Pretty Little Things by Teresa Mummert
Published on March 11, 2014
Genres: New Adult
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I was young enough not to understand that my life was different. Colin became the one person that I could count on to protect me. He suffered for the both of us by carrying the burden of our secret.
We were the lucky few that got a chance to start over. A fake family, a new home and a pretty little life built on lies. But while our lives continued to intertwine, we were put on very different paths. Now it was only a matter of time before they collide and the beast behind the beauty is exposed.
Pretty Little Things puts truth to the words that looks can be deceiving. From the outside it looks like Annie and Colin live a charmed life. Brother and sister living with their wealthy father in a big house, complete with hired help and all the perks of big money. But… Annie and Colin aren’t really brother and sister and the man they live with isn’t their father.
Trying to overcome a traumatic past, Annie and Colin are doing what they can to live under the radar and be the people the outside world thinks they are. Underneath, both are dealing with the pressures of these lies. Annie is expected to be the perfect daughter, sister, and student. She must be well dressed, conservative, and careful. Colin makes sure of this. He’s controlling, bossy, and has a temper. When it comes to Annie, Colin is extremely protective, but it’s more than that.
Deep down Colin is fighting intense demons and it’s a constant struggle to keep his urges in check when it comes to Annie.
I was torn when it came to Annie. I wanted to protect her, just not as badly as I wanted to fuck her. Own her. Possess her.
There is some pretty strong sexual tension between these two, but not in a traditional sense. It’s not all lusty inner dialogue and stolen glances. Colin can be really mean but somehow in his actions you can see how much of that is him fighting himself.
Colin always knew how to get under my skin. He got some sick sense of enjoyment from it because he knew he was the only person who could hurt my feelings. I’d learned how to adapt, and adjust to everything thrown at me… except for him.
There is some mystery surrounding their past and just what exactly they endured together. While Annie seems pretty well adjusted, it’s clear through the dual point of view just how twisted Colin is and I found both of their perspectives really interesting. The way they see each other, what they went through, and their future is heartbreaking at times. What happened to them both is truly horrendous. Making it all the more ominous, they both aren’t sure if they had really outrun it.
Although I loved the cryptic feel, at times I felt a little confused and I wasn’t sure if I was missing something or if what I seemed to be missing was just yet to be revealed. It took some time to get my bearings with the story, but once I did I enjoyed that darker mysterious quality about it. I would have loved to get even more information in the present part of the story when dealing with their past issues — how everything is revealed and ultimately resolved so that the ending wouldn’t have seemed as rushed. That being said, I did enjoy the use of flashbacks as it gave me a great insight into the true pain and fear that both characters had endured.
It took far more guts to stand tall in the face of fear than to intimidate the weak.
I enjoyed Pretty Little Things. It was fun to read and not ever have a clear idea of exactly where it was heading. Both characters are flawed and interesting. I would have even loved for the story to be a little longer so we got a little more time with them both. I’m really looking forward to more from Teresa soon!
“What are your plans for the day, little one?” I asked, and she startled.
“I have a report I need to finish on the adverse effects of corporal punishment used on children.” I laughed and shook my head, my eyes going back to the television. “Yeah, so that will be fun. But if Connor and Grace aren’t back, I can always skip school tomorrow.”
“Not a chance.”
“I wasn’t asking.”
I looked over at her, her eyebrow raised in challenge.
“You had a private tutor.”
“I had antisocial tendencies and a habit of challenging authority.” I laughed as the credits rolled on the screen in front of us.
“I don’t doubt that.”
We fell silent as we both sat, unmoving. “So this guy…” I let my voice trail off.
“He’s just a guy.” She shrugged as she pulled on a loose thread on the blanket.
“Is he a good guy?”
“Are you?” she shot back.
“That’s a loaded question.” I stood up, stretching, and when I looked down at her, her smile fell. “What?”
“Did that hurt?”
I sighed as I thought of the marks that covered my back. “Don’t.” I walked over to the shelves of movies, scanning the titles. I didn’t know if it bothered me more that she was asking about them or that she looked upset over my injuries. I was no one for her to feel sorry for. While I’d received them for not doing what I was told, I’d earned them by following through with the orders. But answering that question perplexed me. If you take a child and never show him affection, any attention received is positive in his eyes. Coupling that with the twisted abusive behavior and dominance that was instilled in me so young, I learned to derive gratification from receiving pain as well as giving. It was a release, a way to atone for my sins.
She stood and walked up to my side. My scars should have been a warning to not get close to someone like me, but Annabel saw my dominant side as a reflection of my overprotective nature toward her. My eyes closed as her hand ran softly over my back. Her featherlight touch on my own wounds more painful than when I had received them.
“Annabel, stop,” I bit out, but she continued on, her fingers trailing over the raised welts. My body stiffened, not wanting someone to give me affection I didn’t deserve. It turned my stomach, and for once I was completely thrown off guard. So I did what I knew best, and I instilled fear in her.
“I said fucking stop,” I seethed as I grabbed her by her shoulders and slammed her small body against the movies, causing the shelves to shake. Her green eyes were wide with fright, and now I was the one desperate to touch. Her fear was palpable, and while I knew I was pushing away the one person who even remotely began to understand me, it was for her own good. She didn’t have to understand as long as she listened. But listening to me was something Annabel rarely did anymore. She’d become too comfortable in my presence, and now she ignored the alarms that would set a normal person on edge. That was what terrified me about her seeing this guy. I had no idea what kind of person he was, but I knew Annie wouldn’t be as cautious as she should be.
“Annabel…” I rested my forehead against the case, my body hovering over hers, caging her in with my arms on her shoulders. Her name came out like a plea for help.
I lifted my head and looked at her. The fear-induced stutter let me know I had succeeded in making her understand.
I took a step back from her, running my hand along my jaw before turning and leaving the room, desperate to put distance between us.