Collared by Nicole Williams
When a seventeen-year-old girl vanishes,
A community is shaken.
Parents turn desperate.
Friends hold vigils.
And the boy who loves her searches.
When a year goes by,
The community is recovering.
Parents feel hopeless.
Friends feel helpless.
And the boy who loves her continues his search.
When ten years go by,
The community has forgotten.
Parents cling to the past.
Friends move toward the future.
And the boy who loves her . . .
Brings her home.
Jade Childs spent ten years in captivity, but now that she’s back, the real battle for survival begins. The media shadows her. Flashbacks haunt her. Her old life evades her. Her so-called new life rejects her. She spent too many years in the dark to recognize the light. She spent too long repressing her feelings to remember how to express them. She spent a decade abandoning hope and cannot dare letting it back into her life. Jade’s not just defined by what happened to her—she’s collared to it.
When the twenty-seven-year-old woman is found,
A community wants to know the story,
Parents want to forget the story,
Friends want to be a part of the story,
And the man who still loves her faces the greatest challenge yet: letting her go.
I have gone back through my Goodreads reviews to find this one for you. If you read Good as Gone by Amy Gentry and enjoyed it, this is a good option as a follow up. If you liked that twist at the end of Good as Gone, that little sneak peek into the sometimes darkness of humans, then read Collared next.
Find Collared on Goodreads.
Collared is not for the feint of heart; I would put it in the light end of dark romance. It covers a topic that is what makes the darkness, but Collared is something different. It takes the darkness of the world and adds a eerie authenticity with fantastic research, something that I feel is lacking with darker reads that often aim for shock factor more than anything else.
The story starts with Jade, in the very best moment of her life so far; her life is perfect and she couldn’t ask for more. Jade won’t tell Torrin this though. He has a theory that the best moments in life are followed by the worst;
“It’s ten o’clock,” I say, blinking. “I live half a block away. We live in one of the safest cities in the country. What are you afraid’s going to happen?” He scans the neighborhood around us like there are things I can’t see.
“What I’ve been afraid of from the first day I knew I loved you.” His hand tightens around mine. “That I was going to lose you.”
And it turns out that Torrin means this more than anything, Jade is taken shortly after this moment and Torrin spends his life doing everything he can to not only remember Jade, but to bring her back.
It is once Jade is found that Nicole Williams’ research comes into play to create a story that has an authenticity I could have only hoped for when I begun this story that is so full of topics many would be frightened of.
Collared is a story of finding strength- every single character in this story, not only Jade, must find a strength within them that they never would have known would be needed in this lifetime. Every character in this story struggles and adapts and it is such a beautiful thing. There are also lessons; not just for Jade as she copes with life as an adult when she is stuck as a teenager, but also for the reader. You learn an hole lot about the fight for freedom and how that changes when you find that you are no longer free.
If you are going into Collared hoping for a steamy romance read, this isn’t the story for you. I will be interested to see who believes this story has an HEA and who doesn’t. This isn’t a story of finding your soulmate, Jade has hers even before this story begins; it’s about Jade, her struggles and the man who helps her overcome them. Their connection is something bigger than ‘boyfriend/ girlfriend’ and it is a beautiful thing.
I know I took vows, but I made a promise to you first. If I’m forced to make a choice, it will be you. Every time.” He exhales, and his eyes lower. “It will be you.”
I would recommend Collared to anyone who wants to take a moment to appreciate what they have, to learn about human nature and take a journey with a character who has suffered terrible horrors, both in experience and in her own mind
And, if Collared takes you on an adventure you want to continue, try Tortured by Nicole Williams next. It, again, it a story covering scary topics but, again again, Nicole Williams has researched so beautifully that you have to appreciate the authenticity of the feelings.
On my to buy list is all of Nicole Williams’ books, whether she is writing in the light or darkness, I haven’t found a story of hers I didn’t like.
Tortured by Nicole Williams
When he left for a twelve-month deployment, she knew it would feel like forever before they saw each other again. She didn’t realize how right she was.
When Lance Corporal Brecken Connolly gets taken as a POW, Camryn hopes for the best but steels herself for the worst. In the end, steel was what she needed to survive when he didn’t. She moves on the only way she knows how—gilding herself in more steel.
Years go by.
She builds a new life.
She leaves the old one behind.
Until one day, she sees the face of a ghost on the news. Brecken seems to have risen from the dead, but she knows she can’t perform the same miracle for herself. While Brecken was held in a torture camp for the past five years, she’s been trapped in her own kind of prison. One she can’t be saved from.
The man she mourned comes back to join the living, but the girl he wanted to spend his life with isn’t the same woman he comes back for. Brecken isn’t the same person either. The past five years have changed them both. While he’s determined to put the pieces back together, she’s resolved to let hers rot where they shattered.
Broken or not, Brecken wants her back. He’ll do anything to achieve that. Even if it means going against the warden of Camryn’s personal prison—her husband.