So I’m glancing through a list of books for review and I see Skye Warren and Annika Martin’s (otherwise known as Carolyn Crane) names right above this blurb:
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.
My first thought was “Gimme, gimme, gimme”. Just in case you aren’t aware, Skye Warren writes dark erotica that always takes me right to the edge and then makes me stop and think, trying to figure out how I feel about what I just read. Annika Martin in her alter ego writes some pretty awesome romantic suspense (Jen’s a huge fan). Seriously, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Prisoner.
First let me say, this is definitely a dark, gritty romance. Grayson is in prison for killing a cop and Abigail is there working on a writing assignment for a college class. When Grayson figures out that she is intent on eventually publishing some of the inmates stories as part of an online journal it doesn’t take him long to bribe his way into her class. He needs to get word out to his crew in order to facilitate a break out. Abby is buttoned-up, all prim and proper, and also completely fascinated by the big, hardened prisoner. Grayson is dangerous and her attraction to him leaves her jumpy and confused. But she is determined to finish the assignment.
During his prison break Grayson takes Abby hostage. That’s when things start to get confusing for me and for Abby. She is terrified of what he is going to do to her, but their fascination for each other continues to build. The dubious content warning is not to be ignored as there are several instances where Grayson’s sexual advances aren’t welcome and even one scene I’m still not sure how I feel about where Abby isn’t completely in control of all of her faculties. Regardless, Abby does slowly come to trust him as she learns of this history and the horror he lived through as a child. And it is horrific. Her backstory is also pretty terrible and in a way made me believe that these two scarred people might be made for each other.
While not exactly romantic in the usual sense, I do think the connection between them was palpable. I do have to mention for fans of Skye Warren that I did think this book went right to the edge without going over. It was like just when I was prepared for Grayson to truly become the villain, he stops and actually makes a slight turn. I did wonder at the end if Abby was truly in love with Grayson or caught up in a major case of Stockholm Syndrome. She doesn’t seem to have anyone else in her life besides him. I wonder if she would have made different choices in the end if she would have had an alternate support system.
I’m making it sound like I didn’t enjoy Prisoner, which is not the case at all. I was completely engaged all the way through, and riveted by Abby and Grayson’s relationship. But I did have to stop and gather my thoughts. I don’t think this book will be for everyone.
The relationship between Grayson and the men who lived through hell with him and who he considers his brothers was probably the best part of this book for me. I will definitely be looking forward to each of their stories. Final Grade- B
“I’ll always come for you. You’re mine.”