Mad As Hell
by Hannah McBride
Book 2 in the Mad World series
I USED TO BE MADISON
I was stupid for thinking that I could just step into my twin's world. And I was an idiot for trusting Ryan Cain with my heart. Lesson freaking learned. I won't make that mistake again.
MADELAINE IS DEAD
My sister wasn't a saint, but she didn't deserve the hell she endured before her death. Gary. Beckett. Adam. Even Ryan. They will all pay for their sins, because now?
NOW I'M JUST MAD
Mad As Hell is the second book in the Mad World series. It is an enemies-to-lovers, bullymance college story with an alphahole hero and a determined heroine.
Mad as Hell is the second book in Hannah McBride's Mad World series. It centers around Madison (Maddie), and Ryan, immediately following the events of the Mad World. While in seclusion, dealing with consequences of her sisters actions, and Ryan's reaction, Maddie turns her devastation and broken heart into something she can use - anger. Anger at the monsters who tormented her sister, and now turned their sights on her. Anger at Ryan, who she trusted with her heart, and when she needed him, he wasn't there. Maddie doesn't know what she will do, but she does know one thing: they will pay for what they did to her sister and for what they are doing to her.
First of all, I would like to thank Hannah McBride and her team for accepting me onto her ARC team, in exchange for fair and honest reviews. I am thrilled for the opportunity, and can't wait to read more of Hannah McBride's work!
For once, I had no idea what I would be getting with Mad as Hell. No predictions or theories. With the intense twists and turns that was Mad World, I honestly went into this book with an open mind. So points to Hannah, because I can usually figure out a plot for a series pretty early on, but I didn't even attempt for Mad as Hell, because I knew Hannah would keep us readers on our toes ... and she did. I think the thing that impressed me more about this book, was that Hannah could have easily fallen back on what worked in Mad World, but she didn't. It would have been easy to do so. Ryan and Maddie were back to square one, after all. But instead Hannah, just like she does in her other work, not only builds her characters up, but the story. Mad as Hell is darker, and yes, there are parts that are triggering and are hard to read - but it needed to be. It truly is a mad, sick, world, and Maddie and Ryan, and their must trusted friends, will do whatever it takes to right the wrongs of their families.
I need to focus a bit on the romance here, and that is what I particularly enjoy reviewing here - the romance. Despite Mad as Hell being wayyyyyy darker than the last book, Hannah makes sure the intensity of the romance matches the intensity of the book. Maddie and Ryan have a rough start ... and a twisty road ahead of them, but one thing I don't doubt it that they will make it through it together. They are a couple of balance, and it works for them. As as for the sex ... wow. Just ... wow. It was really stepped up here. Not in volume. It doesn't detract from the story. But in intensity ... wow. Again. Wow. haha
If you loved Mad World (and of course you did, because how could you not?), you will love Mad as Hell just as much. Perhaps more, despite its darker and much more dangerous tone. But Hannah, that ending? Why do you torture your readers so? At least we don't have to wait long for the conclusion of Maddie and Ryan's story.
A smacking sound echoed in the hall as Ash slapped the back of his head.
Ash: "Shut up."
Lincoln: "Jesus, you're grouchy when you're sober and acting morally superior."
Maddie: "I thought your orders were to look, not touch."
I snapped, jerking my head away and glaring at him as my hand settled on the handle.
He glared at me but brought his hand back to his side.
I shoved the door open and got out before glancing back inside the dimly lit interior of the car.
Maddie: "Good dog."
Bex: "For what it's worth, I think he really is sorry. Like genuinely sorry."
Maddie: "He should be. But I've got enough to deal with right now. His regrets and his sorries aren't my cross to bear."
Ryan: "Can you just stop with the attitude for a fucking minute, Mads?"
I draped a hand over my chest in mock surprise.
Maddie: "I'm so sorry. Is my tenuous grip on not losing my shit offensive to you? How would you like me to handle being made a fool of, Ryan? How c an I possible make this whole situation easier for you?"
