Burning Desire; The story of dating a manipulator

Mary’s marriage is unfulfilling, and unfaithful. So when she meets Dr. Drake Lucifer, who is prepared to sweep her off her feet, she is totally enchanted by his allure and attentiveness. Utilising his role as Mary’s doctor to his own perverse advantage, Drake makes his way into Mary’s psyche, using power and fear to attract her. As Mary’s marriage crumbles, she becomes more and more enslaved to Drake as he masterfully manipulates her every move, their relationship turning down a dangerous and possibly inescapable path…

M. L. Stark who has just released the second book in this series (Burning Desire Fades) hopes to reach both women and men who are navigating romantic relationships with one another through this revelatory book. What starts out as a romance quickly takes a turn as Stark educates us on the tell-tale signs of a toxic relationship, helping women learn how to identify psychopathic and manipulative behaviour early on. This is a guidebook on how to take the necessary precautions during courtship to protect oneself. She hopes that this book can also help male readers, who are in relationships with women who have dated a psychopathic man, to understand their partner and treat them with the love, respect and patience that they need.

She calls out the hallmarks of abuse, citing unequal power balances, unequal monetary situations and low self-esteem as facilitators of abuse and warns against the signs of narcissism. Lack of boundaries, respect and self-control all start as small issues that gradually grow to encompass the entire relationship, until there seems to be no way out.

Reading like a dark confession, this is a dramatic and sometimes fantastical read, but the message at its core remains the same; beware. Written from personal experience, the tone is retrospective, looking back on mistakes and missed red flags with regret and shame – but also hope that other women will not fall into the same traps. It is unclear how much is based on Stark's real experiences, but it is emphasised that these are fictional accounts. She now lives in the UK, knowing she achieved the impossible; documenting being a survivor of the cruelty of childhood abuse and mental abuse from the man she loved.

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