The Tied Man (The Tied Man, #1) - Tabitha McGowan What the feck did I just read??? This was a serious mind-fuck book. I feel the need to warn. This is not a typical love story. This is DARK. It is also highly disturbing in many ways. There is drug use and addiction, non-consensual sex that is quite graphic and the hardest of the hard core. There is abuse on top of abuse on top of abuse...you get my point. It was also really well done.Finn is a boy who was plucked off the streets of Ireland. He was working the street corners for money to feed his addiction. Finn was only fourteen. He made a deal with the devil and now he is working for Lady Blaine Albermarle who is no lady. Finn numbs his pain with drugs on top of drugs. He is a prisoner and he is forced to be the entertainment in a sick and twisted game.“Even at this ridiculous hour, and clad in a faded blue t-shirt and ancient pyjama pants, he looked like something Michelangelo might reject for being too beautiful” Lilith Bresson has lived her life refusing to allow others to get close to her. She can be cold and somewhat aloof. She is also a famous painter. She spends months in seclusion working on her paintings. She is the daughter of a former politician. Her father is a liar and a cheat. Lilith wants nothing to do with him.Blaine Albermarle is, to the outside world, a woman of compassion and caring. She donates large sums of money to charity and she cares for those who live in her small community. She also runs an exclusive "spa" where no boundaries exist. Anything is within reach at Albermarle Hall.Albermarle Hall is located in Northern England on a secluded island. The only way to and from the island is via ferry. Once you are there, you are cut off from the world.Finn has been held captive by Blaine for years. He is now in his twenties and he has somehow managed to survive and endure the unthinkable.Lilith's father, a previous guest of Lady Blaine Albermarle, arrives for a visit to Lilith. He tells her that he owes a debt to Blaine and that he has promised would be paid off by his daughter. All she has to do is go and paint a portrait of Blaine and his debt will be paid. A painting can take months to complete so Lilith begins her arduous journey to the secluded castle to complete her project.What she finds is not what she expected at all. She is immediately drawn in by Finn's good looks and her intuition and incredible people reading skills tell her that something is very wrong here.Soon, Lilith finds herself stuck at the castle and she becomes a pawn in a game that she may not be able to win. As she is exposed to more and more of the depravity she realizes that she can't just turn her back on what is happening to Finn."From the moment we met, it's only been you.” - LilithFinn can't give up hope.Over time, Lilith finds herself being sucked into this twisted world and she is forced to play the game in order to survive.“It was easy to forget that other people lived in a world where rules and laws and common sense could keep you safe. A world where, if you did the right thing you were allowed to get on with your life in whichever way you chose.”- LilithWithout giving too much away...this story is dark, dreary, full of hope, survival, and yes, even love. I felt so many things during this book. I was annoyed, heartbroken, devastated, happy, scared off my ass, and too many more to list.Again, beware, if you are not prepared before you read this book you may end up rolling around on the floor after your brain explodes. I warned you!This was a debut novel for Tabitha McGowan, way to start off with a bang! If you were a fan of the Dark Duet by C.J. Roberts, then this is right up your alley. It is a little more depraved and dark, but similar in many ways. I am not afraid of the dark stuff but this one was one of the darkest I have read. It was brilliant.The story is told in first person through both Finn and Lilith's perspectives.Finn was absolutely heartbreaking and wonderful. Lilith was a complex character who grew on me. Blaine, well, she should really rot in hell. I hated her. The secondary characters were also absolutely wonderful and well thought out. This was a dark look at humanity with a lot of twists and turns. When a book can make me feel so many things, it is a five star read for me. I really, really liked it. So hold on to your hats, buckle in and enjoy the ride...if you dare.5 Captivating Stars!As an aside: Yes, I have lots of 5 star reviews lately. I have had a REALLY good string of good books. I hope my luck continues. :-)