Brooke is a little broken and damaged, too. She’s like a beautiful bird in a gilded cage. She longs to be free of her oppressive lifestyle, but she doesn’t know how to break away. Stone really sees her in a way that no one else does. He understands her, and that understanding is something she’s been craving her whole life. Their connection and chemistry is off the charts, and I loved their banter throughout the story. It’s immediately clear that they’re kindred spirits.
I’ll warn readers about a couple of things. The first is that Brooke is young. She’s 16 when she meets the Stone, who is about a decade older. They don’t have sex until she’s 18, but her youth does make this a bit of a taboo romance. Now, I personally don’t mind this particular age difference at all. Girls always mature faster than boys, and Stone is even more emotionally stunted than most men, so spiritually (if not chronologically) their age difference isn’t that huge, in my opinion.
The second thing I’ll warn you about is actually more of an endorsement than a criticism. If you’re squeamish about child abuse (like I am), rest assured that the authors don’t go into depth talking about what happened to Stone and his brothers. They give you enough information to know what went on (generally) without scarring you for life. (I was scarred for life by Lisa Gardner’s Say Goodbye, which includes the most disgusting and descriptive depiction of child abuse I’ve ever read. It’s horrific. Hostage is NOTHING like that.)
Everything is wrapped up nicely at the end, too. I was a little worried there would be a cliffhanger, but there wasn’t. (Although, I can’t WAIT for the next book, because Stone and Grayson’s brothers definitely NEED to have their stories told.)
Long-story-short: Fans of dark, gritty, realistic romance with complicated, possessive alpha heroes won’t want to miss this one. It’s all kinds of fabulous.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
No rehab needed. This one’s clean and sober.
Other reading suggestions
Definitely read Prisoner. And for more of our top gritty romance picks, check out this best of list.