Where did you get the book: E-arc from Publisher
Release Date: Out now
For Damien, our obsession is a game. For me, it is fiercely, blindingly, real.
Damien Stark’s need is palpable—his need for pleasure, his need for control, his need for me. Beautiful and brilliant yet tortured at his core, he is in every way my match.
I have agreed to be his alone, and now I want him to be fully mine. I want us to possess each other beyond the sweetest edge of our ecstasy, into the deepest desires of our souls. To let the fire that burns between us consume us both.
But there are dark places within Damien that not even our wildest passion can touch. I yearn to know his secrets, yearn for him to surrender to me as I have surrendered to him. But our troubled pasts will either bind us close . . . or shatter us completely.
*Blurb taken from Goodreads*
Claim Me starts a few days after the events of last year’s, Release Me, which follows the characters of billionaire hot honcho, Damian Stark, and tech wiz graduate, Nikki Fairchild, who have embarked on a sizzling affair. The painting deal that Damian commissioned, which Nikki is modelling for in return for a million dollars, is just about to expire but this isn’t the end of their affair. Damian and Nikki are still feeling the boundaries of their relationship, and in this book the focus is more about their relationship as well as their pasts being explored more fully.
Although this is another billionaire type hero who has a tortured past, the heroine helps him face it whilst dealing with her own issues, and Claim Me continues with these themes. And this is what I really liked about the book because unlike the first book, which only hinted or covered their past history, it really delved more fully into their problems and emotions. It really added more depth, especially how it tied in with the sexual tension and focus of the story.
I also felt the love scenes were so much hotter and intense than the previous book, and it definitely heated up the tension and the emotional intensity between Nikki and Damian. I really liked that while this did have a BDSM overtone, it really fits well with the psychology and emotional aspects of the characters. In particular for Nikki who uses pain and was cutting herself as a way to ground her feelings and anxiety from being controlled without her consent by her overbearing mother. But I really liked how Nikki learns to trust and accept the sexual games that are teasing and passionate and allows her to channel her own fears and worries when she is about to slip again and it really worked. For me, her character stands out so much more than Damian who wasn’t that interesting or developed.
Her relationship with Damian deepens with more trust, and he confides more about his own past and abuse that was hinted in the first book which ties in with the burgeoning murder mystery which now threatens their happiness. I did find this sub-plot dragged the pace of the story. The other plot concerning the scandal of the secret deal of the painting coming out, which Nikki was being paid a million dollars by Damian to pose nude – and the paparazzi following their every move was a bit tedious, and again Nikki has problems with her new job. I did get the sense that Nikki would launch her own business and go it alone. I felt this didn’t really make sense because once again she had co-workers who disliked her and linked with Damian. I wished she did attempt to go it alone because this would have been more interesting because this all felt forced and boring because it didn’t add anything to the story or moved it forward.
While I liked the focus on the characters and their feelings, there wasn’t much impetus or momentum in the plot and it really felt this is middle book syndrome especially with the focus on the side subplots about Nikki’s fallout on the painting scandal which really wasn’t that scandalous for me. I am looking forward to seeing how Damian’s past will pan out and be resolved, and while I wished there was more about his character but it is hard because it’s in Nikki’s POV.
I enjoyed this second installment of J. Kenner’s erotic trilogy, although nothing really much happens because the pace was more explorative of the characters which heightened the romance instead of the main plot. The love scenes were sizzling and while I wished there was more in the story development, this was a satisfactory and enjoyable read. I am definitely looking forward to the next book to see how this will be resolved and I hope it will be explosive!
I give Claim Me a C+