Captivated by Tessa Bailey & Eve Dangerfield
Publication Date: June 11, 2018
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Review copy provided by publicity
Summary (from Goodreads):
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?
What I Liked:
I love Tessa Bailey's books. I'm part of her fan group and I am always watching eagerly to see what she is writing next. I'd not heard of Eve Dangerfield before, but when I saw that Tessa was writing a book with Eve, I was 100% on board and couldn't wait to read the book. The duo seemed to have a lot of fun writing this book together. As it would turn out, Captivated was a funny, sweet, and very sexy novel. I didn't doubt that I would love it, and I'm glad I wasn't disappointed.
Autumn is having a rough couple of weeks; her boyfriend (who convinced her to move from Australia to New York with him, for his acting career) has been cheating on her with improv groupies, he abandoned her in their apartment in New York, and let's just say that she is unhappy. She has been spending her days at work at the vet, and at home, she's a mess, and constantly fantasizing about The Landlord. He's big and silent and rarely sets foot outside the apartment building. He fits her naughty fantasies perfectly... little does she know that Blake the landlord has been fantasizing about her as well. A trick of fate has them colliding, and it doesn't take long before they decide to do something about the chemistry between them.
I have to say, there are many great things about this book, but quite possibly my favorite is that it is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast! Beauty being Autumn, and the Beast being Blake. Autumn is sunshine and happiness, humor and sweetness, and she's a vet - she even brings injured pigeons home and nurses them back to health. Everyone loves her and is drawn to her. Including Blake, the big hulking landlord who lives in the building and rarely comes out in the daytime. Or at all. He walks with a limp and says very little. Autumn has always been intrigued by him, and he has always been intrigued by her.
I liked Autumn immediately; she is a sweetheart with a dirty mind and some x-rated fantasies. Her ex-boyfriend was terrible for her self-consciousness (and just terrible in general), so she has some self-esteem issues, and she's embarrassed about the x-rated fantasies. Especially when Blake finds out that she has included him in her fantasies. But to her surprise, he isn't disgusted or freaked out. Rather, he wants in.
Blake is the best "Beast" I've seen in a romance novel. He is big and surly and really does not like people. He has a really sad past that made me want to hug him over and over. He has been hurt - physically, but also emotionally - and he didn't deserve any of the pain. He has always had an eye on Autumn, but knew that his tastes were too dirty for an angel like her. But he was wrong.
These two had great chemistry, especially with them being complete opposites. Autumn is light and sunshine to Blake's storm and darkness. Autumn is a chatterbox of opinions and ideas, whereas Blake is a quiet observer who communicates so much without saying a single word. The pair are perfect for each other on so many levels.
This book was hot! X-rated fantasies indeed. In all fairness, I actually expected more x-rated scenes, but that's okay. The book had plenty of sexy times and good buildup of tension. I like that the authors explored this kind of kink without making it seem non-feminist. You'll have to read the story to see what I mean. Consent was always there, and desire.
On top of this book being very hot, it was also really, really sweet. I was struck by how sweet this book was. It wasn't just sex 24/7. The relationship between Blake and Autumn was a thing to behold. They are so good for each other, and good to each other. I loved watching them fall for each other. Blake with his grumpy, silent self, and Autumn with her energetic, sweet self. Towards the climax of the book, I was less concerned with the sexy times, and more invested in the emotional aspect of the romance. It was so sweet!
The climax was a little angsty but in the best of ways. I love how the conflict was presented and I like how it was handled. Blake and Autumn had some things to work out on their own, and together. There is drama, both individually and between them, but it's not unnecessary drama.
The ending is a very nice HEA! I like the idea of this book being a standalone and I hope that it remains that way. It was a lovely story and I will definitely be rereading it again!
What I Did Not Like:
Nothing specific comes to mind! Perhaps more x-rated sexy times?
Would I Recommend It:
If you enjoy Tessa Bailey's books, this is one that you won't want to miss. The combination of Tessa and Eve is a good one. I've not read any of Eve's solo books but I can clearly see Tessa's writing, and the other half being Eve's writing. The humor of the story is so great, and the tension, and the romance. These two authors wrote a sexy, sweet, heartwarming retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and it is so worth the read.
4.5 stars. I am curious to see if the pair will write more books together! It would be neat if they retold other fairy tales, like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. (Perhaps not in a problematic way, but hey, they did a great job with this book in making it not problematic, so I'm down for whatever!)
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