Book Review – Seduced in the Dark by CJ Roberts

by Maryse on September 1, 2012 · 42 comments

in Alternative, My Book Reviews

Seduced in the Dark (The Dark Duet – book #2)
An incredible, well-paced sequel to book #1 (Captive in the Dark), and sorely needed. In fact, I think it made book #1 that much better. If you haven’t read the first one yet, avoid this review for now. These are very “dark” reads, so I suggest reading my review of book #1 to get a feel for it. As I was discussing these (and especially this one) with a friend, I described them pretty much like this:

“… these are not romance novels, but more like psychological thrillers (horror?) with a huge focus on evolving emotions, and heartrending situations…”

And love? Well, If you decide to dive in, I’ll let you decide. ;)

At first I was slightly disarmed by the change of pace. While it’s still a “dark” read, it feels almost more human, and more like watching a movie with multiple characters. Olivia describes her experience, in detail (and I mean detail!) but there are others there with her, listening to it, and multiple perspectives as the different characters come to life and propel the story forward.

I think it was perhaps easier to read, in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, there are still moments of absolute horror (in terms of the slave trade and many detailed events). Moments of utter humiliation, pain and times where I absolutely remembered why I first hesitated recommending book #1 way back when I read it.

Moments where I… yes… *felt* for Caleb, and… I dunno. Innately? (somewhere on a more primal level and deep inside of me) understood or maybe just felt, albeit reluctantly, her attraction and affection for  him. At times Caleb is… human.

“What happened?” The whisper was so soft, Caleb might have missed it if he didn’t know it was coming.

“F%&ked up childhood,” he said tonelessly.

Livvie’s breath skated across his skin. She kissed his scars.

You can see him open up, temporarily (<—key word) let go of his monster persona and really connect to her. And in turn, we connect to him.

She kisses my scars and I create new ones for her.

And there are just as many moments where Caleb is a monster. Degrading, heartless, abusive. After all, he is a “Master” training people to become actual slaves for a human trafficking ring, soooo…. you know. Goal-oriented on revenge at any cost. Mind over heart – always. Control over submission. But of course! It’s why he kidnapped Livvie in the first place.

And each time I encountered that Caleb in this book, I was abashed at my previous inclination towards him. Inclination? Okay let’s call it what it was. My developing (albeit slightly squashed) crush on him. Because yes, sometimes, even though my mind rebelled at the thought, my emotional side still wanted him to be good. Still wanted to recognize his potential, and give me a real reason for my darned crush in the first place. I always held on to hope. And this author is really good at… no she’s GREAT at causing the reader to internally struggle with their feelings of loving and hating the hero/villain. Because he’s one and the same.

He had told her he wasn’t her Prince Charming, but what he hadn’t said, was he wished he could be. Once upon a time, he may have been… normal.

I’m telling you. At certain times, I was so upset and disgusted by the situation, by him, by his “people” (ugghhh you guys, really… they are mostly just evil! EVIL!). I was physically affected and thoroughly ticked off that I even contemplated liking Caleb, because deep down, I would think to myself… “there was NOTHING about him to like!” Stop crushing!!!

He had to stop being soft with her. He had to make her tough, make her hard, and he knew better than most how the coldness of reality would sober any wide-eyed hopeful.

Ohhh the lessons she had to learn, and the reasons she had to learn them. At 13% I made a note that just said “Oh wow!”. Usually “wow” is a good note, but in this one, it was more of a realization. I got it. *discouraged sigh* Often, in the book, THAT was where I was at. Mad at the book, mad at myself, mad as I envisioned the women (and there is a degraded male, too).

If I let my mind go there, if I “saw” what was happening and let it sink in properly (and I did, many times), I was… appalled. No that doesn’t come close to conveying how I felt. There are no words. Vehemently ashamed, heartbroken, incensed and embarrassed that humans can treat other humans that way. To sit there and envision it, soak in it… an eye-opener.

I mean we get our reading thrills (and even some get the real thing) by the BDSM club books, the “alternative romance genre (even for those who don’t subscribe to the lifestyle) well… the dynamic between the Master/sub relationship can be just so fun and exciting to read about!

But this is so different. There are no safe words here. There is no choice, no perfect D/s match that come together out of need, and want and love.

