Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Release Day Review ~ Stranded (Auctioned Book 2) by Cara Dee (Excerpt)

Release Day Review ~ Stranded (Auctioned Book 2) by Cara Dee (Excerpt)

Stranded by Cara Dee
Title: Auctioned
Genre: Gay Romance
Pairing: Crime/Suspense

Amazon Universal:


Stranded is the second book in The Auctioned Series. Before you read further, you should read Auctioned.

“You have my word, Gray. I will get you off this island, and I will bring you home.”

It was supposed to be an easy in-and-out job. Nothing Darius Quinn hadn’t done before. But this job had something none of the others did: Gray Nolan.

Like Murphy’s Law advised, anything that could go wrong, would. A mission to save one hometown favorite son was turning into a quest to rescue thirteen traumatized young men against odds so steep, he’d need an oxygen mask to scale them.

Facing new dangers and an uncertain future, Darius keeps Gray close and is soon forced to accept that this has become much more than an assignment. For a man whose reputation was built on being ice-cold under pressure, Darius is beginning to discover how good it feels to burn.

4.5 Stars!

I just finished book 2 in the Auctioned series and let me tell you, I need book 3 like right now. How the heck am I going to be able to wait for the next leg of Darius and Gray’s journey?

What I Loved: While Stranded isn’t as dark as Auctioned it was still an intense read. I’m sure many people will feel as if it was easier to stomach since Gray and the others are no longer the possessions of the Traffickers, I, however, found this one harder because I felt more invested in each of the characters. I was so anxious for Gray to be okay and it broke my heart every single time I saw his spirit defeated. He was such a good person and seeing how he was slowly changing was harder than the initial abduction to me. His vulnerability was much more evident and while he was still strong, the cracks in his armor were definitely starting to show. All of that made this story all the more realistic to me.

Darius burrowed into my heart even more. In Auctioned, he was this strong, calculating, impenetrable force. He was hard to completely get a read on and I’m sure there are a lot of readers who didn’t quite like him. However, that’s the part that drew me in. The fact that I knew he was going to get the job done no matter what and his character knew what he was doing. He was Darius the Merc. In Stranded, though, we get to truly see Darius the man and alongside his skills and badass persona, we get the person struggling to not get attached and to not fall in love.

Stranded is full of action and has a great mix of humor and steamy sex scenes. However, it’s definitely not a romance (or, I guess, a traditional romance). Romance wouldn’t exactly work in this situation yet the connection between Darius and Gray jumps off the page (or in my case the Kindle screen). As much as I want these two to get their HEA, I understand it’s not that simple. There is an entire story to be told here and it’s not just about Gray and Darius falling in love and Gray magically being healed.

I’m invested in all of it. I want to know more about the trafficking aspect, both human and drugs. Are we going to delve more into that? Are these boys who’ve survived and escaped truly free? I want to know more about some of the side characters because I’ve grown attached to many of them. Particularly Niko, Charlie and Cole. What about Jackie, what will happen to him? Then there’s Jonas, that’s all I can say without spoilers. And last but definitely far from least, I want Gray and Darius to be together.

The writing was done very well and Cara Dee painted a very vivid picture of the story she created. I am hooked and I cannot wait for the next book in the series, I’m pretty sure this is my favorite of her series. There was just something about these characters that I love and I crave more.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Stranded, however, you’ll need to read Auctioned first. If you can’t read about abuse, sexual and mental, then I would say skip it, though.

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.**

5 Stars

*You have to read Auctioned first* - this is not a standalone, and is not the last book; trust me when I say you will want them all after reading just the first book. Now that I’m two books into this series, the wait on book three is literal torture. These books are so damn good!

Darius and Gray are such complex characters. In book one we got to see the start of the story - how Gray was taken and what happened during the first few months he was held. That book came from Gray’s mind. In this book, we get to see and hear Darius’s perspective on how he views what happened, on what is going on, and what he foresees to come.

Watching the two of them and the bond they form together during this time is just fascinating. Gray was obviously put through some traumatic events. And Darius has his own set of PTSD-related incidents that keep him wondering what the hell is even happening between him and Gray. But you can just see the strings between them entwining more as time goes on. The two guys are just so damn perfect for each other. You will have no doubts about them needing each other, and everything seems to get a little better for them… but I’m sure it gets worse in books to come.

I feel like this book wasn’t as soul-crushing to me as book one was. I definitely shed major tears reading Auctioned, but thankfully this book didn’t have me quite at that same place. Some parts were hard to read especially after getting to know some of the other boys; they have all just lost so much. I’m still terrified for them even after they’re “rescued”; there is such thing as a false sense of security and I kind of get the idea we are being led to that. This series is gripping and intense. I’m going to be watching and waiting, *stalking* book three. I need to know what happens next for these two.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. *** 

Even though the situation was serious, it was impossible not to find humor in it. Gray was endearing as all hell when he was high, and Darius was confident he hadn’t administered too much—or too little, for that matter.
“Any nausea?” He smiled faintly and sat up. Easier to see Gray that way, and he was on his back with one arm stretched up while he was trying to pinch stars between his fingers. He wasn’t very successful.
“Nope.” Gray wore a silly grin, trying to grab another star from the sky. “That’s the ninth time you’ve asked.”
It was the second, but who was counting. Clearly not Gray.
“First-time users get sick sometimes,” Darius answered.
“Oh.” Gray yawned and folded his hands under his head instead. “Are we sleeping here tonight? Can we go catch bananas?”
Darius coughed around a chuckle and dug out his battered pack of smokes from his jeans. “We’re staying a few hours, at least.” So far, no fresh blood had painted Gray’s bandage, and Darius was counting his blessings for it. That said, he wanted to be careful and not move around. “Can you wiggle your toes for me?”
Again?” Gray took on the huffy, insufferable tone of a complaining teenager. “See? I’m doing it.” Nothing. Nada. His feet were still.
“You’re actually not,” Darius drawled. “Try again.”
Gray frowned and concentrated, and the tip of his tongue poked out. It was…cute as fuck. “What about now? I’m trying to contact them.”
Darius chuckled once more, and he was relieved when the toes did move. “There we go.”
“Told you,” Gray sang. “Can’t cut off my pulse.”
“Circulation,” Darius corrected with a laugh.
Hey.” Gray pushed himself up and supported his weight on his elbows. The silly, lazy grin was back. “You laughed, gorgeous.”
That made Darius snort, and he lit up a smoke.
“I’m just sayin’.” Gray plopped down again. “I’d let you wear my letterman jacket.”
Good lord, where the hell were the kid’s thoughts this time?
“Mr. Stone-face,” Gray whispered at the sky. “Hottest cover, but the pages are blank. No, wait. I mean, they’re in another language. I can’t read your book. You know?”
Darius’s forehead creased, and he exhaled some smoke. “I can’t even pretend to know what you’re rambling about, boy.”
Gray waved a hand. “I know some things.”
“Like, you’re a good man. But then…? Poof. You were born in Greece.”
“Because your book is in Greek!” Gray’s triumphant yell echoed and bounced between the trees.
Instantly alert, Darius narrowed his eyes and observed their surroundings. “Keep it down, knucklehead.” They hadn’t searched the whole island yet, and they couldn’t be too careful.

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