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Psy-Changeling #5

Hostage to Pleasure

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With her darkly seductive Psy/Changeling world, Nalini Singh has created “a sensual, dangerous adventure not to be missed” (NYT bestselling author Lora Leigh). Now, as the deadly Psy Council tightens its grip, a rebel Psy scientist finds herself at the mercy of a changeling who has sworn vengeance against her kind . . .

Separated from her son and forced to create a neural implant that will mean the effective enslavement of her psychically gifted race, Ashaya Aleine is the perfect Psy—cool, calm, emotionless . . . at least on the surface. Inside, she's fighting a desperate battle to save her son and escape the vicious cold of the PsyNet. Yet when escape comes, it leads not to safety, but to the lethal danger of a sniper's embrace.

DarkRiver sniper Dorian Christensen lost his sister to a Psy killer. Though he lacks the changeling ability to shift into animal form, his leopard lives within. And that leopard's rage at the brutal loss is a clawing darkness that hungers for vengeance. Falling for a Psy has never been on Dorian's agenda. But charged with protecting Ashaya and her son, he discovers that passion has a way of changing the rules . . .

330 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published September 2, 2008

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About the author

Nalini Singh

268 books24.8k followers
I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,536 reviews
November 22, 2017
Hostage to Pleasure was an enjoyable read but there is just something about this series that I can't put my finger on. Something that is missing that is keeping this series from being a amazing unforgettable read for me. Maybe it's the way the Psy are all pretty much the same flat and sometimes boring persons, or maybe it's that the whole way the mating works isn't 100% clear. Normally with mate books there is some kind of sign that tells them they are mates. In this series they all seem to float around not figure it out til close to the end of the book. I don't know but there is just something a bit off for me. Still I am enjoying this series.
Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,460 followers
November 27, 2018
Ashaya Aleine (Psy) and Dorian Christensen (Changeling)

Ashaya: “Why would I want to share anything with a man who yells at me twenty-three hours of every day, then kisses me?”
Dorian: Attracted to one of the Silent?
His mouth set in a grim line. He’d cut off his own balls before he accepted that.

We met latent leopard Dorian in Slave to Sensation, while we met M-Psy Ashaya Aleine in Mine to Posses. Actually Hostage to Pleasure could serve as part B of this book. Ashayna saves two part-Changeling children from her lab, so now DarkRiver pack needs to help her in order to save her son. Dorian is the one who negotiated with her and now she is assigned to him.

“We’re even,” he said, staying in place. “The debt has been paid.”
A pause. “My son is safe?”
No emotion in that. So why had she asked the question? “We keep our promises.”

Although Dorian hates Psy after his sister’s murder, he is really attracted to Ashayna and he starts suspecting that maybe she is his mate.

Ashayna does everything in her power not to feel anything. She can show desire and she cannot show affection for her son. If this happens, her emotional walls will crash and her sociopath twin sister will find her and destroy her again just for fun and experimentation.

On the other hand Dorian will try his best to crash down Ashayna's resistance. She belongs to him and she needs to realise this.
And when he is absolutely sure that she is not a spy sent by the council, the pull towards her becomes stronger.

Will the evil twin sister leave them alone?
Will the evil council leave them alone and stop trying make Psys emotionless pawns?
Will Ashayna's son be happy and accepted in the pack?
Will Ashayna behave finally as a mother?
Will Ashayna let herself fall in love and trust Dorian?
Will Dorian finally be able to shift?

I just want to say that I cried at the end of this book. With tears of happiness.
Profile Image for Maya.
858 reviews429 followers
June 30, 2016

Ahh...Another Psy-Changeling favourite book. I give up. Might as well buy the whole series before I've even read it. Only problem, what will happen when I do finish it? No more Psy-Changeling stories and no back up series to follow it!!! Aggghhh.... O_O


I was a bit unsure about Doriana and what's his story wuld be like. In previous books he seemed like a big flirt with this huge anger inside of him. But I should've know it. There is just no way Nalini would write a bad story. She managed to show so many sides, of Dorian, from a tease to a real badass, and that he really is a super cool guy with some not-so-nice past.
Ashaya is also not what I would've expected. She's super smart and her love for her son is so beautiful. She fides is amazingly well for all those years, since otherwise she and her son would become a Council targed. There are some pretty awesome plot twists that I didn't see coming, especially regarding her twin sister. I'm curius how her story would look like, since she's one pretty messed up character.
All in all, I abviously loved the story and I higly recommend it to all PNR fans. Also for those that aresn't such a fan of PNR, give this series a try, it just might surprise you. :)

Profile Image for Kristen.
832 reviews4,738 followers
September 18, 2013

I've been waiting for Dorian's story since he first stole my heart in Slave to Sensation, the first book in this series. Boy, do I have a MASSIVE crush on him, and have from the beginning. His book was every bit as good, if not better, than I thought it would be. And the epilogue…OMG!!! It was freaking AMAZING! The best ending in the series thus far! On to the next book...