And even though Caleb occasionally (often) shows a human side, there were many times that I truly TRULY didn’t care an ounce for him. I was adamant and angry, and a bit disappointed in myself for thinking of him as redeemable, and for allowing myself to soften that way. I even noted, as I was reading this that I couldn’t care less about his character, and whatever happens to him, happens.

And then, there I was… back there again, where I didn’t want to be. Because Caleb’s “human” side is a huge part of this story. He is two characters, and there is as much (maybe even more) “good-Caleb” as there is “bad-Caleb” to experience. ‘Cause he’s struggling, too. No matter how much you want to hate him…. *shakes head*. And there I was… Stockholm-syndrome-ing away. Hoping. *shrug* UGH!!! What was wrong with me?! heheheheh

“I’ve been doing this a long time – manipulating people to get my way. That’s why you think you love me. Because I’ve broken you down and built you back up to believe it. It wasn’t an accident. Once you leave this behind… you’ll see that.”

Ohhhhhh okay. Ahhh yes. I feel better now, with that explanation. I do. I do see it, now. Sorta. neutral Question is… will she?

Such a great ride. At times, a bit slow, as you get involved in one part of the story and are ripped away for another part. Another perspective, and you’ll find yourself going… “Nooo I wanna know more!!”, but overall, I actually appreciated that. Playing out every situation. The different viewpoints, the investigation, the puzzle that is Caleb, the mystery of this trafficking ring and it’s players that have such a hold on Caleb, turns this into a book that reads like a movie. Every scene, every detail, every conversation, plays out perfectly in your head. As I re-read the bad parts, mad I hate him!!! As I re-read the good parts…. well you know. redface Don’t make me say it. rolleyes

Okay so what’s this one about? I’m keeping it short and sweet because if you enjoyed the first book, (even reluctantly), you’ll need this one. Absolutely. And I want you to experience this in all of it’s complexity, and enjoy the surprises along the way.

Olivia is now in the hospital, healing from her physical woulds, and struggling to heal from her mental torture. She is anguished. Suffering deeply (and you’ll feel it) from Stockholm Syndrome, she is alone without her Master, and practically dying inside.

Nothing really matters. She asks me my name as though her kindness and gentleness will move me to speak. I never answer. I never eat.

My name is Kitten and my master is gone. What could possibly be more important?

Unfortunately, she is under investigation for her part in the murders/crazy stuff that happened at the end of book #1 (that whole Mexican border standoff etc etc..). But considering she was kidnapped, they see the potential to a whole other side of her story, and assign her a therapist. And as she recounts her story to the therapist and FBI, we relive it with her, through her heart and mind, and through their eyes.

Do things come full circle? Do we finally get to “understand” this whole crazy thing? Is there a reason? Does anyone heal? Does anyone get what they deserve or what they don’t deserve (depending on how you look at it)? Do we get relief? An HEA?

I’ll never tell. :P

Just know that I think it was an exhilarating (albeit somewhat exhausting) reading experience and I LOVED it. And… I appreciated it even more once I was done. I felt mostly… complete. Crazy right? Ahhh but sometimes, it just is what it is. It was rich, well rounded, uncomfortable, exciting and scary (in multiple ways). Emotionally affecting. I lived it, I didn’t just read it, although I was VERY happy to be on this side of the book. *phew* I may enjoy the fictional thrill and I may like it crazy at times, but I’m very content on the “safe” side of life.

haha! Look at that. ↑ I just spent a huge part of the review arguing with myself over Caleb. I wonder which side of me wins? ;)

4.5 stars (maybe even 5 stars). You know me, it takes me a few days to mull it over and absorb it to make a final decision.

P.S. the author sent me a copy for an honest review! Thank you C.J. I was looking forward to it, and even though I didn’t know where it could go, where it would go, it went where it needed to, and I loved it.

Oh and, I know that you call this a “dark duet” and said it would only be two books, but you know… C.J.? There could totally be a third book. *hint hint*. Just sayin’ (and asking) hehe.

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

CJ Roberts September 1, 2012 at 11:42 AM

What an amazing review and thoroughly honest. Thank you all for letting me tell this story MY way and not trying to shove my characters into a mold. When they’re bad – they’re evil and when they’re good…they’ll break your heart.

Best. Fans. Ever!


Nina September 1, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Starting book 2 today…I just hope it ties up the loose ends for me.

