Prisoner by Annika Martin & Skye Warren
Publication date: October 23rd 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
He seethes with raw power the first time I see him—pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles. He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty. He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back. At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.
But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage—you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape. He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard, you can’t think.
And you might crave him more than your next breath.
“Sexy, dark and thrilling. I loved every second of it!” – New York Times bestselling author Katie Reus
I back up until the truck stops me. I’m sweating, but the hot metal is almost a relief. Warmer and more human than the flesh-and-blood beast that looms in front of me.
But I have something to say too. Something true. And I want him to listen. “You might hurt me. You might touch me. But I will never, ever touch you. Not of my own free will.”
I’m shaking by the time I’m finished talking. Tears are threatening again, but I don’t care about them. They don’t make me weak. I know what real weakness is. I saw it inject itself with drugs and hook up with abusive men just to get its fix. I watched it die. That will never be me. Never.
He reaches up to cup my cheek—the side without the scrape. On purpose? I don’t know. He trails his thumb over my eyebrow and down my temple. Places he couldn’t touch when I had my glasses. Like he’s learning me, mapping my face. The inside of my chest feels bright and quivery, but I keep my frown.
“So I can touch you?” he asks gently. “But you won’t touch me back.”
My voice trembles. “I didn’t say that.”
“Didn’t you?” His hand trails lower, down my neck. Goose bumps rise all across my chest and over my arms despite the heat.
He caresses my skin right where my collarbone is, softly, with the back of his knuckles. I clench my fists at my sides, dreading what comes next. He’s going to keep moving lower, until he’s touching my breasts. And then what will I do? Cry? Scream? There’s no one to hear me. The guy from the truck has disappeared over the ridge.
I let my eyes close. “Stop.”
“You don’t want this.” His tone is conversational.
“I hate you.”
“What do you want, then?”
“I want you to die. I want to hurt you. I want you to let me go.”
He laughs softly, a puff of breath against my forehead. “In that order?”
My teeth clench together. “Take your pick.”
“You know what I think, Abby? I can call you that, right? It’s cute. Like you.” His hand curves to the side, feathering light touches along the cashmere of my sweater. He grips my hip as if we’re dancing. And we are dancing. It’s a sick song he plays.
“I think you want to fix me. That’s what you were doing at the prison. That’s what you’re doing now. But the thing is, Abby, it’s not going to work.”
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
SW - Nothing and everything. I love the actual writing, coming up with a story and falling in love with them. But reader expectation is such a tough thing—it’s tough in any genre but has particular challenges for dark books. Even the word dark means different things to different readers. But ultimately I can only write the books I love and hope that my readers enjoy them.
AM - A lot of writers hate revising and love first drafts, but I’m the opposite – I am crazy about revising–I like to mold and change things in big ways once the words are there. But I write a sloooooow and grueling first draft, and I daydream a lot and change my mind a lot. It’s a total challenge! That was one really nice thing about writing in a team—knowing Skye was at the other end, expecting me to come up with something new and exciting every day was kind of nice. But getting those first words down is hard and slow for me.
What are your current projects?
SW - I’m working on a boxed set with two of my books, Trust in Me and Don’t Let go, which will have some exclusive content—a new prologue and epilogue. That’s coming in November. And next I’ll have a dark mafia based on the Cinderella fairy tale.
AM - I’m working on the next book by my other pen name, Carolyn Crane. It’s one of my gritty, sexy romantic suspense books. This one is about Zelda, who helps run this shadowy organization. She has to go undercover as a prostitute, taking her twin sister’s place to infiltrate a drug cartel. The hero is a very dangerous assassin. I wanted to call him Sessimo, but everybody hates that name, so I’m thinking of a different one now.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
SW - Message is too strong a word, but there are certain recurring themes in my books. Redemption is a big one, trying to atone for your past failings, believing you had overcome only to be sucked back into it, fighting to better this time, stronger this time. The other recurring theme in my books is that everyone deserves to find love. That means some very dark characters walk the pages of my books.
AM - There are themes that writers return to over and over. One of my themes I return to, even when I’m not trying, is two super messed-up people finding love with each other, and being messed up together, and loving each other for their flaws (and not getting rid of them, because to me, flaws are what make people who they are!) So I guess my message is, even if you feel like you’re really screwed up, being really and truly yourself is beautiful and you deserve love.
Are there any new authors that have grasp your interest?
SW - Most recently I really loved Push by Claire Wallis. It’s dark and original. And these aren’t new but they’re new to me. I loved the Roxie Rivera Russian protector series, because it incorporates very serious issues while still being sweet and sexy. I’m currently reading Fallen by Leslie Tentler, it’s a gripping romantic suspense. After I read her first series, she’s an auto-buy author for me.
AM - Rebecca Rogers Maher wrote this fabulous novella about two people who meet on a bridge they are going to kill themselves on. It’s just wonderful – she’s a very exciting author. I am also super loving the work of Serena Bell. She has such great characters.
I’m a NYT bestselling author living a stone’s throw away from the Mississippi with my awesome husband and two cats in a home full of plants, sunshine and books. I’m heavy into writing love stories about criminals–some of them are dirty and fun (my Kinky bank robbers!) others are dark and intense (Prisoner!)
I also write gritty romantic suspense as the RITA-award winning author Carolyn Crane.
Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of dark romantic fiction. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely tender. For those new to her work, consider the bestseller Wanderlust or Don’t Let Go.
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