Does It Hurt? Book Review, Romance by H.D. Carlton

Does It Hurt? Book Review: Synopsis

H.D. Carlton’s romantic suspense novel “Does It Hurt?” follows Sawyer Bennett, a young woman on the run who resorts to stealing identities to survive. After a steamy one-night stand with enigmatic shark researcher Enzo Vitale, Sawyer impulsively takes his identity. Enzo soon tracks Sawyer down, luring her onto his boat under false pretenses. A massive storm leaves them shipwrecked on a small island with a decrepit lighthouse run by an eccentric, old caretaker named Sylvester.

Trapped on the island, Sawyer and Enzo are forced into close proximity. Though Enzo harbors vengeance for Sawyer’s crime, he also feels a magnetic attraction towards her. Their relationship is tense, with moments of intense passion mixed with cruelty. Sawyer attempts to uncover the mystery surrounding the lighthouse’s dark past, encountering unsettling supernatural occurrences tied to Sylvester’s missing daughter.

As Sawyer and Enzo work to survive amidst harsh conditions, they slowly begin moving from enemies towards a romantic connection. However, the old caretaker of the abandoned island may have more sinister intentions that endanger them both. When Enzo discovers Sylvester’s disturbing secret and the grisly truth about his daughter’s fate, he brutally enacts vengeance. In the climactic ending, Sawyer and Enzo manage to signal for help before reconciling their fraught relationship.

Carlton crafts a tale brimming with smoldering tension between compelling lead characters. The atmospheric, abandoned island setting intensifies the stakes while allowing Sawyer and Enzo’s prickly romance to flourish. The mysterious supernatural elements surrounding the eccentric old lighthouse caretaker add an extra sinister twist. Carlton’s vivid writing shines through intense, graphic intimacy along with moments spotlighting Sawyer and Enzo’s traumatic pasts. Overall, “Does It Hurt” delivers a propulsive dark romance thriller spiced with horror that will haunt readers long after the final page.

Does It Hurt? Main Characters

Does It Hurt? Book Review - Sawyer Bennett

Sawyer Bennett

  • Young woman on the run from unknown threat in her past
  • Searching for the meaning of life in faceless men
  • Former fugitive from U.S. now hiding out in Australia
  • Resorts to stealing identities of men she has one-night stands with
  • Stole identity of Enzo Vitale on impulse after steamy encounter
  • Feisty, quirky personality but running from inner trauma
  • Forced into close proximity with Enzo after shipwreck
Does It Hurt Book Review - Enzo Vitale

Enzo Vitale

  • Brooding Italian shark expert and enigmatic man
  • Vindictive temperament seeking vengeance against Sawyer
  • Harbors attraction and protectiveness for Sawyer despite bitterness
  • Abandoned as a child leading to trust issues
  • Possessive, controlling towards women
  • Sadistic tendencies come out with Sawyer through cruelty mixed with passion


  • Eccentric elderly man acting as caretaker of abandoned lighthouse
  • Hiding dark history tied to his missing daughter Bailey
  • Sinister intentions that endanger Sawyer and Enzo
  • Eventually revealed to have disturbingly grisly secret


  • Sylvester’s daughter who disappeared mysteriously
  • Story tied to supernatural hauntings of lighthouse
  • Met a tragic end revealed at the story’s climax

Does It Hurt? Themes and Tropes

At its core, “Does It Hurt?” explores themes of survival and overcoming trauma through finding human connection. Sawyer and Enzo both cope with abusive pasts, softened by discovering trust and care for each other. The central enemies-to-lovers trope centers on their simmering animosity morphing into a protective bond.

Carlton also weaves in undertones of redemption, focusing on Sawyer working to rewrite her identity tied to past misdeeds. Enzo similarly seeks to overcome his bitterness to become Sawyer’s guardian. Their romance develops through weathering harrowing ordeals, from the metaphorical “storm” of their rage and pain to the literal storm leaving them shipwrecked together.

“Does It Hurt?” incorporates various tropes common in dark romance, such as enemies-to-lovers and forced proximity, which intensify the complex dynamics between Sawyer and Enzo. The close confines of the island and the lighthouse amplify their emotional and physical connection, leading to intense and explicit scenes that characterize the genre.

The Gothic fiction tropes are clear through the haunted lighthouse with its ominous caretaker hiding sinister secrets. The supernatural mystery adds heightened suspense, culminating when the ghostly happenstances are revealed to be rooted in grim reality.

Those reality-based horrors feed the story’s darkness, demanding necessary trigger warnings. Disturbing topics surface including pedophilia, incest, graphic violence, suicide, rape, emotional manipulation, and more. Enzo exhibits cruelty toward women that may alienate some readers. These visceral themes of seeking light within darkness make for an intense reading experience suited for an adult audience.

