Thursday, February 16, 2017

Blog Tour: King's Captive - Amber Bardan


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For three years, I've belonged to Julius King.

Some people would think being stuck on a private island is heaven, but this is my hell.  

Because I'm not here as a guest. Not even close. I'm a prisoner. I'm his.

Julius King. Powerful. Wealthy. Dangerous.

There are parts of me he wants that I can't give him. When he looks at me, there are times I swear he sees someone else. And the scary part is that sometimes, when he touches me, I think he may be someone else, too.

Though my body might be tempted, and he might control everything else, I can't let him have any piece of my heart. I won't. But every day, the fight gets harder, and Julius manages to slip past my defenses in the most unexpected ways.  

I have to find out the truth about Julius King. Even if it destroys me.  

This book is approximately 81,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

Review
4.5 Stars
Sarah's life changed forever on her eighteenth birthday, marred by gun shots, blood, and the loss of everyone she cares for, she thinks on her past as she lives as a captive on a beautiful island. Julius King is the man who ruined it all and she's just biding time to escape from him, despite the affection he shows her daily. Her emotions, however, leave her confused, both hating and admiring him for all he does. The only thing she holds tight to are her father's last words and the hope that she soon will be free.

My eyes close for an instant. His kiss is deceptively warm, but then, hell is warm, no surprise the devil should be too.

From the very first page I was trapped in this book, unable to get away from the slightly creepy, very twisted Stockholm Syndrome that main character, Sarah, suffers from. The story starts out very dark, bringing readers into a past that's tinged with blood and despair, before taking them into the future where the sun shines, the island life is beautiful, and Sarah is questionably satisfied with life, although still seeking salvation. Reading from her perspective is what ultimately made this novel so good, because (without giving away any plot) it is very apparent her sanity is merely hanging by a thread. Then there's Julius King, this man that Sarah speaks so highly of, who she admires, but also hates so deeply. He loves her and cares for her, that much is apparent, but their ties together are not positive. The romance between the young woman and the dark, brooding Julius is enticing, even with the threat of captivity forever hanging over Sarah's head.

I never know what I want more, to pull her apart piece by piece or beg her to put me back together.

The entire book is built on emotions, the true events are secondary. I generally had to remind myself that things were not as they seemed through the entire novel, but that made it all the better for me. What was a darker, contemporary story took on a thriller vibe, because of the high-stakes emotions that both Sarah and Julius allowed to rule their day to day lives. While the story line is a well known one, the big reveal is what makes King's Captive unique. Amber Bardan takes readers on a journey through the past and present, all while never giving away who the characters really are and what is truly going on. The big reveal was confusing for me at first, something I had to read multiple times to understand, but once it clicks, oh it is good. Even better, though, are the constant twists that the story takes, leading readers on a white rabbit chase. 

Hate him. But hate is passion-a bitter kind of love. Obsession

King's Captive is an intriguing romance, built on mystery and darkness, and one that readers will find holds their attention from beginning to end. The story is explosive, the writing incredibly descriptive, and the promised HEA is all that and more. 