If you haven't already noticed, I think I'm having a love affair with this series. LOL
Profile Image for Giorgia Reads.
1,010 reviews1,962 followers
January 5, 2021
3 stars

So far the most disappointing couple/book in the series.

I didn’t feel anything, nada, zilch in regards to any chemistry those two could have. The love connection was so lacklustre and I believe it’s in part due to how it was so instant, so abnormally and inexplicably there without anything but a fleeting meeting.

The best part of this book was Keenan. He was so sweet and thinking about how the Psy and Amara wanted to hurt him, gah, it made me so angry. He was only 4!

But yeah, overall I’d say that the action overshadowed the romantic relationship. Mostly because as I said, I just didn’t see those two together and much less in love.
Profile Image for  Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~*.
118 reviews386 followers
December 6, 2016
5 Stars!!! - Also reviewed at: Lady Jayne's Reading Den

Time to catch up on my reviews for this series…
“I heard the sniper’s voice against my ear when I woke today. He whispered sensual promises so savage, I can hardly believe these thoughts come from some corner of my own psyche. And yet they must. Because, at the end, he called me prey.

And told me to run.

- From the encrypted personal files of Ashaya Aleine”
Now why does that give me a delicious shiver?! Because it’s DORIAN!! *sighs and swoons* I LOVE Dorian!!! And I loved this book and Ashaya! ^_^

Dorian, from the first moment I met him in the first book of the series, captured a piece of my heart. In Slave to Sensation, we meet Dorian when his beloved little sister, Kylie, had just been murdered by a Psy and he was in so much pain and filled with rage. My heart just ached for Dorian.

The other pain in Dorian’s life is that he’s a “latent” leopard – a leopard who can’t shift into his animal form. In every other way - his senses, speed, strength, etc. - Dorian is a leopard. To compensate for his latency, Dorian is a high achiever, always striving to make sure he is the best. He is a super-skilled sniper, a computer genius, and is as lethal as the other sentinels of the DarkRiver leopard changeling pack, despite looking like a gorgeous surfer. Dorian, with his charming nature, portrays to the world that he has come to terms with his latency and he mostly has…but deep down, he hasn’t really.
“When you want something so bad it hurts,” he said quietly, “and you bury it, bury it so deep that you convince yourself it no longer matters . . . and someone tells you you can have it, it's terrifying. What if you take the chance and you're wrong? What if you let yourself feel the loss and it's this huge pain and you can't put it back in the box?”
Ashaya Aleine is an M-Psy (Medical); a specialist in DNA. Ashaya never really took to the Silence Protocol, ie. the conditioning the Psy race has imposed on the race to eliminate emotion, in order to protect their society from mental degeneration and madness. But because of this, Ashaya has very strong psychic shields, and she had to carry out a ruse for her own, and her son’s, survival in the PsyNet. She is intelligent and compassionate.

Ashaya sought help from DarkRiver, the dominant leopard changeling pack in the San Francisco surrounds, to rescue her son, Keenan, after she helped them out in the previous book.

Ashaya manages to escape from the Psy research facility where she was required to work on some special projects. After she escapes, she ends up with DarkRiver - Dorian, specifically.

I loved being sucked into the electrifying sexual tension and developing relationship between Dorian and Ashaya. Dorian battles with his hatred for the Psy, and his leopard-self telling him that Ashaya is his mate; he was a hostage to his compulsion towards her. I loved the banter between these two. Ashaya is strong and doesn’t back down from Dorian, and Dorian can be both charming and demanding.
‘Her eyes opened.

Locked with his.

“Why are you watching me?” Her eyes, he saw, were not blue, not truly. They were a vivid pale gray with blue shards coming in from the outer ring to hit the pure black of her pupils. Strange eyes. Wolf eyes.

