BLOG TOUR ~ SEPARATION (The Kane Trilogy #2) by Stylo Fantome
Posted by Book Loving Pixies
Can the Devil be Forgiven?
Everything is fun and games till someone gets hurt, and what Jameson Kane did to Tatum O’Shea goes so far beyond hurt, he is well into the realm of unforgivable. Tate says she wants him gone for good, and he quickly learns that the old saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”, is most definitely true.
But Jameson has never been very good at following instructions, and when Satan decides to seek redemption, he’ll go to great lengths to get it. He proposes one last game – one to end them all, if she agrees to play. He is very confident that he can win, but Tate warns him that’s not possible; she will not lose again. Little does she know, Jameson is prepared to do whatever it takes. Prepared to lay the entire world at her feet. Prepared to bear his soul.
What he didn’t count on, though, was handing the damn thing over.
Now he can only pray that his evil ways haven’t rubbed off on Tate too much. Sometimes, it’s very difficult to tell who the Devil really is …
WARNING: contains a semi-reformed devil, a woman scorned, and more Sanders than anyone has a right to witness. Also graphic sexual situations and strong language.
Crazy woman living in an undisclosed location in Alaska (where the need for a creative mind is a necessity!), I have been writing since …, forever? Yeah, that sounds about right. I have been told that I remind people of Lucille Ball – I also see shades of Jennifer Saunders, and Denis Leary. So basically, I laugh a lot, I’m clumsy a lot, and I say the F-word A LOT.
I like dogs more than I like most people, and I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink. No, I do not live in an igloo, and no, the sun does not set for six months out of the year, there’s your Alaska lesson for the day. I have mermaid hair – both a curse and a blessing – and most of the time I talk so fast, even I can’t understand me.
Yeah. I think that about sums me up.
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Turn the Page
Jameson hadn’t seen how it had started, just how it had ended. When he’d walked into Sanders’ room and saw a man in a suit bent over Tatum, he had thought it was actually Sanders himself, at first. Talk about upsetting. Sanders was like a son to Jameson, he didn’t want to have to kill him.
But it wasn’t Sanders. It was Dunn, Jameson’s business partner there in Boston. A man Jameson had gone to school with, a man he had known for a long time. Dunn knew that Tate was off limits. Tate knew that Jameson didn’t want her to sleep with any of his friends or colleagues. Breaking rules was apparently par for the course that night. Jameson had wanted to murder them both, but he’d settled for beating the shit out of Dunn, and then kicking Tatum out of the house. He hadn’t bothered to look in the bathroom. He never bothered to look at anything, ever. He didn’t have to – he didn’t care. Right? Right?
She had bled. How could I not notice that she was bleeding? Even I never made her bleed.
Jameson pressed his back against the door, then slid in to a sitting position. Put his head in his hands. He was a Yale graduate. He owned multiple businesses, in multiple countries. He played the stock market like he’d invented it, and owned real estate so pricey, even Donald Trump was interested. He was considered by many to be a very smart, calculating man.
But suddenly he felt very stupid. Brought down by a woman with black hair and dark eyes. A sexy wit and a sexier body. A bartender, coupon clipper, temp worker. A college drop out turned party girl, with loose morals and legs that rarely closed.
So much better than him, in every way, shape, and form.
Her only downside was thinking she could use sex as a weapon. She’d always been too naive to realize that sometimes, weapons could backfire.
It had certainly backfired on him.
“How about just one last game. No-holds-barred, winner takes all,” Jameson offered.
“How about that’s a really bad idea,” Tate replied, but he could tell that she was intrigued.
“Give me a month,” he started. Her eyebrows raised above her glasses and she turned towards him.
“A month to what?” she asked.
“One month to convince you that I’m not the devil,” he stated. Tate burst out laughing.
“A leopard can’t change his spots, Jameson. But go head, explain your little game. I could use some cheering up,” she snickered.
“One month to convince you that I’m not the devil, that things can be as good between us as they ever were,” he continued.
