He’s the most dangerous man she’s ever met…and she’s falling in love with him.
Madison Frost is desperate to escape her life. Daughter of a prominent businessman, she has everything a girl could ask for. Except for a family who’s present in her life, and anyone to talk to outside the four walls of the prison she calls home. Madison dreams of one day leaving her life behind. She never thought being kidnapped is how it would happen.
Now she’s being held captive by a man who’s as frightening as he is sinfully gorgeous. Enormous, muscular, and filled with secrets, the man they call Ghost is an enigmatic mercenary, and Madison is trapped with him. She doesn’t know who hired him or why, but the more time she spends at his mercy, the more she realizes he’s not what he seems. Beneath his rough exterior lies an unexpected gentleness and a heart as broken and battered as her own.
But as Madison lets down her walls, Ghost holds tight to his, hiding secrets that could destroy everything.
So this book really surprised me. While it wasn’t the first ‘dark romance’ book I’ve read, it is my first book from this author so I didn’t know what to expect from her in terms of writing style, character development, etc…It’s safe to say on both of those accounts I was really impressed; if anything, what made this book was the strong, well-crafted characters, their backgrounds, and their searing romantic connection that had me glued to the pages. The author’s writing is also a plus, nothing too flowery or descriptive but is still compelling; simplicity is beauty and the writing here is a fine example. But before I say anything else, I feel like it’s imperative to warn potential readers that this book is NOT a dark romance, even though the title and blurb heavily imply that. For me, this book was more of a straightforward NA romance with two lonely, lost individuals who fell in love with each other in unsavory circumstances. Had I known that aside from the kidnapping portion of the story, the rest would read like a normal NA romance, I would’ve gone into the book with a different mindset. So for readers like me who like going into books knowing about the genre, here’s your heads up
Okay, back to the book now.
Right from the start I connected with the heroine Madison. Her loneliness, her dreams and hopes, and her insecurities were all things I could relate to, and since we’re similar in age, there were many times I thought to myself ‘that girl could’ve been me.’ With a workaholic, forever-absent father and an alcoholic mother, Madison craves change, a real life, and a true loving family, not one that’s merely a façade. She just never expected her wishes to come true in the form of a kidnapping.
The enigmatic hero (let’s call him Ghost) is a hired mercenary who kidnaps Madison and holds her hostage for a week. What really took me by surprise here was how…normal Ghost was. He didn’t work in this dangerous field by choice; he’s not sadistic or out to intentionally hurt and kill others – it was his last resort in order to survive and deep down, he’s a good guy with dreams just like Madison.
I think the first 30% of the book I had to make myself get used to the fact that this was no dark romance like I expected it to be based off the blurb, and once that thought processed through, I began to settle into the story and really start enjoying it, because by then, I was sucked up by Madison and Ghost’s romance. One thing I took away from reading this book was that the author can create palpable sexual tension – I mean, forget the actual sex scenes that were pretty hot. The build up to that point – the stolen glances, the heated looks, the TENSION – whew, that’s what kept me glued to the pages. While the suspense part of the plot was predictable and the short timeline of the romance somewhat unrealistic, I just honestly didn’t care because wanting these characters to be together was at the forefront of my mind. I believe this is one of those rare times I’ve read in a book where a kidnapping theme wasn’t used as just a standard dark romance plot device to shock readers but as both an impediment and a bridge to the hero and heroine’s romantic connection. If Ghost hadn’t taken Madison, they would never have had a chance in normal society but since he did, that ugly first impression is there and also a negative. That kind of dichotomy and the inner turmoil that resulted because of it the author excelled at capturing in both of these characters through their actions and thoughts. It’s realistic angst I gobbled up
The reveal of the true villain at the end was a disappointment for me, and the events leading up to that point were hastily developed so I had to drop my rating a little; otherwise, this book would’ve been a solid 4 star read for me. I have to say, as the first book I’ve ever read from this author and despite the 3.5 star rating, I consider this book a winner for me. The story was never boring, I finished it in one sitting, the characters were strongly portrayed and I was really invested in the romance. As long as readers go into the book not expecting a dark romance, I think they’ll enjoy this book to a certain degree.
Captive is the first book in this suspenseful NA romance series and is a standalone. The second book Exposed will be about Ghost’s brother.
An advanced copy was provided by St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5 stars! (Kinda closer to 4)