Review: Captivated (The Verge #2) by A.C. Thomas

Dr. Theophrastus Campbell leads a comfortable life, along with his twin brother, buried in academia. His unique gift for obscure languages goes unnoticed as he teaches University students to conjugate Latin. Everything in his world is just as it should be; restrained, understated, boring. He would give anything to break away. In all his daydreams of adventure, Theo never expected it to arrive in the form of an outrageously attractive Outlier covered in intriguing tattoos. And Theo never thought the price he might pay for adventure would be his own freedom.

Captain Park Jun-Seo leads a dangerous life, running a Crew of misfits through Restricted space as he desperately searches for the key to completing his parents’ work. Work that could mean the difference between life and death for countless others. In all of his frantic searching, Jun never expected to find the key in the form of a beautiful professor with more brilliance than good sense. And he never thought the price he might pay for knowledge would be his own heart.

Stoic Jun and irrepressible Theo must work together to break the code before their time is up. Falling into bed together is effortless, but their growing connection wasn’t in the plan. Theo charms his way beneath Jun’s skin with every nonsensical move he makes. Jun must decide if he can make room in his harsh, goal-driven life for the unpredictable force of love. Theo begins their journey as a lighthearted adventure—until he cracks Jun’s tough facade to reveal the hero within. Theo must decide if he can risk his battered heart when Jun is risking everything.

In the lawless depths of space, can two captive hearts set each other free?

Quick recap. The first book Restricted focused on genius geologist Dr. Ari Campbell and his frantic search for his abducted twin brother, linguist savant Dr. Theo Campbell. It tells the tale of Ari and pilot Orin, and their dangerous mishaps as they follow various clues to find Theo, all the while falling in love.

Now this second installment runs parallel to that first book, telling Theo’s story. It starts off with an amusing confrontation with enigmatic dangerous Jun Park, who’s desperate for Theo’s knowledge in arcane languages. Jun subsequently kidnaps Theo for his massive brain power, and what unfolds is an entertaining look as the reticent Jun, who communicates mostly in scowls and grunts, who thinks he has the upper hand since he’s wielding intense intimidation and a deadly weapon, really has no clue as to what he’s gotten himself into. What Jun doesn’t bargain for is that Theo is a unique force of nature all unto himself, possessing an unfiltered, enthusiastic outlook on life as it takes the form of incessant, nonstop chatter about everything. He’s literally rubber where annoyance and frustration bounce off of him, leaving him undeterred in voicing every single thought that comes to mind.

However, that doesn’t mean Theo doesn’t have feelings. He’s been hurt many a time by unkind words and rejection, but he just can’t help being who he is. As one can well imagine, this whirlwind of verbosity slowly breaks down Jun’s barriers as he valiantly tries to do the small heroic task of saving the sector of space known as the Verge. Jun has no time for a romantic dalliance no matter how alluring Theo is, let alone fall in love.

Just like the first book, this was fun, silly, and interspersed with some high stake situations, as well as being pretty damn smexy if I do say so myself. Instead of capitalizing on a gentle giant dynamic, Jun holds his control with an iron fist, and he exerts it oh so nicely over Theo who needs a lot of reigning in, if you catch my drift. Mix that with plenty of space-y shenanigans as Jun confronts his ugly past, and Theo uses his smarts to be part of Jun’s unconventional loyal crew that gleefully takes pleasure in seeing their captain squirm.

Obviously, the ending here converges with the first book, merging quite seamlessly as the two brainiac twins are reunited, both realizing that their areas of expertise are exactly what’s needed in order to save millions of lives. Overall, this second offering by AC Thomas has improved storytelling, continued character development, and a romance that played out very nicely. Now that all parties are accounted for, the real work and challenges will begin, and I look forward to seeing how this diverse group of unintended allies saves their part of the known universe!

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