Taming Cross (Love Inc. #2) by Ella James
For twenty-three years, Cross Carlson was a playboy. You know the type. Tall, dark, and wealthy. Blue-eyed. Charming. He seemed to have it all so easy. But Cross was harboring a terrible secret – one that helped ruin the life of an innocent girl and almost ended his own.
Finally out of the hospital, Cross is flailing, scarred in both body and mind and stifled by the weight of the secret he still keeps. The only way to absolution lies in a Mexican convent, and going there could cost him everything.
If there’s anyone who knows what it’s like to screw up big time, it’s Meredith Kinsey. Just a few years ago, Merri was an ordinary girl with a job at her college newspaper and white picket fence kind of dreams. Now she’s holed up in a Mexican convent, hiding from a drug lord who thinks he owns her.
What happens when the only way out of hell is with the son of the man who put you there? They say love conquers all, but does it really?
Taming Cross is the second book in the Love, Inc. series and the book’s description on Amazon indicates that it can be read as a standalone. However, before I even finished the first chapter, I began to feel uneasy about continuing with the story. Although the narrative summarizes significant details from the first book to show the connection between Cross and Merri, the information was too vague to satisfy my curiosity about the events that took place earlier to land these two characters into their current situation. I decided to backtrack to the beginning and read Selling Scarlett before I went any further with the second book, and I’m so glad I did because it enriched my reading experience.
Taming Cross features Cross and Merri’s love story, and the plot continues two months after the end of book one. In both books, the story is presented in present tense that establishes sense of immediacy about the events occurring and intensifies the action. Even though I enjoy stories that are narrated in the present tense, I’m also wary of this technique because I’ve read works where the tense was inconsistent, with the author inadvertently slipping into the past tense which interrupts the flow of the story. I’m happy to say that James is successful in creating a vivid story where the action seems to leap off of the page.
I also appreciated having the story narrated from both Cross’s and Merri’s points of view. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have been able to like either character. Cross in a minor character in the first book, and I just didn’t connect with his seemingly easy going lifestyle. Although we don’t meet Merri in the first book, it’s easy to understand why Cross doesn’t like her. Rumors indicate she was a mistress of Cross’s father, and Merri’s relationship with this man of prominence makes her a target for the emotionless, despicable villains who kidnap and sell her into sex slavery in Mexico.
Although Cross thinks Merri is a prostitute, blackmailer, and his father’s whore, he feels guilty that he didn’t tell anyone about his knowledge of and his father’s involvement in her disappearance. Because of the trauma he’s recently suffered, he can now empathize with her plight. Because he has evidence of his father’s illicit activities, his life was almost destroyed. As a result, he is determined to find Merri and bring her back to the U.S. no matter how he feels about her.
James has done an excellent job in creating realistic, complex characters who struggle with their pasts. She shows how their histories, their vulnerabilities, and their mistakes have shaped them into the characters we meet in this book. As I read, I could feel the intense and raw emotions of each character as they sort out their feelings for each other. Their relationship is awkward, it’s painful, and it’s ultimately healing. I was mesmerized by their perilous emotional and physical journey to escape the demons following them. James does a great job in tearing down the playboy and prostitute façade and revealing two imperfect characters who truly deserve happiness.
Rating – 4.5 suns
About the Author
I’m a Denver, Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. I am happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together we are raising a feisty two-year-old who will probably grow up believing everyone’s parents go to war over the placement of a comma. My books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Amazon Top 100 and the Amazon Movers & Shakers List; two were listed among Amazon’s Top 100 Young Adult Ebooks of 2012. To find out more about my projects and win prizes and swag, find me on Facebook at facebook.com/ellajamesauthorpage. Questions or comments? Tweet me at author_ellaj or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Purchase the book
Amazon: Taming Cross (Love Inc.)
Mini Review of Selling Scarlett (Love Inc. #1)
NPR: “Human Trafficking: Slavery of the Modern Era”
Watch Sex Slaves a documentary that investigates the