Hostage (Criminals and Captives #2)

hostag

I NEVER KNEW WHEN HE’D COME TO ME. ONLY THAT HE WOULD.

I’d never even kissed a boy the night I met Stone. The night I saw him kill. The night he spared my life. That was only the beginning.

He turns up in my car again and again, dangerous and full of raw power. “Drive,” he tells me, and I have no choice. He’s a criminal with burning green eyes, invading my life and my dreams.

The police say he’s dangerously obsessed with me, but I’m the one who can’t stop thinking about him. Maybe it’s wrong to let him touch me. Maybe it’s wrong to touch him back. Maybe these twisted dates need to stop. Except he feels like the only real thing in my world of designer labels and mansions.

So I drive us under threat, until it’s hard to remember I don’t want to be there.

Until it’s too late to turn back.

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Hostage is a loose sequel to the first Criminals & Captives book, Prisoner. However, each can be read independently of one another.

Stone is darker than Grayson (from book 1) but I found that the book was actually a bit lighter. There was more mystery and intrigue in it than in the previous one, as the gang is trying to identify a couple of the key men who ran the human trafficking ring they were trapped in as children. There is none of the on-the-run shenanigans that our first couple went through.

Hostage is a very slow burn romance. When the hero and heroine first meet, she is 16 and he is a decade older. Although intrigued in (and attracted to) each other, the physical aspect of their relationship is not explored until Brooke is an adult. During this period, they only meet a few times, months apart, as Grayson keeps track of her.

There are also a few scenes of struggle and physical restraint that made the story hawt!

There are three main points that have caused me to rate this book as four stars instead of five.

Potential Spoilers ahead!

Firstly, the idea that Brooke’s parents were able to so well hide their destitution while still living the high roller lifestyle publicly is pretty flimsy. At one point it states her mother is working double shifts in a bakery in the next town to keep up appearances in their social circle, but this would never escape notice for long, though it apparently does in the book. The family is on the edge of ruin for years while hiding it from everyone.

It is entirely possible I suppose, but I found that the level of disbelief I was asked to suspend was too much.

Secondly, the identity of Keeper was obvious to me early on.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the ending was way too easy and “light”. Everything just fell together perfectly for the characters. I wish Stone and his boys had roughed Brooke up a little bit in order to get the identity of Keeper out of her. There are tons of dark romance novels out there with interrogation scenes (my favourite is reviewed here!) and it would have been something much more real for the couple to have to work through. As it was, the ending was kinda wah-wah for me. Certainly not dark.

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xx

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Prisoner (Criminals and Captives #1)

By the way, sorry for the lack of posts last week. I took a bit

of time off for spring break 🙂

prisoner

He seethes with raw power the first time I see him—pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles. He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty. He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back. At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.

But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage—you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape. He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard, you can’t think.

And you might crave him more than your next breath.

—                         —                         —

Prisoner is a dark romance book that begins with the heroine working as a writing teacher in a special program for prisoners. One particular prisoner makes her extremely uncomfortable – and wet – and he seems unusually fascinated with her as well.

Little does Abigail know that Grayson is playing her to send a message to his gang outside the prison walls, and that he is planning his prison escape using her as a hostage.

Abigail makes several escape attempts throughout this story so if you like a physical struggle where the hero subdues the heroine with his strength, this book just might you swoon.

I love that the authors created such a rich backstory to both characters and that there is a whole world that was created. It added much more depth and realism to a story compared to a romance that takes place within a vacuum.

Although this book was co-authored by two women, it flows seamlessly, without my being able to point out who wrote what section. They truly work well together and I am glad that there is another book to read after this!

The main drawback that I experienced with this story was that the level of corruption seemed too over the top. It seemed that no one was removed and that any new character you came across could be bought or manipulated. This is a plot device that I have hated since I was a small child reading about princesses dealing with court politics and I don’t like it anymore now. Otherwise, I would have rated it five stars.

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xx

Capture Me – a review

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A new dark romance series from the New York Times bestselling author of Twist Me

She fears him from the first moment she sees him.

Yulia Tzakova is no stranger to dangerous men. She grew up with them. She survived them. But when she meets Lucas Kent, she knows the hard ex-soldier may be the most dangerous of them all.

One night—that’s all it should be. A chance to make up for a failed assignment and get information on Kent’s arms dealer boss. When his plane goes down, it should be the end.

Instead, it’s just the beginning.

He wants her from the first moment he sees her.

Lucas Kent has always liked leggy blondes, and Yulia Tzakova is as beautiful as they come. The Russian interpreter might’ve tried to seduce his boss, but she ends up in Lucas’s bed—and he has every intention of seeing her there again.

Then his plane goes down, and he learns the truth.

She betrayed him.

Now she will pay.

NOTE: Capture Me is book 1 of 4 about Lucas & Yulia from the Twist Metrilogy. It’s not necessary to have read that trilogy to enjoy Capture Me, but the book does contain major spoilers for books 2 and 3 of Twist Me.

—           —               —             —

Capture Me by Anna Zaires is the first book in a spin-off quartet from the Twist Me series previously reviewed on Mackenzie’s Mountain. Capture Me features fan favourite Lucas with Yulia, the Ukrainian woman who betrayed Esguerra and co, causing their plane to crash.

Capture me is the first in another set of dark romance novels. And I think it is a key example of how great Anna’s writing is. Because I really don’t think that I should have liked this book. But I loved it.

Capture Me is relatively short compared to books I usually read, which is normally a turn-off. There is very little interaction between Julia and Lucas for the first half of the book, because the author is setting up the circumstances that led to Yulia’s betrayal and the behind-the-scenes machinations, following the plane crash, that the reader missed in the previous series. Also something that I usually dislike in a romance.

And yet, I couldn’t stop reading.

Zaires’ writing is compelling, with just enough action to keep things moving quickly but not so much that it seems over-the-top. She really understands her characters and has them react in realistic ways. I can easily place myself into the position of Yulia or Nora because my reactions would follow the same paths as their own.

I am super excited for the follow-up, Bind Me which is due to be released in early February.

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xx