“My leopard is fascinated by you.” By her sensuous, flawless skin, her wild hair, her damn curves. He leaned in and blew a gentle breath that made a rebel tendril dance. “I dreamed of running my tongue across your skin.” He spoke to release some of the tension, to leash the beast before it broke its bonds. “Of exploring you in long, slow licks.”

She didn’t break the deeply intimate visual connection. “You’re crossing lines again.”

Hell yeah. It was either that or go insane. “And your heartbeat just got erratic.” The cat smiled, pleased. Ashaya Aleine wasn’t as immune to him as she liked to pretend. “What would happen if I tasted you? If I took a bite out of you?”’

*SHIVERS* Hell yeah, Dorian is insanely SEXXXY!

There is plenty of hot, sexy romance, intrigue, and suspense in this one! But what I loved most was how Ashaya helped Dorian heal, and how a family was formed between her, Keenan and Dorian.

Ashaya’s son, Keenan, was adorable, and I loved watching the bond that formed between him and Dorian, with Keenan’s almost immediate trust in Dorian, and Dorian’s protective instincts toward Keenan.

Ashaya has a twin who will... Creep. You. Out. Yet the bonds of twinhood are so strong.

I’m really enjoying the world that Nalini Singh has created, with the tensions between the cold Psy, especially their governing body, the Psy Council, and their machinations, and the changelings and humans.

I admit that I enjoy watching sci-fi but not necessarily reading it, and I had found the concept of the PsyNet a little confusing, initially, but now, I am really enjoying it!

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I love how racially diverse the characters are in this series. I believe Nalini Singh’s own background of being a Fijian Indian, who moved to New Zealand as a child, and then teaching English in Japan for a few years, gave her a real appreciation of different ethnicities and I love how she knit this into the fabric of the Psy-Changeling world. Nalini Singh has removed the prejudice against the colour of one’s skin, and instead, created a world where it is the dichotomy between cold logic versus hot emotion and the mental/psychic versus physical/sense-driven which breeds prejudice.
‘“Hate will destroy you,” she whispered. “It’ll destroy…us.”

He shuddered, burying his face in the curve of her neck. The electric curls of her hair cushioned him with a soft warmth that was so intrinsically female, he couldn’t hope to explain it. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he simply held her, allowed himself to hold her, to accept that she was his mate. And that she came from the very race he’d made a target of all his rage, all his pain…so that he wouldn’t have to face his own guilt.”’

“Then save me, Shaya.” He laid his heart bare, invited her to savage it.

Dropping her hand, she turned in his arms. Then, rising up on tiptoe, she cupped his face in her palms and drew him down. Her kiss was innocent, vulnerable, a caress so gentle that it made him her slave between one breath and the next.”
THANK YOU, Nalini Singh, for a wonderful addition to the series!!!

My Dorian (Jesse Pavelka) and My Ashaya (Unknown)


Psy-Changeling Series Reading Order:

1. Slave to Sensation – (Review here)
1.5 "The Cannibal Princess" - Free short story:
http://www.nalinisingh.com/freebies.p... - (Review here)
2. Visions of Heat - (Review here)
3. Caressed By Ice - To be reviewed.
4. Mine to Possess (Review here)
5. Hostage to Pleasure
5.5 "A Gift for Kit" - Free short story:
6. Branded By Fire - (Review here)
7. Blaze of Memory - To be reviewed.
8. Bonds of Justice - To be reviewed.
9. Play of Passion - To be reviewed.
10. Kiss of Snow - To be reviewed.

And there are also stand-alone novellas:
1. "Beat of Temptation" in An Enchanted Season
2. "Stroke of Enticement" in The Magical Christmas Cat
3. "Whisper of Sin" in Burning Up

But if you wish to read in strict chronological order, see Nalini Singh's website (link to the page here): http://www.nalinisingh.com/psybehind.php

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: I do not hold the copyright to any of the images used in this review. They are posted to add visuals to the review and for fun. If any of these images are yours and you would like me to remove them, please let me know, and I will do so as soon as possible. If I can identify the copyright, I will do so.
Profile Image for Jo.
957 reviews201 followers
September 6, 2020

Re-reading my favorite series!

02/09/2016 Buddy reading my favorite series with the fantastic Choko and Angela over at BB&B!!.