“Hmmm. Not very appetizing, I’m not really winning on this deal,” Tate pointed out, still smiling to herself.
Jameson got up from his chair. Slowly walked around the table. She stiffened up when he got next to her, but she didn’t move away when he leaned down close to her head. Pressed a hand to the side of her face to bring her in close to his lips.
“One month to make you forget that your ballplayer even exists,” he whispered against her ear. Oh yes, he knew all about the ballplayer; Jameson had an online subscription to The Boston Globe.
He could feel something. Her body was connected to his, in some inexplicable way. It always had been, ever since their very first time together. She didn’t move at all, but he could feel her skin come to life. Like it was vibrating, humming with energy.
“It’s cute that you even think that’s possible,” Tate whispered back, but he was already grinning. He knew she was bluffing. He let go of her and stood upright.
“One month, Tatum. Here, with me and Sanders.”
“Ooohhh, I get Sanders in the deal, too?”
“Looked to me like you already had him.”
“Don’t be stupid.”
“But what do I get out of this?” she pressed him. Jameson sighed.
“If after one month, you still don’t want anything to do with me, you have my promise that I’ll leave you alone. No showing up at your home, or your job, or talking to your friends. Any of that bullshit. I’ll even do split custody with Sanders. I’ll let you go. Once and for all. We let this go, whatever this is,” he told her, gesturing between them.
Tate was silent for a long time. If it hadn’t been for the stern set of her mouth, he almost would’ve thought she’d fallen asleep.
But after a long time, she opened her mouth. Closed it. Thought for a second longer. Opened it again.
“You have to know, you won’t win,” Tate warned him.
Looks like I already have.
“Won’t know for sure until I’ve tried. But you have to be honest with me, you can’t fake anything or lie. You have to let me do whatever I want,” Jameson amended the deal.
“I was always honest with you, and you should never be allowed to do whatever you want,” she replied. He laughed.
“Fair enough. Do we have a deal? One whole month, starting today?” he asked.
“You won’t win,” she warned him again, but she held out her hand. He took it in his own.
“Baby girl, I never lose.”
People often thought “Sanders” was Sanders’ last name; it wasn’t – his last name was Dashkevich. Sanders was the name of some long forgotten relative. Kind of exotic, really. But he never explained this story, he just let people think what they wanted. That always seemed to work out best for him.
He was thirteen when Mr. Jameson Kane found him, starving on the streets of London. He had tried to steal from Jameson. He had been very bad at pickpocketing, and Jameson had grabbed him by the collar, held him against a wall. But then he’d looked at Sanders in the strangest way, and instead of getting angry, he had offered to buy Sanders lunch.
After the meal, Jameson informed him that if Sanders was at the same spot every day, he would continue buying meals for him. Sanders was sure to be there, every day. After two weeks, they finally got to talking. Jameson asked why he was starving, living on the streets.
“I ran away from home,” Sanders had replied. Jameson had nodded.
“I know how you feel.”
“You ran away, too?
“Sort of. I did something very bad to someone back home.”
“And you felt bad, so you ran away?”
“No, I didn’t feel bad, and that’s why I ran away.”
They kept meeting for lunch. Jameson would have him run the odd errand, then pay him for it. Jameson would laugh – “you’re my assistant now, Sanders, so we have to work out a salary.” Rented out a hotel room for Sanders to stay in, bought him new clothes.
Sanders couldn’t figure it out. Who was this guy? What did he want? For a long time, Sanders thought it was sex. He kept waiting to hear his hotel room door open, see a silhouette in the light. It’s what had always happened to him, in his old home. But it never happened with this man. It became very obvious, very quickly, that Jameson was not attracted to him, at all. Sure, Jameson was very adventurous, and Sanders could see that he lived by a “I’ll try anything once” kind of creedo – but he wasn’t gay. Jameson loved women.
