Thursday, May 29, 2014

Alpha by Jasinda Wilder

“The first time it happened, it seemed like an impossible miracle. Bills were piling up, adding up to more money than I could ever make. Mom's hospital bills. My baby brother's tuition. My tuition. Rent. Electricity. All of it on my shoulders. And I had just lost my job. There was no hope, no money in my account, no work to be found. And then, just when I thought all hope was lost, I found an
envelope in the mail. No return address. My name on the front, my address. Inside was a check, made out to me, in the amount of ten thousand dollars. Enough to pay the bills and leave me some left over to live on until I found a job. Enough to let me focus on classes. There was no name on the check, just "VRI Inc.," and a post office box address for somewhere in the city. No hint of identity or reason for the check or anything. No mention of repayment, interest, nothing...except a single word, on the notes line: "You." Just those three letters.

The next month, I received another check, again from VRI Incorporated. It too contained a single word: "belong."

A third check, the next month. This time, two words. Four letters. "To me."

The checks kept coming. The notes stopped. Ten thousand dollars, every month. How do you turn down what seems like free money, when you're desperate? You don't. I didn't.

And then, after a year, there was a knock on my door. A sleek black limousine sat on the curb in front of my house. A driver stood in front of me, and he spoke six words: "It's time to pay your debt."

Would you have gotten in?

I did.

It turns out $120,000 doesn't come free.”

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I read this synopsis and sent it to a friend saying “this may be my next naughty read!” It was naughty, and while the premise is good, there was something missing for me to make it a really good book.

 The synopsis sets up the first part of the book, omitting the part about why Kyrie, the main character in this novel, was in such dire financial straits. Seems the downward spiral started once her father was murdered, and she was left to care for a mentally ill mother, her brother, and all their expenses.

“I went from innocent, na├»ve, privileged college girl to primary breadwinner for three people, one of whom didn’t even recognize me most days. Before life went completely down the drain, putting all my dreams out of reach, leaving me desperate, exhausted, stressed, and frustrated.”

At the end of her rope, she cashes those checks each month knowing that somehow, someway, she would have to pay back those funds. When her benefactor sends for her, she’s a bit freaked but goes along with it, with equal parts curiosity and obligation. She is whisked away to an unknown city, finds herself blindfolded and in front of an unknown man, her benefactor this last year. She’s told that he’s there of her own free will, and can leave at any time, yet her financial support will disappear and it won’t be long before she’s back in the same place that she started. Not much of a choice there when you really think about it.

The blindfold, we are told, is so that she will learn to trust without seeing him but we later learn there was another reason for hiding his identity.

 She learns to submit control to him – for everything. With the blindfold in place for a few days, she learns to trust him, depend on him, and react to him. He attends to her every need. There’s some smokin’ hot chemistry between them and when they get together, it combusts. While Kyrie’s body is telling her ‘yes yes yes’, her emotions are saying ‘um, hold up a minute what is going on here?’

When he is finally revealed, she’s in awe. Roth is tall, handsome, caring, and completely devoted to her and her happiness. She recognizes him but just can’t place where she may have seen him before. You find that he only intended to play with Kyrie for a bit, but ended up falling for her and doesn’t really want to let her go. Once they’ve reached a point of total intimacy, trust, and dependence, he tells her he has a secret that once revealed could change everything. It does.

What results is a complex story of deception, trust, conflicted love, and forgiveness. Jasinda Wilder not only has created Roth as an Alpha male to the extreme – controlling, demanding, confident, but a bit of a contradiction in that he tells her he owns her, but she is submitting on her own will.

“You’re here because I own you, Kyrie.”
“I own you but you will submit to me willingly.”

How can you simultaneously be “owned” by someone – which assumes ultimate power and control, and yet “submit willingly”? This is one of the few things I just didn’t get. As well, there some sexually submissive situations (say that three times fast!) that personally, I wouldn’t dream of allowing but hey, it’s not me in the book right? So read with caution – or a very open mind.

While Kyrie is willing to submit sexually without question, there’s a lack of emotional connection. Physically? Certainly. Emotionally? Not so much.  

Kyrie: “I like sex. I like it a lot. But I don’t do random, meaningless sex… Everything that I’ve done before, all the guys I’ve been with before…none of them could even remotely compete with you. Not on any level. That” —I gestured at the bed— “was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It meant something. I don’t know what, exactly, but it did, and I know it, and I think you do, too.” But there was a lie in there. That I did know. 
“You’re right, of course.” Roth said. Then he took a long swallow of wine before passing the last of it to me. “I think we both have a lot to think about.” 

At times the sexual situations in the book seem to be a bit much, overshadowing a deeper emotional piece that would have made this a more believable story. The words seemed a bit empty to me. Normally, when I read emotional scenes and dialogue, I feel it. I had difficulty with the feels in this book. It until much later when Roth’s identity and his role in her life were revealed that I actually felt something. By then, it was a bit late for me.

In all, Alpha creates an interesting framework but is missing a few key pieces to make it whole. It may leave you hot and bothered (ahem *Cough* *uberhotsteamysexscenes*), or just plain bothered by the lack of real emotional connection between the characters. Overall, it’s not a bad read, but don’t expect to feel the angst in your gut. With the sex scenes that push many boundaries, you may end up feeling things in other places. 

Want to read for yourself? Visit  Amazon / Barnes and Noble / or other retail bookstores.

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