Author: Lorelei James
I could seriously look at Caged as a study in symbolism. From the title alone, we can draw conclusions. Knowing, however, that Deacon is an MMA cage fighter, seems to superficially take away the mystery. Superficially. This fourth offering in Lorelei James’ The Mastered series is anything but superficial.
There was a LOT going on in this book. I didn’t need a scorecard or anything; this couple—Deacon and Molly—seemed to have one thing after another come up. With so much going on, and having these threads expertly twisted into a thick plot rope, it was super difficult to put down Caged once I started reading. Stupid meals that don’t cook themselves. Stupid work. I really want to give some little nibbles of the plot. *sits on hands* But that would be spoilery, and I don’t roll that way. Oh! The pacing is fabulous. I was invested in the characters from the beginning, and knew it would be a good story. Especially when Deacon told Molly, “We’re gonna happen.” I totally believed him, and questioned why we needed to read around 400 pages more. As far as I was concerned, once the couple agreed to go out, they were goners.
Molly has appeared in previous titles in the series as a minor character. She was attacked, and took a class at the dojo so she could protect herself. It was really cool to see Molly as a main character in Caged, because she has had tons of growth across the series. She’s no longer the mousey, scared-of-her-own-shadow, girl we met at the beginning of the series. Even within this title, Molly had a ton of growth. I like her. A lot. She speaks her mind, and doesn’t allow herself to be treated like a doormat. Any more. Even though she battles some of her own demons, she’s really strong. I’d totally hang out with her if we were neighbors or worked together.
Deacon is the epitome of tortured alpha. He resembles Ronin’s emotional behavior a lot and has other parallels, which was a bit of an irritant at a couple points through the book because I felt it cheapened Deacon for me. Regardless, what made me fall for Deacon is his focus, tenderness, and his growth. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that he’s a big guy and tremblingly gorgeous. I adored his confidence with regard to his relationship with Molly, even when he screwed up. I felt for the big guy when it seemed like at every turn he was stepping in a steaming pile of poo.
What I liked the most about Caged was that it felt *real*. Like the situations were things that could actually happen. Have happened. And seeing how a budding relationship between two people grows into something phenomenal didn’t hurt a bit. Oh. And it was five-alarm smokin’ hot. While this title could be read independent of the other three, it is not recommended. Seeing the backstory of some of the characters, and how they grow as a group, seems to be really important to The Mastered series. Caged contains a lot of symbolism—especially for Deacon—which is always a beautiful thing for this English geek.
In order to survive a life of tragedy, Deacon McConnell embraced his roughest edges and learned to fight on the streets. Then a life-changing jujitsu seminar led by Sensei Ronin Black led Deacon to become a professional fighter. With his muscular physique and his body covered in tattoos and scars, the MMA fighter defines mean, both on and off the mat.
But everything changes when innocent Molly Calloway signs up for his kickboxing class. Molly is Deacon’s opposite in every way: She’s kind, sweet, thoughtful, and educated. After a heated argument between them turns into a passionate encounter, Deacon realizes Molly is eager to experience more, and she looks to him to take her to the darker edge of lust…
The last thing either of them expects is how deeply their lives will be thrown upside down by the passion they find together.
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Series: The Mastered #4
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Format(s): paperback (480 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Caged (The Mastered #4)