Anthology-Outlaws

When I signed up for the ARC of this one, I didn’t really read the blurbs. I don’t always, depending on who the authors are. With Yolanda, Petra, and Ally, I knew that it would be good whatever it was. So, when I started to read Outlaws, I wasn’t sure what I was going to get, but I knew it was going to be good. And holy fuck, was it. Now , before you start to read this, be aware that the title doesn’t refer to bikers, Mafia guys, or anything like that. I’m pretty sure that it comes from jokes about outlaws and in-laws.

All of these stories are filthy. Some of them are so filthy I need a shower just from thinking about them. They all take the thought of family to a whole other level. They are twisted and will leave you questioning your personal morality.

Yolanda Olson-Susurration

First off, I just need to say how much I love the title. It’s a fun word. Susurration means whispering or murmuring. And it is highly appropriate for this story. Yolanda left me with more questions than she answered, but that’s a very her thing to do. It’s a short story, but it is perfectly done, with enough tension and all.

AA Davies-Unruly

The characters in this aren’t exactly family or in-laws, but they are close. I really liked how the story ended up, and I’m not entirely sure that I would call this one quite as twisted as the others, but it is definitely twisted. I really like Remi though.

JM Walker-Her Little

You remember me saying that some of these are so filthy that I need to take a shower just thinking about them? Well, this would be one of those stories. It really is filthy AF. I mean, yeah. The only thing that dimmed it slightly for me was that I was hoping for some Little action going on, because of the title. I can see where it could lean that way, and overall, I’m not disappointed in it, so there’s that.

Ally Vance-Fragile Vows

Twins. ‘Nuff said. OK, not really. I think that Ally went to an interesting place with this. It didn’t happen quite the way I expected, but I’m not going to complain, because I think her way was better.

Jason Hes-The Scent of Wolves

This is my first Jason Hes story, but I will be seeking more. He dragged me in and left me with wanting so much more, in the very best way. I’m itching for more.

Petra Knox-His Best Interest

I really liked this one. Not necessarily for the sexy bits, although, those were really good, but I thought that Petra did a great job of creating awesome characters in a very short story. That’s a lot harder to do than you might think.

Cole Denton-Secrets

Yeah, this family has so many secrets. So, so, so many secrets. We learn some of them, but I’m pretty sure that there are a lot more somewhere, hiding. I would love to get a continuation in this world. Go Wolverines!

Petra J. Knox & Raven Dark-Captured

Petra and Raven write a lovely dark RH series that I really enjoy, Saving Setora. So, when I heard they were starting another dark RH series, I may or may not have jumped for joy. And since there is no photographic proof one way or the other, no one will ever know. It’s the Schrodinger’s jump. But none of this has anything to do with Captured.

Captured is dark. There are no warm and fuzzies here. If you are familiar with Setora and you think you are going to get another Sheriff or Hawk, be aware that Malek, Z’pheer, and Raul make Sheriff look like a big cuddly sweetie.

Here’s how our story goes.

Danika has spent the last 4 years living in the Xandar Home for Girls. It’s supposed to be a great place for young women and give them a chance for a good life when they leave at 18. Well, tonight is Danika’s 18th birthday and she’s about to go audition for the biggest nightclub owner in her town as a singer. She’s really good at it and she is both nervous and excited. The head of the school is going with her, as well as Shelly, who is one of the employees of the school. The employees aren’t supposed to be friendly with the students, but Shelly is Danika’s best friend, so she’s going to go. And it goes splendidly. Right up until it goes splendidly wrong and Danika wakes up naked and far from home.

She wakes up with her hands cuffed and an alien man in front of her, as well as a huge fluffy pink beast that she briefly thinks of as Falcor, the luck dragon. Right until he opens his mouth and she gets a good look at his feet.

Even worse, Danika doesn’t understand a word of anything that is being spoken, and it doesn’t get any better when the other guys start showing up. She has no clue what they are saying, but it’s obvious that they understand her, so the only things she can feel right now is mad and scared.

Malek, Z’pheer, and Raul are Xandari men. They are members of the Order, and have been awarded their nayna. Their slave. And guess who it is? I’ll give you 3 guess, and the first 2 don’t count.

The men basically break down into the muscle, the leader, and the nice one. Raul is very obviously the leader. Malek is very obviously the muscle, and Z’pheer appears to be the nice one.

OK, here’s the thing. I really, really, really didn’t like any of the guys for a good chunk of the book. I disliked Malek the most, at least most of the time, and Z’pheer the least. Raul kind of floated around, depending on what was happening at any given time. But, I loved to hate them and even as I really didn’t like them, I started to kind of love them too. It wasn’t a quick process, not in any way, but it happened, and I kind of hated to love them. Do you know how hard it must be to write characters like that? I mean, I have DNFed books where I liked the male main characters more than these guys. That being said, I was so dragged into the book, and the guys were so magnetic, and the story was just so compelling, that even though I wanted to strangle them on a regular basis, I couldn’t put the book down. I needed┬áto know what was going to happen next. It was such a need that it practically hurt. That’s how compelling this book was.

I mostly like Danika. There are a few times where the fact that she is 18 is really obvious. She has some black and white thinking, I think, which is something that you really have to grow out of, and as an adult, you learn that nothing is ever entirely black or white, but infinite shades of grey. Way more than just 50. She also builds walls. I mean walls that make the Great Wall of China look like nothing. I don’t blame her for a minute, because she’s been abducted, taken by men whose language she doesn’t speak, and had just about everything taken away from her. I’d be fucking pissed and put up walls too. I love her spirit and fire. She’s got a very strong core that keeps her going and keeps her from totally breaking. However, it does sometimes keep her from bending when bending would be easier, I think. But without that core, she wouldn’t be who she is, and we’d been looking at a different book.

There are so many things I like about this book is that it is all in Danika’s POV. We have no clue as to what is going on in the guys’ heads, nor do we know anything about them other than what Danika is able to find out. There are times when I really want to have a multi-POV, but this is not one of them. I think that a multi-POV would’ve weakened this book a lot. I really love that we find out what is going on in the world only as Danika does, and since we are seeing her filter, we only get certain things. I think that’s part of what makes this book so freaking compelling. Honestly, it truly is one of the most compelling books I’ve read in a good while, and considering some of what I’ve read in the last 6 months, that’s really saying something.

This is a standalone, but it is the first book in a series. I can’t wait to see where the series is going to go.

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Shelly, hmmm… That’s an interesting subject, now isn’t it?

I never trusted Laric. He was scummy.

I really like Danika’s wish, and how it works out.

OK, that’s all on this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!