Taken and No Take Backs by Kelli Maine

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ABDUCTION.You steal me away to a deserted island, to the one place I’ve dreamed of being—the one place I can’t go.
You’re used to buying whatever you want, but you can’t buy me...how do I resist the magnetism of your body, the longing ache deep inside me? I want you to take me—on my terms.
Every attempt you make to love me only hurts me. How can we go on like this?
This is the story of how I was TAKEN. 
Rachael DeSalvo cares for those she loves with no regard for what she needs from them in return. When her father dies, her mother’s emotional dependency becomes overbearing. Unable to leave her distressed mother, Rachael turns down her dream job with Rocha Enterprises. 
Billionaire real estate mogul, Merrick Rocha, knows what motivates people and what buttons to push to get what he wants. When the perfect project manager candidate turns down his job offer, it drives him mad. Three months of watching Rachael from afar has him more determined than ever to have her—for much, much more than an employee.
Merrick takes what he wants, but can he convince Rachael to give him what he needs?

Kim's Rating:
3.5 out of 5 Stars

Kim's Review:

No more words. No more light. No more sound. Just like that--I'm taken.

I was not sure how I was going to feel about the subject matter when I read the blurb. But I have to admit, that I really liked this book. I Could understand why Merrick did what he did. And I loved how Merrick tried to make amends for it. I loved the facets of his character. He is strong, sexy, emotional, unsure, and protective. He is rich, used to getting his own way, impulsive, and inept at relationships. At one point, he made me so mad I wanted to  hit him over the head with my kindle for being so stupid. 

Rachael is strong, smart, and always taking care of everyone else. She is also unsure of her appeal and not had any serious meaningful relationships. Rachael tends to give up her own dreams and allows her mother to control her life.  

"Smart, but I knew that from our phone conversation. Beautiful, but a lot of women are...Kind and loyal. Caring. Loving. Selfless...The kind of woman who could have everything she wants if she would only take it for herself. But she won't. That's why I brought you here." 

They had good chemistry and build up of sexual tension. Lots of sizzling, sexual tension. Even though I was rooting for them to get together completely, I understood Rachael's reluctance and Merrick's need to give Rachael more control. Merrick has his demons to deal with and we are not privy to all of them yet. 

"I'm trying to forgive you."

"You see past the money to me, the f**cked up man inside. I try to keep him hidden, but I can't hide from you. I don't want to hide from you; I want to be better for you.' 

I loved the idea of the Turtle Tear resort and their passion for it. And how Merrick knew Rachael was the only one he could trust to help renovate it.  

"You needed this place. It needed you. I needed to give it to you. That's it." 

The only thing that was different for me was how it was written in first person and she referred to Merrick as "you" throughout. But once I got used to it, I was not bothered by it as much.  

I look forward to reading the other books in this series No Take Backs: A Taken NovellaTaken By Storm and  Given. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Hachette Book Group, GRAND CENTRAL PUBLISHING for allowing me to read this book for an honest review.

Tammy's Rating:
3 out of 5 Stars

Tammy's Review:

I was not very fond of the writing style in Taken.  The point of view threw me off and made it had to connect with the characters.  This is the only reason I gave it a low rating. I really think this story has great potential if you can get past Kelli’s point of view and not go in with preconceived notions of comparing it to another  author.

I know in some reviews this author has been compared to C.J. Roberts and I think that is totally unfair. I may be a bit jaded in my thoughts because I have read her series and to me this story didn’t feel like it was meant to be anything like that.  This author’s writing style and book is very different and should not be compared. The kidnapping scene was such a small part of what this book was about. I think this was a sweet story about two characters learning to forgive and trust while finding love amongst the stupid mistake that was made.  

