I read Nina Jones’s Debt. It is a dark book. I can’t imagine ever wanting to read it again and yet, I found myself pulled into the utterly fucked up relationship it portrays.
Mia is a good girl whose life is so uninteresting to her that she, in a rash act, hires someone to rape her. There’s a site a woman can go to where she enters her rape fantasy and later, at some time and place she can’t predict, a man will attack and take her. There are protections, of course. There’s a safe word, and the promise of condoms and disease-free assailants. Mia can barely believe she signed up for such a thing and yet she longs for it all the same.
Tax, the man who attacks Mia, is not what she signed up for. Completely coincidentally, he’s determined to destroy Mia–and I do mean destroy her–as revenge for a horror Tax and his family endured fourteen years earlier for which he blames Mia. Tax attacks Mia, they have sex–is it rape? I don’t really think so but it’s iffy–and, afterwards, neither of them can forget the other.
Tax is a bad guy–there is no getting around this. He’s a killer and an asshole and, for the first half of the book, watching Mia put herself in his hands is horrifying. But, as dark as this is, it is a romance and so, like all bad boy heroes, there is more to Tax than it seems. He initially writes himself a pass for all his criminal behavior but, as he falls for Mia, he begins to questions his actions.
Mia falls for Tax–or at least the kind of sex he offers–almost immediately. This is the thing about a rape fantasy–it is someone’s fantasy. Tax is Mia’s and, as such, he is just what she wants.
Their love story is well-told. Both Tax and Mia are complicated souls and Ms. Jones makes them compelling. Mia’s rape fantasy doesn’t mean she’s weak and, for most of the book, she is clearly the stronger character. I was drawn into the book from the opening pages and I was satisfied by the story when I finished it.
Since reading Debt, I’ve tried to read several other dark romances on the Goodreads top Dark Romances list. I disliked them intensely and, in all but one other case, found them unfinishable. But Debt I liked, or rather, enjoyed. If you want to tread on the dark side, I recommend it.