This is not made for TV. This is the raw, brutal underground of no-holds-barred combat. Inside the cage there is nothing but me and the pain I inflict on those who dare enter. In the cage, I never have to worry about anyone but myself. Yet, when she began standing outside of the cage, everything changed. I was no longer fighting for the money or the glory – I was fighting for her.
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Wickedly raw but simply romantic
It should come as no secret that I've read this one before, but it was a fun read and I was very curious to see how it translated into original fiction. Savage's stories have generally only borrowed names and places in the fan fiction world, so it wasn't a surprise that this one bore zero resemblance to other published works.
Liam is a cage fighter, not the kind you see on pay-per-view but the kind that is found in seedy bars, throwing punches and kicks for just enough cash to cover basic expenses. He's no stranger to the decaying underbelly of society and vices along skid row, which is why he's surprised to notice a young and rather naive girl walking home alone through the worst streets at the worst time of night. His penchant for violence and unrestrained anger quickly reveals itself when he finds her in danger, and though their initial meeting is a bit on the terrifying side, he soon finds himself playing hero and protector to the girl who is revealed as his downstairs neighbor.
Tria is starting over, though it's obvious she never had much to begin with. Having left behind the archaic expectations of her tiny hometown, she's out of her depths in the grungiest part of the city, but it's what she can afford, and it's close enough to the university that saw to her scholarship. He upstairs neighbor is the last kind of person she would have seen herself spending time with, but as he comes to her rescue more and more, she can't help but see him as something more than the angry, purposeless fighter he first appears to be.
Told from Liam's point of view, readers are left to draw their own conclusions about Tria's thoughts, but she appears to be rather guileless and uncomplicated. Their relationship is more than simple attraction, though they certainly have that in spades. Tria seems to be almost completely unaffected by Liam, but it appears she's only enforcing boundaries on herself out of respect for him and the need to keep the only friend she seems to have in the city. Liam, on the other hand, is beside himself with raw want, but Tria is young and innocent, relying on him to help her, not take advantage of her.
Shay Savage pulls no punches when telling the story from Liam's side, making Caged: Takedown Teague a wickedly raw but simply romantic story that promises a sinfully rough road to an eventual happy ending. Having been broken into three separate books, this piece of the story ends on a cliffhanger, which is why I can't bring myself to give it five stars. While the next installment will be out within a month, there are few things that end a book for me on a more disappointing note than leaving everything up in the air. Even having read it in its original form, I'm itching to know whether the coming chapters follow the path I remember.
***FicCentral received this book from TRSOR Promotions for free in exchange for an honest review.