Sunday, March 16, 2014

Monster by Francette Phal ~ Pre-Release Review and Giveaway

monster francette phal

Title: Monster

Author:  Francette Phal

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 17 2014

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Accidental Gold digger.

Circumstance forced Eden Mercer to sell herself to Dominic Armstrong for half a million dollars and in return she is to play the dutiful wife in public and submit to him completely behind closed doors.

The Tyrant.

Dominic is Ruthless, manipulative and sadistic but Eden is determined not to break under his cruelty. But how does one persevere when in the clutches of a Monster?



monster casting


Becs’ Review


Monster is a new standalone novel from Francette Phal.  It’s not dark erotica which I think I thought it would be, it’s much more of a sexy contemporary romance featuring Dominic and Eden.


We begin, as the blurb describes, with Eden caught in a loveless marriage with the ruthless and imperious Dominic.  She grew up in poverty, made money as a stripper to pay her way through college and got romantically involved with Dominic’s younger half-brother and, as they are wealthy, Dominic stepped in to prevent them from marrying but he wants her for himself so he offers her a lucrative contract to pay off her debts – arm-candy by day, whore in the bedroom.  She agrees on the condition that he marry her and that’s where we begin, several years into their marriage.


The blurb states accidental gold-digger but I think it was more like opportunistic gold-digger.  In the opening chapters, neither Dominic and Eden do much to endear themselves to the reader.  Dominic is cold, callous and manipulative – he frequently debases and degrades her in front of his friends.  It’s very hard to see any redeeming features in this cold-hearted bastard at all.  I was also distinctly lacking in sympathy for Eden – she’d made her avaricious bed and, however sadistic Dominic was, I kind of felt like she ought to just lie in it and quit moaning.  She agreed to this for money and there’s a part of me that felt that she really deserved what she was getting.


BUT, Eden makes a discovery that sends her running, searching for a better and more meaningful life but Dominic isn’t about to let her go that easily and searches for her with the weight of his wealth and influence at his disposal and it’s not long before he finds her and coerces her into another contract.


monster collage


I did really enjoy this – the novel took a whole different direction to the one that I’d anticipated after reading the blurb and this is very much a story of emotional growth and of love and forgiveness.  The first few chapters depict Dominic as a cold, sadistic and ruthless control freak with very little endearing features, if any at all.  It’s not until much later in the novel that we learn about his heart-breaking past and the incidents that caused this man to hate women and build an impenetrable emotional fortress around himself.  It’s going to take something very special to thaw out that cold, black heart and Eden, unwittingly, has provided him with just what it takes to unlock his emotions and finally allow this man to love. 


Eden, for her part, is very misguided.  I really can’t understand what possessed her to sign that contract in the first place and she really did find herself living in hell during her marriage to Dominic but there is a really sweet girl hidden beneath the woman Dominic has forced her to be and she really did try to change her life for the better for the noblest of reasons.  I really admired her attempts to make something of her life and how hard she tried to go it alone until, of course, Dominic manages to once more knock her off course.


This is a great second chance love story that simmers with an unrelenting chemistry between the two main protagonists – it’s very sexy, ultimately very romantic and a fantastic story of emotional growth.  It’s very compelling and it’s quite the emotional roller-coaster that takes the reader from fairly awful scenes of degradation right through to real happiness with plenty of angst along the way. 


This is my first book by Francette Phal – it definitely won’t be my last.


4 second-chance stars



It was on occasions like these that Eden realized how very little she mattered to her husband. He never failed to remind her of her status in their marriage, whether it was with his remarks, that have only grown nastier over the years, or the reproachful looks, that seemed to carve across her flesh like a whip. Like now for instance, she could feel that piercing stare from across the room, the distinct bite of his scorn putting her instantly on alert. She hadn’t really done anything in the last few minutes to warrant the reaction, but then again, Dominic Armstrong didn’t need much to set him off these days. She sighed resignedly, daring to look away fully knowing that he would discipline her for this unknown reason later. Eden grabbed a champagne flute from the tray of a passing waiter before escaping to the veranda for some much needed air. They were up in the Grafton Highlands, at another dull event that he’d dragged her to, because he wanted to flaunt her to his equally wealthy friends.

He’d made their roles distinctively clear from the beginning, and she’d gone along with it because she’d needed the protection of his name and the money that went along with it. She had been one eviction notice away from homelessness, and he’d done it to, “keep her from ruining his younger brother’s life,” as he’d put it. Lucas Armstrong had been a good customer of Eden’s; coming to Crazy Pussy for a good year before he’d proposed marriage. But then his big, bad brother, the head of the Armstrong family, had gotten wind of his errant brother’s ridiculous idea and had marched in to shut the whole thing down. Once he’d seen to bully his brother back to college where he belonged, threatening his inheritance if he refused to cooperate, Dominic had zeroed in on Eden. He’d stalked the club for a good month after that, always sitting in that wingback chair in the front row, his predatory gaze watching her every night she’d performed. He’d frightened her to the core, big and boorish as he’d been, waiting patiently, artfully manipulating every aspect of Eden’s life until she’d come to him.