He hated that he couldn’t control his body around her, hated the man he became when with her, hated that her presence alone was enough to strip away the veneer of civilization that was all most people ever saw.

DarkRiver sentinel and sniper Dorian Christensen is honed from steel. Being a latent shifter taught him from a very young age to live with the pain of his leopard unable to shift. Being different from his packmates just made him that much more determined to be deadly, to be the best. But ever since the death of his beloved sister, the rage against the Psy burns with a hunger for vengeance inside, one that he thought he was getting under control until he crossed paths with the very cold Psy scientist, Ashaya Aleine. The intense reaction he and his leopard felt the moment he saw her, felt like the worst betrayal, and the guilt and anger is slowly consuming him. Falling for his enemy was never in his plans, but denying what Ashaya and her son means to him is impossible. Will loving Ashya be his doom or his saving grace?

Keenan and Amara. Her twin flaws, the double-edged sword that hung over her every second of every day. One mistake, just one, was all it would take to bring that sword crashing down.

Ashaya is the perfect silent Psy, she has spent years perfecting her emotionless outer shell. One that hides her fractures from the Council. There is nothing more important to her than saving her son, Keenan, and she will do anything to get him away from the Council who uses him as a bargaining tool against her. Even make a deal with a deadly changeling sniper. And the time has come to make her final move against the Council, one that will definitely put her on their hit list, but that should free her son from their clutches, and that should save the Psy from being enslaved by their Council. What she didn’t expect was the emotions the angry Dorian would make her feel, feelings that threated to derail her emotionless shell, and that could have disastrous effects, because there is a bigger danger to Keenan, one that could find him through her.

“Careful, sugar. I’m not real nice when I’m pissed.”
“How would I know the difference? You’ve been unpleasant to me every chance you get. If that’s the result of a lifetime of emotion,” she said, deliberately coating each word with frost, “then I prefer Silence.”

I have loved Dorian since the first book, where I was so heartbroken for the loss he suffered, for the pain that was slowly killing the man he was. And I knew that the right woman for him would have to be a very strong one, who would be able to heal the wound his sister’s murder inflicted. And no one could have been better for him than Ashaya. I just loved her, and her inner strength, how hard she fought to overcome her fears, and to save her son. No matter how hard Dorian pushed against her boundaries, she pushed right back :-D

“I dreamed of running my tongue across your skin.” He spoke to release some of the tension, to leash the beast before it broke its bonds. “Of exploring you in long, slow licks.”
She didn’t break the deeply intimate visual connection. “You’re crossing lines again.”
Hell, yeah. It was either that or go insane. “And your heartbeat just got erratic.” The cat smiled, pleased. Ashaya Aleine wasn’t as immune to him as she liked to pretend. “What would happen if I tasted you? If I took a bite out of you?”

No one writes better romance than this author. The animosity between Dorian and Ashaya was simply fantastic, and once they submitted to their intense chemistry I swooned all the way. The sexy times were as scorching as I’ve come to expect from this series, and the romance simply wonderful. I loved every single moment of these two together, and what Ashaya was able to do for Dorian in the end made me love her forever!!

“Would you let the Council kill Ashaya?” he asked.
Something primal awakened in the depths of those blue gray eyes. “Ashaya is mine.” Like a child staking a claim. “She’s always been mine.”

Another character that I loved, and yes I know it will surprise most, was Amara Aleine. Yes, she’s a sociopath, but her redemption was her broken love for her sister, which although it could be wrong and obsessive, was still beautiful in its own way.

Kaleb took a small platinum charm from his pocket.
A single star. A marker.
The NetMind and DarkMind had both defied him in his search for the owner of the charm, but he would succeed. Failure simply wasn’t an option.

Kaleb Krychek, the powerful cardinal Psy with his ability to cause madness, is still the most fascinating character to me. I just can’t figure out whether he is good or bad. And the mystery regarding what he keeps searching for intrigues the hell out of me.

There is no world that I love more than the one Nalini Singh created in this series. The complexity of the plot, the many different pieces that all tie together and the fantastic set of diverse characters amazes me. The Psy Council’s struggle for absolute power and the rebels determined to put a stop to Silence continues to grow, and now new opposing groups have come to light: The PurePsy who can only mean trouble for the rebels, the changelings and the humans, and the Human Alliance who are determined to stop the Psy from having so much power in this world. Then there is the mysterious Ghost, an infamous rebel in the PsyNet, and it’s driving me crazy not knowing who he is :-D

This is my all-time favorite series by my favorite author and the best PNR series EVER. No one writes better romantic romance and more detailed and captivating worldbuilding than Nalini Singh. I cannot recommend this series enough. If you have not read it yet, you are missing out. R E A D I T.

Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
794 reviews876 followers
June 15, 2018
I'm totally enamored with this series. I loved Dorian and how he came around, his struggles of falling for a Psy. I adored Ashaya's warmth once she let go of the remainder of Silence. These two *sigh* so hot, so sweet, so lovely.
Profile Image for Choko.
1,203 reviews2,583 followers
September 6, 2016
*** 4.66 ***

A buddy read with the fans of Paranormal Romance in BB&B!!!

I am very late to the Psy-changeling party, but I am a firm believer in that it is better late than never! And boy am I happy that my friends Joanita and Angela at BB&B got back to our schedule to indoctrinate me in the world Nalini Singh has created with an abundance of creativity, a beautiful prose, and an attention to detail without being overly verbose or giving into prolonged descriptions and international monologues... I am not even sure how many pages the book was - it felt like it streamed through my mind in a breath and was still able to make a deep impression.

I liked Dorian a lot! He was raw, broken, angry, hot, sexy and loyal, among other interesting qualities. Who can not like a sexy Cat-man? But as much as I liked him, I fell in love with Ashaya!!!!! She was an amazing character - complex, multilayered, smart, outward cold as ice, but beneath the surface a multitude of passionate emotions are trying to boil up to their freedom and threaten to explode!!! The chemistry and sexual tension between those two stoked a slow fire through the whole book and at moments the sizzle was scorching!!!!

Then there was Amara. Wow! What a character! She is so fascinating to me, I don't want to accept that we would not find a way to somehow fix her, as fantastical as it may be, because she has so much potential, if we can't get her fixed in a made-up world, where could we???? Come on, Ms. NS, let's get Amara a HEA too!!!

We got to revisit some of our previous couples, and I still get a kick out of how helplessly jealous Lucas still is by that "damnable Wolf"! Hahaha!!!

So, this was the fifth book in the series and my favorite by far!!! It was a pleasure to get emersed in the world full of weird powers and romantic changelings! And thankfully, we always get our Happily Ever After!!! Can not wait for the next book!!!

Wish you all Happy Reading and beautiful week to come!!!
Profile Image for Blacky *Romance Addict*.
466 reviews6,256 followers
November 6, 2016
Wow. This series just keeps getting better and better Photobucket Best book so far, loved it!

Ashaya appeared in the last book, and I was crazy to find out what happened to her. This book is her story, what a mother would do to protect her child, and a terrible choice she must make regarding her psycho twin sister. She's the best developed female character so far. I really loved her. And wow what a spine she has Photobucket she's incredibly strong as a person, having broken Silence many years ago, she had to act emotionless with perfection, anything less would mean her and her son's death. She managed to run away from the facility they were holding her in (what an escape Photobucket ) and came across directly to Dorian. She couldn't get him out of her mind since that night when they met, and it took every effort to remain calm in his pressence.

Dorian - Photobucket My he's something HOT! Loved him too :) He's really the tortured soul in this one, close to the edge, driven by a terrible hatred for the Psy, and self-hatred for not being able to save his baby sister from being tortured and murdered. The first time he sees Ashaya, he's instantly attracted to her, and hates her and himself for it. He's convinced she's a total Psy, with no feelings to her son, only for her own self preservation. Still, despite all that, he tries to seduce her, to get her out of his system, and soon realises she's not what she seems...

Those two together - Photobucket they were amazing, very emotional, I would say the most emotional couple yet, or maybe it's just me, don't know, but I really felt them, even leaked a tear or two at one scene, boy was that sad Photobucket

The story was great too, her sister was UBER CREEPY Photobucket , also an amazing character.

So the final verdict is 5++++ stars

Off to the next one Photobucket Photobucket
Profile Image for Denisa.
1,196 reviews290 followers
September 21, 2016
Oh yes, Dorian is definitely as hot as I hoped he'd be!

I've been wanting to read his story since the first time I "met" him, and I'm damn glad I wasn't disappointed!
Yes, girls, he's damn hot! And a badass! And an assassin (sort of)! What more can a girl ask for? Ah yeah, he is a great dad as well, so it's really easy to fall for this guy.

