Tuesday, March 29, 2016

All Chained Up (Devil's Rocks #1) by Sophie Jordan

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There are bad boys and then there are the men of Devil’s Rock . . .

Some men come with a built-in warning label. Knox Callaghan is one of them. Danger radiates from every lean, muscled inch of him, and his deep blue eyes seem to see right through to Briar Davis’s most secret fantasies. But there’s one major problem: Briar is a nurse volunteering at the local prison, and Knox is an inmate who should be off-limits in every way.

Knox feels it too—a shocking animal magnetism that drives him to risk his own life to protect Briar’s. Paroled at last, he tries to resist her. She’s too innocent, too sweet, and she has no idea what Knox is capable of. But a single touch can lead to a kiss—and a taste . . . until the only crime is denying what feels so right . . .

“When the prison doors are open, the real dragon will fly out.”—Ho Chi Minh

Sophie Jordan has an impressive catalogue of books and I’m always amazed by her ability to jump between genres. Fresh off her recent YA release, Reign of Shadows, she now offers, All Chained Up, an adult contemporary romance that’s first in the Devil’s Rock series.

Nurse Briar Davis has begun volunteering at Devil’s Rock Prison once a week. The very thought of being there among the inmates freaks her out of her mind but she’s doing it to impress her boss and ensure that she has a future at the clinic she works at. On her first day she treats the inmate Knox, an intimidating presence, inside the clinic. She’s unnerved by the fact that they can’t keep their eyes off each other. Despite her wrecked nerves, she manages to make it through the remainder of the day. She doesn’t expect to be back until the following week but plans change and she’s accompanying her boss again the very next day. And this is the day that things go dreadfully wrong and all of Briar’s nightmares about prison come true. Thankfully Knox is her savior. That’s the last they see of each other until a run-in at a convenient store some time later. Neither of them can believe the coincidence. The time since prison has not erased the electricity between them.

The beginning of their relationship is mostly carnal. Briar is the only woman Knox has lusted after in some time. To Briar, Knox is the dangerous man with a secretive past that she can’t resist. Could her physical attraction to him be clouding her better judgment? As for Knox, his life is screwed up enough already that he’s worried about ruining hers just by association. Still they can’t stay away from each other. Aside from the action at the prison in the beginning, not a whole lot happens in between except for Knox and Briar romping through the sheets without much communication. It’s not supposed to get serious – this is only supposed to be a series of hook-ups but that’s not how it ever goes. All this leads to a bit of a mess down the road. 

The story is hot and a bit on the dark side. Knox fits the bill for those seeking a quiet but imposing hero who’s also a fierce protector. Briar starts out as the damsel in distress (though I can’t fault her because I’d certainly be a mess if I had to work in a prison) but grows into a more outspoken person. All Chained Up does include an unexpected subplot that felt oddly of place at first but now I’m curious as to how it’ll play out in the next book. In the meantime, Jordan serves up another delicious romance with plenty of magic time to make your head spin! Also, you may never look at Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia the same again ;)

~ Bel

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