REVIEW: Taming Cross by Ella James
Published on August 2013
BY ELLA JAMES
NA CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
For twenty-three years, Cross Carlson was a playboy. You know the type. Tall, dark, and wealthy. Blue-eyed. Charming. He seemed to have it all so easy. But Cross was harboring a terrible secret – one that helped ruin the life of an innocent girl and almost ended his own.
Finally out of the hospital, Cross is flailing, scarred in both body and mind and stifled by the weight of the secret he still keeps. The only way to absolution lies in a Mexican convent, and going there could cost him everything.
If there’s anyone who knows what it’s like to screw up big time, it’s Meredith Kinsey. Just a few years ago, Merri was an ordinary girl with a job at her college newspaper and white picket fence kind of dreams. Now she’s holed up in a Mexican convent, hiding from a drug lord who thinks he owns her.
What happens when the only way out of hell is with the son of the man who put you there? They say love conquers all, but does it really?
Wow – Taming Cross was so good. One thing I LOVE about Ella James is that her writing is so SMART. She never assumes readers are stupid, she always assumes they’re smart. And that’s how she writes her stories. She researches stuff thoroughly so when you’re reading stuff in her stories about science or medicine, it’s all real. I love that about her because I’m a huge science nerd and that’s how Ella and I first met… I read her YA SF book HERE and I just loved it. It had so much cool SF in there, especially for a YA book.
She did the same thing in Selling Scarlett with Cross’ accident – all his hospital stuff was so well researched and I loved it.
In Taming Cross, Cross is out of the hospital, he’s recovering from a horrific motorcycle accident, and he’s just sorta lost. Poor Cross. He’s been treated like crap by his father, who is the governor of California, people tried to kill him, his reputation has been tarnished because everyone thinks his accident was a drunk driving incident, and to top it all off, he’s got major, major pain issues after having so many surgeries and his left hand is just about useless.
So Cross is at a crossroads. He knows his father did some dirty stuff in the past and one of his victims is a young woman named Missy King. Missy was Cross’ father’s “kept woman” at a brothel in Las Vegas and to get her out of the picture, Missy (real name Merri) was sold into sexual slavery about a year ago and Cross knew about this, but said nothing.
Now he can’t live with the guilt that he let a young woman be stranded in Mexico as a sexual slave and he sets out to save her.
It’s a death wish almost, because Missy King is the property of one not-so-nice drug lord and they are not screwing around when it comes to keeping her.
Like Selling Scarlett, the plot in Taming Cross is twisty, suspenseful, filled with both action and romance, and totally satisfying. Ella James builds up her conflict like the pro she is – slowly, piece by piece, and then BAM – the climax is amazing.
I loved the characters too, and Ella sticks in some funnies that had me laughing out loud. A reference to Battlestar Gallactica, a porn star’s obsession with rabbits (it’s innocent, I think), and a would be shootist who is a lousy shot because she does fingernails as her job.
But in between the fun stuff, there’s a serious message about salvation. And it’s interesting that the drug lord keeping Merri (Missy King) asks her once about which cologne he should wear – “Which one makes me smell like salvation?” I loved that line.
Cross is so awesome – he’s a hunky biker, but not the kind you think of with tattoos and a beard. He’s a bike creator, in fact he’s designed a hybrid that runs on gasoline and water. He’s smart, he’s the black sheep of the family even though he’s probably the one with the most morals. His father is a dirty, cheating politician, and his mother puts up with it. And neither of them even came to VISIT him when he was in the hospital for months recovering from an accident that may in fact, have been ordered by his father.
Cross and Merri find each other at just the right time. Cross saves Merri from the cartel, who come to get her a day early from a convent that she’s been hiding in, (It’s not even Thursday! – that cracked me up!) and Cross makes it there the same day.
But after Cross saves Merri, Merri saves Cross. Because he’s got this major issue with pain and he has one of his attacks just as he and Merri find some relative safety in an secret place.
It’s a great love story and not smutty at all. Cross and Merri develop their relationship naturally. That’s another thing I like about Ella James’ books – they’re real. Cross and Merri both get shot, there’s really no lucky breaks, Ella is not afraid to kick her characters when they’re down and make them figure it out. She never cheats readers by giving her characters the deus ex machina out.
I like that.
If you’re looking for realistic romance, action, suspense, and a thrilling plot – then this series is definitely for you. I highly recommend it. Five Stars for Taming Cross.