The Gilded Cage
Book 2, Surrender
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Passion that takes no prisoners, and love that tests the limits of ecstasy . . .
Fenn Lockwood comes alive in the shadows. Though he might have physically survived the kidnapping that stole his childhood, the trauma and pain he lived through have marked him forever. Now the only place where Fenn can be himself is within the walls of his private BDSM world-a place of erotic obsession, where desire isn't just captured . . . it's bound.
Hayden Thorne knows that behind Fenn's hardened exterior is a man worth fighting for. Yet to save him from the past that still haunts him, Hayden will have to abandon every inhibition she's ever had and venture into Fenn's intoxicatingly sensual world. Each tantalizing second she spends in Fenn's searing embrace is more delicious than the last and soon Hayden begins to think that she may never want to leave such torturous bliss . . .
Book 2 in the Surrender series
4.5/5 ★ A cowboy Dom and a socialite. BDSM-lite, sexy and suspenseful.
4.5 out of 5 Stars
*Complimentary ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review.
For an author to be able to make me like and grow to love a 23 year old heroine is nigh impossible, but Ms. Smith pulled off that miracle. And if that wasn't enough, the sizzling, sensual and erotic assault from the chemistry between Fenn and Hayden was a delicious torture. And finally, the author wasn't afraid to include suspense tinged with a darkness that was somewhat chilling and could be a trigger.
I loved Hayden's (23) firecracker personality. She was sassy without being childish, unlike most heroines her age. A great combination of beauty and brains. She was bold, outgoing, compassionate and empathetic. As a submissive, she had a reputation for being mouthy, aggressive, and trying to top from the bottom. Hayden secretly longed for a dom to control her in the bedroom, but she’d never been able to trust one. Thanks to oppressive, elitist snobs as parents, she yearned to be be free. That yearning automatically suppressed her natural submissive nature.
Fenn (33) was a wonderful hero. His tragic childhood and the man he grew up to be against all odds, as well as his love and protective streak for his adopted family showed a deeply compassionate and honorable side of him. He was also a dominant like his twin, without the BDSM background. Another thing I loved was the contrast in lifestyles between the two twins. Where Emery was a CEO type, Fenn grew up to be a cowboy and bull rider. A dominant cowboy? Hell yes, please!
There were six sex scenes in total, and each one of them was a sensual assault on the libido. I loved Hayden and Fenn together because they each gave the other what they wanted or needed. I'd say this was a BDSM-lite story because it was mostly bondage and spanking without the other lifestyle nuances. No condoms were used (he was clean and she had an IUD). Just in case that bothers anyone.
The identity of the true villain pulling the strings wasn't really a secret, but that didn't dampen my enjoyment of the unfolding events. I felt there was a nice trade-off between suspense and romance that built up gradually towards the climax. The villain's reason may have seemed lame, but he was a nutjob. The assassin surprised me. Despite some of Greyson's despicable actions in this story, there appeared to be room for redemption. While I admired Hayden's courage in the end, she still managed to get herself into trouble (twice) which made things more difficult for the guys.
The epilogue set up Wes and Callie's story, and call me cruel, but I enjoyed the moment when Wes gave Callie a wake-up call that Fenn was irrevocably off the market. I can not wait for that story (the heroine is twenty but she wasn't annoying in this book, so I have high hopes).
Packed with fantastic storylines
I love it when a writer manages to create a series with common threads yet such rich diversity! With her second in the Surrender series, Lauren Smith has done just that. While most of the characters from her first, The Gilded Cuff, returned for this second installment, the tone of this one mixed things up a bit by virtue of the heroes upbringing. The result made for rich conflict between the hero and heroine, which I absolutely loved!
The blending of storylines and tropes for this book were fantastic. Two social backgrounds colliding (the hero and heroine), lost brothers reunited, escaping lifelong confines to grow and mature…Lauren really packed in loads of goodness with this book. I really enjoyed the first, but this one is my favorite in the series so far. It’s probably a bit too soon to call The Gilded Cage the hands-down winner for the series, though. The hints dropped for the next one promise all kinds of Lauren Smith goodness.