Ryan: 'I don't trust people easily, and you ..."
Maddie: "And I what? What did I do to make you believe you couldn't trust me?"
Ryan: "You were too good to be true. I was looking for a way to sabotage it, because there was no way someone like you could love someone like me. You're ... good and pure."
Maddie: "Don't you think I want to trust you?"
Tears colored my tone, cracking it like brittle ice.
Maddie: "Do you know that every time he hit me, I knew that pain didn't hold a fucking candle to what you did to me?"
A shudder rippled down his large frame, his hands curling into fists at his temples as he stared at the floor.
Maddie: "I would rather have Gary kick my ass every single day than give you the chance to break my heart again."
I finished my tirade on a sob. I swiped at my eyes, but it was useless; the tears were falling completely unchecked.
Ryan shot up, his face red and eyes furious.
Ryan: "I won't let him touch you again, Madison."
A startled laugh hiccupped out of me.
Maddie: "That's what you got out of this? That I need you to protect me? I needed you to protect my heart, Ryan. That's it. All you had to do was trust me."
He stormed around the table and grabbed my shoulders. His touch was like being zapped by electric wires. I felt the charge down to my toes.
Ryan: "Maddie, I want to fix this."
he insisted, his blue eyes wild.
I twisted out of his hold with a cry.
Maddie: "You can't. You broke my heart. You broke ... Fuck, Ryan you broke me."
Ash: "You forgive him yet?"
I shook my head.
Ash: "Good. Fucker doesn't deserve it."
My jaw dropped open as Ryan growled beside me.
Ryan: "You're supposed to be my friend, fucker."
Ash barely blinked.
Ash: "I am your friend, which is why I'll tell you when you're being an asshole, asshole."
Ryan: "I'm trying here, Maddie."
Maddie: "Oh, you're trying!"
I clapped my hands together.
Maddie: "Well as long as you're trying, that's all that matters, Ryan. Lucky, lucky me to have a guy who is so willing to defend my honor except when it really counts."
Ryan: "Look, I'll give you a week, okay?"
Maddie: "A week for what?"
Ryan: "Lick your wounds, keep your secrets. After that, you're letting me in or I'm bulldozing my way."
Ryan: "I'm sorry."
Maddie: "Do you even know what you're apologizing for?"
Ryan: "Whatever made you upset?"
I snorted and rolled my eyes.
He smiled against my shoulder and cuddled me closer.
Ryan: "Isn't that what our entire life together will be? Me endlessly apologizing for shit I did that pissed you off and I didn't even know it?"
I glanced over my shoulder, my heart pounding when I saw how close his face was to mine.
Maddie: "I mean, am I that bad?"
Ryan: "No, but I am."
His wolfish grin made me laugh.
Bex: "Mads, it was barely a blip, and all these buildings are earthquake proof. It's really okay."
Maddie: "It's really not. The ground isn't supposed to do that."
Bex: "Do what? Get more action than you?"'
Maddie: "Can't he at least want some sex?"
I groused, my lips turning down.
Maddie: "It's not like I can get myself off when he's in bed next to me."
My cheeks burned with mortification at the thought.
Bex, however, cracked up.
Bex: "I mean, that might be the tipping point. If he sees your fingers in his cookie jar? He'd probably take some action."
Maddie: "It's my cookie jar. And that is a weird metaphor."
Bex: "Well, you're a weird girl."
His hand shot out and grabbed the bottom of my shirt.
Ryan: "Did you steal this from my room?"
Maddie: "Borrowed. I wanted to show my school spirit."
Ryan: "My spirit definitely feels ... moved."
Ash shook his head
Ash: "No way are you walking home alone in the dark, Bex. We'll drive you."
Bex: "You don't have to."
Ash: "It wasn't an offer. You can either get in the car on your own, or I'll have Linc throw you in the backseat."
