January 12, 2013

Review: Taken + No Takebacks by Kelli Maine

Series: Give & Take 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble  

You steal me away to a deserted island, to the one place I’ve dreamed of being—the one place I can’t go.


You’re used to buying whatever you want, but you can’t buy do I resist the magnetism of your body, the longing ache deep inside me? I want you to take me—on my terms.


Every attempt you make to love me only hurts me. How can we go on like this?

This is the story of how I was TAKEN.

Rachael DeSalvo cares for those she loves with no regard for what she needs from them in return. When her father dies, her mother’s emotional dependency becomes overbearing. Unable to leave her distressed mother, Rachael turns down her dream job with Rocha Enterprises. 

Billionaire real estate mogul, Merrick Rocha, knows what motivates people and what buttons to push to get what he wants. When the perfect project manager candidate turns down his job offer, it drives him mad. Three months of watching Rachael from afar has him more determined than ever to have her—for much, much more than an employee.

Merrick takes what he wants, but can he convince Rachael to give him what he needs?

Written in the second or narrative POV, TAKEN by Kelli Maine is more romance than suspense. We meet Rachael DeSalvo as she's stepping out the club when her paths cross with Merrick Rocha, eligible billionaire bachelor and would-have-been Rachael's boss til she turned down his job offer due to personal reasons. Next we see her drugged and tied up in a bed in the middle of Turtle Tear Island and she won't be leaving until she's accepted Merrick's job offer.
How did I allow you under my skin like this? How can I get you out? A niggling in my brain goes off like a small alarm. I don't want to get you out of my system.

This is a great start to a series. Although the abduction part to me now seems to be awkward and even unnecessary. Merrick might be a billionaire and a brilliant businessman but let's just say his brilliance doesn't extend to masterminding criminal activities. His motive for abducting Rachael is a little shallow and very extreme considering the backstory. If he probably just sat Rachael down and gave her an offer she can't refuse he'd find that he doesn't have to commit a felony to get her to agree to the Turtle Tear Island project. And this is the main reason why I can't give this 5 stars. This little incident turned into nothing but a distraction and probably KMaine's way of making the story more intriguing. But it doesn't blend well now with the rest of the story.

But gleaning over this hiccup, Rachael and Merrick are wonderful characters spend the Christmas break with. I expected dark, gritty, psyche story but TAKEN turned out to be a sweet romantic story... if you can get over the fact that the boyfriend drugged and whisked you away in an island and had you cuffed to the bed for a couple of days. Aside from that, it's hard not to add Merrick Rocha's name to your growing list of book boyfriends.
I wish I could trust him. He doesn't hurt me intentionally. He's just so stupid when it comes to feelings. He does things that he thinks will make me happy, but destroy me instead. He doesn't get it.
I like Rachael, she might be attracted to Merrick but she didn't jump in the relationship at the drop of the hat. She even managed to acknowledge the fact that she might have Stockholm Syndrome and really took the time to psycho analyze herself and the situation. As for Merrick, aside from that brain fart he committed, the guy is a dreamboat. Obviously he doesn't really know a lot about women but he's a fast learner and became very attentive and attached to Rachael, recognizing not only her beauty but her intelligence too.

Book 1 ended on a good note. Merrick and Rachael got what they wanted and more, the real meat of the story starts in the novella, NO TAKE BACKS.

Series: Give & Take 1.5
Format: eGalley (NetGalley)
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
There was something I didn’t know.

Something that would change everything.

The grand opening of Turtle Tear Resort is a time for celebration, but the man Rachael loves more than anything is suffering in silence. Rocha Enterprises was Merrick’s life. Now, he’s been left with no choice but to sell off the business he built from the ground up, and Rachael’s hell-bent on finding out why.

I love you too much not to fight to get it back.

Even if you’ve given up.

“You’re hurting me, Rachael…You’re going to him…I can’t promise I’ll be here when you get back.”

My heart bleeds as you stride away from me. Last night you told me you love me, now you’re walking away because I’m fighting for you.

Rachael can forgive and forget the past, but can Merrick overcome her betrayal?

Now this is where things start to get really interesting. Rachael is now in Turtle Tear Island overseeing the hotel renovations... and Merrick Rocha's heart. In TAKEN, Merrick shared pieces of his past, his tumultuous relationship with his father, the burdens of being a billionaire and one defining moment in his past that made all the difference in his life. When Merrick was 12, yes fricking TWELVE YEARS OLD, his hormones was out of control. He ended losing his virginity to his then 15yo babysitter and it resulted to an unwanted pregnancy. Of course the repercussions of this is too big regardless if Merrick is rich or not, a boy father is just unacceptable so his father handled the situation and Merrick continued his merry way until he eventually took over over the family business.

Decades later that situation was indeed handled but in a different way. See the babysitter didn't have an abortion, in fact she had the baby and all this time Merrick's father was raising the Merrick's kid. Now at 20 years old, Merrick Rocha Jr. is ready to meet Merrick Sr. and be part of his life

My jaw dropped with this revelation! I mean how can Kelli Maine write make this into a novella?! IMHO TAKEN should be the novella and NO TAKEBACKS book 1! Kelli Maine, you are so mean, not only leaving us hanging like laundry! Good thing I won't be waiting long for Taken By Storm (Februaru 28, 2013). But I love how your mind works, cruel as it may be. I am itching to see how Merrick is going to take this very big news and the effects of this secret. One thing I'm sure of, his father won't be very pleased with himself once this all goes down. 


  1. When I saw the title, I couldn't help thinking of the Liam Neeson movie, lol. The novella sounds intriguing- I think I'd rather read that as a full-length novel, too.

    1. IKR?! It's lighter than that but just as intense.. in a different way LOL

  2. Rachael sounds like a great main character. Hoe they make it a full novel for you.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

    1. Book 3 won't take off immediately after the events of 1.5 but nevertheless, I really want to know what happens. That revelation was a BIG one like soap opera BIG!


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