Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts

(The Dark Duet, #1)
Erotica, Romance

Caleb is a man with a singular interest in revenge. Kidnapped as a young boy and sold into slavery by a power-hungry mobster, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. For twelve years he has immersed himself in the world of pleasure slaves searching for the one man he holds ultimately responsible. Finally, the architect of his suffering has emerged with a new identity, but not a new nature. If Caleb is to get close enough to strike, he must become the very thing he abhors and kidnap a beautiful girl to train her to be all that he once was.

Eighteen-year-old Olivia Ruiz has just woken up in a strange place. Blindfolded and bound, there is only a calm male voice to welcome her. His name is Caleb, though he demands to be called Master. Olivia is young, beautiful, naïve and willful to a fault. She has a dark sensuality that cannot be hidden or denied, though she tries to accomplish both. Although she is frightened by the strong, sadistic, and arrogant man who holds her prisoner, what keeps Olivia awake in the dark is her unwelcome attraction to him.

WARNING: This book contains very disturbing situations, dubious consent, strong language, and graphic violence.

 “People often believed they were safer in the light, thinking monsters only came out at night.”

I enjoy the dark and twisted. Seriously I do. I’m messed up that way. From the enthusiastic star rating and gushing endorsements (is that a gross adjective to use here?), I thought I would be able to get into this more than I did.

Dark and twisted is what came to mind when reading this one’s blurb. The artsy cover (love it), combined with the plot description, makes it promise to be something different, something daring. It probably would have worked better if I was a straight out erotica fan, but unfortunately, despite the brief stalking session and Caleb’s initial exploration, it jumps too quickly into action before I gave a damn about either of the characters or any eroticism that could result between them.

Stockholm Syndrome is never hot. Some may argue that is not what she has but she matches all of it to a T. She has no other reason to start getting emotion for him with how he treats her and what he plans to do with her. There is no great characteristic about this man that stands out and makes him shine in the dark he traps her in. For them to have bonded is because he made her completely psychologically dependent on him.

Yes, she’s a strong character for her situation, but that doesn’t mean she’s immune to this unfortunate side effect. She’s a vulnerable, unloved person with horrible self-esteem who wears baggy clothes that hide her body.

She’s kidnapped by a ‘slave trader’ who wants to break her, train her, and sell her off to an enemy for his own purposes. The story possibly could be exciting, could have worked in a twisted, off the wall way, but instead I find a broken “master” who is plagued by his own self-doubts and tragic past. A decently likeable heroine who had no logical rhyme or reason for feeling anything other than hatred and horror toward this man. The sexual stimulation makes little sense to me considering what’s going on.

The first half had what I suppose is found to be the troubling kink by the majority. After a scene or so the kink pretty much never happens again.

The pacing is relatively slow and Caleb’s reasoning behind what he’s doing seems too thin a motive to carry this story all the way through. Also is there a rule with this type of erotic fiction that the dominant male can only be abused and emotionally terrified of other people?

Writing style is actually decent. The author is able to convey desperation well. She also avoids melodrama, which is easy to lapse into with this type of tale. As a negative, some of the girl’s inner monologue is not believable with it’s phrasing later on.

Overall I grew bored quickly, not stimulated, found the emotional background of Caleb cliché, and had no empathy for the heroine being able to develop realistic attraction and emotions. This story is in no way filled with kink and experimentation after the first half, but instead sinks into woes and angst. It is dark, it is risky, but it doesn’t make a good story or anything erotic.

   Book Quotes:

“He was my tormentor and my solace; the creator of the dark and the light within.” - Livvie

“This isn't a romance. You're not a damsel in distress and I'm not the handsome prince come to save you.” - Caleb

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