Nice and Naughty Reading Club: Prisoner

NGWN Reading Club PicWelcome, READERS, to the very first Nice & Naughty Reading Club! This month we are discussing the first book in Skye Warren and Annika Martin‘s Criminals & Captives series, PRISONER.

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He seethes with raw power the first time I see him—pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles. He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty. He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back. At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.

But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage—you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape. He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard, you can’t think.

And you might crave him more than your next breath.

Prisoner-SkyeWarren-AnnikaMartin-200x300

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This was an interesting read, like it or not. Even those readers I talked with who weren’t sure they enjoyed the book had strong reactions to it. So what did you think? Tell me!

Here are a few questions to get us started:

First, did you like the book? Why or why not?

Do you normally read first person point-of-view books? What did you think of this aspect of the book? How about having two first-person narrators (both Abigail and Grayson)?

The background of a character should motivate their actions. Both of these characters have dark, difficult backgrounds. Do you think the actions of these characters were adequately motivated by their backgrounds? If not, why?

Given the recent uproar over consent issues in a currently popular book/movie, how did you feel about the authors’ lack of explicit consent in the first sex scenes?

Did you find Grayson sexy and charismatic or did he have to grow on you?

Was Abigail a good match for Grayson’s strength? How interesting was it to have a bookworm as a heroine?

Which secondary character drew you the most? Why?

Let’s discuss! Remember, one commenter will win a prize pack of including TAKE ME, Skye’s latest dark erotic anthology, and the TAKEN HOSTAGE BY KINKY BANK ROBBERS 3-book bundle from Annika. I’ll announce the winner — and our next Reading Club selection — on Monday.

*Please present all comments — positive and negative — in a respectful manner. We reserve the right to remove any comments we feel are derogatory toward the author personally or are inappropriate.*

~ Ella

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18 responses to “Nice and Naughty Reading Club: Prisoner

  1. I am pretty late, but life has been busy. I enjoyed this book. I like them dark from time to time. I like First Person POV if the author can draw me into the story and the characters. I enjoy reading it from their “eyes”. I loved how it went back and forth between Grayson and Abby. The secondary characters were intriguing and make me want to read more of their stories.

  2. Sorry was busy this weekend with work and other personal commitments, but I wanted to chime in. As a previous reader of Annika and Sky, the first person didn’t trip me up much. And to answer the lovely Dani’s questions –

    1.First, did you like the book? Why or why not?

    I enjoyed the grittiness of the book and once I got into it seemed to move at a really fast pace.

    Do you normally read first person point-of-view books? What did you think of this aspect of the book? How about having two first-person narrators (both Abigail and Grayson)?

    On the norm, no – but I do have several go-to authors who write entirely in first person. However I did like the duel narration. The author did a wonderful job in the set up and I always knew which POV I was reading.

    The background of a character should motivate their actions. Both of these characters have dark, difficult backgrounds. Do you think the actions of these characters were adequately motivated by their backgrounds? If not, why?

    I’d like to think so. Grayson’s background was horrible but it goes to prove that during our terrible times we find out how strong we are.

    Given the recent uproar over consent issues in a currently popular book/movie, how did you feel about the authors’ lack of explicit consent in the first sex scenes?

    I thought it was very fitting. It left enough to the imagination that I was able to relate.

    Did you find Grayson sexy and charismatic or did he have to grow on you?

    I must like bad boys because I definitely found him sexy…despite his asshole attitude.

    Was Abigail a good match for Grayson’s strength? How interesting was it to have a bookworm as a heroine?

    At first I was skeptical, but as the authors’ revealed more of her backstory, she was a good foil for Grayson. She was mostly light with the hint of darkness, while Grayson was a lot dark with a little bit of light. The perfect ying and yang.

    Which secondary character drew you the most? Why?

    I’d have to say Stone. He’s almost completely dark but his love for his brothers is more than obvious – to the point he’ll dole out tough love if needed. I’d really love to see his story. I wonder if he reconnects with the mysterious woman he let go.

    For the first edition of the Nice Girl Writing Nauhty’s Reader Club, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am looking forward to reading Shelly’s book 🙂

    Dakota

    • I’ve read this entire series, Ella. Jessie Ann and Bobbi Ray are a riot. I’m gonna love revisiting them.

      Dakota

  3. I guess I’ll be the first to wade into the controversial stuff. 🙂 ***For those who haven’t read it, below is a big spoiler!!!

    I know the discussion over consent has really ramped up recently. Authors friends and I were just discussing it last weekend, which made running across this aspect of the book very interesting to me.

    This has been an “issue” in romance for many decades. This isn’t as big an issue for me as for some women, because I feel every woman has a right to her own fantasies-whatever they may be. And fiction is a safe place to explore those fantasies.

    In Prisoner, the first sex scene comes after the heroine has been kidnapped by the hero and she’s actually drugged during this scene. From a purely craft point of view, I noticed the authors went out of their way to document several things on this issue.

    1. They showed previous and ongoing attraction between the characters. Both characters acknowledge it as present and inevitable far before that first sex scene.

    2. The hero’s thoughts about the morality of what he’s doing make it clear he realizes there isn’t any explicit consent. But his life has been lived in the grey. The authors show us clearly that he’s wavering, but explain in detail WHY he gives in (regardless of whether we agree).

    3. The heroine’s pleasure isn’t forced on her, like the “dubious consent” scenes in the 70s era romances. She eagerly reached for her own pleasure and receives it.

    4. The heroine willingly allows him to drug her. This might be the hardest issue for some readers to handle, but she does drink of her own accord. Is she threatened? Yes. Would he have forced her? We don’t know. He’s batting 50/50 in that department. 🙂

    So what do y’all think?

    • I know some people have problems with this book and others like it that contain dub con or non con. And that’s fine, that’s their choice. Other readers prefer to explore their darker fantasies, as you say, in the safety of a fictional story. That scene you mention was uncomfortable, but I guess I could compartmentalize my discomfort and allow myself to go with the flow of the story, knowing what I was getting into.

    • Ah the dubious non consent. I have to agree with Dani, yes Grayson has lived in the gray areas of life for a long time. I do love the way they portrayed his struggle, but I thought it more akin to an chocoholic giving into their lust for a candy bar. He gave in to urge even knowing it wasn’t the best for him or her.

      And I have to agree with Dani. The attraction was there before the drugs, and she actively pursued the pleasure….he didn’t force it on her.

      • I think it really is a matter of taste. Readers who might enjoy the darker fantasy find it less controversial than readers who don’t (and therefore find it more uncomfortable). As Dani pointed out, though, this is nothing like the ’70s books where consent wasn’t dubious at all. I find that a lot of authors go to great lengths to establish consent the way Skye and Annika did, through the woman’s own thoughts. That makes it a lot less dubious because though she might not say it aloud, we hear in her head that she wants to move forward, even if she argues with herself about it. Ah, that lovely internal conflict! 🙂

  4. For me, the relevation of Grayson’s (and his “brothers'”) full background was just right. Yes, dark, but I’ve never shied away from dark. I thought the background was just the right touch.

  5. Like Nona, Nate intrigued me also. The fact that he went so far as to buy an identity, but still has made no emotional ties outside of the crew is fascinating. Stone also, because I’m not sure how someone that hard could actually fall in love.

  6. Like most of the others, I’m not a fan of first person stories (even though I have a first person 90K time-travel paranormal tale), but so far this is a good read. I’m about a third of the way through.

  7. The book grew on me. I don’t have a problem with first person POV, but I don’t generally care for “hostage falls for kidnapper” stories–not just in romance, but in books like “Three Days of the Condor”, etc. I wasn’t sure I liked Grayson at first and wasn’t sure how I felt about Abigail falling for him. Once Grayson began putting Abigail first, determined to protect her even from his “brothers,” I liked him a lot more. The background of abuse made Grayson and his crew a lot more sympathetic and I could get behind them wanting revenge. The other guys really intrigued me but Nate was the most interesting to me as he’s tried to create a “normal” life but still has plenty of demons.

  8. I liked the book even when I didn’t want to. 🙂 I don’t like first person — I find it difficult to immerse myself that deeply in the characters — but all the other aspects of the book dragged me beyond that dislike to be thoroughly intrigued as the story went along.

    I still think I would’ve preferred third-person point of view, but I got used to it. I understand why they chose first person — it makes the difficult aspects of the story more difficult, driving home the difficult subject matter but also making the characters more understandable and empathetic as their stories are revealed.

  9. I’ll be honest. I’m not a first person pov reader. I can barely make it through a paragraph before I put a book down. This book I made it through that first page and my initial “no!” over first person because I knew we would be discussing it. 🙂 But I can honestly say the smooth storytelling and intense characterization pulled me kicking and screaming over my reluctance to read first person! There were times when I would get hung up and think, “This would be so much easier to read in third person,” but then it would be a different book, wouldn’t it?

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