If I have to make her hate me in order to save her, I will, even if it destroys me in the process.
Madeleine, Abducted was a dark and gritty captivity-themed romance. It read as a standalone and had no cliffhanger but the series is planned to be continued featuring a different couple. While, a few scenes throughout the book definitely pushed the limits of my comfort zones, others were quite romantic (in a dark and twisty way), but overall this book is not for the faint of heart! However, if you’re a fan of darker romances like Captive In The Dark or Escape From Paradise, then definitely check this out!
I’d started reading this book the other night intending to only ‘test out’ one chapter and before I knew it I was 40% in and still hooked so this became my impromptu next read. I mean, here’s a part of the prologue below. It practically begs you to turn the page!
Within these page, you will find a tale typically left unsaid in polite society… It is a story about abduction, enslavement, and the moment when a life is delivered into darkness.
There is no neat and tidy ending, no white knight that rides in and delivers freedom, nor salvation — there is no escape. Like life, stories don’t always end with elegant edges.
A weak woman at one times, she fell victim to evil, disappeared on a fated night never to return to the world again… but not for the reasons you might think.
Her name is Madeleine Clark, and when she was abducted, she was not only dragged into hell…
She took over.
Yup. I had to read this!
So, the story begins when quiet, gentle concert cellist, Madeleine, is abducted following a performance effectively changing her entire life in a matter of minutes. Thrust into a dark, twisted world of sophisticated criminals, her rights, freedom and dignity was stripped away forcing her to assume her new role as slave at The Estate.
“This is your fate, Cricket. Asking why isn’t going to do anything for you except make that fate a much more painful journey. You need to learn the rules of your position and learn them quickly if you want to make a smoother transition into your new role.”
Isolated from help and now under the control of a sadistic man who lived beyond the reach of the law, Maddy was “gifted” as a birthday present from father to son and suddenly found herself caught in a viscous power play between two powerful opponents: The father, and ruler of Estate, Joseph Carmichael, whose depraved, twisted descent into madness served only to strengthen his ruthless and insatiable taste for cruelty, and his son, Aaron, his executioner, second-in-command, and maybe…. some thing more.
Having seen the brutality of his father, Madeleine was terrified to meet his son but she slowly discovered that there was something a little different about Aaron. There was a spark of…. humanity… buried behind his cold exterior. But he wasn’t a good man. While Aaron may not have been as cruel as his father but there was a ruthless side of him as well — one that took pleasure in the suffering of his enemies. However, he had no desire to follow in his father’s footsteps and wanted nothing more than to bring an end to his reign but it soon became apparent that even though he may have been in a position of power in the Estate, while his father ruled, ‘freedom’ was still all relative.
“He seeks to control you, Aaron; to tame you by forcing you into corruption. It is the same fame you’ve played with I’m since the beginning.”
The term ‘hero’ though is used rather loosely in regards to Aaron. I think it would be better to call him the ‘love interest’ instead. He was not a ‘good guy” and yet he had a soft spot for this woman who’d been thrust into his life against both their wills. Being around Maddy seemed to bring out a more gentle, compassionate side of him that wasn’t in his nature.
Maddy had a quiet strength about her and the instincts of a survivor. She seemed weak on the outside but as the story went on, we began to see just how strong she really was and how big her heart was.
The romance however was very slow-building. It was there and was hinted at from the start but there was no insta-Stockholm-Syndrome or anything like that. It took a while before Aaron’s tender side could even be shown to her and for the first while, he actually seemed quite cruel. But because we saw both sides of the story we understood that he too was trapped by his father.
“Dream of me, Maddy. See me as I want to be; not the nightmare who torments you, but the devoted and mystified man who worships at your feet.
Behind closed doors, Aaron began to show Maddy a different side of him but he couldn’t fully give into his feelings. It was a combination of ruthlessness and kindness as he fought his feelings for her while being overpowered by his duty.
“You are not allowed thought anymore, your choices are mine, your actions are mine, everything you think or do will only be because I have allowed it… Your life depends on your submission. Do not fight against me now only to be handed over to men far more cruel that I can ever be.”
Romance aside, the story itself was quite erotic in a dark, gritty way. But it is not for the faint of heart. Many of the scenes were intense, as it would be expected in a dark romance such as this. But I will admit that here was one scene that just went too far for me. Like really too far. It was gruesome, shocking (and I’m not easily shocked) and honestly just sicking. Overkill. I just wanted to puke. I didn’t like what it said about a certain character but in the end, but I guess just served as a chilling reminder that he was in fact a monster… just not in every way. I guess to a certain extent that’s what we look for in darker reads, right? Things that push the boundaries of our comfort zones? Let’s just say though that this one crossed my personal line a little bit.
Also, something random that stood out to me was that, while I understood that this book took place in modern day, it almost felt a little ‘removed’ from our world — possibly because of how isolated the Estate was — but even things like the way they talked was just… different, in places it almost felt borderline historical (even though it wasn’t at all). This is not a complaint though, just an observation.
And, while this was not a love triangle book, there were in fact two ‘main’ men in it — the first being the ‘hero’, Aaron, and the second being his bodyguard and close friend, Xander, who ended up taking almost a more friendship-based role with regards to Madeleine. The next book will be his story and I really liked his character in this one and am looking forward to reading his book!
Ohhhh and I thought it was so cool that the image from the cover of the book is actually an exact scene from the book!! Like, everything matches perfectly and it very much captured the ‘feeling’ of the book. Just a really awesome touch!
Overall, if you’re looking for a book that will just deliver the dark and gritty right to you without holding back, then this is one to check out.
4 stars (but I’m still totally grossed out by the scene at 89%)