Kings of Quarantine
by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti
Book 1 in the Brutal Boys of Everlake Prep
Cruel. Heartless. Quarantined.
The ruthless boys of Everlake Prep never saw lockdown coming.
But the virus isn’t their number one enemy.
And as if being confined to a boarding school for the elite wasn’t bad enough, now I’m stuck in isolation with the boys who hate me most too.
Saint, Kyan and Blake. The Night Keepers. Or so they call themselves. They’ve embodied the Native American legend which lives in this valley, taking on the role of the monsters who lurk in the forest. And though they act like beasts, they may also be the most tempting creatures I’ve ever seen.
With the virus escalating and my dad’s name splashed through the news, my entire world is falling apart. What he did has cast a dark shadow over me. And the Night Keepers want to make me pay for his crimes.
Then things went from bad to worse when I touched the sacred rock. A rock which supposedly holds a curse to bind me as the Night Keepers’ slave. And as crazy as it sounds, I decided to play along. Because there are things about me they don’t know. Things my dad has hidden from me for years. All I can be sure of is that I have to find a way to escape this school. But until then, those savage boys are making my life a living hell.
As the virus sweeps through the country and the world twists into something ugly and unknown, the kings of this school become true monarchs. Even the teachers bow to them now. And I’m kinda glad about that ‘stay six feet away from one another’ rule, because without it, I know they’d rip me apart.
At least there’s a silver lining. I’m cosying up to Coach Monroe. My hot as hell, brooding P.E. teacher who has a vendetta of his own against the Night Keepers. And with his help, I may succeed at doing more than escaping the clutches of these heartless fiends. I might even destroy them along the way.
My father taught me how to be strong.
How to prepare for the end of the world.
So this isn’t going to be the end of my world, mark my words.
But if I’m able to use my mind and body to bring these assholes to their knees, it might just be the end of theirs.
Kings of Quarantine by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti (otherwise known as the Twisted Sisters) is the first book in their Brutal Boys of Everlake Prep series. It centers around Tatum, as she starts her senior year at Everlake Prep, a boarding school for the elite, the Nightkeepers, Saint, Blake, and Kyan, and the PE teacher Coach Monroe. At first, it seems like Everlake Prep will make for a fun senior year, despite Tatum reservations. But when news breaks out that the virus that is killing thousands is Tatum's father's fault, her year goes from promising, to the worst one yet. What makes isolation worse? When you are stuck with three guys who want to make you pay for your fathers crimes. It gets worse. When Tatum touches the sacred rock, binding herself to the Night Keepers, she decides to play along. Endure their torture. Infiltrate them and destroy them from the inside. And it helps when she learns that Coach Monroe has a vendetta of his own against the Night Keepers, giving her an ally. But can she endure what the Night Keepers have in store for her?
Oh god. Where to start. First of all, I want to start this out by saying I love the Twisted Sisters. I love Zodiac Academy, and Ruthless Boys, and Darkmore Penitentiary. They are ridiculous and fun, emotionally crippling, and bordering on cheesy, but I enjoy them. Did I love the bullying in Zodiac Academy? No. I almost dnf'ed the books because of it. I continued though, because it was obvious that the guys of Zodiac Academy had a reason to do what they did. Wrong, but there was purpose. And while I don't want to go into spoilers for a different series, I felt like they were understandable reasons, even if I think it was still wrong. And let's also chalk it up to those books being set in a fantasy world, and different rules and customs apply. Specifically with the power dynamics of fae, and that is how they roll. So back to Everlake Prep. The mortal realm. I couldn't get into. I don't like these guys. There is NO reason in the world for them to treat people as they do. None. It just felt ... gross. And while one of the reasons I stuck with Zodiac Academy was the obvious connection between Orion and Darcy, I couldn't continue this series just because of the obvious connection between Monroe and Tatum.
