The Gilded Cage (Surrender Series, Book #2) by Lauren Smith
Overview by Amazon:
Fenn Lockwood comes alive in the shadows. Though he might have physically survived the kidnapping that stole his childhood, the trauma and pain he lived through have marked him forever. Now the only place where Fenn can be himself is within the walls of his private BDSM world-a place of erotic obsession, where desire isn’t just captured . . . it’s bound.
Hayden Thorne knows that behind Fenn’s hardened exterior is a man worth fighting for. Yet to save him from the past that still haunts him, Hayden will have to abandon every inhibition she’s ever had and venture into Fenn’s intoxicatingly sensual world. Each tantalizing second she spends in Fenn’s searing embrace is more delicious than the last and soon Hayden begins to think that she may never want to leave such torturous bliss . . .
I really like when an author is able to build a wonderful series. When you enjoy the characters you meet and look forward to getting to know the secondary characters when they get their own book. I was first introduced to Lauren Smith’s historical romances and her gothic novel. I was really surprised when she told me that her next release would be an erotic BDSM book. Usually authors branch out after a while, not at the start of their career! Lauren is so talented, that it shouldn’t have surprised me at all.
The Gilded Cuff is the first book in the series and it features Emery Lockwood. He lost his twin brother in a horrific kidnapping gone wrong as children. Secluded in the Long Island mansion he calls home, his heart and fortress were invaded by investigative reporter Sophie. Emery is a dom at a BDSM club and Sophie uses his sexual interests to access the reclusive man. Through her intensive digging, they find out that the kidnappers are not finished with Emery and that his twin brother is alive.
Enter Fenn. He has been living in Colorado for the past twenty-five years. He knows nothing of the past that is about to slam into him like a freight train. One of Emery’s best friends, Wes is charged with going to Colorado to retrieve Fenn and keep him safe. Except his sister, Hayden beats him to it.
And so begins the story of Hayden and Fenn. What I liked about this story was that the familiar characters were present, but it felt so fresh thanks to a new setting. If Fenn had come back to Long Island right away, we likely wouldn’t have been able to get to know him on his home turf. He’s a macho cowboy who rides bulls, ranches and wears a Stetson hat. Fenn is a quiet man, but not a moody brooder. He lives in a world so opposite to his brother. He worries about money and is more comfortable in Wranglers than a suit.
Hayden has known Emery her whole life. While she finds him aesthetically attractive, she has never wanted to be with him. When Hayden meets Fenn, it’s like she finally feels alive. Although this is Fenn’s story and reunion, it almost felt like it was Hayden who evolved the most. Hayden is intelligent and wants to work. Her parents view her as a society ticket – a lady who lunches and marries the right man. She has been barred from working and at the age of twenty-four, has been controlled and manipulated by her parents her whole life. She longs for freedom and adventure. Somehow, she managed to get a membership at the dom/sub club the men go to, but she isn’t ready to surrender and be a sub for any man that she has met yet. You can feel the frustration just oozing off the pages. The time spent in Colorado was so exciting for her because she could be herself and prove that she was worth more than a designer wardrobe.
While Fenn isn’t part of a BDSM club, he likes to use his cattle tying skills in the bedroom. He turns out to be exactly what Hayden needs. The lust rolling off of these two is pretty electric! The sex was just kinky enough to satisfy the bondage enthusiast, but with enough vanilla flavour that it will appeal to most tastes.
The danger from the past is still very real and has come to Colorado. Fenn and the gang must head back to Long Island to join forces with Emery. The reunion between the two brothers was so touching. When Fenn’s mother won’t let go, I had a tear in my eye. Even though it was a happy situation, I couldn’t help but feel so sad for the years they lost together.
The twins work together to draw out the predator that has already taken too much from them. While Sophie is recovering from her injuries in the last book, Hayden has no trouble getting into the fray. Lauren Smith creates strong and tense scenes that have you concerned for the outcome of the characters.
This book was another excellent book by Lauren Smith. She writes passionate characters that pull you into the story. Her descriptions are so vivid that I could smell the hay in the barn and the mildew in the abandoned mansions lining Long Island. When the setting is so well developed it becomes like another character and makes the story so much more realistic and believable. This is a great series and the next book will explore Wes and Callie’s story – which I have a feeling will take place in the club!