Grade: D for no D
Doing it at: There’s some implied N/A
Catnip: Boy Next Door, Man of the Cloth, Forbidden Romance, Nonsexual Healing, Lovers to Best Friends
Shame Scale: Yawn, no shame.
Fantasy Cast: Sam Palladio and I don’t care
When a seventeen-year-old girl vanishes,
A community is shaken.
Parents turn desperate.
Friends hold vigils.
And the boy who loves her searches.
When a year goes by,
The community is recovering.
Parents feel hopeless.
Friends feel helpless.
And the boy who loves her continues his search.
When ten years go by,
The community has forgotten.
Parents cling to the past.
Friends move toward the future.
And the boy who loves her . . .
Brings her home.
Jade Childs spent ten years in captivity, but now that she’s back, the real battle for survival begins. The media shadows her. Flashbacks haunt her. Her old life evades her. Her so-called new life rejects her. She spent too many years in the dark to recognize the light. She spent too long repressing her feelings to remember how to express them. She spent a decade abandoning hope and cannot dare letting it back into her life. Jade’s not just defined by what happened to her—she’s collared to it.
When the twenty-seven-year-old woman is found,
A community wants to know the story,
Parents want to forget the story,
Friends want to be a part of the story,
And the man who still loves her faces the greatest challenge yet: letting her go.
Ok so maybe my mind just goes there, but when I saw this new book called “Collared,” I was thinking like…
And the book description is all Cleveland Abduction meets Boy-Next-Door-Second-Chance-Romance. Basically the 1-Click Train to Catnip City. I moved it to the top of my TBR pile and dove right in.
Spoiler filled review to follow. Seriously, don’t read any part of this if you plant to read the book. I’m just going to tell you the whole plot and all the twists and ruin it completely for you.
The book jumps in right after Torrin and Jade have finished saving themselves for marriage like Britney and Justin. They’re high school sweethearts, he’s the boy next door. Her dad is the chief of police and she’s late for curfew, so after a bit of plot about his family that ultimately means nothing because it’s never brought up again, he walks her home. There’s a sweet bit here where he asks her to marry him and aww teen love. Then Torrin watches her walk to her door (so her dad won’t see him), and heads back to his house.
This is when a creepy van pulls up, she goes over like an idiot to give some directions, and is promptly abducted. (Don’t be mad. I’m not victim blaming, this is just a book.)
Fast forward ten years. Jade is chained up in a house where she has been living as the pretend daughter of her abductor. Her life has been pretty gruesome (No rape, it’s not that kind of book).
But the police are here to save her! They take her to the hospital where she’s treated for minor injuries, and she meets with a very nice psychologist who just wants to help, ok? But Jade isn’t having it. She is just fine, ok? Her family comes to see her and her parents are happy but her sister and brother are being weird, and ok, sure.
If this was just a book about abduction, I’d say Nicole Williams was doing a great job at this point. The writing is great, the story is engaging, it all feels creepy and realistic. But – it’s a romance, so let’s get back to it huh?
In the middle of the night, Torrin shows up to see her. Giggety giggety. He spent the last ten years looking for Jade, and he’s feeling very emotional that she’s back now. Because, well, he did something a little foolish when he realized he’d probably never see her again – he became a priest.
HOT PRIEST ALERT!
Ok, it turns out the collar was a nod to his priestly collar, and also the one that kept her chained up in the abduction house. You guys, I’m just going to rip off the bandaid and tell you that there are no sex collars in this book. Because there’s no actual sex in this book.
I was hoping this was about to turn into something like Priest, by Sierra Simone (If you like hot priest books you should totally buy that one BTW). But it didn’t. Sure, there’s a lot of forbidden romance tension and a little bit of smolder that doesn’t go anywhere, but the rest of this book is basically a giant cock tease while Jade emotionally comes to grip with what was done to her.
The book ends with them holding hands discreetly under the sand on the beach, Torrin offering for the millionth time to renounce his priesthood anytime now, really, he’s ready. And Jade saying, “not now, but someday.”
I guess it was an alright book, but there was SO MUCH wasted potential with that perfect almost Lifetime movie quality set up, that I can’t help but feel disappointed. This book gets a solid D for no D because those are the rules.
***Note from the other editor- I was reading this one and as soon as I found out he was a priest I nope’d out pretty hard. When Mary told me no doing it would be forthcoming I just DNF’d. No shame, we know what we like.
Check it out: