the book:


It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.
~Oscar Wilde

An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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