Reviewed by Gitte
“Warning: This book contains graphic language, BDSM elements, M/F/M ménage”
‘Innocence Defied’ is Gage Hollister’s book and I was desperate to read it as I’ve been seriously crushing on him since the previous book (though he scares me too!)
“There he was, Gage. The most beautiful man she had ever seen. He was big as a Viking, built like a Greek god, and had the voice of a Southern-fried angel.” Zoe
This series is pure indulgence, sexy, erotic and daring and the third instalment follows in that same pattern. I love how this Author challenges the reader’s judgement in every book, one way or another. Lainey Reese is a great Author and I’ve really enjoyed her books so far, though I did have a couple of issues with this one sadly. Also, it lacked the drama and intrigue of the previous books.
So, this story is about Gage Hollister, a Southern Dom with that gorgeous accent I swoon over every time! Gage is looking for the perfect sub/slave to suit him as he is desperate to find ‘her’ now he’s the ripe old age of thirty-one hahaha. Yeah I’d pick him! This guy has such an addictive voice. He is lush…..scary but lush. I’m thinking Charlie Hunnam lush! Yeah, coupled with that yummy Southern accent and that’s me sold!
Gage (31) is Brice’s best mate and has been a family friend for many years. So when he’s asked to look after Zoe, Brice’s sister, he of course accepts. No problems there as he’s always loved and been very protective of her. As this is the first time Zoe (20) has left home and ventured to New York City on her own, he’s all too happy to put her up. Gage is shocked when he picks Zoe up at the airport….Zoe grew up and Gage is lost!!
“I’m going to Hell. I’m going to burn in Hell. The devil is going to cut off my cock and then burn me in Hell forever.” – Gage
He immediately wants her but knows he can’t because of the age gap and the fact that she’s Brice’s baby sister.
“He would never date a girl that young. He was a man. He liked women. Experienced women. Not girls. He was also a Dom, and looking for more than just a sub – he was looking for a full time slave. A woman who would be willing to commit to him fully for her every need. It took a person of extreme tastes and specific desires to be a slave.” – Gage
Now as for Zoe, or ‘Oops’ as she is lovingly called, well she’s always been in love with Gage and lives for the want of ending up married to him. He’s the object of her affection, love and devotion and she’s literally prepared herself her whole adolescent and early adult life to be perfect for him in every way.
“Whether he believed it or not, she belonged to Gage Hollister, body and soul, and that was all there was to it.” – Zoe
Zoe has a game plan and that’s to get Gage to see her as a woman and fall in love with her as she loves him. Despite his resistance, you can’t call Zoe a quitter and resistance is pretty futile. Gage is worried though, not only is this Zoe, there’s also the fact that he is a Dom wanting a slave, she is Brice’s sister and there’s a substantial age gap.
“He’d never made apologies about who he was and what he wanted for himself, in this instance, however, he almost wished he was different, if only to spare her from the hurt and betrayal he saw on her face.” – Gage
Gage tries to convince Zoe that he’s not the one for her because of his life style choice, his sexual preferences and her sweet innocence and aspirations.
“If I was vanilla, I’d snatch you up and marry you so fast you wouldn’t know what hit you. Damn the consequences. But I am not and you are as vanilla as they come.” – Gage
“What the heck are you talking about ice-cream for? I hate vanilla. I like mint chip.” – Zoe
I loved having the voice of both Zoe and Gage. Especially Gage as we get to hear his inner turmoil as he realises how his feelings and perspectives are changing.
“He didn’t have a clue where this thing between them would lead. But right now, in this perfect moment, he felt so good he honestly didn’t care.” – Gage
Also, through Zoe, we see her determination and perception and understand her decisions.
“How do you stop something that had become your very need for survival?” – Zoe
On the whole the journey they both made in this story was an eye-opener. Theirs was one of passion, changes, love and self-discovery and despite being quite short I got the emotion and connection.
As for the couple of issues I had. Well, I really disliked Zoe’s nickname as it made her seem childish and we were meant to see her as a woman, as was Gage. It started to grate on me, especially later on in the story when Gage still called her ‘Oops’. It made her come across as a child and highlighted an age gap I didn’t actually have a problem with at all. I wish that once Zoe and Gage embarked on an adult relationship where age predominantly became an issue he would’ve stopped calling her ‘Oops’ thereby preventing the blurring of lines.
“The type of sex he enjoyed was not for the faint of heart, and it was not, under any circumstances for a woman-child who still went by the silly nickname Oops.” – Gage
The other issue I had was the sharing. Not the act of it, because it was one hot and sexy scene. Rather, it was the timing of it. It came way too soon in their relationship. They are barely into a relationship where Zoe is thrown in at the deep end trying to win over the love of her life, a man she’d do anything for. Gage knows this, hell, he sees the adoration and hero worship in her eyes every time she looks at him, yet he shares her.
“Dear God, he silently prayed, help me live up to what I see in those eyes.” – Gage
I’m not sure why this upset me so much but it did, he should’ve waited and this disappointed me. I know this is part of his lifestyle, but in my opinion it justified Brice’s actions and concerns about their relationship.
“What the hell am I doing? “It was humbling to be the recipient of that level of devotion. And terrifying.” – Gage
Despite these two issues I did enjoy this instalment and thought it was a well written erotic romance and addition to the series. This Author writes great characters and really hot scenes, no question. The story was on the whole sweet and sexy and I loved catching up with Brice & Terryn and Cade, Trev & Riley. Now, I’d love to hear Evan’s story, I hope he gets one!
Oh and despite everything Gage still makes me melt……
“The rest is just details, darlin’. It’s all just details.” – Gage
Gitte: 3.5 stars
Series order and purchase links:
UK Links to purchase