Ashaya was pretty great too, I really liked her way of sacrificing herself and her plans were damn smart (though what can you expect, she's a scientist).
What I'm really curious about though is her sister, dunno if she'll get a book, but I hope so! I can't wait to see what that one'll be all about!
Profile Image for Lana Reads.
447 reviews173 followers
March 19, 2021
It was definitely better than #4 in the series.

I read it a couple of weeks ago so don't remember much but the Psy people were terrifying in this one for sure. Even more so than before... But I keep loving the main story. So after a short pause, I'm totally going to jump into this fab world again.
Profile Image for Kate.
2,072 reviews311 followers
May 10, 2020
First read - 30/03/2016 - 31/03/2016 5 ★
Reread - 01/07/2018 - 02/07/2018 5★
09/05/2020 5★

5 “all about choices” Stars.

Ms. Singh has done it again with this exceptional & mind blowing read. Once again a complex story with so many unexpected plot lines coming together. It is getting more and more complex with all the players in place. Dorian & Ashaya are one of my favourites. Top spot is Lucas & Sascha though.

Dorian’s cat is latent and he has come to accept it. As he has always felt that he has been at a disadvantage his whole life in the pack he has always strived to be the best he is very competitive and a boy genius. He lost his sister Kylie to Enrique, a sociopath that the council couldn’t control. Since then he has being carrying so much anger with him it was getting better.
He hates the Psy on sight but that is until he meets a certain Psy doctor.

To date Dorian is my favorite Hero, he is angry and I understand that but take away all that anger. He is loyal, funny, smart, caring and kind. And yes I am totally fangirling right now.

Ashaya has been working on the implant for Protocol I to turn the PsyNet into a hive mind so that the majority of the Psy can be controlled by the council. Her conditioning didn’t take as much as it should have and therefore she has been walking a fine line for a very long time. But her twin has also played a role in that protection.

She is being blackmailed by the council to work on Protocol I, by keeping her son captive. In Tally and Clay's book she saved two children and asked for the favour to be repaid. She wants her son Keenan to be freed. Dorian is the key.

Ashaya is strong, sassy, intelligent and one of my favorite heroines of this year. She is loyal and protective although in some cases it could get her killed. My opinion on this still hasn't changed.

I absolutely adored these two together. Yes they had their difficulties at the beginning but what they have is beautiful. Trust needed to be earned, then secrets were shared.
Oh and the chemistry, I need to fan myself.

“His hands clenched. “Sugar, I'm this close to tearing off your clothes and teaching you exactly how badly I take you keeping secrets from me. Your choice. Talk or get naked.”

And oh so sensual with charm,

“God, I love your skin.”

“My skin?” She glanced uncomprehendingly at her own arm when he rose from nibbling at her. “It’s brown.”

“It’s melted chocolate and coffee with cream, exotic as the fucking desert, and so damn erotic. I have wet dreams about you naked on my sheets, your skin smooth and hot from the sun’s rays.”

She swallowed, chest heaving. “You make me sound edible.”

OMG and hot men with rugrats pull all my strings.

"I want my mummy in our web."
Dorian's heart kicked in his chest. "She will be." It was the one thing he wouldn't compromise on. And if that made him animal in his possessiveness, so be it.

DarkRiver is collecting a band of merry misfits, anyone is welcome who is against the Psy and the Silence.

Thank you for such a lovely epilogue.

Such a fantastic series.
November 17, 2008
This book was fantastic. I thought that this series would get less interesting as it continued, but it seems to get even more intriguing. I loved the hero Dorian. He is full of contrasts: ice cold, but hot, violent but controlled, and deeply sensual. He is unable to change into a leopard, which he has mostly made peace with. Instead he has honed his skills as such a formidable warrior, that being unable to shapeshift is not a liability. However, being unable to shifts makes him no less in touch with his animal nature. As a lover of shapeshifter romance, I love how Singh depicts the feelings and thoughts of the leopard that dwells inside the man. Dorian is a totally hot hero, although he is an ice cold sniper for the Snow Dancer Leopard pack. He sets his sights on Ashaya Aleine, a member of the hated Psy race, but his leopard recognizes his mate. I love fated to mated books, so it totally worked for me that Dorian decides early on that he has to have Ashaya. And once he recognizes her as his, he will move heaven and earth to protect her and her child.

