Haunting Adeline (Cat and Mouse Duet #1) – H.D. Carlton

Genre: Dark Romance
Publisher: Independently Published
Pages: 538
Release Date: August 21, 2021

The Manipulator

I can manipulate the emotions of anyone who lets me.
I will make you hurt, make you cry, make you laugh and sigh.
But my words don’t affect him. Especially not when I plead for him to leave.
He’s always there, watching and waiting.
And I can never look away.
Not when I want him to come closer.

The Shadow

I didn’t mean to fall in love.
But now that I have, I can’t stay away.
I’m mesmerized by her smile, by her eyes, and the way she moves.
The way she undresses…
I’ll keep watching and waiting. Until I can make her mine.
And once she is, I’ll never let her go.
Not even when she begs me to.


While not required, it is highly suggested to read the novella, Satan’s Affair, first.

This book was previously banned on Amazon due to the trigger warning. Please read reviews or go to the author’s website.

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DNF @ 298 of 538

There are dark romance novels then there’s Haunting Adeline. I will admit that dark romance is not my favourite subgenre, however I like to spice up my reading every now and then with one. However, Haunting Adeline bypasses dark romance completely and goes right to sexual assault.

Despite only reading half the novel, I’m still rating it two stars. There are two reasons I’m rating it two stars instead of one. First, the stalker portion at the beginning of the novel. Second, Adeline’s investigation into her great-grandmother’s murder.

Carlton’s writing of the stalker trope is well done. It’s eerie yet sexual invoking all the right emotions without going too far. Until it does (more on this later). Honestly, this trope is why I picked up the novel in the first place.

Adeline’s investigation coupled with her great-grandmother’s diary entries at the end of each chapter was fascinating. The parallel between Adeline and her great-grandmother fuels the novel, but anything interesting that could have come from it is undercut by the sexual assault.

Readers are introduced to Zade, Adeline’s stalker. He’s a hacker extraordinaire and his sole focus is freeing women and girls from sex trafficking. He’s so obsessed with protecting other women that he fails to see he’s the same kind of predator that he kills on a regular basis. It doesn’t make him interesting or intriguing. It just makes him disgusting.

Dark romances usually come with a lot of blurred lines regarding consent. Unfortunately, Haunting Adeline blows past these lines straight into sexual assault terratory. Adeline doesn’t wrestle with any growing attraction she feels for her stalker once he assaults her. Instead she laments about her body’s reaction and how wet she got despite not wanting his advances. I guess I drew the line at him putting his belt around her throat, forcing her on her knees, then her deciding to blow him despite his weak protest that that wasn’t what he wanted. There’s no power for Adeline to gain in this situation despite her later claim.

Overall, Haunting Adeline goes beyond the classification of dark romance. Instead, it’s a novel about sexual assault where the main character tries to convince herself she isn’t being assaulted repeatedly because it was the best orgasm she’s ever had. If you’re a fan of dark romances, Haunting Adeline will probably not faze you and be exactly what you’re looking for.

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Have you read Haunting Adeline? What did you think?

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