Genre: Contemporary Romance
Secret aspiring comedian Autumn Reynolds is a girl gone...not wild exactly. More like lazy. Since her boyfriend abandoned her in New York City for a bunch of improv groupies she’s had two priorities; sucking the nitrous out of whipped cream cans and making sex comics about her mysterious landlord.
Blake hates people—and sunlight—with good reason. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself lusting after his upstairs tenant, a sunny, Australian people pleaser down on her luck. Turns out his ability to terrify with a single scowl comes with an advantage. Autumn seems to like it. A lot. As evidenced by the prisoner-captive comic Blake was never meant to see.
As they embark on a three-date arrangement the rules are clear; filthy, ground breaking sex, no feelings or commitment required. When chemistry is this strong, though, attachment follows. As Blake and Autumn attempt to negotiate their New York romance, their prior histories and secret dreams come to the foreground. How long can these polar opposites remain Captivated, when all signs point to disaster?
Autumn Reynolds is a down on her luck, just been dumped, veterinarian who’s not satisfied with her body image and hoards injured pigeons in her apartment. Blake Munroe is her bruiting, hulk of a man landlord.
I gotta say, I questioned at times if this story was supposed to be taken seriously. Like, with the right comedic actors it might have been a pretty good parody of a romance. But as a real feel-the-chemistry and swoon romance—not so much. As a romcom—nah. I rolled my eyes more than I cracked a smile.
The characters came off too much as caricatures. Autumn is the rambling, bumbling, put her foot in her mouth heroine who holds a special place in her heart for captivity kink. So much so that she illustrates it. Now the comic might be kinda cool if she owned it, but Autie (whose name I kept seeing as Auntie) isn’t badass. At all. She’s just comes off desperate, needy, and insecure. Her latent desires to become a submissive would make Anastasia Grey proud.
“‘I-I think I want you to stalk me.’”
Meanwhile, Blake harbors some angsty secret. It’s made him a recluse. Physically, Blake is described as…well he’s not your ordinary romantic hero. I had a hard time not picturing him as the love child between Disney’s Beast and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
“‘…he always looks like someone just punched his mum, but he’s really quite sexy. Kind of broad and hairy and angry-looking.’”
Don't get me wrong, every romance hero doesn't have to be drop-dead gorgeous, but when he's described more animal-like than human, it's not exactly a turn-on.
“Not that Blake had any room to judge someone’s appearance—not with the pissed off Yeti aesthetic he had going on…”
My issues with connecting to the characters and the story weren’t helped by the 3st person POV. There’s just something about a distant narrator in romance that makes it feel as if it’s being told by a voice-over. I’d much rather have the characters tell me about themselves; otherwise, it feels detached and makes it difficult for me to connect with them.
By 35% it was just too much of a struggle to read on. I was tired of hearing about Autumn’s ex from both characters, annoyed with Autumn’s inability to form coherent sentences, bored with the side characters, and getting disturbing vibes from their “romance.” The lines between liberating role play and you-have-some-issues were getting too blurred for my enjoyment.
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention. She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of ten years andsix-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.
Eve Dangerfield has loved romance novels since she first started swiping her grandmother’s paperbacks. Now she writes her own sexy tales about complex women and gorgeous-but-slightly-tortured men. Her work has been described as ‘the defibrillator contemporary romance needs right now,’ and not by herself, or even her mum, but by OTHER PEOPLE. Eve lives in Melbourne with her boy, a bunch of semi-dead plants and a rabbit named Billy. When she's not writing she can be found making a mess.