Caged is the fourth book in Lorelei James’ Mastered series. I didn’t know it was a part of a series when I picked it up but it’s a standalone so you don’t need to have read the other books in the series to read this one. I will say, however, that I read some other reviews of this book and a couple suggested reading these books in order to increase your enjoyment level. I’m not going to disagree with that advice because I seem to be a bit less enthusiastic about Caged than other reviewers. In fact, there are references in this book that connect to other books in the series (I know that NOW) that can be confusing if you start reading here.
Caged is Deacon and Molly’s story. Deacon is a Southern boy who teaches kickboxing classes. Molly signs up for one of Deacon’s classes and Deacon is instantly attracted to her, sweat and all. Right away I was little put off by the conflict between Molly and Deacon. Deacon blows his initial shot with Molly for a reason which I still don’t fully get and to the extent that I do get it, I just didn’t like it. When Molly runs into Deacon months later (underneath a stripper!) he is still attracted to her and is instantly on her seeking another chance. Molly gives in pretty easily since she’s been pining away for Deacon ever since their failed first connection. I think the book is supposed to be about the push and pull between Deacon and Molly as he tries to get back into her good graces and she resist only I didn’t really see a whole lot of that in the book.
Deacon is an extreme alpha. He comes complete with grunts, indecipherable facial expressions and a communication void the size of Nevada. Of course, he is also hella bossy. Eventually we see a sweeter side to Deacon but the weird thing is that his sweeter side doesn’t seem to be what drew Molly in. I know that because it doesn’t come out until after Molly has already agreed to give Deacon another chance. So their whole relationship up until that point was giving me a “I’m here for the orgasms” vibe. Again, I think not reading other books in the series may be an issue here because apparently there is some relationship development between Deacon and Molly which occurred in other books in the series. I didn’t benefit from that material so it all seemed very insta-lovey to me.
In terms of the events in the actual book…there was a lot going on emotionally. Because Deacon is brooding and alpha-ey, he holds a lot of things inside. This, of course causes complications in his relationship with Molly because she doesn’t understand or misinterprets some of his actions. Deacon eventually reveals more about himself and the sh!t really is devastating stuff that anybody would probably hide. The thing that finally got me feeling something about Molly’s character is that she really is good at understanding Deacon and supporting him as he finally deals with his past and heals. Post-open up Deacon and Molly’s relationship is compelling and the connection is really well described. The sex scenes were hot and added to the overall chemistry between Deacon and Molly. The BDSM stuff can always go either way. If you read a lot of BDSM books, the stuff in this book wasn’t all that intense but it still made things spicy and interesting.
The one thing that really annoyed me about this book is that in order to build some conflict into the story line, there is a lot of melodrama and angst. I’m actually allergic to melodrama and excessive angst and this book damn near made me break out in a rash. I know things are bad when I start screaming grow the fu!k up at my Kindle. However, because this book was well written, I had a lot of fun with the entire cast of characters and there was some hot sex, I still enjoyed the book overall. My suggestion for you potential readers is that you can read this book out of order in the series but you SHOULD read the other books in the series first.
**ARC copy provided by Publisher**