KAGE Unleashed is the second book in the KAGE Trilogy and picks up where the first one left off. This review will then contain spoilers for the first book.
I’m good at waiting. I enjoy the anticipation of the next book in a series and almost enjoy the cliffhangers as well. But finally (finally!) the second book in the KAGE Trilogy is here and it starts in the same moment that the first book ended. The book opens with a glimpse into Kage’s childhood and then finally (finally!) Kage’s POV.
Being inside Kage’s head is not pretty. We get to see his immediate reaction to walking away from Jamie after their intense and explosive outdoor encounter. Yep, that’s it, he just walks away. But, man is he hurting. You want to be mad at him, but he is so messed up. Every glimpse into Kage’s mind brings us one step closer to seeing exactly what he is dealing with. He really feels that he is no good for Jamie and that he pulled sweet Jamie into his dark, twisted world. He then calls his therapist for support. Yep, that’s right, the unethical, shady, in the pocket of Kage’s uncle, therapist is back. While you will rage at some of Kage’s decisions, every time we are back in his mind Maris Black does an amazing job of evoking empathy for Kage and everything he puts Jamie through.
Jamie had to deal with so many issues all at the same time and was not prepared for even one of them. He had to deal with questions about Kage from his family, to his ex-girlfriend’s presence, to his mother’s illness. But let’s give a shout out to the support shown from Jamie’s dad. One sided, nothing is ever as it seems and, throughout the entire book, Black excelled at showing how appearances are always deceiving and when both perspectives are shown everything can make a lot more sense.
If any two characters needed to talk, it’s these guys. But, they are constantly in a frenzy of adrenaline, feelings, and emotions and they are both so overrun with want and need and lust and yeah even love, that they can’t think straight. Neither of them, especially Kage, knows how to talk about serious issues and when Jamie wants to try and talk, Kage lays it all out and shuts him down before Jamie ever gets the chance. These guys get the ultimate pass on not talking because the author clearly shows that they are just not in a place where they can and also Kage never learned how to talk to anybody so he just lashes out. Just make some time when you start reading because this book you will not want to put down.
This book takes Kage through his first professional fights and sees Jamie going back to school. Every moment these guys are together is sexually charged and intense and dangerous and it’s truly that crazed jealous type of relationship where they can both be giving and taking within the same moment. Because of his career, Kage can’t come out and at first Kage and Jamie seem to be in their own way, but there is a whole line of people pulling their strings starting with Kage’s uncle. We get a little more on him, the stakes are continually raised, but all is certainly not revealed.
To slow it down a bit here, there was one scene that just didn’t fit for me. After the night at the club where emotions were running so high, Kage and Jamie are on foot while Kage’s friend, Jason, takes Kage’s car. The two of them, on foot, then visit a drugstore at the request of Jason. While the reason for the visit to the store sets a few things in motion, I read the scene twice trying to figure out why they were the ones to go to the store on foot for that specific purchase after what had happened to them previously and I couldn’t get that scene to work for me. Kage also then sends Jason and a friend back to his home where he planned to take Jamie and let’s just say that Kage and Jamie are loud and hit it hard all over the place.
The story takes them both on an emotional journey despite themselves, but there is so much more yet to discover. I finished this book completely rooting for both Kage and Jamie. They are flawed, they jump to conclusions, they are physical and aggressive in both love and hate, they have many people trying to pull them apart, they continue to be scorching, and they are so perfectly good together. The ending, of course, is one more cliffhanger and we can now wait again with anticipation for the final round in book three coming October 2015.
Most ridicously perfect Kage line as he and Jamie sit in a sauna sweating and going to extreme lengths so Kage can make weight for a fight. Kage: “How much do you think semen weighs?”