I think the most frustrating part of the book for me was Tatum. She comes off as strong and intelligent. Hell, I think she is for the most part - except when it comes to these guys. I can't imagine being treated the way she is, and still finding them hot. I can't understand her being attracted to them at all. It's just ... weird. And it takes away from the qualities her character is meant to have. I don't want to be told she is strong. I want to see it. And what I saw in this book was a character who swallowed down a lot of shit, and did barely anything to put those guys in her place. At least in Zodiac Academy, Darcy and Tory stood up for themselves. They gave as good as they got. And maybe if I read farther into the series, Tatum would do the same. But I just can't stomach it.
I did love the toilet paper jokes though. Those were great. It did poke fun at some of the craziness that happened during the Covid pandemic, which made me chuckle. And I finally understand the squid emoji - which is why I picked up the book in the first place, because I kept seeing it mentioned on their facebook page.
There is obviously a fine line for me when it comes to bully romances. I need there to be a purpose to the bullies behavior. I need there to be redeeming qualities. I need the heroine to stand up for herself. I didn't get that here. But while it didn't work for me - it may work for you. If you love a bully romance, and don't mind that its just because the bullies are huge dicks, than you will enjoy it. And no judgement from me, honestly. We all have our enjoyments and kinks. This just isn't one of them for me.
Characters could never escape me. Not when I could trap them in my kindle for the rest of time. Suckers. Tatum: “I don’t suck dick for favours. Besides, if I got thrown to the Night People, I reckon I’d come back leading them so I guess I’ll take my chances.” Tatum: “What will happen if you’re caught here?”
I teased as I followed him into the stairwell. Stone steps led up to the next level and lanterns hung from the walls, lighting the way in a soft amber light.
Blake: “I’ll get detention for being a bad boy. And if I get caught twice, I could get suspended.”
He threw a grin over his shoulder as he started carrying my bag upstairs.
Blake: “The trick is not to get caught.”
Tatum: “Or ratted out,”
Blake: “You wouldn’t dare,”
he growled and the sound had my heart pounding.
Tatum: “I wouldn’t. If I didn’t want you here, I’d just throw you out myself.” Blake: “Fine. I get first shot at her then,”
Saint: “How do you figure that out?”
Blake: “Because my mom is dead,”
Kyan: “That’s cold, man,”
Kyan said, snorting a laugh. Tatum: “Are you sure you know how to make a girl come, golden boy? I’m sure there’s a lot of great actresses in this school,”
Blake: “I don’t just make girls come, I make them fucking arrive.” Kyan: “Are you free tomorrow night, Nash?”
he asked me casually like we were old friends instead of student and teacher.
Monroe: “It’s Monroe around the other students,”
I reminded him, rolling my eyes. Not that he ever listened.
Kyan: “You didn’t answer my question.”
Monroe: “Actually I’ve got a hot date,”
I joked. The only chance of that would be if I went off campus, and with the staff meeting planned for tonight I’d have to do an extra workout tomorrow to stick to my goals so there wasn’t much likelihood of that. Besides, the closest town was ten miles away and it wasn’t exactly filled with bars and nightlife. No, once I set foot on campus I basically got to say goodbye to my dating life until the holidays.
Kyan: “Yeah. With me. I promise to treat you real nice before I get you on your back and start pounding you,”
he joked and I snorted a laugh.
Monroe: “You know I prefer being on top,”
I replied, earning me a heated look from Pearl Devickers as she walked by. I swear that girl could scent testosterone from a mile off and always came panting like a bitch on heat at the slightest whiff. I cleared my throat as Kyan laughed.
Monroe: “Fuck off before you get me into trouble.”
Kyan: “Yes, sir,”
he said mockingly as he backed away. Tatum: “Do you seriously need to know?”
she asked, her gaze slipping from my face for a moment and landing on my crotch before she flipped it back up quickly. This time the colour in her cheeks really was a blush.
