“Too young, too blond, too skinny. Billy Grace was everything my head told me I didn’t want. Too bad my heart had other ideas.”
When Dashiell Slater uses his fists to stop a vicious assault, the last thing he expects is to be offered a job as reward for being a Good Samaritan. Out of work and short of cash, all he has to do is chauffeur Billy around. It’s easy money so saying yes should be a no-brainer. And if the offer’s not quite legal, so what? Dashiell’s smart and savvy, and knows how the world works. But there are strings attached, and Dashiell doesn’t want to get entangled. He’s ready to say no and walk away – until he sees the fear, despair and fathomless sadness in Billy’s jade-green eyes.
“He was everything I wanted, but couldn’t have. What was the use in dreaming when I was already bought and paid for, the property of another man?”
Billy’s life is a daily round of fear and abuse. One wrong word or one wrong look can mean a beating, or worse. Dashiell’s everything Billy’s heart craves – a man who’ll love and protect him, who’ll keep him safe and catch him when he falls. But Billy can’t have what he yearns for, because to give in to his heart means breaking a promise he’s vowed to keep at all costs.
A soul-searing kiss, a whispered promise, and the chance of a future together is there for the taking. But life is never that simple and danger surrounds them at every turn. Imprisoned by devotion, duty and obligation, Billy’s heart is captive, but can falling for Dashiell finally set it free?
Captive Hearts is a full-length novel of approx. 79,000k words and is the first in the Deviant Hearts series
Let me start by saying that this is the first novel I’ve listened to without first reading the book, or at least back and forth or immersion reading with the ebook. That’s been my policy in general because (1) I’m a visual person, and (2) I was pretty sure I would get distracted, miss words, etc.
Fortunately, even with the narration being told by someone with an English accent, which is not something I’m used to listening to on a regular basis, none of my dire predictions/concerns became an issue.
Speaking of that lovely accent, I would cheerfully listen to more audiobooks narrated by Dan Calley. His voice was easy on the ears, and I had no difficulty discerning who was speaking during scenes with dialogue.
The story was grittier than what I usually go for, but it was a wonderful change of pace. I was amazed at how involved the romantic relationship was considering the setting and story backdrop, and how believable Dashiell and Billy’s emotions were. There was plenty going on in the story, but the romance was center stage. I had no trouble buying into the story. If a little disbelief needed to be suspended here or there, I managed it without a fight for the sake of enjoying a wonderful story.
Story pacing is always a top priority for me. I love a book that keeps my attention all the way through, and this story easily managed that. Lots of tension—the characters, and therefore the reader, are on edge throughout the story.
The characters were plenty likeable. Flawed, sure, making some questionable life choices, but I had no trouble rooting for their success. Dashiell was often heroic, and Billy was a tough, though slight and beautiful man who put the comfort and welfare of his adored gran ahead of his own safety and happiness.
Not having a print copy made coming up with snippets to share difficult at best, so I don’t have that for you, but I will say that there were many, many lines that I would have highlighted if I’d been reading the ebook. A E Ryecart’s writing style was lovely and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed both her words and her story.
Somehow I’d managed to make it this far without previously reading any of her stories. I won’t make that mistake going forward!