Since he’d wanted her badly enough, he’d grudgingly agreed to her one condition: marriage. Mistresses were expendable, wives were a little harder to dispose of, and Eden had been armed with at least that little knowledge. He’d given her a day before finally coming to her with his own terms. It’d been overwhelming; the legalese of the documents he’d presented with his attorney had all been a jumble to her. Logic had warned her not to sign the papers before having a lawyer look them over, but she’d been blinded by the seven-carat diamond ring he’d presented her with. Their wedding had been a quiet affair with little frill, and the honeymoon had been on a private island on the Mediterranean Sea. Twenty-three to his thirty-five, Dominic Armstrong, media mogul and one of Fortune 500’s top five wealthiest people, had paid quite handsomely to possess her, to own every inch of her, a fact he rarely forgot to remind her. He was the bread winner, the Alpha dog with a type A personality, and Eden was tasked to do simply two things: be the arm candy in public and a whore in bed.

He made sure he stirred a response from her each and every time he fucked her, and while he tended to be quite cruel when the mood stuck him, he received a sick fascination from hearing her beg for more. But Eden never protested, never complained in the face of his oftentimes sadistic streaks. She was the dutiful, obedient wife who lived a lavishly luxurious life, and in exchange, he could damn well treat her however he wanted. In comparison to the squalor she’d grown up in and the poverty she and her single mother had faced, Eden would say that her marriage to Dominic was a small price to pay.

She downed the champagne in one go and set the flute on the balustrade. She peered down just below into the nothingness and silently mused whether the darkness would catch her if she plummeted. Giving into a sudden bout of inanity, Eden slipped out of the four inch heels that had cost a small fortune and lifted herself up on the ledge. She bit her bottom lip to keep her smile at bay as she spread out her arms and closed her eyes. Fear was not an emotion she felt here, it was simply the darkness around her and the summer breeze caressing her skin. Exhilaration swept through her, the wind making her feel like she was flying. In that moment she was free. Freedom enveloped her on all sides and took her away from everything. Up here she was nothing and everything all at once. She opened her eyes and looked down into the abyss, facing her mortality. Laughter burbled up from the pits of her stomach and escaped on the wind.

“Don’t jump.” The unexpected sound of that voice shattered through Eden’s introspection, startling her completely. She wavered, her body teetering towards the precipice and her heart racing, now for a completely different reason as real fear poured like ice water into her veins. She was going to fall, she thought inanely, but then… she wasn’t. Instead, she was forcefully yanked backwards by an unyielding manacle of flesh around her waist. Eden landed unceremoniously on top of her rescuer in complete disarray, stunned at what had almost been her death.

“I do sincerely hope this isn’t what it looks like, Eden?”

Her senses returned just then, and her husband’s drawl had Eden closing her own eyes for a brief second, attempting to regroup herself before she had to face him. She came to her feet unsteadily, unconsciously leaning on the guy who’d not only caused this mess, but had also rescued her from impending death. When she found her footing, Eden turned to him with a tentative smile before meeting her husband’s gaze. There was nothing on Dominic’s classically handsome features that indicated his fury; he looked unperturbed, bored even with this scene, but Eden knew the truth. She’d become a veteran in reading his moods and nothing foretold it more than those cold green eyes.

“Well, I’m not sure what it looks like to you, sweetheart, but this man just saved my life.”

“Did he?” he retorted, sizing up the other man and quickly dismissing him as someone of no consequence. “And what exactly was it that he saved you from, pet?”

Caught once more beneath that cold green stare, Eden attempted another tactic knowing that she was only making it worse for herself. “I was being silly,” she said with a small laugh, raking a hand through her hair to act every bit the airhead he believed her to be. “I was sitting on the ledge, not realizing how much I’ve had to drink. This man…” She stopped suddenly looking at the man with the blue eyes. “I’m sorry…I didn’t catch your name.”


“Matt came along and pulled me down just before I tipped over.”

“Well then, we should commend Bruce on hiring such agile employees.” He smoothly took off his dinner jacket and swept it over Eden’s shoulders. “And you, dear wife,” he tugged on the lapels of the jacket to bring her closer to him, “need to be a lot more careful.” The kiss was not only meant to exhibit ownership, but it was precursor to the punishment that was to come. “Now, let’s go home.” When he made to lead them away, Eden set a gentle hand on his chest to halt his progress.

“What about the man who rescued the woman you love?” Dominic looked down at her and Eden knew she’d pushed too far, but she wanted him to acknowledge the man—Matt—for what he’d done. Eden wanted to watch her husband lower himself for a moment to the man he’d dismissed as nothing more than something he found under his shoe.

“Very well.” He disengaged himself from her and slipped a hand inside his pocket. “What’s the going rate for rescuing damsels these days? Two…three hundred?”

“A thousand dollars should do it, I think,” Eden said with a touch of spite, meeting those blue eyes that peered at her curiously.

“A thousand dollars,” Dominic chuckled drily, “I seem to recall paying a lot more for you, my sweet.”

Eden blanched and her heart slammed painfully against her breastbone at the backhanded comment. He was so much better at playing this game of malice than she was. To think that she’d set out to humiliate him just now, but he’d volleyed so effortlessly, hitting her exactly where he knew it would hurt the most. She felt so sick all of sudden, and the air outside wasn’t enough to ease the tightening in her chest.

“I’m good,” she heard Matt say, “I was just doing my job, sir.”

“Then we’ll let you get back to it.” He turned away from Matt, a sure dismissal as any, before setting a hand at the small of Eden’s back, leading her away.





This playlist hasn’t been created by the author.  They’re just songs that came into my head as I was reading the book – enjoy!



Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords


Francette is kindly giving away two signed paperbacks of Monster and two $10 Amazon Giftcards.  For your chance to win, just enter the Rafflecopter below and Good Luck


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Author Bio


Francette lives in Massachusetts with her amazingly supportive husband of ten years and her darling two year old son. Reading amazing books has led her to writing and she’s dabbled in fan-fiction before self-publishing her own works. She’s constantly thinking up new stories to write and does her best work when music is playing in the background. Romance is where she’s most comfortable but she hopes to one day venture in mystery novels. She has a weakness for coffee ice cream, tropical fruits and a good glass of wine.


  1. I'd have to say Twitch. Not that I necessarily loved him in the end, but my feelings for him definitely changed from beginning to end!

  2. I would agree with Judy I have to say Twitch, my feeling did change 99% from the beginning to the end of the book. Still hoping and praying for a sequel.

  3. I hated Christen Grey (Fifty shades of Grey), but by the end of the trilogy
    I came to love him. I don't know if I will see the movie though. My imagination
    is better than their casting.

  4. Definitely Twitch from thw book RAW!!! Awesome book and I pray she writes a sequel

  5. Sebastian in 'The Man Without Rules' because he's a man whore! But I am so into him now...

  6. Not off the top of my head.

  7. I hated Christian Grey as well! Thanks for the giveaway!
    cguidroz2 (at) cox (dot) net

  8. I would have to agree to Twitch.

  9. Consequences ..... Tony was such a bastard but in the end of it all he turned himself around

  10. Not really - I usually give the characters a chance, so they have until the end of the book :)

  11. Anthony (Tony) Rawlings Consequences

  12. Ashton from One tiny lie! I didn't love him until I really knew him <3

  13. Q from Tears of Tess & Quintessentially Q by the hotness known as, Pepper Winters.

  14. No usually if i didn't like them in the beginning I usually don't find them redeemable completely

  15. There are a few..Twitch from Raw, Tony from Consequences, Q from Tears of Tess, Caleb from Captive in the dark, Master Aiden from her master's courtesan. Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  16. I'd have to say Jared from Penelope Douglas's Bully!

  17. No, I don't believe that I've read a book where I didn't like the main character from beginning to end.
    Thank you for giveaway.
    Ginger Robertson aka robertsonreads

  18. I really can't think of one at the moment.

  19. Hmmm... I don't think I've met a hero that I haven't liked yet!


  20. I think Loren from the Addicted series.

  21. I actually can't think of one.

  22. Tony from the Consequences series and Caleb from the Captive in the Dark series !

  23. Maria Theresa Santos17 March 2014 at 04:47

    Caleb fron captive an the dark

  24. I agree with the others on Twitch!

  25. Definitely Anthony Rawlings!

  26. Anthony Rawlings from Consequences by Aletha Romig!

  27. No, actually haven't found one of those yet.

  28. I don't think I have ever had one that I could not stand in the beginning of the book

  29. Probably Q from Tears of Tess!

  30. I hated Jacob in the Twilight books till book 4 actually.

  31. Definitely Christian Grey! I never would have put up with his shit in the beginning! LOL! Thanks for the giveaway!

  32. Tim from Something like Winter