Excerpt 2
A man stands in the driveway behind the roses. My steps slow. Haven’t seen him before. There’d be no forgetting him.
He watches me approach, hands in pockets of gray suit pants, almost as though he’s been waiting all morning for me to come to him. I stop, the wide branches of a rose bush separate us. He slides off sunglasses, and tucks them into his inside breast pocket. My attention follows his hand, catching on his open shirt collar. There’s a tattoo springing from that shirt. A snake head rising like a coil of smoke out of the green leaves of an apple tree. Never seen ink like this. Unsettling and beautiful. I catch my breath. Must have walked faster than I thought.
“Sorry I’m late.”
I get stuck on his eyes. They’re so bright, it’s tricky to look right at them. I’m staring. I probably shouldn’t stare at a man like this.
He breaks free a rose low on a stem, then circles the bush. “Happy birthday.”
He extends the rose. It’s so gorgeous, this frilly antique rose, half cream and tinged with pink. It’s also my rose already.
Of course.
Benjamin Carlisle…
I look him over. He’s big, and rough, and the sight of him sends warmth fluttering to my core. I’m not pissed at Dad so much anymore.
I take the rose between thorns. I mean, I’m not planning the wedding, but I’ll be up tonight imagining the honeymoon.
“So, you’re late to my party, and instead of bringing a gift you mutilate my favorite rosebush right in front of me.” I bring the rose to my nose and look up at him. “Takes balls.”
His expression shifts, not quite a smile. He’s examining me a lot harder than I examined him. Heat creeps to my cheeks.
Maybe he came here under duress. Flirt with the spoiled rich girl with the important daddy. But he’s changing his mind about wanting to be here. The rose in my hand tells me as much.
The way his gaze sucks me in tells me more.
I’ve been called pretty since I was a kid. No one ever called me sexy. He’s calling me sexy right now, just not out loud. Seduction enters his expression in the squint of his gaze, the softening of his jaw. Nearly enough to make a good girl strip on the spot.
And I’m not even much of a good girl. At least not by choice.
“I’m Sarah.” I extend my hand.
His entire being shifts—a flinch like someone taking a bullet—then it’s gone. He takes my hand before I can move it away.
“I don’t think I’m going to call you that.”
My limbs stiffen. Tingles run from my enveloped palm into my shoulder. His eyes don’t leave mine. He steps closer.
My chin rises to hold his gaze. “What do you think you’ll be calling me, then?”
His expression heats. My spine bends a little towards him. No man has ever looked at me quite like this.
My skin sensitizes, alert as though it’s separate from the rest of my body. There’s sweat on my upper lip and a chill on my shoulders.
He reaches for me, fingers on the back of my neck, thumb on my jaw.
It’s an odd way to touch a stranger—proprietary.
Inappropriate.
My breath speeds up, a nervous thrill jolting through me.
His cheek pulses, and his fingers tighten on the back of my head, his expression straining like he’s lifting weights. I can’t tell if he’s going to kiss or attack me.
My vision sharpens, and I know the wicked truth.
I want both.
Want him to press me up behind the house and raise my skirt. Touch me roughly. He leans in and his breath meets mine, and rushes into my lungs.
My pussy floods, an almost embarrassing slickness.
The taste of his breath is as familiar to me as my own, even though we’ve never met. Maybe because I’ve fantasized about this for so long.
His burning gaze seems to compel my thighs open.
Fantasized about a man who wouldn’t be afraid to take what he wanted. Who wouldn’t care what my father thought. Who’d take me from this ranch where I’ve been so fucking alone…
“Sarah.”
I jerk back, out of Benjamin’s grasp.
Dad jogs towards us. He doesn’t jog—ever. He rarely calls me Sarah. “Go sit with Mrs. Carlisle.”
Dad’s entire torso expands with his breaths. “You…What are you doing?”
“Julius King,” says the man who’s apparently not Benjamin Carlisle.
He eases back from me only slightly, but his body language has shifted light years. The way his jaw snaps is vicious. He doesn’t extend his hand to Dad the way he did me. “I thought it was time we met in person. Our business won’t be delayed any longer.”
“Sarah, I said go sit with Mrs. Carlisle.” Dad’s face matches the crimson of his neck.
I look between the men, then take a step towards the garden.
Julius grabs my arm, just above the elbow, almost like the way I’d taken my dad’s earlier, except there’s no affection in this gesture. “I’ll join you. It was quite the drive to get here and I’m thirsty.”
He leads me towards the tables.
“You can’t be here,” Dad shouts. “What are you doing?”
My legs turn brittle, as though my muscles have lost elasticity. I glance over my shoulder at Dad.
“What does it look like, I’m joining the party.”





After spending years imagining fictional adventures, Amber finally found a way to turn daydreaming into a productive habit. She now spends her time in a coffee-fuelled adrenaline haze, writing romance with a thriller edge.

She lives with her husband and children in semi-rural Australia, where if she peers outside at the right moment she might just see a kangaroo bounce by.

Amber is an award winning writer, Amazon Bestselling Author, and member of Romance Writers of Australia, Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, and Writers Victoria.

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