“The perfect woman, Sanders. That’s what I’m on a quest for – the perfect woman. Don’t know if I’ll ever find her,” he had slurred late one night, very drunk.
“Have you ever met a perfect woman?” Sanders asked. Jameson thought long and hard about it.
“I think I might have. But I didn’t know it at the time. And she wasn’t quite perfect yet.”
“Was it a long time ago?”
“Not long enough.”
Sanders wasn’t gay either, but he didn’t really have any interest in sex. He’d never done it. Well, at least not consensually; and never with a girl. He had always been too busy hiding his secret. Then after Jameson came along, Sanders had been too in awe of his new world, too in shock, to think about girls.
He told Jameson about the family he’d grown up with – his aunt’s family, in South London. Sanders was originally from Belarus, but his parents moved to England when he was five. His family got deported, but they managed to leave him at his mother’s sister’s house. He never heard from his mother or father again. His aunt’s husband was an Englishman, and not a very nice one. Sanders didn’t want to tell Jameson that whole story.
So how could Jameson have known?
He had wanted to surprise Sanders. Wanted Sanders’ family to see how well their nephew was doing, the kind of life he was now leading. Let Sanders show off a little. His family owned a small bed and breakfast, and Jameson surprised him by getting them rooms there for a night.
Something snapped in Sanders. When his uncle came to his room, tried to hold him down, tried to tell him that he would never be more than what he was in that moment, Sanders fought back – the first time he had ever done so. He wasn’t a large man, but rage completely overtook him. It wasn’t until Jameson was standing over him, pulling him away, that Sanders even realized he had completely beaten his uncle’s head in against a radiator.
His life would be over. He would at best be deported back to Belarus. At worst, and most likely, spend the rest of his life in prison. Sanders sat in the middle of the blood and gore, and just sobbed. Jameson knelt down and grabbed onto him, held him still against his chest. Told him everything would be okay, that he didn’t have to worry, that Jameson would take care of everything. And when Sanders finally calmed down, Jameson kept his promise. He magically managed to have the body disposed of; cleaned up the room. Left a large sum of money with Sanders’ aunt, who never even seemed to question her husband going missing. Apparently he wasn’t a nice man to anyone else, either.
They never spoke of that night again. Jameson didn’t even ask, just arranged for Sanders to come back to America. Paid for him to attend the best private schools. Sanders was very smart, it turned out. He spoke fluent English, Russian, Belarusian, Polish, and German; as well as conversational French and Spanish. He could play the piano, and got as high as a Master level in competitive chess, before he gave it up. Took classes in sharp shooting. Learned how to rebuild automobile engines.
While in school, Sanders was also diagnosed with a mild form of Asperger’s syndrome. It explained some of his intense focus, why he never really wanted to talk, and his minimal OCD. He hadn’t thought much of it, and Jameson had just laughed, said it would give him a leg up in the world.
Because of Jameson, Sanders was able to do anything he wanted; was allowed to do anything he wanted. Jameson never questioned his choices. When Sanders turned eighteen, Jameson offered to pay for him to go to college, but he declined. He wanted to stay with Jameson. He wanted a real job with him. He wanted to be wherever Jameson was, and the best way was to take a real position as his assistant.
They’d never had an entirely normal relationship, anyway. Jameson was more comfortable, in general, treating everyone like they worked for him. That appealed to Sanders’ meticulous and cold nature. Their relationship worked for them. They didn’t speak a whole lot, and even when they did, they weren’t prone to long conversations. But there was a bond that no one could possibly understand. Sanders loved him. Hadn’t known it was possible to love a person as much as he loved Jameson Kane.
That’s why it killed him to see Jameson so unhappy. Jameson didn’t realize he was unhappy, but Sanders could tell. All the women, all the sleeping around, all the debauchery. Something was missing in Jameson’s life, that much was clear.
Girls came and went. Some stayed a little longer than others. Most ignored Sanders. He ignored all of them. There was an opera singer from Rio that he had almost considered liking, but before he could make up his mind, she was let go. She hadn’t been up to Jameson’s speed, anyway. None of them were, when push came to shove.
