Captivated by You (Crossfire #4) by Sylvia Day
The first page had me wet.
The second page had me interested.
The third page continued until I had finished this book in one sitting (OK, so I had the luxury of a few free hours, but it’s really that good!).
Before reading this book, I had never heard of Sylvia Day before, or let alone Gideon and Eva Cross and their torturous (pun intended) love story. And that was a good thing.
Why, you may ask?
It enabled me to read and review this book without any preconceived ideas or expectations. Having no knowledge of the author’s skill with storyline, characters or sex scenes, I also didn’t know Gideon Cross from a hole in the ground, but upon first description, boy oh boy would I have liked to make friends with that piece of geography! Gideon is tall, built like an adonis and trains by doing mixed martial arts. Drool territory, we have arrived. He is tortured by a past hurt - some sort of child abuse that we’re not made privy too until near the end of the book. He is a billionaire with jets and penthouses and immaculately tailored suits.
Gideon is also one of the narrators of this book. Alternating chapters are written from his vantage point, the other half from his wife’s point of view. For such a young man (28), he is very astute and very aware of his needs and of his shortcomings. He interacts with people, friends and foes alike, as if he is playing a game of chess, and we are along for the ride with access to his strategy. Ms. Day has created a layered, rich character in Gideon, with a sex drive that could satisfy ten women, but, of course, he can only perform with one - his love, his wife and the woman he is petrified he will lose because of the mysteries of his troubled past - Eva Cross.
Eva is described as a petite blond Latina with a fiery personality and curves in all the right places -particularly in the ass and thighs. She has bobbed length hair that is worn in a ponytail much of the time though she alternates between shorts and designer dresses depending on her activity. What makes Eva likeable, is that she is one of us. She supports her friends, she cries, she drinks too much when she goes out on the town, makes mistakes with those she loves and sometimes she loves her man too much for her own good. Though Eva comes from money on her mother’s side, her father is a regular working stiff, imbuing her with such down to earth qualities that we can hear ourselves in her appreciative reaction to Gideon Cross’ personal jet.
What’s more, is that the character of Eva is a welcome change and variation on the standard slim to skinny romance-novel heroine (complete with a long flowing, perfectly styled and coloured mane) who is taking time away from her ‘fill in the blank’ international career to find herself through the love of a wildly successful man. Eva instead, is a hardworking assistant to someone in public relations, who is trying to be everything her socialite mother is not.
This is the “in” That Sylvia Day uses to “Captivate” her fans. She understands that readers like to see something approachable and earthy in the main character of a love story. To have a female protagonist who resembles the physical reality of most women - a few curves and not always being as fashionable as a magazine photo shoot model, is a breath of fresh air. Combine that with a male character who can’t wait to sink his hands, teeth and cock into said curves, and you have a winner of a formula. These two damaged and tortured creatures find themselves in a quick marriage at the centre of a sexual vortex of cumming and cumming and cumming. Each in turn surrenders themselves to the other, so that their bodies can be used to sate the disquiet in the soul of their partner.
The sex is wrenching, sweaty, connective and mind-blowing. While I found it slightly unbelievable that Gideon and Eva are in their twenties in term sof their self-awareness and financial successes, it made sense from the vantage point of stamina - pure stamina, because these people like to fuck. A lot. A whole lot in fact. Morning, noon and night. In fact, they NEED to fuck so much, because that is how they communicate with one another. How they express and receive love, affection, pleasure and pain.
It should be mentioned that there are references to and flashbacks of childhood abuse suffered by the main characters that may be disturbing to some. There are also references to the Shades of Grey Dom/Sub genre - through stream of consciousness insights and some instances of BDSM. This books aims to weave some larger themes and ideas about violence, control and sex throughout the intense love story that is Gideon and Eva. Rarely does one encounter two protagonists who have ridden so far and so long trying to find relief and respite from their demons, let alone trying to do it together.
To read the fourth book in a series with the same main characters that follows and grows the stories and adventures and sex life (which can get to be repetitive, though not in this book) of two people, would be asking a lot of any author. For Sylvia Day to do all of this and to still find her dialogue fresh, witty and true is testament to the quality and calibre of her writing. In addition, this book also lets one into the luxurious world of wealthy New York, with it’s sights and sounds and international range of secondary characters. The diversity Day highlights is a welcome treat different from the regular monochromatic line-up of romance book characters. It is high time that people get to know Indian lawyers, Japanese workmates and Italian business partners. Well done Ms. Day.
Overall this was an excellent novel. The style of using the protagonists to narrate their own story is fresh and interesting, as is the frequent sexual interludes. Just enough background information from the previous novels is given to make this book complete on its own without giving away the plot of the previous books. The nicest compliment I can give is that Captivated By You makes me want to go out and buy the previous three novels in order to find out the rest of Gideon and Eva’s story.
In fact, when I finished this book I felt like I needed to smoke a cigarette, or whatever one does after a particularly amazing orgasm.