Bex: "And they say chivalry's dead."
I was seconds away from slipping my hand into my pants when Ryan lightly kicked my knee.
Ryan: "Uh uh."
He grunted, his blue eyes glittering.
Ryan: "You've already come twice today. You don't get to again until later when I saw so, and only if you're a good girl."
Ryan: "Madison, trust me and I'll give you everything."
Maddie: "And if I say no?"
His lips twitched, almost sadly.
Ryan: "Then I'll still give you everything. I love you, Mads. I didn't even know what that word meant until you came into my life."
Maddie: "If you break my heart again, it'll destroy me."
Ryan: "If I break your heart again, it'll break me, Maddie."
Shaking his head, he tapped the top of my nose.
Ryan: "Fuck. There isn't much I won't do if you keep smiling like that."
Heat pooled low in my belly as Linc let out a loud groan and stared at Ryan.
Linc: "Are your balls even still attached?"
Maddie: "I can assure you they are. And unlike yours, they get regular action."
Linc's jaw dropped as everyone started laughing. Eventually, he laughed, too.
Maddie: "Don't give me the women and children speech. This isn't the fucking Titanic, and I'm not going to be coddled and protected because I have a vagina. Period, end of story. I'm not leaving you guys, so fucking deal with it."
Linc: "Well, when you put it so sweetly, I can't imagine sending you away."
He tucked me against his chest, sniffing my wet hair.
Ryan: "Is it weird I like that you smell like me?"
I laughed quietly.
Maddie: "I think it just proves you really are in love with yourself."
He pinched my ass.
Ryan: "Fucking brat."
Maddie: "You love it."
Ryan: "I love you."
He took the cup back.
Ryan: "Get your own then."
Maddie: "You're my fiancée. Aren't you supposed to do things for me like getting my morning coffee?"
He stared but didn't move.
Ash: "I got it."
Ash told me, going over to the coffee pot.
I stole his seat and tossed Ryan a look.
Maddie: "Clearly I'm engaged to the wrong man."
Ryan: "If you think Ash can make you scream like I did last night ..."
He shot a wicked grin at me.
Ash wandered over and handed me a steaming mug before nudging the sugar and creamer closer to me as he sat on the stool to my left. He braced a forearm on the island.
Ash: "Maddie, I have no doubt I could make you forget his name by lunch."
I turned, acting intrigued at the proposition.
Maddie: "Really? Because Ryan does this thing with his tongue -"
Ash: "Who do you think taught him that trick?"
With a growl, Ryan snatched the mug from my hands and dumped it in the sink on the other side of the counter from us. He shoved back and stomped to the coffee pot, repouring the liquid into the mug before giving it back to me.
He glared at Ash.
Ryan: "Fucker. And you didn't even know what a G-spot was until I schooled your ass."
I giggled and reached for the sugar.
His eyes flared wide for a split second before he closed the distance and crashed his mouth to mine in a desperate kiss.
Court: "Hey, hey!"
Court slapped something on the counter to grab our attention. When we broke apart he was scowling.
Court: "This isn't breakfast and a show. I cook, you two act like you're not horny teenagers for thirty fucking minutes."
Linc set his plate on the coffee table with a groan.
Linc: "Seriously, I can't handle you two being this fucking cute in the morning. It's nauseating. Can we please stay on topic?"
Ryan: "Spoken like a guy who went to bed with his hand."
Ash: "And what if I did?"
Ash flashed a feral smile.
Ash: "My hand knows exactly what I like."
Bex: "Mine, too."
Bex added innocently, licking a dollop of frosting from her finger as she finished her cinnamon roll.
Everyone stopped and stared at her.
She snorted and rolled her eyes.
Bex: "What? Guys are the only ones allowed to get off without judgement?"
Linc: "Not at all."
Linc agreed quickly, his dark blue eyes sparkling as he leaned forward.