Monroe: “Enlighten me,”
I demanded, but I was pretty sure I had the gist of it from that look. When I’d taken this job I hadn’t given much consideration to the fact that I’d be put in a position of power over a bunch of girls who were only a few years younger than me. I’d had my own reasons for wanting this position. For needing it. And my goal didn’t have anything to do with school girl crushes and horny teenagers. But they had certainly caused me more than a few headaches since my arrival.
Tatum: “Well, I was just commenting on how you don’t look like your average teacher,”
she said, keeping her features straight as she forced her tongue around the words.
That wasn’t all of it, not by half and I was more than happy to mortify her with the goal of earning the respect I needed from her. Besides, it didn’t exactly hurt my ego to have a beautiful girl talking about me like that and I wasn’t beyond enjoying the words even if I’d never act on them.
Tatum: “And…someone might have mentioned that they wouldn’t mind…dating you…”
Monroe: “Dating me? The truth, princess, or you’ll be earning detention for being late to your next class too.”
she growled, raising her chin as fire flared in her eyes. This answer would be the truth.
Tatum: “We said we wouldn’t mind fucking you.”
My pulse spiked at that sentence coming out of her pink lips. I’d guessed Little Miss Innocent was more than used to getting dirty with the commoners from that look in her eye and now I had my answer.
Monroe: “Is that so? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, princess, but I have no interest in screwing little school girls.”
Her nostrils flared with rage at my insult and I swiped a hand over my mouth to hide my smirk.
Tatum: “Don’t worry, I have no interest in screwing assholes, either,”
I snorted a laugh and leaned back against my desk. I should have chewed her out for it, but I was quietly impressed that she hadn’t just flushed beetroot and dissolved into tears of embarrassment.
Tatum: “Is that all?”
she demanded, pushing herself to her feet as she prepared to leave.
She ground her teeth as she was forced to wait for what else I had to say and I let the moment drag as I drank it in. Maybe I was a power junkie, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t help but get off on knocking these rich little assholes down a peg or two.
Monroe: “You laughed twice,”
I said in a low voice. For a moment, confusion warred in her gaze before she realized that I wasn’t going to let her leave without the full story. Now that she was on her feet she was eye to eye with me where I perched on my desk and the depths of her blush rose up beneath the freckles which dusted her cheeks. But she fought the embarrassment away with tooth and nail, her gaze hardening as she looked right into my eyes.
Tatum: “It was a joke about what it might be like to have you on your knees with your tongue between my thighs. But on second thought, that was a terrible joke. Everyone knows that arrogant assholes like you don't know a G-spot from their elbow and you wouldn't be able to find my clit with a map and GPS."
My eyes widened at the balls on her and I was left momentarily speechless by her little display. The cocky asshole in me was tempted to grab her my her hips, toss her over my desk, hitch that little skirt up and prove her wrong ... but that was definitely crossing the teacher/student barrier and I had zero desire to go to prison for the sake of proving to a girl that I could make her come so hard she forgot her fucking name. No map required.
Tatum: "Is that all, sir?"
she demanded hauntily and I pushed my tongue into my cheek to stop myself from grinning.
It was damn nice to find a worthy adversary to go to bat against and if that was the way she wanted it, it was fine by me. Game on, princess.
Monroe: "That's all. I'll see you in class tomorrow." And the reality of life as a teacher at this school was so much tamer than I was used to. But that was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Because every day I spent here, molding the minds and bodies of these pretentious little douchebags, was another day that I drew closer to my goal. Tatum: “I imagine the only one you deem special enough to fuck you is yourself. So give your right hand my regards. She’s a very lucky girl.” Blake: “Fuck you, Tatum Rivers,”
he panted as his forehead knocked against mine.
Blake: “Fuck you for being that good.”
I laughed headily, carving my fingers along his shoulder blades as the full weight of him spread over me and his laughter sounded out to meet mine. I tugged his hair and brushed my lips over his.
Tatum: “Fuck you for thinking I wouldn’t be, Blake Bowman.” Kyan: “You lost, baby?”
he purred as he towered over her and her jaw ticked as her gaze dragged over him.