Lucy September 1, 2012 at 11:54 AM

I just finished this a while ago..perfect review! I feel all those emotions too and felt myself getting angry with Caleb for certain things..because just as he shows maybe he does care and actually has a heart, he would turn around and do something awful! but each time I would make excuses for him and hope for a redeeming moment… I didn’t connect with this story as much as some other of my favourite books because even though there is betrayal, its expected. Where as in books like beautiful disaster and the mighty storm those moments of betrayal made me cry…but I love it when a book makes me cry! ha I’m weird! loved this book but I don’t think its an immediate re-read..need time to heal Lol! but still amazing all the same :)

Niki September 1, 2012 at 12:53 PM

I LOVED this review! It took me one day to read CITD.The emotional roller coaster ride was what I loved the most. I love books that pit your heart against your head! I think you C.J. has an amazing career ahead of her and I will gladly read anything she writes!

Michele T September 1, 2012 at 1:22 PM

EXCELLENT Review Maryse!!! I am with you on the ASKING for another one… Pleeeeeease CJ?!?!? xxx

Nicki September 2, 2012 at 7:39 AM

LOVED IT!!! Review was spot on!!! Didn’t think I could love Caleb, but WOW. Come on CJ…there is more of a story to tell. :) LOVE THIS AUTHOR!!!

Takisha September 2, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Great great review Maryse!!!!! This book was AMAZING CJ!! Wow, at the twist…turns – wow at my tears because I cried…smh. I literally just finished so im just sitting here letting the story marinate…..Wow! As far as another book, I wouldnt mind reading about Agent Reed’s story and what happens with him and Dr. Sloan if anything….just do a “In the Dark” series CJ! Lol

Anne September 2, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Another fantastic review/recommendation thanks Maryse. Really enjoyed this second book. Absolutely could not put it down. Would love to see a third book and also perhaps a book featuring more of Agent Reed….

Maryse September 2, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Yes she could totally take this into another full length book and perhaps a spinoff or novella for sure. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

So glad you guys liked it too. It was tough, though at times, wasn’t it? Eeeeeeep!!!

Takisha September 2, 2012 at 3:57 PM

@Maryse oh yes! For me when it got tough..i would come out of it..go play words with friends, check my facebook…then come back..LOL Im telling I shed tears reading this book….man…Im still wow’n

Nina September 2, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Just finished the 2nd book, and it tied everything up so beautifully, I so honestly enjoyed it. Parts of SITD were difficult to read for me but the emotion and feeling so articulately expressed by Olivia and Caleb helped me to get through the tough parts.

On to the next book!…..

Maryse September 2, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Nina, Exactly!!!

and a *hug* for Takisha!

Dana September 2, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I read the first half last night and am tackling the second half tonight alone while the house is quiet. Not the kind of book I can read with others in the room. I need total quiet and no interruptions! lol. I was bawling and almost loud sobbing/ugly crying at one point in the scene with Dr. Sloan where the laughing turned to crying. Like it better than book 1 so far.
You’re right…it is playing out a lot like a movie…

Pam September 2, 2012 at 4:53 PM

I struggled with deciding whether to read the sequel. The first book made me so emotional that I couldn’t function at 100% for a few days. But I HAD to know what happens to Olivia. I downloaded it last night and stayed up until 4:30 reading it. Then I couldn’t sleep because her story kept playing over and over in my head. I have taken today to recooperate and felt better. But after reading your wonderful review, it brought all those feelings back. I think I need a drink now!!

Maryse September 2, 2012 at 5:31 PM

We all need a group hug!

Takisha September 2, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Group hug!!!!!!

Maryse, is there a forum for this book? I have a question and dont want to be a spoiler…or is it ok to ask here??

Minha September 3, 2012 at 7:24 AM

OMG Maryse, I finished book one last night and went straight to the second. Sleep? Who needs sleeping when you’re in a trip like that?
WOW! I am 29% in and holding my breath…
I had to control myself not to read your review and spoil it, but I wanted to come here to say how much I am loving this emotional roller coaster ride. Thank you! :)

Dana September 3, 2012 at 9:12 AM

I finished at 3:am. It was so good! I started panicking when I realized there were only 100 pages left on my iphone (as that probably only translates to 30 pgs) as it didn’t feel like there was enough time to wrap everything up. But it was good. I agree…there’s definitely room for the story to continue, too.
Thanks for recommending. It was an unforgettable and haunting read.I’ll have to see what else CJ has out there… and what to get into while waiting for the Bared to You part two….