Then Petrushka Ivanovic entered the picture. How Sanders had hated her. She was the only one who ever truly got under his skin. They would have arguments in Russian – so Jameson couldn’t understand what they were saying. She called Sanders a useless, dirty, immigrant who was just leeching off of Jameson. He called her a tasteless, fake, bitch who was just another notch on Jameson’s very well marked bedpost. It took a lot longer, but eventually she went away, too. He was very glad.
It wasn’t too much longer before Tatum O’Shea came along. Jameson had mentioned her a couple times, usually after many late night drinks. It was obvious that she had been the reason he had run away so many years ago, that she was that “not quite perfect yet” woman. It was also obvious they hadn’t known each other well – they hadn’t seen each other in over seven years. It was a while before Jameson explained the history to him.
Sanders wasn’t sure what to make of Tatum, at first. He had expected just another silly girl. Another woman who thought she could keep up with Jameson, but ultimately wouldn’t be able to keep up at all. Or one of those types of women who only wanted Jameson for his status and money.
Not Tatum. She took everything Jameson threw at her and rolled with it. Asked for it. Wanted more of it. And she seemed oblivious to, and uncaring of, the fact that he had more money than God. For a short while, and by mutual agreement, the relationship was purely physical, and she actually seemed to like it that way.
She also completely ignored Sanders’ weird, awkward, social habits. He didn’t like to talk very much. Tatum liked to talk a lot, and just talked to him anyway. She paid attention to him, asked him how he was doing, what he was doing. Seemed to look right into him sometimes.
She also touched him – no one ever did that. Sanders usually hated to be touched, and it had bothered him a lot, at first. But Tate was very persistent. She held his hand, hugged him, tried to tickle him. It almost seemed as if she touched him more just because she knew he didn’t like it. She was so comfortable with him, right off the bat. The same way Jameson had been. One day, she even kissed Sanders. It was a joke, a ruse, but something snapped in him. Sanders was twenty years old and had never kissed a girl, and here was a girl, laying one on him. He took the opportunity and kissed her back.
But Sanders wasn’t attracted to Tatum, not like that. He could recognize that she was a very, very sexy woman. She was not shy about her body or her sexuality, and she flirted shamelessly with just about anything that moved. He wasn’t entirely immune to her charms; he was heterosexual, after all. But for the most part he didn’t view her that way. She was something different to him. Something special.
On top of that, it was clear from day one that she was different to Jameson, too. Also something special. No one else would have been able to tell, but Sanders could tell. She made Jameson happy. She made Sanders happy. He grew very attached to her.
When the relationship between Tatum and Jameson started to become strained, she would seek Sanders out. Their bond grew stronger. She would come into his room late at night, play chess with him, talk with him. She never rushed him to talk, just waited for the words to come out. Eventually, they did. She never asked questions, never judged anything he had to say. He fell a little in love with her. Not romantically, not sexually. He didn’t know how to explain it. He just loved her.
If necessary, he would probably kill for Jameson Kane.
If asked, he would probably die for Tatum O’Shea.
When the relationship between Jameson and Tatum ended – and it ended badly – Sanders had mourned it. Jameson had been in the wrong. It was the first time he had ever asked Sanders to do things that made him uncomfortable. Things that he found repugnant. He didn’t like lying. It all went to hell. He thought Jameson would admit his fault, admit he’d been wrong, then apologize. But Jameson wouldn’t. It had shocked Sanders. He held Jameson to a very high standard. It was like hearing his father damn himself to hell. Sanders would have to save him.
Sometimes, Sanders felt like he had to fix everything.
When I read Degradation (#1 The Kane Trilogy) I titled that review ‘THE DEBUT OF THE YEAR? ABSO –FUCKING – LUTELY’ therefore when I started Separation (#2 The Kane Trilogy) I did wonder if Stylo Fantome could possibly match or even come close with this second outing to the impact and impression that her first book had in spades.
