Author: Lexi Blake
Series: Texas Sirens #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance, BDSM
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Release Date: April 24th 2018
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: InkSlinger PR
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Julian Lodge has everything a man could want. He’s rich, successful and owns the most exclusive club in Dallas. But something is missing.*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.
Finn Taylor has worked his way up in the world from humble beginnings in Willow Fork, Texas. The only thing he still loves in his hometown is Danielle Bay. He never told her he was actually bisexual, and he never confessed his love for her. Now she’s getting married, and Finn is sure he’s lost his chance with the only person he’ll ever love.
Julian’s vacation to the Barnes-Fleetwood ranch brings them all together. After Dani jumps into Julian’s car while fleeing her wedding, Julian knows he has to have her. But nothing is easy in Willow Fork. A danger from Julian’s past threatens them all. Julian will have to convince both Dani and Finn that being his will be the best decision they ever made.
**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.
Siren Enslaved is the third installment of Sophie Oak's - a.k.a. Lexi Blake - Texas Sirens series, and let me tell you, it is a powerful story. I have a feeling this might actually end up on my top 5 Lexi Blake books. This is the story of Julian Lodge, Finn Taylor and Dani Bay. The one thing awesome about Lexi Blake's books is that you don't have to wait for years for the bigger characters to get their books. That doesn't mean I don't wish for certain characters to get their stories told, but Blake has a way of giving readers what they want, while also getting them hooked on other characters.
Julian is a scary man. Not as scary as Ian, but almost. He's scary because he doesn't know how to give up control. He needs to be in control of everything, and I could tell that beneath the initial satisfaction and comfort it provided him, it also made him very tired. I got the impression he was scared, which was why the start of the book finds him on his way to Jack Barnes' farm. The excuse Julian always used was that of a vacation, but I think Julian was just scared of the fact that his soul was starting to crave more than just control.
Finn is just as scared as Julian, only his feelings are tied to something else completely. He's always been the black sheep of his town, the one who everyone picked on and bullied because he was different. The thing is he himself tried to deny his nature. He finally decided to follow his heart and tell Dani, his best friend since childhood and the one person who never abandoned him, that he loved her, when he finds out she's supposed to get married. I was so sad for him when he found out the news. It was sad to see him suffer like that, but at the same time he kind of deserved it. He could have told Dani tons of times about his feelings. I'm not judging him, but those are the facts. I did love Finn, and the way he grew throughout this novel was impressive.
Dani was such a sweet girl. She was a bit too sweet, actually. I was so sad for her half of the time, because life really had a way of playing with her. First her father died, then her mother died too, and then her sister turned out to be a bitch. Dani finds her inner strength throughout the book, the courage to stand up for herself and she just blossomed. It was a beautiful journey, and I was very happy to see her go from someone wanting to please anyone and everyone around her, to someone who knew her worth and knew when someone just wanted to take advantage of her.
I've always been proud of being a fan of erotic romance, and this book feels like a giant middle finger to anyone who judges erotic romance. It's in Finn's rough time as a gay man in a small town. It's in Dani's rough life as someone who everyone sees as the nice girl they can take advantage of, especially her sister. It's in Julian's need to make sure everyone he has a relationship with is thoroughly checked out to make sure they can be reliable and that they will not turn out to be the wrong kind of people to be around. It's in Julian's rejection of love and in Finn's fear of being honest about loving Dani. It's in every single element of this book, and I'm just so happy Lexi Blake wrote it the way she did. The author's note at the beginning of the book explains a little bit why this book is so hard, so bitter at times, and while I'm sorry that there was need to have such a wonderful story about love and companionship be so hard and sad and angry at times, I'm glad it's out there the way it is.
All in all, another spectacular book by one of my favorite authors of all times. I cannot wait to see what the next story will bring.
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“What on earth is that look for?” Julian stared down at her, his lips pulled up in obvious amusement.
Finn leaned over so he could be heard over the loud music. “I think Dani is enjoying her role as town harlot.”
Julian frowned. “Harlot? Why would she be a harlot?”
Dani and Finn laughed together. For the first time, they completely understood something Julian didn’t.
“This is a small town, Sir,” Finn explained. “All anyone is going to talk about tomorrow is the fact that Dani Bay snuck up the stairs at The Barn with two guys. Trust me, she is going to be called all kinds of names. Mostly to her back, though.”
She shrugged. It was to be expected. At least no one would be feeling sorry for her.
Julian’s face went dark, and his fingers tightened around hers. “They had better not say anything where I can hear it.” He relaxed and nodded down at her. “I’m going to speak with Jackson, dear. You and Finn stay together. We’ll be leaving shortly. We’ll retrieve Finn’s things and go back out to the ranch.”
He turned and walked off, supremely confident that his orders would be met.
He turned back suddenly. “And stay out of trouble.”
Dani grinned. He didn’t look so confident that she would follow that edict. He walked away. She watched his gorgeous ass as it disappeared into the crowd. When she turned, she noticed that Finn was watching, too.
“I’m sorry.” Finn pulled back slightly, his hand coming out of hers. That look was back in his eyes.
“Are you going to be an asshole?” she asked.
“I thought we worked through this, but it looks like you’re going to be an asshole.” She wasn’t putting up with it. Maybe she would have before but being with them had changed her.
Being with Julian and Finn together seemed to have altered something fundamental in Dani. It had been beautiful. She’d never felt as deeply as she did when they were kissing her, loving her. There had been that terrible moment when she was sure Julian was leaving, but he’d stayed. He had to care about her. He cared, and Finn cared. She wasn’t going to let anyone take that away from her or make her feel ashamed. That was hers.
Finn stared almost blankly and then shook his head. “I’m sorry. I spent so long trying to hide this from you.”
“Hide what? That I knew you were gay? I was well aware of that. Why did you get upset because I caught you drooling over Julian’s ass?”
His eyes slid down. “Damn it, Dani. This is why I stayed away. I knew it should be only the two of us, but I wasn’t sure I could do it. I’m not sure I can stay away from men.”
Julian was shaking his head at Jack, who seemed to be teasing him something fierce. Dani stared at him for a moment. She noticed she wasn’t the only one. All around her, other women had their eyes on the hot new guy. They could look, but Julian was hers. He might not know it, but she planned on keeping him. And Finn. As soon as they ironed out a few things.
“And it never occurred to you to say, hey, Dani, here’s the problem. Let’s see if we can solve it? No, you decide to keep your mouth shut and almost let me marry someone I didn’t love because you didn’t want to admit you’re bi.”
“Damn it, I didn’t want to lose you. I love you, Danielle. You’re the only thing in my life that’s permanent. I would rather keep you in my life than lose you because I can’t be normal. It should be two people. A marriage should be two people.”
Oh, yes, she had to fix his way of thinking. “Says who? The old biddies at church? Screw them. Why does everything have to be one way? What we did up there didn’t hurt anyone. It isn’t anyone’s business but ours. I love you, Finn, but I think I’m falling for Julian, too. Can you handle that?”
“I can certainly try, baby. I was willing to love you from afar. I prefer loving you up close.”