Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Held Against You by Season Vining

* * * 1/2

Available January 13, 2015

Accused of a horrible crime and on the run, Kat has been rejected by everyone she loves. She’s a fugitive from her past, flitting from town to town with nothing but the clothes on her back. Until she meets a man who literally stops her in her tracks.

This notorious bounty hunter, with his stunning good looks and powerful instincts, never fails to capture his prey. But there’s something about his newest mark that gets under his skin–and it’s not just the naked innocence he sees in her eyes. Behind his ice cold demeanor, he has his own secrets... and now his lively, vulnerable captive is about to crack him wide open.

As they drive across the country together, neither of them can deny the spark of attraction between them. Will their journey force these two passionate opposites together…or will their dangerous secrets be too much to bear?

Kat is a troubled young woman working desperately to get away from a crime she is accused of.  The cops are looking for, her own mother seems to have turned against her, so there’s nothing for her to stick around for.  One day, when she has her guard down, a bounty hunter catches up to her. She’s sort of resigned to it remarking that even she is surprised that she had gotten so far before finally being caught.

Her bounty hunter is a mysterious, tight-lipped loner who sees this as just another job. He keeps a distinct boundary between himself and his captive. Kat, however, becomes the exception. She’s unafraid to speak her mind and isn’t intimidated by this man. Against his will, she draws him out of his own isolated thoughts and has him engaging with her. Despite their current circumstances, these two actually have something in common – they’ve watched people they love stay in abusive relationships. In Kat’s case, it’s the reason she’s in her current jam. The boundary between the two gets slightly blurred except that he absolutely refuses to give her his name. It’s the one thing that allows him separate the job from the rest of his personal life. In response, Kat takes to giving him a new name whenever she can. It’s one among many games she has going to keep herself amused but the nickname that sticks for most of the book is Steel.

I really liked this story. While there's an intense attraction between them, what made the story for me was how they connected on an emotional level. They’re both damaged individuals who have reacted to life differently. Kat’s still a dreamer thanks to the loving relationship she had with her father. Steel is too entrenched in his past and with the things that he has done as a bounty hunter, he feels he’s unworthy and  not redeemable. Kat makes no judgment. Perhaps because of her own dire predicament she understands that there’s always more to the story. As they become closer, they feel more responsible for each other’s impending outcome. Kat, who feels her freedom slipping away fast, wants to live in the present as much as possible. Steel faces a moral crisis in light of his growing feelings for her and has to decide if he’s in or out of the bounty hunting game forever.

This is my first Season Vining book and I enjoyed it a ton. I liked how she developed the characters and laid out their personal, complicated stories.  She also adds excitement in the form of a mysterious third party chasing after Kat. There's no absolute clean ending in this but heightened emotions, broken hearts, futures on the line and running out of places to hide are all a perfect recipe for adventure.  The romance is the cherry on top!

~ Bel

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