Author: Tabatha Vargo
Release Date: August 25, 2015
The last place Christopher Jacobs, aka X, thought he’d find himself was behind bars. Ten years later, the boy he used to be is gone. In his place is the shell of a man with murder under his belt. Any emotion he once had was left under the gavel when he was given life in prison. That is until the new nurse in the infirmary joins the block.
Putting your hands on a prison employee will get you the hole, but some things are worth their punishment, and something tells him Lyla will be worth more than he bargained for.
Lyla Evans isn’t sure about her new job at a maximum security prison, but showing uncertainty and weakness isn’t an option. Taking care of murders and rapist isn’t ideal, but survival is key. She’s warned ahead of time about a prisoner named X, but when she’s attacked, it’s the dangerous X that saves her. Fraternizing with the prisoners is forbidden, but sometimes the most forbidden things are the sweetest.
Slammer is the first book this year to completely catch me off guard. Everything I expected going into this book was blown to pieces the moment I got sucked into Tabatha Vargo’s tumultuous world. Slammer is everything Tabatha promised it would be: hot, twisted, unexpected, and dark. This story is not for everyone, so be sure you’re prepared to navigate the gritty nature of this novel. Slammer took me outside of my comfort zone, challenging me by invoking surprising emotions as I read this story. My heart and head were all over the place with this one and I found myself trapped within the rollercoaster that was X and Lyla’s story. The dynamic between X and Lyla is one-of-a-kind, a constantly evolving mixture of fear, lust, and undeniable connection that kept me second-guessing absolutely everything I thought I knew. This book surprised me and held me in suspense; keeping me riveted from start to finish.
“His promise to never hurt me had touched me all the way to the very depths of my soul in a place I’d never been touched. And even though everyone else was afraid of X, I knew he was telling me the truth. He’d never hurt me no matter what.”
I applaud Tabatha Vargo for the great character development in this book. Lyla and X both end up very different people from where they start and I found myself becoming more and more invested in them as the story progressed. Lyla breaks through X’s impenetrable armor, forcing him to both face his demons and let in a little light. X draws out Lyla’s strength, transforming her into the fighter she was always capable of being. Despite all of their differences, Tabatha managed to make me feel for Lyla and X to the point where I even conjured a few tears on their behalf. Lyla and X are the poster couple for opposites attracting. X is cold, hard, merciless death whereas Lyla personifies soft, warm, forgiving life. This disparity fuels the chemistry that Tabatha Vargo has so perfectly constructed between these two, making it dangerously combustible. The undeniable tension and verbal challenges ensure that Slammer has those scorching hot moments that will leave you blushing.
“No one had ever made me feel this way, and I knew that the tiny taste of him would never be enough. There was no going back. Time had stopped on out little moment, and I silently wished it to stay paused – to sneak a lifetime into a few minutes with him.”
Lyla and X’s journey is gritty, raw, and violent, providing a sharp contrast to the bright and hopeful feeling that seemed to surround this couple when they were alone. Tabatha Vargo expertly utilized this juxtaposition to give her story a sense of being on the edge, straddling the line separating the dark from the light and leaving the reader constantly contemplating which side the story and characters really belonged to. I’m very glad I went into this story blind. While I’m still reeling from the final chapter and epilogue, I couldn’t imagine reading this story and knowing how it was going to turn out. Slammer is one of those books that you have to immerse yourself in completely in order to fully experience its impact. Despite already being a fan of Tabatha Vargo, Slammer impressed me by not only demonstrating her talent as a storyteller, but proving her to be bold and unafraid of taking risks with her characters and plots. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
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