Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Breathe In by Michelle King - Book Tour & Review

Everything changes in one night, when Tessa Benson is snatched from the streets and tied to a bed, a camera set up to capture her dying moment…

By Michelle King

Breathe in. Breathe out. This mantra gets Tessa Benson through the day. The man she loves walks all over her, and she just wants to get by without her heart shattering to pieces. If she could find her voice, she’d scream. Everything changes in one night, when she’s snatched from the streets and tied to a bed, a camera set up to capture her dying moment. And the person who paid to watch her die…is still out there somewhere. Tessa prowls dark neighborhoods in a quest for justice, but she doesn’t find the killer. Not until they strike again…in the place Tessa is least expecting, and where it hurts most.

“Dark. Disturbing. Absolutely out of character for Michelle Bellon (compared to her other books). You absolutely feel for Tessa. Your heart & soul breaks with her. You will get angry & you will cry with her. Simply amazing.” – Amazon Reader

“This story is a very, very dark thriller. It has some things in it that might upset some people. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! Tessa is trying to just get through each day with the man she loves. He is not a nice man. He walks all over her, belittles her, he is a scum bag! Then she gets kidnapped one night and tied to a bed. There is a camera on her to show someone or some people just how she is going to die! Can she get away? Who would do such a thing? You will need to read the book to find the answers.” – Amazon Reader

Book Information

Release Date: November 15, 2019

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

Soft Cover: ISBN:  978-1640347953; 272 pages; $13.99; Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3grB5TS

As the phoenix eternally rises from the flames, so shall she...

Something more insidious than guilt or embarrassment engulfs me. I’ve felt both of those frequently in my life. This is shame all the way to my core. I’m crying so hard now I can hardly make out the features of his face. Scrambling like a rag doll, I stagger out of the car and nearly fall on my face when my left ankle turns inward, just like it did in front of his home the week before. I stumble and catch myself. Beyond humiliated, I want nothing more than to hide. As soon as I’m upright, I break into a run. I’m in heels, so I stagger-step multiple times, but I’m determined to get anywhere but right here.

Blindly, I run across the lot. As I round the corner, I run smack into someone as they are coming the opposite direction.  

“Tessa? Are you okay?”

I glance up through the stream of tears to see a blurry image of Gerald. “No, no. I just want to go home.” I push off his chest and stumble backward, then turn and flee the opposite direction without saying a word, ignoring Gerald’s plea of confusion as the distance between us widens. I pray he won’t follow. I just want to get away from this place.

I keep running until I’m at least a few blocks away. Winded, fatigued, and little sick to my stomach, I stop. I lean against the wall of a building, taking in sharp gasps of air, and look around. Thankfully, Gerald didn’t follow. Where am I? Terin. I left Terin back at the club. I can’t go back there. I’ll have to call her and let her know I’ve gone home. She’ll be fine.

My phone? Where is my phone? It was in my handbag. I had my handbag when I left the club with Tom. Shit. It must be in his car. Fear, pain, shame, anger, guilt, all well up tight within my chest and rise until I feel as if I will go mad. I run my fingers through my hair and cry so hard I start to gag again. I want to puke. Get that man out of me. Get him out!

“Can I help you? Are you okay?”

Startled, I spin around. The man from the library is standing at the corner, maybe fifteen feet away. My crying wanes as muddled thoughts spin around in my mind, trying to make sense of it all. Why is he here? Did he follow me from the club? His brow is pinched with a look of concern. He takes a step forward. “Are you okay?”

My knees and hands are trembling violently. “I’m…I’m fine.” I drag both hands across my face, swiping away the tears.

He takes another step forward. “Are you sure? You seem upset. Are you ill?”

I take a step back. I don’t want any further interaction tonight. I’ve had more than enough. All I want to do is go home. And this guy…he seems friendly, but he freaks me out. “No, really. I’m fine. I’m just on my way home.”

Another step forward. “Do you need a ride?”

Another step back. Why won’t anyone listen to me? “No. I’m fi…”

Something is pulled over my head from behind. The world is dark and muffled. I scream. Hands go around my waist. My arms arc outward, side to side, hoping to hit anything in my path. What is happening? Fear, stark and white, drains the blood from my head to my toes. I’m dizzy.

Voices bark out sharp orders but I’m flailing about and screaming so I can’t make out what they’re saying. Another set of hands grab my legs and pull them out from under me so now I’m being carried by two men…one by my waist and the other by my legs. I writhe and twist. I have to get out of this. I need to get away. What is happening? My breath plumes in and out in short, hot gasps inside the small bag over my head. Claustrophobia flares up. A stronger wave of panic follows. I’m…going…to pass…out. 

My Review
Holy crap, that ending...
Breathe In is the mantra that Tessa, our main character, uses to get herself through each day. She's a bit meek. A bit boring. A bit plain. But all that changes the night she goes out to a club with her friend Terin. Unhappy about being there, Tessa tries to make the most of it. But then she's kidnapped and drugged, and when she comes to, she discovers a horrifying reality. She's about to be the star of a snuff film. Somehow, she endures and then escapes. Now, though, her life has changed. But with this change comes a sense of purpose. Determination. Anger. The collector of these evil films is still out there, and when he strikes again, Tessa will stop at nothing to take him down.
I really rather enjoyed this book. It starts off a bit slow (not in a bad way) and builds up in a way that will have you on edge, waiting for something awful to happen. Once Tessa escapes, the book comes back down off that cliff of anxiety for a bit, but you're still left in a state of distress, wondering what will happen next. Tessa's fears leach out from the pages, infecting you and forcing you to keep reading to see how it will all play out. 
Closer to the end, things ramp up again, and by the time it's over, you'll be left breathless and, if you're anything like me, gleeful. 
I love a good revenge story. It's why I like movies like The Last House on the Left (remake) and I Spit on Your Grave (remake), even though they deal with awful, triggering subject matter. Putting a main character through hell, only to have them triumph and take down the person (or people) who has tried to destroy them always makes me happy (and also probably makes me a weirdo, but...)
Breathe In is one heck of a rollercoaster, and I would highly recommend it to fans of thrillers. 
4.5 stars!


Michelle King lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Chayne and her children. She loves coffee, Superman, rollercoasters, and has an addiction to chapstick.

She works in healthcare management and in her spare time writes novels. As a multi-genre author, she has written in the categories of romance suspense, young adult, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. She has won four literary awards.

She is the author of the thriller, Breathe In.

Visit her website at https://www.authormichelleking.com/ or connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


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