The Island by Lisa Henry
4.5 Pants Off
Shaw is in Fiji to sell a stolen painting to the crime boss, Vornis. It will be the deal of a lifetime, if Shaw can pull it off. But then Vornis parades his latest toy around in front of him—a captured DEA agent whose time is running out. It’s none of Shaw’s business, and it doesn’t matter that under any other circumstances Lee would be exactly Shaw’s type: he’s young, he’s hot, and he might even have a personality if they hadn’t beaten it out of him. Too bad there’s no way Lee is getting off the island. Too bad there’s nothing Shaw can do for him. And too bad there are some lines that even Shaw won’t cross.
Keeping his hands off Lee proves harder than he thinks, but Shaw’s not stupid enough to fall for the tortured captive of a dangerous crime boss, is he? If he did, it wouldn’t be just his job he would be risking—it would be his life.
Publisher's Warning: Readers with a history of rape or sexual abuse may find elements of this story disturbing.
Opening Line: “Shaw looked out the window as the chopper came in to land.”
I was kind of unsure going into The Island (especially after the warning in the back blurb) I mean I don’t even read BDSM so I figured this was going to be way out of my comfort zone but luckily enough I took a gamble because this turned out to be a fantastic, well written and very moving story. Sure it’s intense, but it’s also thought provoking, suspenseful, romantic, (way) surprising and even tender. And oh did I mention it takes place on a Fijian island (hello virtual vacation -although I’d choose an island not inhabited by a twisted crime lord) Anyways. Yes there are situations here that are uncomfortable, disturbing and just plain painful to read but they take place off the page and are non-sexual, more like a prisoner of war situation then a kinky F’d up sex thing (if that makes sense?) So don’t be afraid of The Island especially if you like good romantic suspense, an Australian hero and a smile inducing HEA.
Entrepreneur Adam Shaw arrives on the private Fijian Island to sell a stolen and very expensive (albeit ugly) painting to the powerful crime boss known as Vornis. Vornis is one twisted pig in the truest sense of the word but he’s also an important stepping stone in Shaw’s murky world as he will introduce him to some important future business partners. Shaw is the middle man to the bad guys, finding them what they need for a fee; weapons, bombs, jewels, artwork nothing is out of his reach but he has a conscience too and it’s about to be tested.
On his first night on the lavish island Vornis introduces Shaw to his new “toy” a beautiful but destroyed young man. He is now only a shell of his obvious military background; beaten, drugged, brutalized, starving and for the most part living in some reclusive part of his own mind. Being the consummate host Vornis gives the boy to Shaw to play with for the duration of his stay. Shaw is not a monster though, he’s different from these people or so he keeps reminding himself.
Over the coming days Shaw does what he can not to hurt the boy any further while still appearing to be one of the monsters. Putting on a show for the cameras in his room and appearing unfazed when Vornis takes him back for a few hours to well, terrorize and beat the shit out of him. I mean he feels for Lee’ situation but really it’s none of his business and what could he do anyways? They’re trapped on the island, hounded by bodyguard soldiers with escape an impossibility. If Shaw shows any weakness at all towards the boy Vornis will kill them both. It’s a slippery slope and it’s so cleverly written watching Shaw work both sides.
For the majority of this story we remain in Shaw’s head, with only the occasional glimpse into the mind of the boy know as Lee. Again this is great writing because make no mistake this is also very much Lee’s story and when his head clears enough from the drugs and we’re allowed in let me tell you it’s a mess. His coping techniques, utter terror and flashbacks bothered me more than the abuse he was suffering. For Lee, Shaw is the first person since his capture to look him in the eye, to treat him like more than a dog and to give him hope that he might have a future. Hope can be a dangerous thing though.
There’s a huge plot twist that I didn’t see coming and can’t get into because it will give it all away but let me tell you it was awesome. I also loved that this story continues for several months into the future realistically dealing with “things” that needed to be dealt with before we get the big HEA but again its spoiler territory so I can’t say much more than that.
Totally recommended. Cheers
|4.5 Pants Off|