Release Dates: Out now
p dir=”ltr”>Second in the darkly compelling, sexually-charged contemporary romance trilogy, in which two men vie for the mind, body, and heart of a woman who may never give in to their wishes—or her own…
Evelyn “Scout” Keats has left behind her painful past of surviving on the streets, and is now living in the luxurious penthouse master suite of Hotel Patras with her lover, billionaire Lucian Patras. But what she doesn’t know is the price Lucien paid for her freedom.
To protect Scout’s life, Lucian cut a deal with a dangerous man from her past, Parker Hughes. He swore to stay away from her for thirty days, even though he knows Parker will be fighting to keep them apart for good and take Scout as his own.
Yet neither man realizes that Scout is not about to be used as a prize or a bargaining chip for any man’s power play—and she falls back on her hard-earned self-respect and courage to show both men that the only person she truly needs is herself.
But Lucien has other plans…
Earlier last year I read the first book, FALLING IN, by Lydia Michaels. It’s an erotic trilogy which has shades of the Cinderella theme. I really liked the premise of a homeless heroine, finding love, and discovering her sense of self and breaking out of the chains of her past of dealing with a drug addict mother and stark poverty. So I was definitely interested in the follow-up, although I was wary with some elements in the first book.
In BREAKING OUT, Scout and Lucien are happy with the state of their relationship, and enjoy a very healthy and passionate affair, which consisted of well written love scenes. However, their happiness is short-lived because Lucien has the Sword of Damocles hanging over his head due to his deal with Parker. He agreed to leave Scout for a period of time, so that Parker would have a chance in gaining her affections, although she is happily involved with Lucien. Although Lucien is determined not to let this happen and becomes even more desperate to permanently tie Scout to him, which he attempts to do with a marriage proposal. Scout is disconcerted by this but things get worse when Lucien is bound by the terms of the bargain, and drives her away without telling her which pleases Parker.
The terms of the bargain was set up in FALLING IN, and I was curious to see how this plays out, especially since Scout is determined to keep her independence despite the luxury lifestyle that Lucien offers her. If Scout was not this stubborn to keep her own agency and autonomy, I would have probably not been interested, and she is truly a highlight in this series. I also liked Parker’s character in the first book; he appeared to be the opposite of Lucien who is the ultimate alpha hero with control issues. But I was pretty disappointed in how Parker’s character developed. I liked that he wanted to get back on his feet, especially since he was homeless like Scout was, and there was a twist that he was from an affluent family who lost their wealth over a financial scandal. But that likeable, almost beta like character that appeared in the first book, was another alphahole. And I really began to dislike him. I was also not impressed that both men were viewing Scout like the ultimate prize, although I do think Lucien had genuine feelings for her.
But in the second half with all this playing out, I really loved Scout’s character who developed further by moving out of Lucien’s sphere of wealth and I liked that she really discovered her sense of self even though she was grieving over the loss of her relationship and feelings of betrayal. Even though Parker appears to be the friend who helps her, I did not like the way he tried to manipulate her and I did initially think he was a good complication in adding to the angst of the romance between her and Lucien. I was disappointed that Parker became mercenary and calculated because he assumed being rich and powerful would help him win Scout. And unlike Lucien who realised that wealth was not the key to keeping Scout, I did not like how Parker’s character almost did a 180. And I am not sure he is redeemable.
But overall I really have to love how this book ended. Scout gains strength and insights about how those who are closest to her have manipulated her, and I am so glad that Lydia Michaels ended it in that way. Breaking Out doesn’t fall into the pitfalls of the middle book syndrome, the characters are fleshed out more, and it furthers the plot which ties in from the first book, I actually found this was even better than the first book.
I give Breaking Out a B
Review: Coming Home
The conclusion of the savage, sensual Surrender trilogy in which betrayal, pain, and vengeance threaten to destroy a passion between two damaged souls…
Evelyn “Scout” Keats thought she finally found her long-sought happiness in billionaire Lucian Patras. But even though Lucian has always treated her like a queen, she has discovered she is nothing more than a pawn in his own secret game.
Worse, her long-time friend and supposed shining knight, Parker Hughes has also used her for his own interests by playing a part in Lucian’s game. Everyone’s honor is suspect, and no one can be trusted. It is Scout’s worst nightmare come to life.
As she struggles to comprehend the cost of a broken heart and the value of love, she must choose, once and for all, how much her pride can endure—and how much she is willing to risk to be truly happy.
COMING HOME starts soon after the events of BREAKING OUT. Scout, after learning about the deal between Lucien and Parker, has left them both out in the cold. She is angry and feels betrayed about how they viewed and treated her. In the first two books, she slowly attempts to build up her life, although she was sheltered and even pulled back by the overprotectiveness of Lucien. Scout really comes to her own about her independence and agency in this book. She refuses to let Lucien in or to fall easily back to his arms. This is the book where the alphahole hero, who has fucked up, grovels. And he grovels hard to win back the woman he loves.
I adored the first half of this book because Scout finds a new place to live, and a new job. I loved her feelings and thoughts of having her own place and job that was not tied in with Lucien’s control. The details of buying just simple things and realising that she escaped the nightmare of her past poverty, and that it was of her own endeavours, was endearing. And over the course of the book, she discovers and realises some things. Her relationship with her mother was another aspect of the book that I liked. While I found that it was unrealistic that the authorities would not have been involved when she was born with her homeless mother. The struggles that her mother went through with her addiction which was pretty stark and hopeless, was realistic.
But the book kind of petered out for me in the second half. While I liked that Lucien grovelled so hard to try to make up for his epic fail with his ill-thought bargain with Parker, I did think that despite the true independence that Scout managed to get, it of kind of chipped away. She realises that the wealth disparity between them shouldn’t become an issue and comes to appreciate it. But I wish the author made this clearer because there was an element of the sexual side of their relationship which has BDSM/Dom overtones. And that is made clear, because Scout is determined to get more educated and finds other interests which adds to her agency. I even liked that when she was reconciled, she kept the grotty apartment that she rented. But I think this was overshadowed by Lucien’s alphaness in their relationship but, nonetheless, their romance worked. And this is truly a fairytale type of take on the BDSM Billionaire and the innocent heroine trope. All in all, I enjoyed the Surrender trilogy. The heroine is likable and is also relatable. She was the true highlight of the whole series and I really liked how her character changed and developed throughout the series. Although I was not a huge fan of Lucien, I also enjoyed their romance, and overall I think the SURRENDER trilogy is one of the better erotic BDSM series featuring a billionaire hero.
I give Coming Home a B-