The answer – HELL TO THE FUCKING YES!!!!!!
Separation (#2 The Kane Trilogy) – Who knew the Devil had a soul?
If the Devil had a fucked up contemporary fairy tale it would be this was how I described Degradation, well with Separation the fairy tale is fucked six ways till Sunday, sideways with a cherry on top. Forget every single feeling and emotion you had in the first because Stylo Fantome twists it, lubes it, fucks it and spits you out the other side knowing you had a fucking amazing bookgasm and rendered completely speechless and incoherent in the process, satiated and dazed……..
Houston, we’re so far beyond having a problem that we’re just completely fucked.
Separation picks up from that huge cliff hanger at the end of #1 where this train wreck of a relationship had crashed and burned with actions and consequences no one foresaw when the game started. It is a completely different pace and far more emotional read than Degradation but that, for me, was the sheer beauty of it.
Can the Devil be Forgiven?
Everything is fun and games until someone gets hurt, and what Jameson Kane did to Tatum O’Shea goes so far beyond hurt, he is well into the realm of unforgivable. Tate says she wants him gone for good, and he quickly learns that the old saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”, is most definitely true.
But Jameson has never been very good at following instructions, and when Satan decides to seek redemption, he’ll go to great lengths to get it. He proposes one last game – one to end them all, if she agrees to play. He is very confident that he can win, but Tate warns him that it’s not possible; she will not lose again. Little does she know, Jameson is prepared to do whatever it takes. Prepared to lay the entire world at her feet. Prepared to bear his soul.
What he didn’t count on, though, was handing the damn thing over.
Now Jameson can only pray that his evil ways haven’t rubbed off on Tate too much. Sometimes, it’s very difficult to tell who the Devil really is …
WARNING: contains a semi-reformed devil, a woman scorned, and more Sanders than anyone has a right to witness. Also graphic sexual situations and strong language.
The stand out line in that blurb for me is “Sometimes, It’s very difficult to tell who the Devil really is.”
Understatement Ms Fantome. HUGE FUCKING UNDERSTATEMENT. I knew who the Devil was. Jameson. Satan Incarnate. Bad to the bone. But the calibre of your writing means I sat after finishing Separation (speechless and incoherent) feeling sorry for the Devil. WTF?? How did that happen? Talk about a 180. I hated him with a fiery vengeance through most of #1 yet I finish #2 sympathising and feeling sorry for him. He’s the Devil, he threw a tantrum of epic proportions with a cruel disregard for the hurt or devastation it may cause, he is using covert sneaky tactics to get what he wants.
I shouldn’t be cheerleading for him, wanting him to get a second chance yet you turn me inside out and upside down so that is what I end up doing. Satan grows up in this book, make no mistake he’s still the Devil but with an unexpected vulnerability, sorry enough for the consequences of his actions to apologise, to ask for that second chance. When refused he’ll manipulate, cajole and use any means he has to get Tate back, but this has ceased to be a game, if indeed it ever was……
“This is most definitely not a game anymore. This woman… she owns me.”
Tate, who I adored previously, I finished wanting to slap into oblivion. Again with the WTF? She’s in a really bad emotional place at the beginning of this book and is woefully ill equipped for seeing Jameson again.
“I’m in hell. I died in that pool and I’m in hell. That’s why I’m so hot. That’s why I’m sitting in front of Satan.”
Their chemistry together is as explosive and hot as previously – while not as much sex features in this one the quality is just as outstanding but, having lost the confidence to trust in her decisions and instincts, Tate has closed herself off to all but a few and as Jameson is so not on that list his only way to try and sort this clusterfuck is to convince her to play one last game with him.
“You can’t hurt Satan. This is all part of his game. Note that he said he didn’t care about her – but he never said anything about caring for you. Do not lose to him again.”
