Series: Time Served #3
on 2016-07-01 Pages:
I was born a fighter. You had to be, to survive in Camden. Lucky for me, I loved it. The thrill, the pain, the glory. Until one night things went too far and I almost lost my ticket out.
So I swore off fighting. Never again. No matter how much I wanted it.
I went to college. Got a degree. A job on Wall Street. Yet I still wasn't smart enough to stay away. So now I'm back. And it's just as bad as I remember.
Enter Dr. Susan Jones, superstar neurosurgeon. She's brilliant, she's sexy and she's a pain in my ass. I can't get enough and she's too busy for a relationship. She wants to hook up, get off, go home. She doesn't have time for a thug from Camden. But she keeps coming back.
This place brings out the worst in people. Every day it threatens the project I'm working on, the plans I'm making. Every day it drags me down just a little more, until the hands I vowed to keep clean start itching to get dirty.
If I don't start fighting for what I want, I'll wind up with nothing.
I didn't come back to Camden for nothing.
I came back to start something. And when people hurt the things I care about, the gloves come off.
I was looking for that tension and angst from Undecided and I didn’t find it here. Still this author is a good writer because both characters were compelling protagonists. Oscar Hall uses boxing to cope with the tragedy that took his loved ones from him when he trip to the emergency road brought Dr. Susan Jones into this life. Susan Jones was a brilliant surgeon who needed someone to see past the mask she hid behind. This book was a process of emotional maturity for both characters.
I was really excited to read this book because I loved Undecided by this same author. Unfortunately, this one lacked the emotional depth and character building that I had expected. I loved Oscar “Oz” Hall because he was sweet, thoughtful and hardworking.
Dr. Susan Jones was a disconcerting character.
I had a hard time really understanding and being interested in her journey. She was emotionally detached from almost everything except her work ambitions. At first, I thought that perhaps Susan had Asperger’s Syndrome and thus she lacked the ability to connect with others. However, the author never really took the heroine’s narrative that way. Instead, the heroine was portrayed as someone who coped by shutting down emotionally.
Susan was almost inhuman and robotic even with her daughter and I couldn’t help feeling that Oz could do better. There was so many times he described her actions as “mechanical” that I couldn’t even enjoy their sex scenes.
The chemistry and attraction didn’t work for me so I had wished that either Oz would find someone else or that Susan’s ice princess veneer would melt. Susan thawed, but not early enough to engage me. But I did like that she forced Oz to work harder at everything. Susan kept him unbalanced and that was the key for Oz to find Oscar again. Had the author introduced Susan’s past might have made her more relate-able earlier. I also wanted to know more Jade and Rian. I hope they get their own HEAs soon.
*Special Thanks to the author for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.
Series: Belonging #2
on Sep 15, 2014 Pages:
Fight like a man, or die like a slave.
Brooklyn Marshall used to be a policeman in London, with a wife and a promising future ahead of him. Then he accidentally killed a rioter whose father was a Member of Parliament and had him convicted of murder. To ease the burden on the overcrowded prison system, Brooklyn was sold into slavery rather than incarcerated. Now, he's the "Mean Machine", a boxer on the slave prizefighting circuit, pummelling other slaves for the entertainment of freemen and being rented out for the sexual service of his wealthier fans.
When Nathaniel Bishop purchases Brooklyn's services for a night, it seems like any other assignation. But the pair form an unexpected bond that grows into something more. Brooklyn hesitates to call it "love"—such things do not exist between freemen and slaves—but when Nathaniel reveals that he wants to help get Brooklyn's conviction overturned, he dares to hope. Then, an accident in the ring sends Brooklyn on the run, jeopardizing everything he has worked so hard to achieve and sending him into the most important fight of all—the fight for freedom.
This wasn’t a light read for me, but it was engaging. I know coming into a Voinov novel, not to expect a simple, shallow read, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Brooklyn Marshall was the top slave boxer but wanted to compete with the free man boxing champion. In this society, people could be born slaves or sold into slavery as punishment for crimes. Brooklyn was a cop who convicted of murder, and thus became a slave. When he isn’t boxing or training, his owners farm him out for the sexual whims of rich clients.
When Brooklyn meets Nathaniel Bishop, a well-connected lawyer, it was clear that he found a client who didn’t just see a slave. Nathaniel saw a man and treated Brooklyn with care. Soon their relationship evolved and the two of them started a real love affair. Nathaniel convinced Brooklyn that they could fight to get his conviction overturned and Brooklyn’s status as a slave reversed. So as the lovers grow closer, there is this sense of foreboding that I couldn’t shake. Of course, the happily ever after hit a huge snag and some of Nathaniel’s past was revealed.
Honestly, one of the things that I enjoy about Voinov’s writing has to be the slightly dark romance with hope still lingering. It’s clear that Brooklyn was that are full of despair, but he still yearned for his life before his conviction. Boxing was a way to unleash his anger and rage, but the sex scenes with Nathaniel were intense as well. I was pleased with the outcome of the story and with the direction that Brooklyn’s life is headed.
This story wasn’t all hearts and flowers, but there was light at the end of the tunnel and so the journey was worth it to me. The writing was very visceral and I just felt the emotions from the main characters. I was firmly rooted in Brooklyn’s corner and I was pulling for him to win both in the ring and in his life.
*Special Thanks to Riptide Publishing via Netgalley for the reading copy.