This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Montlake Romance
Released on December 16, 2014
I planned to read the first book in this series when I read the blurb and as it happens this ended up being the one I got first so I crossed my fingers and dove right in hoping I would be okay to start with book two. Not a problem, but I did get the sense that I might have enjoyed it more (though how that can be possible since I’m pretty amazed already)if I’d got them in order since I felt there was some carryover from book one.
The experience of reading this book ranks pretty high and I dare say I’ll be binging on this new to me author’s books now that I’ve read this. Fortunately, I have several from another series and I’ll definitely be going back for book one of this one. And why such fervor? It grabbed my attention, it pushed hard at my emotions, it left me breathless and, most telling, I could not put it down. I attempted to bookmark it twice and each time, I just couldn’t leave it. Things were so intense.
The series is about modern day pirates of the high seas. These folks are ruthless, hard, cunning and oh so much more beneath the surface. In this story, there are two heavily damaged people. At first glance, they seem so different, but as the story progresses they learn that they are very much the same.
[quote]I step up on deck and I see him, standing in the corner, gripping the railings so hard his fingers look like they’re straining. I take a step toward him, not fully realizing why I’m here. He’s cruel, and awful, and…shit…he’s broken. If anyone understands broken, it’s me.
- 78 Jess from Where Darkness Lies[/quote]
The story starts with Dimitri seeking revenge against his step-father, the pirate Hendrix. He uses a woman he saw Hendrix look on with a caring gaze as his bait. Kidnapping Jess was part of his plan to make Hendrix pay for leaving him in that hell all alone after his mom died and never looking back. Only Jess isn’t what he expected. She challenges him and pushes him to re-think his plans, but he can’t. What does this little pretty thing know about the pain and horror of his past and what it has done to him?
Only Jess knows. It takes one to know one. She wants to hate Dimitri for taking her from her home and wants to kill the only man who cared for her and believed in her since her parents died and she was left with that fiend. But she feels she must try to get through to him that he has it all wrong about Hendrix and that he can’t live his life for revenge. She got hers and she knows it doesn’t fix anything. In the midst of all that goes on, Jess gets past Dimitri’s walls and he gets past hers, but will they ever have a chance if he stays set on killing a man that is family to her?
This book is brutal and gritty. The settings, situations and characters are unapologetically tarnished and live in a different world with a different set of laws. It’s a capture romance, but stays on the mild end of the spectrum as its all consensual. The story splits time between being at sea and on land. And tosses in lots of illegal cage fighting and chase scenes for good measure. While the settings and activities were exciting and suspenseful including the real danger Jess is in late in the story from a person in her past, the most compelling part was the slow developing relationship between Dimitri and Jess.
There are so many layers to their relationship- capture/captive, mistrustful acquaintances, cautious lovers and all the slow progressions in between as well as big steps back each time trust is broken. I really liked how the author took her time with their characters and their attraction. There are seething and heavy emotions, passion and lighter moments. While they went through similar experiences, Jess’ soul is lighter and less dark and broody like Dimitri’s. I appreciated the humor between them even when they were still feeling their way. Jess is hilarious when she’s drunk:
[quote]”What’s wrong with cute?”
“Cute is what you call the guy you don’t think is good looking, but you don’t want to insult.”
I laugh, shaking my head and poking his bottom lip with my finger. “Okay, how about this? You’re sexy, hot, smokin’, panty-melter, the wetter of pussies everywhere.”
He laughs loudly, “Are you f***** serious?”
“People are asking me that a lot tonight.” I frown. “And yes, I’m serious. There are many women with uncomfortable vaginas right now because you gave them sex eyes.”
His chest is rumbling with laughter and it makes me smile.
“Uncomfortable vaginas, really?”
“It’s a very serious issue, Dimitri. Don’t blow it off. One serious look from you and boom…”
- 109 Jess and Dimitri from Where Darkness Lies[/quote]
But the payoff was that intense nail-biter ending. Totally for all the marbles. And the denouement afterward was just the right touch to bring me down and leave me with a smile on my face.
All in all, I was treated to a grand adventure in the spirit of some of the best pirate romances of the past. The authors writing was gripping and her characters compelling. I would definitely recommend this one to those who like their contemporaries to have some dark grittiness and passion.
I received this book as part of a First Reads giveaway on GoodReads, but that did not affect my review.
Romance Roundabout #115 CR
Mt TBR. #63
Cliché Klatch #47 ‘Right off the bat’
New to Me #61 Author/series/modern pirates
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