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Captive Hearts

Deviant Hearts, Book 1
Narrated by: Dan Calley
Series: Deviant Hearts, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins
Categories: LGBT, Romance
4.5 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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Summary

“Too young, too blond, too skinny. Billy Grace was everything my head told me I didn’t want. Too bad my heart had other ideas."

When Dashiell Slater uses his fists to stop a vicious assault, the last thing he expects is to be offered a job as reward for being a Good Samaritan. Out of work and short of cash, all he has to do is chauffeur Billy around. It’s easy money, so saying yes should be a no-brainer. And if the offer’s not quite legal, so what? Dashiell’s smart and savvy and knows how the world works. But there are strings attached, and Dashiell doesn’t want to get entangled. He’s ready to say no and walk away...until he sees the fear, despair, and fathomless sadness in Billy’s jade-green eyes.

“He was everything I wanted, but couldn’t have. What was the use in dreaming when I was already bought and paid for, the property of another man?”

Billy’s life is a daily round of fear and abuse. One wrong word or one wrong look can mean a beating, or worse. Dashiell’s everything Billy’s heart craves - a man who’ll love and protect him and who’ll keep him safe and catch him when he falls. But Billy can’t have what he yearns for, because, to give in to his heart means breaking a promise he’s vowed to keep at all costs.

A soul-searing kiss, a whispered promise, and the chance of a future together is there for the taking. But life is never that simple, and danger surrounds them at every turn. Imprisoned by devotion, duty, and obligation, Billy’s heart is captive, but can falling for Dashiell finally set it free?

Captive Hearts is the first book in the Deviant Hearts series.

©2018 A.E. Ryecart (P)2019 A.E. Ryecart

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A tough listen but worthwhile

This is one tough listen. Seriously. I’ll give a trigger warning because the violence is, frankly, violent. And although mostly behind closed doors, there is a bit that is on the page. In other words, this book is not for the faint of heart or those for whom abuse is a trigger. If you’re not one of those people, this book has a lot to offer.

It’s gritty. Really gritty. I’m a fan of realism and this book delves deep into the psyche of several different men. Dashiell is the character we’re introduced to first. He’s out for a night on the town with his buddies when he comes upon an assault going on in a bathroom. He doesn’t hesitate, just wades in with both fists. The man he’s saved? A waif named Billy Grace. When Billy’s boyfriend offers Dashiell the job of bodyguarding Billy, he agrees. The money’s good, to be sure, but he’s also intrigued by this young man. What’s his story? Why is he with an older man with thinning hair and a paunch? Not that opposites don’t attract, but Billy is ethereal while Frankie is bordering on vulgar and, given the amount of money he’s offering for his lover’s protection, a very wealthy man.

Billy might be old enough to take care of himself, but in some ways he’s naïve. He treats Dashiell like the hired help he is and it takes him a long time to realize the older man is kind. Dashiell might have started out doing the minding for the money, but the men quickly find they have a lot in common. They bond, although Dashiell wants to feed Billy while the younger man knows he can’t put on an ounce or there will be hell to pay. Actually, there’s hell to pay on a regular basis. But Billy puts up with the abuse because he feels he has no choice. Once I found out why, I felt tremendous empathy. He’s in a no-win situation. Would I be willing to put up with what he does? I’d like to think not, but sometimes we have to make tough choices.

As I said, the abuse is unrelenting as the story unfolds. There is a lot going on in this book and I wasn’t always sure who were the good guys and who were the bad ones. Life is like that sometimes. Billy learns he can trust Dashiell, but the question is whether he can break free from the ties that are binding him to the horrible Frankie. The book is a romance, so at least that much was guaranteed. Did my heart break getting there? It might have.

Dan Calley narrated this book and I was glad. He also narrated the Jack Pyke series ‘Don’t’ and he does a superb job for those as well. His deep London accent and gruff voice take some getting used to, but he does really well with these gritty stories.

This book is the first in a series and I’m desperately hoping the others will come to audio as well. Enjoyable if difficult listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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so bloody good!

I was gifted my copy of this book.

Dashiell saves Billy from an attack and then is offered a job as his driver. Dashiell wants to say no, but one look at Billy and Dashiell knows he can't. When the full picture becomes clear to Dashiell, and he grows closer to Billy, they begin to think that maybe, just maybe they can get away. But there is more at stake than just Dashiell and Billy, and the noose grows ever tighter around Billy. Can they really be free?

So!

This is the first book I've listened to by AE Ryecart (although I do have signed copies of The Barista Boys books!) and this was one hell of a ride!

I *try* to seperate the narration from the story and write two bits of a review, but when a book is first person, multi point of view, I find it so much harder! So, not gonna!

Dan Calley narrates this book and this is the first of his work I've managed to finish (totally another story, quite literally!) and I bloody loved the way he tells Dashiell and Billy's story!

Calley get over every single feeling that Ryecart writes, and in such a way, I HAD to stay up late to finish it!

Dashiell has an immediate attraction to Billy, but knows he can't have him, not while Billy is so tied to the situation, but they can't keep away from each other. Calley gets over the whole range of emotions that Dashiell, and indeed Billy, go through when dealing with the situation, and how they can be together, while figuring it all out!

