She was meant to be his destruction… A pawn played in a perilous game between father and son… Yet, her strength was more than either man could imagine. As Maddy learns to save herself… She becomes the one thing that could set the son free.
Madeleine Clark was raised to become a concert cellist. Sheltered and naïve, she remains hidden behind her music, a protection from the world around her. On the night of her first solo performance, Maddy accepts the admiration of a stranger and finds herself captive in a cruel and twisted power struggle between a sadistic father and his son, Aaron.
Seemingly, dangerous and uncaring, Aaron manages the business operations of his father’s estate. Wanting nothing to do with the slaves kept at the Estate, Aaron refuses to take part in the deeper depravities of his father. Despite his resistance, Aaron’s father ‘gifts’ him with a petite, brunette woman he can’t refuse.
A bond forged in conspiracy and deceit, Aaron struggles to save Maddy by teaching her to survive in the world in which he’d been raised. An unlikely union, Aaron soon learns that great strengths can exist within small packages, while Madeleine learns that love and light can exist in the darkest of places.
I think The Tied Man really set the bar high for captivity themed romance books because having read that, nothing has measured up for me really. Madeliene, Abducted was a good story, don't get me wrong, but unless a book with this theme completely blows my mind, they all pale in comparison. I would love to be one who could give this a glowing 6-star review, but it just didn't wow me as much as I was expecting.
We have all of the necessary ingredients for an amazing captor romance story: evil 'masterminds' (Aaron's father), reluctant hero (Aaron), and the silent but strong heroine (Madeleine). The first, let's say, 20 % had me absolutely riveted. The description in the beginning was the perfect amount of flowery that had my imagination running wild. Beautiful, smooth, effortless. Up until Madeleine's first interactions with Aaron I was hooked.
Aaron's father, Joesph, notices Aaron's affinity for Madeleine and her music and being the asshat that he is, decides to kidnap her and gift her to Aaron for his birthday. Aaron has never wanted anything to do with the dark underbelly of his father's organization, in fact he's been organizing a rebellion to take over the business for years. Needless to say, when he's presented with Madeleine he must find a way to keep his father happy and Madeleine relatively unharmed and well trained.
Then, things got really weird for me. I couldn't discern the relationship between Xander, Aaron's right hand man, and Aaron. Maybe it's my own blockheadedness but their individual motivations didn't come across clearly for me, which left me feeling lost and confused and somewhat removed from the following events. They both argue about how they should proceed with 'training' Madeleine to Joseph. Something about this conflict really irritated me and was quite repetitive. I also didn't understand why they couldn't just explain to her why they had to do the things they did. She seemed like a smart girl and if someone told me I was going to die unless I did such and such, I'd probably gladly do it.
The prose subsequent to the 20% mark turned clunky and cumbersome. Over description was used abundantly and this took a lot away from the pleasure of reading the story. For example:
Finding comfort in the clothes that covered her body, she worried that any hint of rebellion would leave her naked and old without the luxury of cloth covering her skin.
A few of these, I could forgive and forget, but they were everywhere and I couldn't not notice them. In turn, I was very cognizant of the writing instead of what was actually happening in the story.
The violence in the story was present, but not as gruesome as I would have liked or perhaps I wasn't as emotionally invested as I should have been by that point for it to affect me. Either way most of the violent scenes passed me by without my having any reaction either way.
A lot of people are enjoying this, however, so if darker novels are your flavor, I'd give it a go to see if you like it. It definitely had some good points and wasn't terrible. It had some gems!
Finding her voice, Maddy spoke out of turn, not thinking about the repercussions her words could elicit. “I would prefer you call me by my name.” She peaked up at him through her lashes. “Maddy, I would prefer that you call me Maddy.”
Aaron stopped with his bare back turned to her, taking several minutes to finally respond, he asked, “What makes you think you are allowed to ask that? If I wanted, I could call you slave…” He turned to face her, the contours of chest perfectly shadowed, his strength unquestionable. “…or whore.” His swagger was slow as he approached her, a hunter skilled in pursuit. “Would you prefer those names to ‘Mouse’?”
Sucking her bottom lip between her teeth, Maddy fidgeted with her hands, refusing to look Aaron in the eyes. She could feel his gaze touching her skin, his perusal of the woman barely half his size. The heat of his body rolled off of him as he circled her. It was the feeling of a soft blanket and lustful threat wrapped around her at the same time. When the deep resonation of his voice occurred again, she cringed, fearing he would strike out at her for the incorrect answer. “Why do you dislike the name I have given you?”
Continuing to fidget, Maddy trained her eyes on her feet, not daring to look up into the endless green she knew stared down at her. Gripping her under her chin, Aaron pulled her face up to look at him, his eyes searching hers for the answer to his question. “You will speak when I tell you.” Dropping his hand from her face, he took a step back placing distance between them. “Now answer me.”
Her heart pounded against the walls of her chest, her throat constricted, making it difficult for her to breath. Fear consumed her as she stood in the shadow of the man who’d taken at least two lives that day. Barely a whisper, her voice squeaked out the answer to his question. “Because a mouse is a furry little rodent, something detested.”
Aaron stood thoughtful and silent above her. When he didn’t respond, Maddy quietly added, “I guess it’s better than Xander’s name for me.”
Laughter bellowed out, causing the toned muscles of Aaron’s broad chest to flex and relax before her eyes. The sound of his amusement so real, it caused her to want to smile in response to seeing a piece of his mask falling away, revealing parts of him not witnessed by many people. Containing himself, Aaron’s eyes sparkled as he asked, “And what, exactly, is Xander’s name for you?”
A scowl creased the fine skin between her eyes, her mouth pulled into the pout of a sulking child. “He calls me ‘cricket’…an insect. It’s odd that you both refer to me as nothing more than a common household pest.”
Aaron’s smile faltered as he looked down upon the beautiful girl who didn’t fully understand her role. “No, Madeleine, you are not a common household pest…”
Maddy looked up at him, anticipating what he would say next.
For a fleeting second, he looked genuinely amused, but his expression was quickly replaced with indifference and contempt as he stated, “you are lower than even a pest in your role as a slave.”