Linc: "But I'm having a hard time picturing the visual. Are we talking left or right hand?"
Court lobbed a biscuit at his head and, with more dexterity than a human should possess, Linc c aught it and took a big bite with a wolfish grin.
Maddie: "If we're going to be together, and I mean really together, then you need to accept that I'm not the girl who sits on the sidelines when shit blows apart, I want to be next to you, even if the world is burning down around us."
Feeling amused, I leaned over the center console and pressed my lips against his throat.
Maddie: "Why? Jealous, baby?"
The hand on my thigh slid up suddenly, dipping under my skirt and cupping my pussy like he owned it before giving it a squeeze. I squeaked and tried to close my legs, but it was too late. His hand wasn't moving.
Ryan: "I don't have to get jealous."
His fingers leisurely stroked the lace of my panties.
Ryan: "We both know who this belongs to."
Maddie: “Holy shit,”
I breathed, sitting up and peering out of the windshield.
Maddie: This looks like something out of a fairy tale.”
The corner of Ryan’s mouth kicked up.
Ryan: “I guess.”
I smacked his shoulder again, but this time he caught my wrist and held it.
Ryan: “You know, if we’re adding slapping each other to the list of things we do, that ass of yours is going to pay the price.”
Well, that was one way to get me to shut up. And yet, as he airily tossed the threat out to me, I didn’t hate it. In fact… I was kinda turned on. He must have read something in my eyes, because he really grinned then and murmured,
Mr. Harris: “Unfortunately you’ve been thrown into shark-infested waters in the middle of a hurricane with no life jacket.”
Maddie: “That’s a pretty spectacular way of putting it,”
I agreed with a small giggle.
Maddie: “Have a spare life jacket?”
Mr. Harris: “My dear, sharks don’t need them.”
He grinned at me, and I couldn’t help smiling back.
Ryan: "I love you. I want to marry you. Not for them or some deal, but because there’s no rest of my life without you in it. Making you my wife tomorrow or in ten years won’t change the fact that you’re mine and I’m yours.”
He laid a hand over my heart, his eyes burning as they searched mine.
Ryan: “Marry me, Madison Porter.”
Maddie: “Are you asking or telling?”
I teased, my eyes welling up.
Ryan: “I’m begging,”
Shyly, I made my request and prayed he wouldn’t say no.
Maddie: “Walk me down the aisle and give me away?”
Ash: “Walk you down the aisle, sure,”
he agreed, pulling me in for a hug,
Ash: “but I’m not giving you away, Maddie. If Ryan’s my brother, you’re my sister.”
Maddie; “Thanks, Ash,”
Ryan: “I can keep going and we’ll be in Tijuana before he knows you’re missing.”
A half-smile tugged at my lips.
Maddie: “We could live on the beach. You could run a surf shop, and I’ll weave baskets.”
Genuine laughter exploded from his chest.
Ryan: “I wasn’t aware basket weaving was a skill you possessed.”
Maddie: “I can learn. The other option is five-dollar blow jobs on a corner. I have it on pretty good authority that mine are, how did you put it? Fucking amazing.”
At least that was what he’d told me last night as I’d worshiped him on my knees. He grimaced.
Ryan: “Maddie, come on.”
Maddie: “I know,”
I sighed with extra drama.
Maddie: “You don’t share.”
Ryan: “Actually, I was going to say you’re underselling yourself . You’re worth at least ten dollars.”
I tugged my hand free to slap his chest.
Maddie: “Great plan. I’m sure Beckett will spend the rest of his day protecting Corinne. And I know I’d love to spend the rest of my life seeing you from the other side of a piece of glass.”
Ryan: “We’d at least have conjugal visits, babe,”
Maddie: “Until you realize the true love of your life is your cellmate, Bubba.”
I rolled my eyes. He frowned.
Ryan: “Don’t cheapen what we have by comparing my need to have my dick sucked on a regular basis. What Bubba and I have is strictly a biological release.”