Berkley, $15.00, ISBN 978-0-425-27386-9
Contemporary Erotica, 2014
Captivated by You spans the next three weeks in the lives of Eva and Gideon Cross. Yes, the author is really taking things slow this time around, which really makes me wonder what exactly she was thinking when she decided to stretch the series from three to five books. This one is pretty similar to the previous book – the main characters generally rehash their lust or issues over and over, with snail’s pace of what little progress being made in what passes for plot in this series. Anyway, there are probably some spoilers here for the previous books, so it may be best to just stop reading here if you want to remain unspoiled.
Well, Gideon and Eva are secretly married, but alas, if some normal people find it hard to adjust to married life, imagine how these two screwed-up beings are doing. Eva is once again going back and forth over the other guy – Bart? Brett? Breit? – when I thought she had closed that door in the last book. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised, as the author looks like she hasn’t really planned on what she is going to pad the pages of the surplus books with when she signed that dotted line to go from three to five. Gideon gets to share his side of the story, but for some reason – ahem – the narrative of his thought processes have the same style and tone as that of Eva’s, making those two seem like the two sides of the same cardboard cut-out. Yes, he is still clingy and neurotic, and she is still the only reason for his existence even as he can’t display emotions like a normal person because OOH, ANGST and AH, ISSUES and MOO, GUILT. Yes, she is still wishy-washy, whiny, caustic because OH, ISSUES and WAH, SEX TAPE and OH, DESPAIR. And, as usual, these two have plenty of sex. If they are not having sex, Gideon’s erection is close to painful, bursting point because he needs to be inside her all day and night. She can’t breathe without him because she needs to inhale from his oxygen tank all the time. Yes, not much character progression happens here, just a progression of issues, like little bags on a conveyor belt that goes round and round.
Also, Cary. Who the hell cares about this self-absorbed twat again? There are some issues from previous books that get wrapped up, but it is frustrating that the characters don’t seem to have learned anything. Gideon is still doing the same destructive things by book five, Eva is still repeating her waffling and back-and-forth’ing, and the author continues to introduce new nonsense for the sake of cliffhangers, when these characters could use some working out of their current issues first. This series has gone from a Fifty Shades-knockoff to something shaping up to be decent to, now, nothing more than a pile-up of repetitive angst interspersed with prolonged sex marathons. Even the sex scenes feel like a chore to read now, because everything in this book feels like a calculated measure for the author to fill up the pages with words until she can send this to the editor.
If the author had combined this book with the last one, slashed out a lot of the sex scenes and the whining, we may get a less dragged-out, more interesting read. Well, as it is, this is one book that works very well as a sleeping aid, but is of not much use for other book-related purposes.