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My Need to Read

I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

Hearts in Darkness - Laura Kaye Rating: 4.5(originally posted on Book Lovers Inc)Based on this book’s cover, you might assume that it is one of the many Black Dagger Brotherhood-esque stories with hulking, tattooed heros that have dark, violent souls. Not so! This is actually a contemporary romance with a high-concept premise and lots of emotion. Two people who’ve never seen each other are stuck in a dark, confined space, left to discover each other in every sense. The novella’s opening quote, by William Shakespeare, says it best: “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”I really like how Kaye seamlessly wove little expository details into the action, details that provide reasoning behind the somewhat unlikely sequence of events throughout the book. She wasn’t bashing the reader over the head with “See? This is how they end up trapped without means of communication,” or “Here’s the part where I establish motive for the character’s deciding to share his story.” That could’ve easily been the case, what with any reader likely wanting explanations (Why does the main character just happen to have a deathly fear of dark, tight spaces? How is it that the characters don’t actually see each other?). But thankfully, such details were handled deftly.For this being of novella length and set over the span of one night, there is a surprisingly believable emotional connection established between the lead characters. I bought into the relatively quick kinship and attraction that is built based on a shared traumatic experience. Sitting in the dark of a broken elevator, the two main characters talk about every topic under the sun, including the superficial and intensely private. They experience the equivalent of several dates’ worth of bonding, simply by the nature of their situation. There’s no “Instalust” here, not in the negative sense of the word.Hero Caden Grayson is a compelling study in the differences between appearance and character. I was endeared by his very gentle spirit, yet entranced by his raw attractiveness. He’s hot to be sure, but he’s also cultivated an intimidating outward image to hide the emotional scars he harbors. The treatment of his traumatic past is neither rushed nor made trivial; even though this story itself is relatively short, both Caden’s and Makenna’s personalities and motivations are given a fair amount of development.That said, I’m not quite sure I understood the addition of Makenna’s negative self-image issues; it didn’t add to the story the way Caden’s did. Furthermore, it seemed slightly ludicrous given the fact that (a) she is established as being a self-sufficient, opinionated, strong-willed woman, and (b) she is supposedly very pretty, indeed. But that’s a minor observation, one that I wouldn’t even classify as a gripe.It’s hard to say that this story should have been longer; I think the length of the story served the concept well. But I absolutely, postively crave more Caden and Makenna. ^_^ This is my second time reading a Laura Kaye book (the first having been Forever Freed), but by golly, this will so not be my last. Her characters are so accesible, her romances wonderfully sweet and emotionally complex. Yep, I’m definitely a Kaye fangirl now. ^_^