Merrick makes poor choices, but I guess he has his reasons. I liked him well enough but since I couldn’t really connect with him it was hard to love his character. Again this was more the writing style than the actual plot or character development.  He realizes his mistake in taking Rachael against her will and tries to make up for it at every turn.  In his mind he saw that Rachael loved the resort  as much  he did and he wanted to share it with her.  Since she is used to being controlled Rachael struggles with letting herself go and forgiving Merrick for his stupidity. I mean who can blame her, I don’t know if I could forgive something like that either. I was annoyed with the push and pull of their relationship. I can get not being able to easily forgive, but either do it or don’t.

There is a lot of sexual build up in this story. I don’t know if it was intense build up, but it built up nonetheless.  Merrick wanted Rachael and even though she wanted him just as much she fought it every step of the way. So  much so I was shouting just do it already! When they do finally get around to it, the relationship takes on a strange turn of events. 

It becomes more of a love story . He knows she is the only one who he can trust to help restore turtle tear result. They have struggles, trust issues, miscommunication, and mistakes. However, it ultimately comes down to forgiveness and trust. 

I was provided with this book from the publisher for free via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

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There was something I didn’t know. 
Something that would change everything.
The grand opening of Turtle Tear Resort is a time for celebration, but the man Rachael loves more than anything is suffering in silence. Rocha Enterprises was Merrick’s life. Now, he’s been left with no choice but to sell off the business he built from the ground up, and Rachael’s hell-bent on finding out why. 
I love you too much not to fight to get it back.  
Even if you’ve given up. 
“You’re hurting me, Rachael…You’re going to him…I can’t promise I’ll be here when you get back.”
My heart bleeds as you stride away from me. Last night you told me you love me, now you’re walking away because I’m fighting for you. 
Rachael can forgive and forget the past, but can Merrick overcome her betrayal?

Kim's Rating:
3.5 out of 5 Stars

Kim's Review:

This just makes me want more! 

"Promise me something...Never leave."

This very short novella meant to bridge the gap between Taken and Taken By Storm is a fast, emotional, and intriguing read. We get a glimpse into Rachael and Merrick's continued relationship and the opening of Turtle Tear resort. It is sweet, sexy, and a little sad.  

And it totally opens the door for the next book. I hate that we have to wait to hear what happens next, but cannot wait to find out. 

I really love Merrick and Rachael. And you get to see an even softer and more insecure side to Merrick in this book. But Merrick is still impulsive and rash in his decisions sometimes.  

"He's met his match. I think you might be even more stubborn than he is." 

Rachael: "I'm not leaving you. I promised I wouldn't leave. I'm not."
Merrick: "I can't promise I'll be here when you get back." 

I love the idea of Turtle Tear resort and what they have done to it. Makes me want to go visit. I was not ready for this novella to end so quickly and at such a pivotal point. I am looking forward to learning more about the secondary characters and new characters coming in Taken By Storm. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Hachette Book Group, GRAND CENTRAL PUBLISHING for allowing me to read this book for an honest review.

Tammy's Rating:
3 out of 5 Stars

Tammy's Review:

No Take Backs was a quick short read. Same type of writing style, but since I have read the first book I have kinda gotten used to it. It still affected my thoughts on the book though and the way I connected with the characters. This book was also short enough that it could of been added to the ending of book 1 as a short chapter and epilogue.

In book 2 we see the resort opening and a major plot twist. Merrick makes Rachael promise never to leave. The book revolves around the trusts issues they both still have and again he acts out impulsively.  Rachael feels she has to try and help Merrick with the issues he has with his estranged father who is threatening Merrick Empire and instead of supporting  her, he feels betrayed and tells her he may not be there when she gets back. Through the story you do not know what Merrick's father is hiding until the end. Kelli leaves us intrigued with a major twist to the story as the cliffhanger.
I liked this story a little bit better than the first but some parts still annoyed the living daylights out of me, but men with do that too you won't they. Their relationship was sweet when it was going good, but also turned frustrating and sad when actions were made without thought and with impulsiveness. I hope that in book 3 all our questions will be answered, along with Merrick and Rachael finding some peace of their own.

I was provided with this book from the publisher for free via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!


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