Authors: Annika Martin, Skye Warren
Publication date: October 23rd 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Rating: 4.5 stars
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.
From the moment I read this synopsis until the last page, this book grabbed my attention and didn’t let go. The story attacked my emotions. I had a range of feelings as Grayson took control. Anxiety, fear, sympathy, anger. As the prisoner becomes the capture.
The connection between Grayson and Abigail begins in the most unlikely of places, within the walls of a prison. Abigail as the teacher. Grayson as the student. While it appears as though the two are nothing alike, they both share horrible upbringings. Abigail was able to walk away into a better world, a better life. Grayson was not, and it shaped who is today. Let it be clear, while Grayson may not have committed the crime that landed him in prison, he is not a good guy. And in this book, he doesn’t have a “come to Jesus” moment. He is a BAD GUY to the core.
Within the classroom setting, the vibe between Abigail and Grayson simmers. Neither act on the strange connection they are feeling. And most of the time, neither understand why the connection is happening in the first place.
They say there are two types of fear – the kind that has you running far, far away, and the kind that shakes you so deeply that you can’t look away. For me, Grayson is the second kind of fear.
As the roles reverse, and Abigail becomes the prisoner, I was surprised by how much she fought him. Whether she senses that she’ll never get her happy ending with him, or whether overheard words shape her fear, she doesn’t give up without a fight. I was so torn in reading it all, half of me wanting to applaud her fight, half of me cringing as I realized she was only making things worse for herself.
Strangely, outside of the prison walls, Grayson seems more dependent on Abigail than within those walls. It’s as if he senses she is his last hope at happiness. I’m not sure how he sensed it, given the words and actions she throws up on him. But he can’t seem to walk away, even when she becomes a huge liability to him. When faced with the reality of it, he just can’t let her go. Even if its the death of him.
Did she hope her class broke me of my darkness?
As a dark romance, there are some scenes are a bit disturbing, both centering on sexual acts. Abigail’s physical state during those moments, may make you question those moments.
“I know what it’s like to hate what’s happening. And to hate that you like it.”
The most interesting part of the story is trying to comprehend Abigail’s changes through the whole experience. Does she have Stockholm syndrome? Does she just give up to fate that there is no escape? (Given some of the scenes later in the book, this clearly didn’t seem the case). The process in which she slowly moves from fighting Grayson, to fighting for him, was fascinating to me.
It takes a lot to invite death instead of postponing it. Because that’s all I’m doing here, by obeying him. Postponing death.
Grayson’s brothers in arms, so to speak, are a scary bunch, and had me on the edge of my seat, particularly in the scene where he is unconscious. While I hated them at times, I slowly began to understand their case. Is it the normal way to overcome the past? No, and I liked how Abigail was the one to point out that their decisions wouldn’t give them peace. The direction they go from there seems to have the right purpose. But I’m certain they will accomplish their goals on the wrong side of the law.
“One blade to protect my brothers, one blade for vengeance.”
This is meant to book one of a series, but it wasn’t clear if and when the next book would be, or who it might be about. I’m really hoping we get another book, either about Stone or Nate. Although I was terrified through parts of this book, I’m not ready to walk away from this group. I want more!
*An ARC was received from the author for an honest review.