Dark, gritty and intense!!
I repeat: DARK. GRITTY. INTENSE. (oh, and kinky 😉 )
All I knew going into this book was that there was a tortured hero slash rock star and some kind of captivity theme mixed in with a second-chance romance… and while it’s rare for me to go into a book blind, I have to admit that that was enough to sell me on it.
The story centers on Charlee and Jay. Charlee has spent years held captive by a brutal, powerful and sadistic billionaire who uses and abuses her in every way possible. Jay is a tortured soul, haunted by the nightmares of his past, trying his best to lose himself in music. They cross paths and although the timing isn’t right, they each unknowingly become the other’s salvation – inspiring the strength to endure throughout suffering and the drive to become a better person.
Three years later, they meet up again by chance but the past years have been tainted by more horrors. She’s now on the run, a survivor trying to heal from the physical and mental scars left over by her captivity and he’s now a broken rock god who has turned to drugs to find release from the pain he keeps buried inside, and yet sometimes in a crazy world full of evil psychotic billionaires, endless crowds of paparazzi, and a rock tour that must go on, they help each other help to heal and find happiness again.
“You showed me beauty in survival. I’ll show you strength in healing.”
I loved that Charlee was able to immediately see past Jay’s scars. To her, they just were a part of him and she fully accepted him just as he was. She knew his boundaries and respected them while also gently pushing them to try and help him heal. And, in turn, her acceptance of him made him determined to become a better man for her.
“That decided it. He would confront the thing that made him like this. He would become a man she could hold, despite his tattered and worn edges.”
It was heartwarming to watch these people finding support and healing in each other. They understood each other’s pain and also recognized the extreme necessities of each one’s situation.
“You trust me not to put my hands on you, and I trust you not to take my control.”
“Putting your trust in someone is the most vulnerable thing you can do… Dare to be vulnerable with me.”
I think initially I fell in love the book because the dark, gritty intensity just really punches you in the face when you start it. It’s shocking in the best of ways. It put my heart in my throat and kept me flipping pages like mad because with the way each chapter ends, it really compels you to keep reading. It’s definitely the kind of book that can keep you up til 4AM. But, once the shock wore off, I’m not necessarily sure how I feel about all the details of the story.
This book was fast-paced. There was always something new happening. It moved from scene to scene quickly and at no point did the story drag. Every time I thought I had a handle on where it was going, it veered in a different direction. But, there were times when I felt like it was a lot, almost too much, to pack into one book. It was like a mix between a dark and kinky BDSM book, a rock star book, and an action flick mixed in with a little second-chance romance. But at the same time, it all kind of worked.
On a random note, I have no idea how to work this quote into the review so I’m just going to throw it in here for fun as a bit of a glimpse into the crazy rockstar world just because it made me laugh 😉
“OhmyGod, you’re haaaaawt, Jay Maaaaaayard.”Click. Click. Click….Did a boob just flash in his face?“I love you, Jayeeeeeee. Looking good. You’re so handsome.”No, several boobs. Huge naked boobs… How far away was that damned car? .. More crying. More bouncing nipples.
Teehee. Ok, back to the review.
I found a few of the scenes just a little too blatantly over-the-top while others just didn’t quite add up. The middle of the book got a little craaaazy a times and there were a few parts I had to read twice to be sure of what had happened. But still, again, this is fiction so I pretty much just decided that I’d rather enjoy the story than pick it apart so I just went with whatever happened and tried not to ask too many questions because at the end of the day, I really couldn’t put it down.
It’s all told in third person but we still get alternating POVs. I found the transitions smooth and easy to follow and appreciated being able to get both sides of the story.
I warn you though – this book is not for the faint of heart. Heed the disclaimer warning on the blurb of this book because some of the captivity scenes in here make Captive In The Dark look tame. Okay? I’m serious. But, despite those scenes, this is not a Stockholm Syndrome book. Not at all. Charlee’s captor is a cruel, evil, sadistic psychopath and at no point is the reader made to feel anything but extreme hate for him.
My heart really broke for her. I think the freakiest part was that she was held captive right in the middle of town. She was right before everyone’s eyes and yet completely hidden from the world. “Every action supervised. Every. Single. Breath.” Her captor had everyone (even the cops) in his pocket and his intense obsession with her was so unnerving because hiding was nearly impossible. What do you do when the person who has made it his life’s mission to hurt you pretty much owns the world? Where do you turn?
This book is also full of dark twisty kink. It is graphic, it is hot and did I mention kinky?? There was this one scene that … um, hmm, ok all I’m going to say is this: Sandpaper. Belt. Cheese grater. Ice Pick. Plug. Ginger root. Drumstick. Cable. Bamboo pole. Guitar pick. Oh, and… a nipple clamp. That’s it. My lips are sealed on the rest 😉
In all seriousness though, I liked that Charlee and Jay were able to give each other what they needed. They didn’t choose what had happened to them and had no choice but to live with the scars left behind from their pasts and rather than succumb to them, they embraced them and embraced the things that the other needed to heal – even if those things made them uncomfortable and pushed the boundaries of their comfort zones.
“I fucking love you. I don’t deserve you, but I will spend the rest of my life earning that right. You are my music, do you understand?”
I felt like I wanted a little ‘more’ out of the story overall but, I still liked it. I was in the mood for dark and twisty and this certainly delivered.
I’m a little torn on rating here. I’m going to give it 4 stars because overall that’s where it sat with me… but there were moments that dipped down to 3.5 stars and others that almost reached up to 4.5 so it’s really not a clear cut rating.
It did have a happy ending though so you are rewarded at the end of the 500 pages with the characters finding peace and happiness. I did find it a little rushed at the end, but I was happy that they were happy.
“No matter what happens, no matter where we go from here, we go together.”