Release Day Reviews: Captive: Brighton Walsh

Brighton Walsh
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Expected March 24, 2015

He’s the most dangerous man she’s ever met…and she’s falling in love with him.

Madison Frost is desperate to escape her life. Daughter of a prominent businessman, she has everything a girl could ask for. Except for a family who’s present in her life, and anyone to talk to outside the four walls of the prison she calls home. Madison dreams of one day leaving her life behind. She never thought being kidnapped is how it would happen.

Now she’s being held captive by a man who’s as frightening as he is sinfully gorgeous. Enormous, muscular, and filled with secrets, the man they call Ghost is an enigmatic mercenary, and Madison is trapped with him. She doesn’t know who hired him or why, but the more time she spends at his mercy, the more she realizes he’s not what he seems. Beneath his rough exterior lies an unexpected gentleness and a heart as broken and battered as her own.

But as Madison lets down her walls, Ghost holds tight to his, hiding secrets that could destroy everything. 

Madison Frost has all the wealth and possessions she could need, but she is lonely and dealing with a dysfunctional family and responsibilities. She's trapped. She's self conscious and closed-off. She's resentful and embarrassed of what her life entails. She is naive about the world around her. But no matter how many times she wished to have a different life, she didn't even think about it  being taken away in an instant.

Suddenly she is truly on her own in a bad situation. Captive in a different way by a menacing man in a remote cabin. She is out of her element and scared, but has the ability to fight in her.

But as she realizes she is not going anywhere and neither is he, she begins to see that he may be tough and scary, but is not without empathy. She can see under his layers to the man underneath. And that perhaps they have some commonalities between them. Fear begins to morph into attraction.

"You wanna know what I think? I think underneath all that muscle, you have a heart. You just don't want anyone to know it."

She's innocent, but determined. He finds himself trapped between his own conscience, his life, and a woman that challenges him. And the the pull towards her is strong. He knows he does not deserve her, but at times he is powerless to resist her. And he has more secrets weighing on him that could hurt her even more.  I really found myself liking him. I could feel his conflict over the whole situation and how much he wanted things to be different. He was the only one in her life that really took the time to see her for who she was. And she could see good in him.
In all my twenty-four years I'd never felt like this. Not once. And it was some kind of f***ed-up destiny bullsh** that it would happen with the girl I'd been paid an obscene amount to hold captive. The one girl I should keep my hands off.

There are trust issues, questionable dynamics, hidden agendas, and secrets. They are in a very precarious situation. Their connection grows, but is complicated. He's protective and she begins to trust him to keep her safe. But is that a mistake? And what will happen once all of his truths are revealed?

Because Madison Frost was intelligent and way too f***ing good for some a**hole like me. She was from the right side of the tracks and I was all wrong, and under normal circumstances she wouldn't have looked at me twice. She would have run from me.

I usually don't read books about kidnappings or captives. Just not my usual genre of choice. But I liked Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh and decided it sounded intriguing. Brighton has a writing style that brings you into the story and allows you to really get a handle on her characters. You get to know their back stories, feelings, pain, and fears. She did a good job showing how trapped Maddie was in her own privileged life. Ghost went from intimidating and cold, to vulnerable and fiercely protective. She allowed us to see into his complex world and see his hopelessness over his poor choices and his sense of responsibility for his brother, Riley and for Madison. Their connection didn't always make sense, but it felt real. There were twists and turns and sometimes I did not know where it was going, but it was definitely an eye opening experience for these characters. They  marked each other and were a catalyst for each other to change.

It was told in both of their points of view increasing our understanding of each of them. The plot was layered with secrets, mysteries, tension, and danger. The characters showed growth. It was sexy, suspenseful, and emotional. Both had been imprisoned by their lives and choices, but while in a captive situation found tools to change. This was complete and can be read as a stand-alone story. The next book in the series Exposed will focus on his brother Riley and I am already interested in his story. He's another bad boy who is known for making poor choices and mistakes.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I hesitated to read this book, because the captive/captor relationship is a tricky one. If things move too fast, it feels like the captor is taking advantage of the situation. I almost turned this book down for fear of feeling that icky abuse of power feeling. But I am so glad I took the chance.

Madison Frost has lived a sheltered life of privilege. At least that is how it appears to everyone outside her house. Inside? She shoulders the burden of caring for her alcoholic mother while her father turns a blind eye and focuses on his work. As a 20 year old college student, she keeps her head down, and often retreats to the safety of home. She feels uncomfortable making friends and as a result is rather naive at times.

When Madison finds herself kidnapped and hidden away in a remote cabin, she realizes she is stronger than she ever imagined, and knows she has to fight to return home.

Her captor, Ghost (as he is called when they first meet) is everything she has tried to avoid. Tattooed, obviously skilled in illegal activities, his presence and size scream danger. Yet after only a short time, Madison begins to feel safe with him and everything he shares with her while she is captive.

Their time in the cabin was both intense and sweet. In a situation where Madison should feel nothing but terror and fear, Madison instead finds safety and someone who understands her struggles.

While this is not the first book about a captive/captor romance I’ve read, it is one of the first that didn’t leave me feeling uncomfortable with the power dynamics at any time. I loved the way their progression happened. Knowing the things that were going on in each of their heads during the entire time, it never felt creepy or wrong to me.

With as quick of a timeline as the book contained, I was surprised by the amount of emotion I had invested in these characters. I felt their conflict, their heartbreak, and their hope, and though the heartbreak had to happen, I loved watching the aftermath and how Madison and Ghost both changed their situations based on things set into motion by the kidnapping.

I saw a few of the plot twists before they happened, but thinking it was coming and finding out my hunch was true were two totally different things and I enjoyed this read completely. It was different than what I normally read, and stretched my comfort levels perfectly. In the end, I was so happy to have taken a chance on a book that initially made me nervous.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Brighton Walsh  Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads/Website
Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with her first love: writing. When she's not pounding away at the keyboard, she's probably either reading or shopping--maybe even both at once. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children, and, yes, she considers forty degrees to be hoodie weather. Her home is the setting for frequent dance parties, Lego battles, and more laughter than she thought possible. Visit her online at brightonwalsh.com.


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