Courtney M September 3, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Just finished SITD, all I can say is I need to speak with a therapist. I was emotionally all over the place and even questioned my own sanity for the feelings I was feeling. I had to stop in some places and go do something else but I alway came right back because I had to know. Good books draw you in and you are almost the character yourself when reading.. I need to mind scrub now.. Overall good writing and will recommend to friends to read both books. I don’t think I’ll ever look at Chris Pine (my version of Caleb) the same again…

Brenae September 3, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Just finished reading SITD and all I can say is “WOW”. I love it when an author such as CJ Roberts can leave you with all these emotions to deal with when the book is done! Maryse….. You started me on this journey with your 1st review and I say Thanks Girl!!! Now I am off to read something new;)

Lisa September 3, 2012 at 2:14 PM

Amazing book and your review is dead on Maryse! I loved this series and I will definitely be looking for more books from this author. I love finding books that make me “feel” all the emotions this one did. I struggled with my “crush” on Caleb, and chastised myself for being drawn to him when the “monster” side of him appeared. Thank you so much for recommending these books!

Jennifer September 3, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Speechless!!!!!!! Seriously thought I was gonna have a slight heart attack at some points!!!! Sad it’s over

Karyna September 3, 2012 at 5:15 PM

I read both book in two days!!! I couldn’t put them down!!! I found myself hating Caleb and and the same time feeling sorry for him. It was a roller coaster of emotions. But all in all they were a great read. I am always glad to come to your site and find out about books I would have never known about.

Lee September 4, 2012 at 3:08 AM

great review. I finished it last night and took ages to write my review on goodreads today (while I supposed to be working, I might add) I just felt so torn with with feelings about Caleb but I loved him in the end. Is that crazy? I was shocked and horrified by the same scenes you were but I felt so at peace in the end. I haven’t been able to start another book yet because I can’t get Livvie or Caleb out of my head. I have actually been re-reading it on and off all throughout today, like I just couldn’t let them go and I needed another “fix”. I would love to see another book too.

Caz September 4, 2012 at 7:11 AM

Wow I’ve just finished SITD! I read the first book a few weeks back and then I decided to start the 2nd one yesterday. About a third of the way in I said to my husband that I don’t think I could continue, it was really hard and I wasn’t enjoying it, but not one to let a book go unfinished I continued on….and I’m soo GLAD I did! everything fell into place and it was an amazing twist, I honestly didn’t see it coming! I do definitely think there is room for a 3rd book though…theres still so much of the story to tell! Absolutely loved it!!

Heather September 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Amazing read! Could not put this book down and am now feeling such a loss because it’s over. Please Cj give us a #3!!! Or more on Reed!!!

Also, Maryse, I love the “shout out” to your blog in dedications…so cool!

Minha September 5, 2012 at 2:28 AM

Finished it last night. I am still not able to comment… I will just repeat Courtney’s comment above: “I need a mind scrub”… :)

Minha September 7, 2012 at 6:10 AM

I loved the first book and the first 30% of this one. It all went downhill for me after the “slave fest” when they arrived at Felipe’s house. What was an exhilarating psychological thriller became a crude and dark BDSM erotica. I liked the ending as well, so I give it 3.5 stars.

Alli September 18, 2012 at 12:39 AM

I just read this series! I loved it. I love how i could feel her pain at the hospital for the loss of her love. It was def a hard read at these ( ahh Caleb) but the ending was perfect!

Yoselyn mateo October 1, 2012 at 3:06 PM

I really loved this book…what other books can I read that r similar

Lea October 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM

I recently found this blog while trying to figure out what to read after Beautiful Disaster….thankfully:) Needless to say I love your suggestions and reviews!!

I just read this series as well and loved it! It was a crazy ride and I can honestly say that this is the first book I have ever had to put down so I could relax because it just made me so anxious!

I noticed in the review you mentioned the ‘Mexican border stand-off’ at the end of the first book, but my copy of CITD didn’t include that! I started this book completely confused, the first one having ended directly after the text from R. Is it different from the section in SITD describing that scene? I hope not, I hope I didn’t miss anything!