Tatum: “I was told to take a seat beside the biggest asshole in the room so I’m pretty sure I found the right place,” Tatum: “You look like shit, Saint. What happened, did your house elf forget to iron your uniform today?” Tatum: “You missed the part where I was trained in kickboxing and advanced self-defence. And despite all of those showy muscles you’re so proud of, I’m pretty sure I could put you on your ass one on one.”
I gave her an honest to fuck, real smile. No smirking, no taunting, no bullshit at all. The kind of smile no one but Blake or Saint had earned from me in years.
Kyan: “Well, fuck, baby. That sounds like a date.”
Tatum: “In your dreams, mutt,” Saint: “If I find out you’ve been so much as dry humping a tree, I’ll make you regret it.”
Tatum: “Wow, you really know how to sap the fun out of life, don’t you devil boy? Tree humping is my favourite activity,”
I deadpanned and Kyan snorted a laugh, earning him sharp glares from Saint and Blake.
Kyan: “What? That shit’s funny.” Blake: “What’s with the outfit? Did you dress up just for us, Plague? Because I’d cut my dick off before I put it inside you.”
I added and his eyes flared angrily. Tatum: “Pretty sure you were louder,”
I growled, shutting off the video.
Tatum: “Shame I was faking then,”
she said in an dead tone which was complete and utter bullshit. I’d felt the reaction of her body just as keenly as my own. Kyan laughed loudly and I snarled with anger.
Blake: “Whatever you wanna tell yourself,” '
'I replied, refusing to fall for her trap. Instead of bothering to bite back at me, Tatum just closed her eyes and started moaning as she pushed her hands into her hair. She was panting too, my name slipping between those pink lips of hers as she got louder and louder, sounding a lot like she had on the video but not the fucking same at all. She stopped as suddenly as she’d started, giving me a blank look as Kyan started laughing. Kyan: “Did you hear any of us say you could lay a hand on our property?”
he demanded. Pearl stumbled to a halt as she tried to rein herself in and Tatum looked like she didn’t even know what the fuck was happening. My heart was pounding with the thrill of it. Of wielding this power over her and the rest of the school too. It was intoxicating, addictive, exhilarating.
Pearl: “She punched me!”
Kyan: “Yeah. And she looked hot as fuck doing it, too. Doesn’t mean you can lay a hand on her though,”
Kyan said casually, using his bulk to completely block Pearl’s view of Tatum. Blake: “I want your school schedule written out by hand tonight. One copy for each of us.”
Tatum: “Okay, I can colour code it too if you give me some crayons?”
I offered with a smirk.
Tatum: “Would you like me to write down my bathroom habits too? I’m a morning pooer-”
Blake: “Shut up. Got your backbone reinstated, I see, Cinderella.”
Tatum: “Clever boy.” It occurred to me that Harry Potter had had it easy in comparison to the Lord Coldemort who was currently making my life a misery. At least Harry had had friends. And Dumbledore. Man, I wish I had a Dumbledore. I supposed Monroe kinda counted. He was like a hot Dumbledore you wanted to Slytherin to bed with and suck his Elder wand. Kyan: “You can’t compare the three of us, baby. If Blake’s sugar, I’m spice. And Saint is…fucking arsenic.”
I fought a laugh but it escaped me, serving me with a glare from Saint up ahead. He glanced between us with a scowl and I knew he didn’t like it when me and Kyan flirted. Which was all the more reason to do it.
Tatum: “Have you been practicing on each other then?”
I asked and Kyan snorted a laugh. Asshole that he was, he at least had a sense of humour. Unlike Lord Coldemort and Sir Hates-a-lot. Although the latter used to have one, but it must have fled his body when he turned into an ice cold prick.
Kyan: “I don’t fuck guys – but if I did I’d be excellent at it by the way." Saint: “What if I command it?”
I asked in a deadly tone.
Kyan: “You can command a broomstick to climb right up your ass, but I doubt the thing will leap on up there for you,”