I loved that Dashiell's need to look after Billy, to feed him, soothe him, all those sorts of things, come out of nowhere for Dashiell. They really do hit him upside the head!

Billy? Oh, I felt, deeply, for Billy, I realy did. He knows he can never be free, not while he has responsibilites to take of, but he can hope, right?? You do feel it, deep in your soul, when Billy stops hoping, and it made me cry!

The way it all goes down comes out of left field, I thought I had more book left, it totally took me by surprise! Oh, I KNEW it was coming, but still.

There is another character here who is not all he sems, and his book is next, I so wanna listen to that too!

Be warned though, this book is dark, with reference to abuse that is described in some detail, but not every detail, if that makes sense. And the situation Billy is mixed up in has hints to underground activities. Some readers may have triggers.

BUT for me??

5 star read
5 star narration

**same worded review will appear elsewhere**

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A love story with dark undertones

A love story that ends well but the journey is dark and unpleasant and not for the faint hearted, you might have a few sleepless hours. it's well written and well narrated.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Captive and in love 😍

Billy has been lured in a ver dangerous situation. He endures it because of love, misguided but love after all. He would do anything for the ones he loves. Unthinkable things. Until Dashiell, he took it like a champion. Their love is forbidden, impossible yet so strong it saves them both. Dark but oh such a great romance.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Loved this book and the way it was portrayed. Billy and Dashel melted my heart from the start of the story to where they finished and the way Dan Carlley read it was amazeballs can’t wait to jump in and listen to book 2

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great thrilling ride...

Firstly l loved listening to this story that takes place in London (mostly) narrated by a British guy. The whole feel of this thrilling story was uplifted by Dan Calley bringing the characters to life.

Having read this story already l knew it was an exciting and angsty story, however listening to it gave it an extra layer of excitement. The relationship between the dashing Dashiel and the sweet yet vulnerable Billy is very tense at first , but as time goes by and the danger around them from living with the mafia grows so does their attraction.
I enjoyed listening to this fast paced story that had the right amount of intrigue, danger and an abundance of sexual tension.
Now I'm excited to listen to the second book in this series.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

If you want a book with a lot of angst, great characters, a few rwists then read or listen to this bpok.
This is well written and I loved the audio version, the MC are described so well and I ended up invested in their life, which is how I love books to be. Looking forward to book 2.

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Wow

This one does have plenty of triggers but oh dear is it a beautiful ride. It’s dark and in many ways heartbreaking but the thread of hope keeps you listening. A beautiful book eagerly awaiting the next in the series

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Wow, that was intense...

🌟🌟🌟🌟 4.5 stars
🔥🔥🔥 Heat Level: 3.5
🎧🎧🎧🎧 Narration: 4.5

Wow, that was intense...

This is a highly detailed, intense and raw journey into the life of a despicable and disgusting criminal, "his" boy and the unexpected savior that changes everything!

I'd put if listening to this one as if heard it was intense and boy it was but in a way that makes you invested, raw and on the edge of your seat. The characters are so vivid and real, you feel every blow. In a hard, unyielding situation, Billy is so strong, to not have lost himself to darkness. Dashiell becomes his savior and light in more ways than one.

This story does contain a lot of violence and criminal activities as is the world of the story but it was very confronting at some points but AE doesn't shy away from reality and delivers something so raw, yet beautiful as hope and love, that above all else fuels Billy and Dashiell into risking everything and fighting to break free of their dire situation.

The epilogue is great (& needed) to bring the light back into the story and give us a nice HEA.

Dan is a new narrator to me and at first, I wasn't too sure but when he voiced Billy and the bleakness ever-present, I could feel the emotions even more. A great performance with so many nuances and emotions, both big a small you can't help but take notice. Great work!

Thanks for reading!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Nice accent, angsty story

I liked the narration a lot, such a wonderful accent!
The story was an angsty lovestory. It was dark and sometimes I just wanted to snatch the MCs out to keep them safe.
Not an easy story to listen to. I understand that it is really hard to leave from an abusive relationship, but I really struggled with Billy's decisions. But the story was captivating and narration is nice!

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  • Cat
  • 12-08-20

Strength comes in all sorts of packages

Captive Hearts was a very good story. It is unique where the main character isn’t all the fluffy hero. Where he isn’t as bad as the bad guys… he is no angel. Yet he is very likeable. Dashiell goes to the bathroom in a bar where a young man is being attacked. He rescues him to find he doesn’t look happy with the man he is with. The man offers him a job to protect Billy and Dashiell finds himself in over his head.
There are many twists and turns, the story is quite captivating. Pun intended. I loved the characters and look forward to more in this series!

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  • Vania
  • 10-07-20

This is the day you both gain your freedom...

