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My name is M. L. Stark, and I wrote the “Burning Desire” series based on experiences from my personal life.

For the past decades, I wanted to write a book about my life experience, from being born to becoming an adult woman. I was married for over 20 years and have adult children and grandchildren. As I was middle-aged I was divorced and met a new man that mentally abused me.

In a flurry of lust mistaken for love with a swindler, all bets on a safe, happy life are off. I fell victim in my chase for love that engulfed me, and I couldn’t see through the love life as I was dating a sociopath, who had swindled others throughout his entire life with his schemes and scams. Before I knew of it, I sacrificed my livelihood for this toxic adventure with the sociopath that takes us across the globe. Little did I know as I soon became a character in the psychopath’s horror as he began to sink into his cruel mania of deceives, abuse and lies. Financially I was bailing him out of messes, lying on his behalf, leaving my husband and children behind, and putting my life on the line for a future that eventually catches up to me. Later in life with my new lover, I knew I must make the difficult decision to lose myself completely in love or leave the psychopath behind. While I was living in a petrifying mess, I still had the courage to help abandoned animals and support children’s causes if needed as it gave me the most optimistic values in life.

In 2014, I began to research sociopathic behavior and along with my first-hand experience dating a sociopathic man, I reflected on that entire experience. While being in a devastating mess in life I took the courage to close my clinic and relocate from Balkan to United Kingdom. At first, I wanted the writing to be self-help, so I could get control over my distraught life again. Next, I wanted to shed light on psychological abuse and increase awareness of the blindness in adoration of the fake love scammers and sociopaths use to mentally abuse others. Living with a narcissist and a manipulative person is more than difficult to get through. My narcissist was not a monster or an evil killer creature, but he had a very cruel psychological agenda for me. In 2016 I got the courage to write some of my life experience of the double-edged sword of love, and I’m sure readers will find the line between love and manipulation is anything but clear-cut.

Part 1 was published in February 2020 followed by Part 2 of the “Burning Desire trilogy: The Psychopath and the Girl in Black Prada Shoes” in September 2020. With my story I am hoping to connect with people and deter them from facing a toxic relationship in their lives by sharing my own real-life events.

Today I live a content life in Bournemouth, United Kingdom, knowing that I’ve achieved the impossible; to write books about being a victim who survived the cruelty of abuse. Ending with one of Bob Marley’s quote: “The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love without the intention of loving her.”

M. L. Stark



BY • POSTED ON Feb. 14, 2020

A vulnerable woman falls into the predatory clutches of a smooth-talking physician in this novel.

When Mary fatefully meets Dr. Drake Lucifer Bates, she muses: “The name ‘Drake’ makes me think of a dragon. Oh no! ‘Lucifer’ I know from my faith, and it reminds me of the fallen angel sent to hell by God. The devil? Holy cow! Goosebumps run chillingly along my spine, but I don’t know if they are good ones or bad ones.” At the time, she is a “fragile personality”—her marriage of more than 20 years to her husband, Paul, seems destined for divorce, the result of his deceitful infidelity. She is also suffering from terrible chronic pain in the aftermath of back surgery. When Mary encounters Drake at his clinic in Spain, her original impressions are contradictory—on the one hand, he is monstrously inappropriate, unabashedly flirtatious and visibly aroused by her. But she is drawn to his “spicy body,” his empathy, and charisma. She wonders if he can save her from a life of emotional disappointments: “For me, he’s the genuine dream of a man, a spellbinding phantom of my shining white saviour on a white rescue horse.” But she begins to detect the “deep darkness of his evil agenda” and his rampant dishonesty and even starts to suspect he is a sociopath. Drake turns out to be a malicious “puppet master” and not only uses Mary for sexual exploitation, but also convinces her to leave her husband, all the while bilking tens of thousands of dollars from her.  

Stark’s entire novel is written in the style of a memoir, with Mary serving as both protagonist and narrator, conveying her lament with breathless melodrama assisted by an infinite arsenal of exclamation points. The author is at her best exploring the way an intelligent, even skeptical woman could be so thoroughly deceived by such a clumsy, transparent huckster. But the plot is meanderingly ill disciplined and often reads like an interminable, furious jeremiad. Mary complains for pages and pages in the most hyperventilated register about her woes, and that is essentially the crux of the tale. There is no element of suspense—Mary announces from the beginning that Drake is a con man and she is his dupe. Still, the weakest feature of Stark’s book, the first installment of a trilogy, is the writing, which seems pitched at one tone—screaming. Here, Mary is about to succumb to Drake’s incessant advances: “Shame on me! I’m a dead drunken fish on his hook! In my half-drunk condition, I’ve left my brain in the last glass of whisky. Oops! I know I must say no, but I’m only human and have desires! So, I’m about to fall right into his cunning, sexy plan to seduce me, as his gentle caresses [sic] and while he speaks sensitive words in my ears.” As a result, this is an exhausting story—the author’s prose exacts a heavy toll on readers who make it to the end of the work.

An intriguing but rambling tale about a woman and a psychopath.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-98-459360-3

Page count: 348pp

Publisher: XlibrisUK

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2021

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"Screw it, let's do it." By Richard Branson

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Animals, children and the global environment.

Demode Magazine Review, 2021 The Overdue Book Review, 2021 The Prairies book Review - Burning Desire: Part 1, 2020 The Overdue Book ReviewThe Prairies book Review - Burning Desire Fades: Part 2, 2020



Part 2 presents the continuation of the maliciously agenda of Doctor Bates and will leave you in a trance of shock with its vigorous narrative. A moment ago, it seemed, it was yesterday full of happiness. Tomorrow it is a matter of survival for Mary as her life is on the brink of insanity to her Knight in Shining Armor. Loving him was all she ever had. As she meets Drake again she becomes a slave in the madness of love. Before Mary notice the dangerous life, she gets deeply trapped in Drake’s dodgy mesh. It’s too late for her to escape. Fraud, lies, dominance, torment and the complexity of an abusive relationship evolve, and will unexpectedly be a new part of Mary’s life. Drake’s sinister betrayal sneaks slowly in as he lures Mary like a ravenous wolf in sheep’s clothing. Mary will experience love, hatred and deception; however, will she continue to be Drake’s victim in his mystiques and hefty deceptions he gets during the nights? On the outside, it seems Drake is loving and has a high IQ, above normal. On the inside, he is a devious psychopath. The story will drastically unfold to a complexity of a love drama, crime, fraud and Drake’s delusions of grandeur. At a secluded area outside Hong Kong, the mafia attempt to kill Drake. We will follow the two sweethearts in how they try to escape from the difficulties with the Asian Mafia. With lightning speed, three creepy guys and the mafia boss run into the Hotel to search for Drake. Not only once, but several times the two lovebirds are on the run in the shadowy darkness of the night, because Drake steal and frauds his business associates. Readers review on Part 1: • Very captivating from beginning to end. I look forward to the sequel. —Susanne • The book is a riveting tale by a writer who has all the gifts to pull it off. It is sharp clean writing that grabs you from the 1st page. The author has a knack for describing her characters with deep human insight. The book marks a dazzling debut for a first-time fiction author. Read the book, you will be glad you did it. —Inger • This is an amazing story that keeps you wanting more. I can’t wait for part 2! —Susie
Published: Sept. 15, 2020
ISBN: 9781664112582