Monday, June 2, 2014

[Archive] LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of Giving In

Maya Banks is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today and international bestselling author of over 50 novels. A wife and mother of three, she lives in Texas.

Keep up with Maya at her Website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on GoodReads.

Giving In

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Kylie sees the way Jensen looks at her. The dark promise in his eyes. That rough edge of dominance she knows he possesses. But dominance is the one thing that frightens her above all else. She and her brother barely survived a childhood steeped in violence and abuse. She could never give up total control and submit to a man. Especially a man like Jensen. Could she?

Jensen sees the shadows in Kylie’s eyes. Knows he has to tread very carefully or risk losing any chance he has with her. All he wants is the opportunity to show her that dominance doesn’t equal pain, bondage or discipline. That emotional surrender is the most powerful of all, and that to submit—fully to him—will fulfill the aching void in her heart in a way nothing else ever will.

Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Heavenly Hellspawn - Erika:

*Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review

Love is elusive for many of us despite how hard we try to find it. For others it is not only something believed to be impossible to find, but something that is both terrifying and undeserved. Kylie Beckenridge was her father’s favorite victim & he restlessly unleashed his physical and sexual abuse on her without mercy during her entire childhood. His abuse of her & her brother Carson left deep, festering wounds on her heart and soul, and with Carson’s sudden death Kylie is now left alone to fight her demons. 

Her life is rich with routine: she works, she spends time with her friends and then comes home and locks herself away in her house. Safe. Alone. Where no one can hurt her or see how broken she truly is. Though Kylie has two very close friends, she’s never really opened up about her childhood, never wanting to expose her weakness or burden them with the weight of her past. Joss & Chessy know the ‘cliff notes’ version of Kylie’s past and have always been there for her, but have grown increasingly concerned for their friend’s well-being. Plagued by night terrors every time she closes her eyes Kylie is a walking zombie and time bomb, ready to go off and shatter at any minute. 

Kylie is left even more off balance when Carson’s widow moves on—with the exact type of man that terrifies her most. She loves Joss, and considers her the only family she has left & is terrified when she gets involved with Dash—Carson’s best friend—and discovers that he is a Dominant. For Kylie Domination has always meant fear and violence. Wanting only for her friend to be happy Kylie tries to push her fears aside, only to be hit with another surprise. As the administrative assistant, Kylie’s job is to keep her brother’s company running smoothly. After Carson’s death 3 years ago she threw herself into her work, finding that it was the one thing that distracted her from her grief and desolation. She’s crushed and outraged when she learns that not only is Dash changing the name of the company that Carson left to him alone, but that he is also bringing on a new partner. To Kylie, they’ve both betrayed her beloved brother. Dash for turning his back on what her brother built by removing his name, and for replacing her brother without so much as a second thought… and Joss let him without argument. 

Worse still is that the new partner, Jensen Tucker, scares the holy hell out of her. Jensen is tall, dark, hard and has a rough & rugged handsomeness to him; he’s intense, brooding, strong and Dominant. He is everything she fears. He is a threat to her quasi-comfortable little world… and it pisses her off as much as it frightens her. Kylie does everything she can to keep as much distance—both physically and personally—as possible. She makes no bones about the fact that she doesn’t like him, doesn’t trust him and doesn’t want him working for her brother’s company. Her mind screams ‘drop dead,’ ‘go screw yourself,’ and ‘go to hell’ every time she has to interact with him, and she’d be delighted if he would actually just do one of them & be gone from her life.

Jensen however has no such plans to placate her. From the moment he laid eyes on her he wanted her more than his next breath. He knows about her past, knows how carefully he must tread with her or risk fracturing her tenuous hold on reality & sanity. In his eyes, Carson did his sister no favors by shielding her so fiercely from the world—doing so has only made Kylie inherently distrustful of everyone, above all men, made her fearful of everything including her shadow and has left her feeling alone and isolated. The protection Carson—and Dash—have always given her have preserved her as a victim, instead of making her a survivor, and Jensen plans to rectify that immediately! 

With Dash & Joss on their honeymoon Jensen is left in charge of the office and Kylie is forced to deal with him rather than using Dash as a buffer and middle man. Jensen pushes her at work, and stuns her when he asks for her help in an important business manner. It’s an incredible opportunity, one Kylie can’t justify refusing, even if it means spending a lot of time with a man that both drives her insane and intrigues her. Jensen is a man of few words, with only one—neutral—expression, but nonetheless he commands attention & exudes authority. Yet when they are alone he is warm and tender, he smiles and opens up to her, despite her best efforts to be abrasive and standoffish. He actively strives to make her feel comfortable and relaxed, important and special, but Kylie’s demons won’t allow her to accept it, and sabotage her every effort to change and to heal. 

Jensen is very openly protective of her, but not in a way that shelters her from the world (like Carson did)—he’s more like a shield: constantly at her side, reassuring her of her safety and instantly out in front, protecting her, the moment there is a legitimate threat to her. He knows that she needs to be able to stand on her own two feet, that she needs to be in charge of her own life, and make her own decisions—Carson’s no longer here to usher her through life safely, she needs to learn to do it herself and trust that she not only CAN do it, but that she’s capable of captaining her own ship and surviving any storm. 

As Kylie faces her past, Jensen too if forced to face his—which is strikingly similarly to hers, and that he too has painstakingly tried to bury. As their relationship starts to bloom it switches from Jensen being strong, and supportive while Kylie tackles and overcomes her past, to Kylie being the resilient one and helping him in overcoming his.

In a beautiful yet realistic view of how difficult relationships can be for some people, Giving In gives hope to those who see themselves as broken and unworthy, people who think that their past defines their future. It highlights the excitement and unadulterated joy that comes with finding out that you’re not beyond hope and finding someone willing to do any and everything to make you happy & keep you safe. At the same time it very pointedly demonstrates just how long it takes some wounds to heal, and how hard one has to work do so. 

Giving In

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