Slammer, by Tabatha Vargo


Grade: B-

Doing it at: 60%

Catnip: Prisoner (Of Your Love), He’s Basically a Criminal, Forbidden Romance, Prison Sex, Naughty Nurse, #FelonCrushFriday, But it was 99 cents…

Shame Scale: Low shame. Despite the cover , it’s not terribly racy and there’s some plot that will make your jaw drop.

Fantasy Cast: Jay Ryan, Bryce Dallas Howard

Book Description:

The last place Christopher Jacobs, aka X, thought he’d find himself was behind bars. Ten years later, the boy he used to be is gone. In his place is the shell of a man with murder under his belt. Any emotion he once had was left under the gavel when he was given life in prison. That is until the new nurse in the infirmary joins the block.
Putting your hands on a prison employee will get you the hole, but some things are worth their punishment, and something tells him Lyla will be worth more than he bargained for.

Lyla Evans isn’t sure about her new job at a maximum security prison, but showing uncertainty and weakness isn’t an option. Taking care of murders and rapist isn’t ideal, but survival is key. She’s warned ahead of time about a prisoner named X, but when she’s attacked, it’s the dangerous X that saves her. Fraternizing with the prisoners is forbidden, but sometimes the most forbidden things are the sweetest.

This one is on sale for 99 cents right now, you guys. The whole cover/title package was very reminiscent of a stepbrother novel, and if you’re a regular reader you’ll know that we consider ourselves the internet’s Preeminent Step Sibling Romance Review Blog (We can nickname ourselves, that does not make us nerds). This book does not actually have any characters who are related by marriage, but it does however feature a forbidden romance between a murderous prisoner and his nurse, and if that’s not worth a buck, I don’t know what is.

This was not the first time I’ve dipped my toes into the prison romance waters. And this time I was able to get through it without picturing Jeremy Meeks of #FelonCrushFriday the whole time, in other words, a positive change.

meeks meme

Christopher, AKA “X,” is in a maximum security penitentiary for dismembering his girlfriend and her high school friend when he was 19. He woke up, covered in blood and surrounded by body parts, with no memories of the night before. But there was no one else around, and he felt like it must have been him, so he confessed and has been in prison for the past ten years.

Lyla is a newly graduated nurse who has zero dollars and lots of bills, so she takes a job at the prison out of desperation. It’s not a nice job. It’s dangerous (basically everyone wants to R her), she’s subjected to all manner of verbal harassment from the inmates, and I’m guessing it probably doesn’t pay all that well either. Her first day there, her boss warns her about their most dangerous patient of all, “X,” who is in and out of the infirmary all the time for fighting.

Poor X though, it’s all just self defense. He’s the biggest, toughest guy in the joint, and all the gangs like to use him as an initiation ritual for their new recruits. He doesn’t like fighting, he’s just trying to survive.

Lyla and X have instant chemistry, though they both try to hide it, and soon enough, X finds himself picking fights every day so he can spend time creeping on Lyla in the infirmary. When X saves Lyla from a brutal attack, she starts to really see him in a different light, and everything between them gets all slow burn and swoony. Soon enough, they’re doing it on a hospital bed in a room full of people, and it’s exactly as great as it sounds like.

Lyla starts looking into why X is actually incarcerated, and realizes that he may be innocent. There’s a bunch of plot and I’m going to go #nospoilers on this one, because this one is SO MUCH BETTER when you don’t know what to expect. All I’ll say is that if you’re expecting the formulaic trashy weekend read that’s insinuated by all the gorgeous back muscles on the cover, you’re dead wrong.

Also, I’ll remember this book forever, because it was so fucking engaging that while I was sitting on my porch reading it, I didn’t even notice the motherfucking wasp on the lip of my beer, and I spent the following three days like this:

fat lip

This book hurt me, literally and figuratively.

Check it out:

Amazon • iBooks

2 thoughts on “Slammer, by Tabatha Vargo

  1. OMG that wasp! Oh no! A cautionary tale.

    ProTip: Don’t read sexy books and operate heavy machinery. They should put that one on the labels.


  2. Pingback: Black and Gold Author Event | mybookshame

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