Maryse October 5, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Honestly Lea, I can’t remember. LOL!!! I read book #1 quite awhile ago and I know it ended in utter chaos. By the time book #2 came out, I was a bit fuzzy. And then book #2 started the way it did, so I put two and two together… or I invented my own version. ;)


JessicaM October 8, 2012 at 5:14 AM

Amazing book! I finished reading it and immediately wrote to CJ telling her how much I loved the book. She says she’s writing Reeds story though she doesnt have a timeline….i seriously cannot wait! This has passed my love for 50 shades…the way she makes you like Caleb even though you know you shouldnt…thats mastery right there.

ashley November 5, 2012 at 9:45 AM

I loved the book and i also hated it cuz of the mixed feelings i had…its true when they say you ll need therapy afterwards….i found myself gripping the ipad fierce when caleb confused me…i wanted to bang my head to the wall for understanding why she loved him…gosh…it was intense. Its an amazing story…i finally got it when she explained to him that even tho he *spoiler and stuff…i cant belive that at the end it still made me swoon and see the love story…theeeenn…i banged my head to the wall and decided :) )…even tho he *spoiler*…even tho she *spoiler*, he’s still a sadistic monster for taking her in the first place (no matter how shitty her life was-she could of gone to college separate from her family fall inlove) …he took all that from her and gave her a weird addiction…sooo….enough swooning….caleb…u suck

Nicole Kruppa January 10, 2013 at 12:12 PM

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! Finished it 5 minutes ago and what a story! Last night I HAD to put it down at 7 PM. I just HAD to. And I dreampt about it all night. I agree with everything Maryse said in her review. It is a darker read, but it feels like you’re there – or – watching a movie play in front of you. Sooooo well written! And because it is darker and what?….Taboo?… may be hard to recommend, but I would and do! I fell in love with Caleb. He, for me is the ultimate bad guy – with a heart. And Livvie, so strong – and she didn’t even know it. I loved everything about the book. I felt like it lacked nothing. Thanks Maryse, again, for the review – blog – your site! You rock! :D

Amanda January 10, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Wow. Wonderful review. I am almost finished with this 2nd book… I am exhausted, enthralled, excited, angry, and verrrrry curious to see what unfolds in the last few chapters. When I began reading this series, I was literally in shock. I wasn’t sure, after the first *spoiler* scene, that I could stand much more. I am no prude, but I FELT every single emotion, every single tear, everything inside of Livvie break each time Caleb showed his true colors. I have read some seriously captivating books, but none as deep, dark and twisted, yet hopeful as this one. I too argue over and over with myself about Caleb’s “redeeming” qualities, and then again find myself wanting him to suffer…. then remember that he already has… so much more than we can even imagine. Well written… amazingly vivid… and unbelievably hard to put down. I was up until 1am last night before I literally dragged myself to bed and dreamt all night of Livvie being “free”.

Mélodie February 2, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Big news ! C.J Roberts is going to write of a Sequel with Caled and Livvie !

There is a little preview on her FB page :

Jean July 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Okay. I am at 38% of this book and I am having a much more difficult time with this one than the first……ugh! Don’t get me wrong, I can barely put it down even through the “tough” moments. I am at work and simply cannot focus on anything other than getting back to the book that has me feeling all kinds of I don’t know!!! Why do I have to (sort of) like Caleb? Wow, I will continue but have no idea what to expect! Such a different read for me, but I am enjoying it in a “weird, sick, kinda way”:)

Sharon December 12, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Really having a hard time. I have reread your review at least four times not sure if I should continue this book, but something is off for me, I loved the first one but this one isn’t making me feel good at all kind feel sick reading it. I have never quit a book ever but now I don’t know I am 30 % in

Jean December 13, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Sharon, as you see from my message above yours, I was having the same problem, BUT I encourage you to finish because book #3, Epilogue, is EPIC and will blow your mind! It is the best book of the trilogy in my opinion!

Dana December 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM

I agree w/Jean. Epilogue was my favourite book this year! I think I may have to re-read…

Nicole December 13, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Sharon, I agree with the gals above. This trilogy is one my all time favorites. Keep going. I PROMISE you will love this book. The middle, the ending. Don’t stop, you won’t regret it.

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