I liked this book a lot.
Yes, it’s full of angst and it’s certainly not easy to read with Billy being forced at the mercy of Frankie, but I found the growing relationship between Billy and Dashiell was like a ray of sunshine in Billy’s otherwise dark life. Like Billy says: Dashiell has not just entered my happy place, he IS my happy place.
I waited for a while before listening to this book, because I knew I had to be in the right frame if mind or it would have wrecked me, but I can certainly tell that I appreciated it immensely.
Both author and narrator are new to me, and I’m already getting on with book 2 in the series.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Joan
  • 29-06-20

Very Good

I listened to this book at 1.25x

The story starts off with one young man who was boughten be a boy toy for a crook and his newly gotten baby sitter and to drive him around places.

Just enough story to keep you listening, not to long not to short. Good story line.

Vocal actor Dan Calley did a great job. Will listen to more books he narrates.

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  • Cherdene
  • 22-06-20

A must read

Author and narrator did an excellent job.
Well written, need a little trigger warning because of the violent contents.

I enjoyed the gruff accented London droll and i enjoyed this book immensely and look forward to reading more from this author.

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  • Troy
  • 21-06-20

Amazing

I can’t even say how much I loved this book. This author is new to me so I wasn’t sure what to expect but...wow. Such great characters. Amazing characterization and strong plot. Mix in a great narrator and this was a top listen.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Zhaveh Lee Madsen
  • 09-04-20

Sweet and dangerous

A short and sweet romance. A little thrill of danger to keep the heart pumping.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • L.D.
  • 15-03-20

A Great Start to a New Series

Billy is a young man shouldering burdens that would crush people older than himself. His grandmother is sick, with no chance of recovery, but the cost of treatment is beyond his means. Until he makes a deal with the devil – himself for his grandmother’s treatment. The man Billy sacrifices himself to is cruel and dangerous, but Billy has no way out. Dashiell is out of work and trying to figure out his next moves in life. The last thing he expects is to find himself working for a man with shady business dealings and a cruel, sadistic streak. When circumstances bring Billy and Dashiell together, they can’t help but fall in love with each other – something that is not only forbidden, but deadly. Together they will need to figure out a way to survive, both physically and emotionally, when everything seems hopeless.

Captive Hearts is a wonderful start to a new series. The writing is well done and flows smoothly, and I loved the characterization of the main characters (even when they acted in ways that had me yelling at them). The major themes of the book are forbidden/secret love, hurt/comfort, and protective men willing to throw it all on the line for their loved ones.

The audiobook was performed by Dan Calley, and it was amazing. His voice is smooth and lovely to listen to. I also could differentiate between the characters due to the different and distinct voices he used. The only issue I had was because I’m an American, so it took me about five to ten minutes to get used to his lovely British accent, but that was on me, and I soon had no problems at all listening to the book. Overall, the audiobook performance was extremely well done.

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  • Alan
  • 11-03-20

Love and menace - on the edge of my seat!

When ex-army reservist, Dashiell, rescues Billy from being attacked, he never expected to get caught up in the world of a vicious London gangster. Once again, A.E. Ryecart has expertly woven a tale of romance and danger with strong characterisations which had me in the edge of my seat. The episodes of violence happen ‘off-screen’, so they were sinister but not gratuitous - this felt real. Dan Calley’s compelling London working class accent and strong narration kept me totally enthralled.

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  • ButtonsMom2003
  • 11-03-20

A great start to a new series!

I have to be honest. When I first listened to Captive Hearts, I wasn't sure how I felt about the narrator. You see, I'm American and Dan Calley's British accent was different from other ones I've listened to, and it was a bit tough for me to get used to. However, my opinion changed completely after listening to the second book.

Fortunately, I completely forgot to leave a review of Captive Hearts after listening to it. Now I have the opportunity to review both books and also express my appreciation of Dan Calley's narrative style and voice.

As I said above, it took me a bit to get used to Dan Calley's accent but once I did, I was captivated by the story while listening to Radical Hearts. So much so that I went back and listened to Captive Hearts a second time. He does a good job with different voices for the different characters and I loved the soft tone of his voice. What this experience tells me is that I shouldn't judge a narrator solely by how much I did/didn't enjoy just one book.

Below is a portion of my review of the ebook from when it was first published:

First person POV isn't my favorite but it worked perfectly for this story. The blurb/synopsis for the book is great so I won't retell it here. I liked how Dashiell was such a strong character; he wasn't afraid to stand up to the bad guys and yet he knew when it was in Billy's best interest to back down.

Billy's situation just about broke my heart. The reason he is with Frankie is revealed in small bits and it takes a while before we learn exactly why he is willing to take the horrific abuse that Frankie deals out to him. This was a good thing in my opinion. It wasn't a case of dragging the story out, rather it was a great way to keep this reader in suspense and on the edge of my seat nearly from the get-go.

As far as the romance goes, I liked how the sexy time between Dashiell and Billy wasn't the main focus of the story. (What Frankie does to Billy is entirely different, and painful to read, but necessary for the story.)

I found the characters to be very interesting, with one secondary character a particular favorite, and I learned that he will be getting his own book.

A copy of this audiobook was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author.

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  • Donald
  • 09-03-20

The Big Boss

As with the second book, this is a fantastic audio. There is plenty of intrigue and mystery. The characters are well developed and you end up with heartfelt feelings for them. I am looking forward to book three in this series.