Lots about this book appealed to me, the concept, the names and places, the cover, but it didn’t quite deliver the goods. Jagger left me unmoved.
Here’s the premise: Jagger Caldwell, an illegal MMA fighter and youngest of the Caldwell brothers, one day hears his Russian landlord beating up his daughter. Jagger witnessed his father beating his mother and can’t bear to listen, so he goes ’round, fists blazin’ and pounds on the guy. The daughter, 17 year old Tatiana, is grateful but doesn’t take up his offer of help and won’t press charges.
Jagger then watches her (secretly, as the father got a restraining order) and makes her little gifts of food, books, shoes and other things she can’t get, as for practically her whole life, her father has kept her confined to their grim home.
Jagger falls in love with the little flower-in-the-attic, though he tells himself he just wants to see her okay. Tatiana works out who’s leaving the gifts and one day after a particularly bad beating, escapes to go find Jagger.
Sound interesting, right? Well, it should’ve been, but there are a number of issues I have with the book, which meant I didn’t enjoy it as I expected to. Overall, the story felt rushed with some scenes reading like an abridged version of events, rather than having any real meat to them.
It’s a love story above anything, so the emphasis should have been on the tension between the couple, the building of a connection, how they begin to trust (particularly our heroine), and all that good stuff. But they were both flat and insta-love at the same time and that’s not a good place to be. They moved way too quickly for me and had no real impediments, which as the rest of the plot didn’t really ramp things up, left the story with little to anticipate.
So obviously, they hook up and Tatiana finds she likes sex a lot (after she turns 18 and watches some porn) and there are a few hot scenes. Then there’s a baddie called Cobra who, to be honest, is kinda passive. He does a bad thing but then just sort of wanders off after. You’d think if he did THAT bad thing for THAT reason, he’d be willing to do a whole lot more to get what he wanted. But, meh, he loses interest.
Other stuff that happens with her father, Jagger’s mentor, and his brothers (Morrison and Hendrix – I actually thought the naming convention kinda cool) plus their wives/girlfriends, which was okay but felt bolted on. Also, the women all seemed too happy-weep a lot when together, cos their men are just so wonderful. Get a grip, ladies.
There’s a slightly awkward meshing of the first two books to this one. I think this is meant to be possible to read as standalone, but there were a few bits that left me clueless, e.g. one of the other girlfriends/wives kept touching her backside. No idea why, but I think it’s book 1 thing and something to do with underwear and not anything weird.
What frustrated me most is that there is a story in this book, which with a little coaxing could have been brought out. It’s short at 204 pages, so there’s space to take it slower.
Perhaps had I read the first two book,s I’d have enjoyed this more. There are a few five star reviews of it which look to be from people who’ve followed the series.
If you like easy HEAs, supportive families of brothers (who doesn’t?), inner city grime and are less worried about form and structure, then this could work for you. I finished it, which demonstrates how there was something there, but I won’t be rushing to read the other brother’s books.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Chelsea Camaron & MJ Fields
Release Date: April 12, 2016