Above all, “Does It Hurt” stays focused on the magnetism between contrasting lead lovers. Carlton constructs taut scenes accentuating their push-and-pull polarity. The friction builds through intimate cruelty giving way to understanding. Both leads exhibit antihero qualities, adding shades of grey complexity to their characterization arcs.

In the end, redemption comes for both through emotional catharsis. The story grants a hopeful note as each teaches the other that tenderness can emerge even from trauma’s wounds when given the chance to heal. Their romance conveys that message—while hurting each other at first, choosing care and trust can transform people broken by fate’s storms into survivors clinging to life’s flickering lights.

Does It Hurt Writing Style

Carlton displays vivid, intense writing especially in the numerous sexually explicit spicy scenes between the lead characters. The spice level stays cranked to the maximum through graphic sensuality further amplified by the palpable animosity between Enzo and Sawyer. Their sexual escapades ooze with friction, power struggles, and primal rawness.

While darkly erotic literature exists on a spectrum, Carlton leans into graphic sensuality at the more extreme end. Descriptions leave little to the imagination through vulgar bluntness. Yet these risqué elements feel intentionally chosen to match the fierce and dangerous moods of the characters.

The scenes sizzle with an animalistic quality highlighting Enzo bringing out Sawyer’s deepest masochistic urges. At times sensory details overwhelm the overall narrative. But the frequent erotic interludes shine as showcases for imagination unrestrained by inhibitions.

What makes the tawdry passages compelling is their emotional weight given context by the characters’ inner demons. Moments meant to degrade reveal psychological defensive wounds. Scenes dwelling on the obscene still expose vulnerability.

Carlton excels at this dance between exterior harshness and interior frailty. It aligns with the central theme of healing through revealing hidden softer natures. By embracing intimacy’s intensity, walls crumble to unveil genuineness.

So while lavish eroticism dominates throughout, it creatively reinforces the purposeful character development. Carlton pens exhibitive moments designed to share raw, often unsettling elements of human desire. Yet she tempers them with emotional resonance making profane prose profound.

For readers who enjoy graphic sensuality locked in antagonistic tension, Carlton’s concentrated emphasis on sensual imagery in rich detailed fragments will gratify that craving intensely. The vulgar vocabulary suits the extreme passions at play. So those desiring full-force erotic literature will find a satisfying feast of decadence within “Does It Hurt?”

The spice never settles. Carlton cranks up the heat continuously, crafting an inferno of lust and rage that forges healing.

Does It Hurt? Book Review: Final Verdict

H.D. Carlton has crafted a sizzling dark romantic thriller that pulls no punches. This gripping page-turner is tailored for those who crave high-stakes tension and graphic sensuality woven together. Fair warning: the ceaseless intensity and taboo themes are strictly intended for mature audiences. Readers must have an appetite for the unflinchingly obscene. For those unfazed by extremes, this naughty novel satisfies forbidden cravings.

The enemies-to-lovers storyline draws you in as Sawyer and Enzo’s hostile attraction simmers, boils, and ultimately catches flame. Their dynamic is combustible, careening from venomous to ravenous. Carlton accentuates the vulgar, spotlighting eroticism’s seductive danger.

The pairing works due to their shared trauma bubbling underneath carnal exchanges laced with punishment. Both jagged souls reveal their softer side once forced into reliance on each other. Each lover alternates between inflicter of pain and its salve.

The haunted island setting ratchets up ominous tension. Sinister supernatural mysteries and graphic violence weave alongside lustful escapades. The horror elements temper romantic fantasies with chilling “what ifs…”

As a fellow fan of dark romantic fantasies, I was enthralled by this steamy thriller from start to finish. The addictive storytelling had me flipping pages voraciously. The salacious sequences and brutal twists left me needing some escapist fluff as a palette cleanser once the credits rolled!

But for readers who crave having limits pushed and getting lost in vulnerability’s raw edges, “Does It Hurt?” scratches that itch. The heavy themes challenge worldviews, sparking internal debates between desire and disgust.

Carlton crafted Enzo as an antihero unafraid to repulse just as potently as he entices. Sawyer’s inner fortitude empowers despite catastrophic circumstances. Together they form an electric pairing worth enduring the madness they attract.

So strap in for this treacherous ride—it may hurt so good you’ll barely walk straight after. But it’s a scorching thrill bound to leave a mark on your soul. Consider this my trigger warning: proceed with caution and an open mind!

Author Profile

Susanna Nicholson
Susanna NicholsonReader, Writer
I spend my days immersed in the world of books, finding solace in their pages. In my spare time, I transform into a critic, penning reviews that unravel the magic and mystery of each story. This passion for reading is not just a hobby; it’s a part of who I am.
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