In the interest of full disclosure, I feel like I should mention that I read this book because the hero of All Chained Up is an inmate at a maximum security prison when he meets the heroine. How often do you see that as the set-up for a romance book? I was so intrigued.
Knox Callaghan has been incarcerated at Devil’s Rock for the last eight years on a manslaughter charge. Every single day has been a relentless struggle to be the biggest, baddest man on the cell block in order to make it to his next parole hearing and a life of freedom. He and his brother North are constantly watching each other’s backs. When a fight lands him in the infirmary the new volunteer nurse captures his attention. Of course, she’s incredibly skittish around him, because who wouldn’t be? But he desires her all the same. So when he catches wind of a plan by several of his fellow inmates to take over the infirmary and hold its inhabitants hostage, he does what he has to in order to save her.
Briar Davis only agreed to accompany the doctor she works for as a volunteer at the local prison because no one else stepped forward. Pretty much scared out of her mind, she has to reassure herself over and over each time another locked door is opened and she is led further into the place she never thought she’d be. When prisoners are brought in for treatment after what looks like a pretty bad brawl she gets her first look at Knox Callaghan. All tattooed, stony-eyed, six feet plus of him. To say she’s uncomfortable in his presence is an understatement, but not only because he’s a dangerous criminal. The desire she feels around him is crazy and wrong, as she well knows after a childhood spent with an abusive father and a mother who refused to leave a bad situation. Then all of a sudden the man who she ought to be afraid of becomes her hero.
I went into this book ready for extremely dark subject matter, and don’t get me wrong it is dark, but not as much as I was expecting. In fact not even as dark as many MC romances that have become so popular the last several years. It is definitely off the charts sexy. After saving the lives of Briar and the other medical staff Knox is paroled almost immediately, so he heads back home to take care of his aunt and uncle while helping to run the family owned bar. He runs into Briar shortly after his release and that is when the sparks literally explode on the page. I’m not even kidding a little bit when I say this book hot. Mr. Callaghan has eight years to make up for and he only wants to do it with Briar. Lucky girl.
Knox’s back and forth fear of not being good enough did grate on me after a while. Not that I didn’t “get” it, I just wished this couple hadn’t spent so much of the book either in the sack or second-guessing whether they should even have a relationship. I wanted a bit more relationship development before the big I love yous. I liked these two as a couple, I guess I just needed more shared secrets, more big emotional talks, more dates out of the house.. just more. There was this moment at the end, though, where Briar stands up for herself that had me cheering on her behalf. I feel like if I was in her situation I would have done the same exact thing.
All in all, as a first book in the series, All Chained Up did its job perfectly. I am now completely engaged and interested in this world and its characters. I want to know more about North and find out how he finally gets out of prison. The set up for book two was fantastic and I can not wait to see how Reid and the President’s daughter ride off into the sunset together. I’m already trying to figure out the logistics of how that would even work.
Fans of grittier contemporary romances will definitely want to add this one to their TBR list. Final Grade- B-
His voice breathed into her ear, “Mine.”
She felt the word echo through her, felt it sink deep and root inside of her in the most hidden crevices of her heart. Her chest expanded on a silent yes. She was his. And he was hers. She felt that, too, even if she couldn’t say it out loud.