It's always a good sign when a book has me wanting to hold my breath during a scene that's unfolding and while reading Prisoner that happened several times for me. Not only did I get completely drawn into the story right away, but I found myself in the somewhat embarrassing position of being the crazy lady who spontaneously says something out loud to a character that was clearly meant to be an internal dialogue. Yes, I caused my daughter to cut her eyes at me while I was reading Prisoner. I believe I channeled a bit of Whoopie Goldberg in Ghost and wanted to say "Abby, you in danger girl" but alas Abby couldn't heed my sage words of advice. My outburst really couldn't be helped and I firmly lay the blame for my few moments of insanity at the feet of Martin and Warren. They created a story that made me worry for not only the well being of Abby, but the salvation of Grayson. Oh, my goodness Grayson.
Grayson is not the man that you would want yourself or anyone you hold dear to fall in love with. Grayson is not only damaged by his own trauma and abuse, but may be shattered beyond the point of redemption. To accept Grayson is to accept what can no longer be repaired only managed with care. With her own trauma and brokenness Abby recognized and reacted to the same sense of despair laced with fortitude and determination to survive that burned inside of Grayson. Abby seems to have no defenses when it comes to the obsessive pull that Grayson has on her. Although she tries to fight it in the beginning it quickly becomes obvious that something cataclysmic will happen between the two of them and that the fall out will be massive. Yes, Grayson manipulates Abby to his own ends. However, if Abby wasn't scarred herself she may have been able to resist the darkness in Grayson that called to her. The fact that Abby isn't whole herself is what made her vulnerable to Grayson and he took full advantage of that.
The plot of the story does not disappoint and delivers a whole lot of "I can't believe this" statements. As each new detail about Abby's and Grayson's pasts are revealed I just knew that things were going to go really bad before anything good could happen. Being mindful of not giving away spoilers I will only say that the worst kind of evil is revealed that makes what Grayson has become almost reasonable.
Because I love sunshine and unicorns and sweet sexy steaminess I do not read a lot of dark fiction, but I am so very glad that I suppressed my inner wimp and read Prisoner. Although disturbing and heart wrenching I don't regret a thing. Prisoner is going down as one of my favorite reads this year. The story simply must continue as there are still many questions that still need to be answered. I can't even mention the questions I have because it would give away too many clues to this story. I need a book dedicated to Nate's and Stone's individual stories as well. Please, please, please Annika and Skye take us back into the darkness so that we will hopefully see a bit of light shine on Nate and Stone! I really need them to end up with something or someone good as well!
**I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.**
I like them intimidating. Competent. Vaguely sinister and smug. Possessive. Harsh. Cold. Hot. I like them everything that is mean and cruel, even with the heroine. And then… when he stops, when sex and intimacy and love force him to stop, the clouds part. The sun rises on grass still sticky with dew. It paints the world in orange light and long shadows, hinting at what is to come. And that’s the end of the book. Not a wedding. Not a happily ever after. The ending is hope.
My first dark book was Keep Me Safe… and god, I hope readers see that I’ve grown as a writer. But at the same time, I hope I’ve kept the core of what people liked about Keep Me Safe, the dark atmospheric setting and deep character exploration. Both of those are hopes—but I’d love to hear from the readers who have kept with me and hear what they think!