Tate’s feelings are so torn, confused, battered and bruised that I should be cheerleading for her, sisterhood and all that shit but no, the Devil has me in his thrall and I was shouting at my kindle for Tate to grow a pair, give him a chance and move it along. My sisterhood card is revoked. Probably permanently….
“I wanted to learn about him so I could hate him more. I didn’t expect his answer to make me want to forgive him. Cheating bastard.”
“Stupid Satan, don’t you know you’ve ruined me for other men?”
My one and only constant from #1 to #2 was Sanders. He features far more heavily in this book and the more you learn as the layers peel away the more you can’t help but love and adore him. He is like a child caught in the crossfire of a divorce with divided loyalties. Tate has closed herself off from almost everyone, her friendship and attachment to Sanders is one of the only exceptions and the development of this relationship is a joy to watch unfold.
“If necessary, he would probably kill for Jameson Kane; if asked, he would probably die for Tatum O’Shea.”
Ang on the other hand I could cheerfully murder. Creatively. Slowly. Painfully. I thought he was freaking fabulous in #1 but could Ms Fantome leave me with my BFF dream, no fucking way. Total 180 again. When you read it you’ll see why.
Separation is fabulous. This train wreck of a relationship is just as passionate, destructive, tragic and broken as the previous book. The absolute sheer beauty of it is that while on the emotional journey of this one the author can change every single thing we thought we knew or felt from the previous one. That’s a special kind of talent.
I am now totally convinced she will stop my heart with Reparation.
Oh and she is in fact the Devil…………………….
Well hell…… after all that happened in Degradation, going into Separation I was not expecting the turn around we got ….. Talk about a role reversal!!!
I know what I used to think about who the baddie was in the Kane Trilogy, now…… now, not so much!!!
I loved Jameson in book #1, after reading Separation I bloody LOVE him!!!
“How can someone who bears such a striking resemblance to Satan be so loveable?”
How…. because Stylo has such a way with writing this big kinky bugger that she has me flipping out over him!!!
He went from being a cold, selfish, self-centred, calculating & ruthless git to someone kinda thoughtful, sorta caring, slightly less calculating and, dare I say, semi-human!!!
Tate on the other hand had my hackles up for a lot of the book. Ok, I know when we left her at the end of Degradation things were a great big feckin mess, but gods, she needs to let go and start living again…. (yeah, harsh I know but FFS girl, move along!)
Who knew that I’d be rooting for the devil and not his kinky little plaything!!
Tatum’s attitude towards some situations going on around her in this book had me wondering WTFH she’s about?!
She’s got issues with just about everyone (except Sanders, but come on, that’s to be expected, right…. who could have issues with the loveable Sanders!!?)
The gal is a complete mess – she claims to want one thing but says and does another. I was frustrated a lot during my read of Separation – Tate had me wanting to throw the kindle out a window more than a time or 20…. and where we left her at the end of the book has me kinda stressing about what shit she is gonna pull next…. Gods, I so need Reparation to see how (jeez, maybe that should be if!!) this game (if it is indeed still a game!) works out for them!
Once again we come across our supporting cast of characters.
Ang is an excellent character – I liked him in Degradation, well up until near the end and then I really wanted to beat him… – to be honest, he’s still not winning votes here at the minute. Maybe he’ll turn that around in book #3, time will tell!
Petruska – man, I don’t think I’ve EVER wanted to bitch-slap another lass the way I want to set about her!!! You’ll get what I mean when you read the book!!!
Sanders, oh, Sandy!!! I adore him. He gets better and better as the series goes on.
The story had some laugh aloud moments, Jameson has a very droll sense of humour which I get. Reading through the story I was exasperated, hurt, confused and pissed off – as through the wringer with Separation as I was with Degradation but with a whole different range of emotions!! A saving grace is that at least I wasn’t sobbing like a baby this time round!!
I love Stylo’s writing style and her ability to pull you into her story. I cannot wait for book 3 and more of this thoroughly engaging & entertaining trio – December can’t come quick enough!!!