Skye Warren has penned yet another dark masterpiece, which brings together two wounded individuals and delves deep into the psychology of dubious-consent, captivity and power play. I love dark reads such as this as they push the boundaries and examine human emotions so deeply. I am often left in the uncomfortable position of being aroused by the darkly erotic scenes, whilst my sympathies lie not only with the victim but also the perpetrator of various taboo acts, leaving me feeling totally conflicted!
In Wanderlust Evie leaves her home and her mother after years spent ‘confined’ there by her mother’s mental health issues and her paranoia, in which she constantly warns Evie about the evil in the world. Evie longs to escape and lead a normal life and heads across the US to take up a job working in a photography studio. En route she stops at a motel, where she attracts the attention of Hunter, a trucker. After rebuffing him she retires to her room for the night, only to have him appear and compel her to consent to sex with him for the night. Hunter has a threatening persona, and Evie is left with little choice but to submit to sexual acts that were both shocking and arousing at the same time, which I found utterly compelling. Hunter then abducts Evie and holds her captive in his truck, using her as his whim dictates. This part of the novel is very dark and some scenes not for the faint hearted. I felt for Evie as she struggled to accept an intolerable situation, where she initially feared for her life.
Evie is innocent in that she has little experience of people and the outside world. However, she hides a dark secret from her past and despite her insecurities possesses an inner strength. Hunter gives her no chance to refuse him and escape seems impossible. However, she soon finds a strange comfort in feeling close to an individual, instead of being alone in an unfamiliar world. Hunter helps Evie to feel free for the first time in her life, encouraging her to appreciate the outdoors and participate in new experiences. Yet how can she truly feel free when she is still his captive and their relationship is so twisted?
Evie learns that Hunter too has secrets which have made him the man he is. As Evie and Hunter roam the countryside they forge a strange kind of camaraderie. Yet what future can they have together when Hunter has committed the crime of kidnapping and controlling her and Evie is still his prisoner, despite the liberating effect of their time together? The story has a number of unexpected twists and turns before reaching its conclusion, during which both Hunter and Evie strive to resolve their unconventional relationship.
This couple are two wounded individuals, who although cannot wholly heal each other are far better together than apart. It is a dark, but beautiful love story. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a compelling read that is sometimes uncomfortable but which gets to the heart of human emotions.
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Cover art by Book Beautiful