Held Against You by Season ViningHeld Against You by Season Vining
Published January 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Format: ARC

Note: I was granted an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my rating or the content of my review.

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Accused of a horrible crime and on the run, Kat has been rejected by everyone she loves. She’s a fugitive from her past, flitting from town to town with nothing but the clothes on her back. Until she meets a man who literally stops her in her tracks.

This notorious bounty hunter, with his stunning good looks and powerful instincts, never fails to capture his prey. But there’s something about his newest mark that gets under his skin–and it’s not just the naked innocence he sees in her eyes. Behind his ice cold demeanor, he has his own secrets... and now his lively, vulnerable captive is about to crack him wide open.

As they drive across the country together, neither of them can deny the spark of attraction between them. Will their journey force these two passionate opposites together…or will their dangerous secrets be too much to bear?

Being accused of murder, 23-year-old Katherine Percle is on the run and trying to escape the law, but she doesn’t know that a notorious bounty hunter is already following her every step. As the broody but gorgeous man finally catches her somewhere close to the Canadian border, the two of them embark on a journey across the country. After all this time spent with him in the confines of a car, Kat can’t help but wonder what it is about this no-nonsense bounty hunter who she certainly feels attracted to, but who won’t give her his name – and she is dead-set on breaking his walls.

However, everything changes when her captor notices his competition, and that’s when the whole story suddenly turns into a thrilling pursuit race.

What I loved about this book:

  • The plot was unusually refreshing, and not at all based on some sort of Stockholm Syndrome plot, since the attraction was mutual.

What I felt needed improvement:

  • There was definitely an emphasis on the romantic development. The actual criminal intrigue was put aside when the MCs were on the run, and was “dealt with” a bit too hurriedly in the end.
  • The characters – especially Kat’s captor – had a way too hasty change of heart in my opinion – felt a bit unrealistic.
  • I wanted to find out more! An epilogue wouldn’t have been too much to ask.

Held Against You is my second book by Season Vining. I received it as an ARC, and remembered that the first book I read was good, so I just agreed to it and started reading it without really having taken a look at the synopsis so you can imagine my surprise at the rather unusual story.

It’s the perfect setting for ambiguous romance, where there is mutual attraction and strong underlying tension, but morally conflicted minds! How could she possibly want him when he is the one taking her freedom away from her? And how can he want her when he was commissioned to track her down and do his job?

Through a similar past and through her lively personality, Kat gets to Steel (Kat’s given name for her captor) like no one else does, and he soon begins to question himself. Of course he has a tough time dealing with these unknown and unwelcome feelings, but he will eventually have a change of heart, which means he will have to let Kat in on his secrets…

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I received this as an ARC and the editing was perfect. Then again Season Vining’s writing is perfect too, and absolutely enticing, with a dual-POV that’s guaranteed to keep you on your toes. Now as far as the criminal intrigue went, it was at the original at the book, but only really surfaced toward the end of the book, and was being dealt with too hurriedly. Although then again I must say it all made sense (somehow), even though it might have been a slight bit far-fetched.

In terms of pace, I was definitely hooked from the start, especially since the beginning of the book was hilarious. Unfortunately, it lost a bit of its humour once the 45% bar was passed, and I even have to say that it started to stall until the 60% mark. I also regretted the lack of steamy scenes, and wouldn’t have minded something more graphical/detailed (that really sounds weird coming from an alleged lady, I know…).

While the story picked up again around the 65% mark, and allowed us to “witness more” than a car ride and a night at the hotel with a rather interesting change of scenery and addition of new people (note: I loved Steel’s friends, and would have loved to find out more about them), I still felt less engaged than I had been at the beginning. Especially since the romantic development also kind of came to a stall (for no apparent reason). And what the freckle is it with books that don’t have a proper epilogue? In the end I just felt something was missing.

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But anyway, I still enjoyed Held Against You and would recommend it because it goes beyond your usual romance plot and bring a nice dose of thrill.

Detailed Rating
4 Stars
4 Stars
5 Stars
All the feels
3 Stars
Overall: three-half-stars