Tick, tick, tock.
That's all I have now.
A small room, a photograph, and time.
They want me to trust them and confess my sins.
They told me they wouldn't judge me -- they lied.
I thought we could convince the world that this wasn't a crime.
We were wrong.
Time doesn't stand still.
The clock keeps ticking, the world is unconvinced, and now...
Now he is gone.
ASHLEY'S SPOILER FREE REVIEW
*Just a few words of advice: if you are planning to read this, I highly, highly suggest not reading any reviews that aren't labeled SPOILER FREE.*
This is the hardest review I have ever had to write.
I can't talk about the plot. Actually, I won't talk about the plot. I would be doing a disservice not only to those of you who have yet to read it, but also to Ella. There is a reason why the synopsis is vague. This is a story that requires you to take Ella's hand and follow her blindly into the world of a forbidden romance. Is it scary, essentially not knowing anything about a book you're about to dive into? Yes. But if there is any author that can make me go into a story blind and know there will be a method to her madness, it's Ella Frank.
Veiled Innocence will take you on the journey of an eighteen year old high school senior and her thirty-two year old history teacher. It’s poignant. It’s utterly captivating. It’s beautifully broken. The forbidden dynamic of a teacher-student relationship drew me in hook, line, and sinker. It’s taboo, it’s supposed to be wrong…but holy hell, y’all – it just felt so damn right. But that’s because this isn’t your typical teacher-student novel. Ella found a way to make a popular, somewhat predictable premise new and wonderfully unique. I was hanging on every single word, hungry with anticipation; so much so, that I started and finished in one sitting without even realized six hours had gone by! If that’s not tunnel vision, I challenge you to show me what is!
Ella seamlessly transitions between past and present, as well as male and female POV to the point of sheer perfection. Her writing abilities never cease to amaze me, and Veiled Innocence is no exception. The wickedly wonderful way she tells this story left me hanging on both the past and the present, continually craving to know more in both situations. I think this is one of the reasons why I was able to devour this so quickly – as much as the past intrigued me, so did the present. It’s like two stories in one, and while I think that has the potential to get messy, this couldn’t have been more organized. The flow of the story was never disrupted, and if anything, I think the past/present aspect enhanced the journey.
I’m really not sure what else I can say about this without getting into the plot points, and I just won’t do that. So really, all you need to know is that this story was utterly brilliant. As much as I love all of Ella’s previous work, I think Veiled Innocence takes the cake. (If you’ve read any of my reviews of her previous books, you’ll know how much weight that comment holds.) She is a magician with her words, and I am just absolutely blown away.
Veiled Innocence by Ella Frank
Excerpt One – Addison Lancaster’s POV
Copyright © 2014 by Ella Frank
I’d waited until he got out of the truck before approaching. I didn’t want his escape to be as easy as driving away. Standing in the small stone alcove of the gate, I knew it would be best to wait until he stepped away from the lit area. That way, any cars driving by wouldn’t be able to see us.
I wanted no excuses, no reason for him to worry, but I could see my silence had caused just as much concern as my presence would have. He turned to me, and I finally took a moment to really look at him the way I wanted to.
His hair was still pulled back but several pieces had now escaped and been pushed behind his ears. The darker stubble lining his square jaw made my fingers tingle with the need to touch.
“Oh, thank God,” he whispered, sounding relieved.
I thought he would move away from me once he knew I was safe. Instead, he reached out and squeezed my shoulder.
“I thought something had happened to you.”
I don’t think he realized that he was slowly massaging me.
“Jesus, don’t do that again. Okay?”
Taking another step closer, I agreed quietly. “Okay.”
He licked his lips and removed his hands, and I saw in his eyes the minute he decided it was time for some distance.
“What are you doing out here?” he asked. His casual black sports jacket shifted with the breeze, and all of a sudden I couldn’t remember why I was there. All I knew was that I wanted to touch him.
His voice had the ability to make all of the noise inside my head cease.
Blinking up at him, I finally answered, “Yes?”
“What are you doing out here?”
Moving in so my jacket brushed the front of his, I finally reached to touch him, but he grabbed my wrist, holding it away.
“No,” he told me, and his voice was so stern I probably should have heeded the warning…but I didn’t.
His head bent down, and when his face was a hairsbreadth from my own, he repeated, “No. Tell me why you’re here.”
His breath was warm as it ghosted over my lips, and I couldn’t help but part my own, hoping by some miracle I could taste him on my tongue.
“Why are you here? That’s a better question, don’t you think?”
“I know better than this.”
I reached up needing to touch him, but he took that hand too, holding them both prisoner. Being held in place with nowhere to go elicited a hunger in me that I didn’t yet understand. “Know better than what?”
“Than to be here.”
“Then go,” I offered.
That was all it took. He spun me around, backed me up against the truck, and had my arms pinned by my head so fast I lost my breath. Leaning in beside me until his mouth was by my ear, he rasped in an unsteady voice, “I can’t.”
I turned my head to face him and saw all of his turmoil, and finally, the full impact of his desire. “Then don’t.”
“You’re going to be the death of me.”
Life is full of ironies, because with him, I’d never felt more alive.