“Even in that scary, shadowy place of my mind, a feather of hope floated, stark white and bright. Someone would save me. Someday.”
Any fans of Captive in the Dark out there looking for a new dark read?? ‘cuz this is it! Dark. Dark. Dark!!
Both erotic and disturbing, Escape From Paradise was captivating roller coaster of a read that kept me glued to the page.
When Angela sneaks off to a tropical vacation with her friends, she thinks the worst thing that can happen is her parents finding out. But she was wrong. So, so wrong! On her last day in paradise, she meets a gorgeous man who romances her, takes her out dancing… and kidnaps her. She wakes up on a boat where her kidnapper hands her off to his father who is a sex-slave trader. Given that she is an American, they can’t risk her going to the authorities so she is kept against her will and forced into their lifestyle.
“I had a choice to make. Failing this test would mean death. Passing would mean sexual slavery. Both options were inconceivable.”
Across the ocean, Colin hadn’t had the easiest life either. When he was sixteen, his parents were murdered and his little brother went missing while he was out partying. Several years later, he managed to track him down only to find him just a shell of who his brother used to be – drugged out, brutalized, and mindwashed. From that point on, Colin devoted himself to helping others in similar situations. So when Angela’s photo came across his desk, he made it his new mission to find and rescue her. He couldn’t save his brother but just maybe, he could save her.
But in order to rescue her, he had to go deep undercover… do things he’d never imaging doing. He had to become the very thing that he was rescuing her from.
So…. *deep breath* where to begin?
The first words that come to mind when I think about this book are: dark, twisted and uncomfortable…. but, holy hell I could. not. stop. turning. the. pages.
Before anything else though, I feel you should know that I actually had an issue with the beginning of the book and the way that she was taken because seriously… what person in their 20’s doesn’t know it’s a bad fucking idea to take a drink from a strange man in a club and then go out back to his secluded car to fool around? I mean, really? I felt horrible for her because no one, no matter how naive, deserved what happened to her ever but I still feel the need to mention my frustration about that part. But at the same time, that was the only frustrating thing that happened in the entire book so I was willing to overlook it and just move along with the story.
And move right along it did. Angela was basically thrown into a nightmare scenario having no choice but no comply with this lifestyle.
“I know this is difficult, but it does not have to be bad. You must come to terms, pretty girl, with the knowledge that your life will never be the same. You will never return home. You belong to me now, and I will treat you well. But, I cannot trust you, I will have to dispose of you. Do you understand that?”
Gah! I just felt horrible for her!! She was very strong though as a character and you see her go from this sweet, innocent college girl to this woman who understandably did what she had to to survive in this twisted world. You really experience everything with her. Such a feeling of violation!
“Ideas of privacy and entitlement and freedom slipped away. The meanings of strength and weakness morphed and failed to matter anymore. All that mattered was survival…”
This book upset me in many places although interestingly, it was different than some of the other ‘darker’ kidnap/captivity books I’d read because there was no Stockholm syndrome going on here. No mind fuck. The hero of the story wasn’t one of her captors and I liked that because it made the book stand on it’s own a bit among these kinds of stories.
But I certainly cringed and shuddered my way through more than one scene. There were some parts that made me absolutely sick to my stomach. Definitely uncomfortable. But… again, could not put it down!
“My body was not mine. It belonged to whomever paid the highest price to rent it.”
Just to clarify here though – this isn’t so much a gritty book. Yes, it’s dark and twisted but not in a gritty way because she was actually being kept in a very luxurious place and treated well (all things considered) as long as she was compliant, submissive and did everything and anything she was told to do.
Ok, now here’s where the angsty part comes in… The hero, Colin, has to go undercover, right? To rescue her and all… but ohhh the things he has to do to save her!! *clutches heart* I swear half the time I didn’t know if I should be fanning myself or cringing because don’t forget though that this is a romance. Colin and Angela had a very clear and strong connection. Granted their situation prevented them from acting on it but it was there almost from the start and you definitely root for them from the first time they laid eyes on each other. Their scenes were just so heart-breaking and intense…
“You.” She spoke quietly. “You’re not… you didn’t even want to do those things.” ….“I did the only things I could think of to save you.”
I also thought the way the story was told was really interesting because while it told both POVs, hers was in first person and really put you right in her head and his was in third person which basically gave you his side while still being an observer. I though the author did a really great job of that. Also, it was cool that his side of the story (since he was Scottish) was told with all sorts of ‘Scottishisms’ thrown in that made it become very much ‘his’ voice. Again, I really liked that.
Overall, I started out unsure but ended up loving it. The characters were very compelling, the scenarios were intense, the story was captivating and it was nearly impossible to put the book down.
I need to rate the book in sections. I give the first part 3 stars (because seriously, she walked right into the kidnapping), but then I quickly warmed up to 4 stars and there certainly several point in the book that were almost 5 star-worthy so overall, I’d rate it about 4 – 4.5 (closer to 4.5 though) and would say that I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a book that will push the limits of your comfort zones and yet still give you a romance you can believe in and root for.
“Even within all the ugliness of the world there was beauty. Some of it needed to be pulled from the dirt and dusted off, given wings.”
This is a standalone Adult novel with a completely resolved ending.
I grabbed this casting photo off the author’s Facebook page because honestly it’s just perfect for this story.
Ellie Totten says
Hi, this sounds incredibly like the Natalee Holloway story which has never been resolved. There has been much speculation about what happened to her…being kidnapped into the sex slave world was one of them. Is it supposed to be loosely based on her tragic disappearance?
No, I don’t think there is any connection between the two stories. There are several romance books following this theme out now. Another is Captive In The Dark by CJ Roberts.
I just finished this book a few days ago and LOVED it! Definitely along the lines of Dark Duet series but different. Glad to hear you enjoyed it too! Can’t wait to read more from this author!
Loved that book , everything felt so real and I enjoyed every single characters even if some only player a small part in the story …. Do you know if there’s will be a sequel because I feel like even though there was an epilogue Angela and Colin’s story didn’t feel completely finish….
I believe the next book will be a spinoff about a different character but I haven’t heard anything in a while.
Brenda Rothert says
Love this review! This was one of my top reads of 2013. It’s dark, but I also could not stop turning the pages. I was pulled in immediately by this fresh, captivating read. The best part for me was discovering this book while searching Amazon for something new, knowing nothing about it.
Thank you! I felt the same way and sometimes I really just love a good darker read in between the fluffier ones 🙂