Ashaya is a Psy who never accepted Silence, the nonemotional protocol of the Psy race. Instead she has continued a charade. She is a scientist with a woman's heart who saves children being subject to horrible scientific experiments. When she delivers them to the Snow Dancer pack for protection, she asks that they extract her son who is being kept hostage to keep her working on a high priority project for the Psy Council. This how she encounters Dorian. Dorian hates the Psy since his beloved sister was savagely killed by an insane Psy Councilmember. His heart is full of vengeance against the Psy for what was done to his sister. Dorian almost shoots her, but his leopard recognizes his mate, although at first he is unable to accept this. Although in theory she is his enemy, the conflict doesn't get drawn out too long because the mating bond is much stronger between Dorian and Ashaya.

The attraction between Dorian and Ashaya is red hot and drives this book. You want to keep reading to see the fire between them. I loved the banter and interactions between Dorian and Ashaya. However, the plot is very readable as well. Ashaya has a twin who is a best a sociopath, at worst extremely dangerous. I felt for Ashaya's burden of trying to keep her twin under control, and how this has affected her life in many ways. Ashaya is rational and scientific, but is equally loving and loyal to those who matter to her.

Hostage to Pleasure was definitely a joy to read. I had trouble putting the book down, and was impatient to finish it. Nalini Singh has definitely earned my loyalty as an author by writing this fantastic series that mixes science and fiction that is a delicious package. Science fiction can be dry at times to me, but not the way that Singh writes it. She understands that the love story and the sexual chemistry, along with strong depiction of interpersonal relationships, has to be the glue in a paranormal book with science fiction elements, and succeeds without question. I also love how racially and ethnically diverse her characters are. Ashaya seems to be of European and African ancestry, while Dorian has predominantly Nordic features. As long as she continues to write these books with sexy, alpha heroes, and the women they love, I'll continue to eagerly read them.
Profile Image for Shawna.
3,510 reviews4,571 followers
June 20, 2017
5 stars – Paranormal Romance

Whew, the Psy-Changeling series just keeps getting impossibly better and better and continues to impress and amaze me! Although Caressed by Ice is still my favorite so far, Mine to Possess and Hostage to Pleasure are tied close for second place. Singh has created such a unique and fascinating futuristic universe with the conflict between the emotionless, cold, psychically powerful Psy race and the Changelings (shifters that are both human and animal) at its center. With first rate writing, interesting, well-developed characters that are impossible not to fall in love with, hypnotic world building, lots of heart and emotion, and passionate, steamy romance, this series really stands out in the paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy romance genre.

I’ve been waiting anxiously for Dorian’s story, and this sure didn’t disappoint. Dorian is a Changeling DarkRiver leopard sentinel who through some anomaly has been unable to shift into animal form ever since birth. He’s learned to compensate and contribute to his pack by enhancing his intelligence, strengths, and skills in a multitude of important areas: he’s a computer hacker, a pilot, an architect, and DarkRiver’s top sniper. He’s emotionally tortured by the loss of his baby sister who was kidnapped and brutally butchered by a Psy serial killer before they could catch him. Dorian was one of the Changelings who enacted vengeance on the psychopath, but it did little to alleviate his guilt and anguish over not being able to save his sister in time. He’s sworn retribution against the entire Psy race, but when he’s tasked with protecting Ashaya Aleine, an M-Psy who helped the Changelings, and her son Keenan, he finds himself enigmatically drawn to them as his mate and child. Now, he’ll have to face his demons and let go of his hate or else risk destroying his precious chance for love and happiness. Dorian has to deal with conflicting feelings and a swirling mix of emotions for Ashaya: intense desire and attraction, a fierce sense of protectiveness, need, anger, guilt, and distrust.

Dorian and Shaya’s relationship is sexy, volatile, sweet, and deeply passionate. The sexual tension between them is palpable and electric, and although the romance is slow building, it’s authentic and beautiful. And when they finally do come together…it’s blistering HOT! It’s another powerhouse, sensual read in an exceptional series, and just when I think Singh can’t possibly outdo herself, she (to my utter reading happiness) proves me wrong. I’m very eager for more of this fantastic series! 5 stars!
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,865 reviews370 followers
January 31, 2022
Every now and then, I return to one of Nalini Singh's series just to remind myself what they are like. If you like her, she is consistent—you will get what you expect. I always prefer the books which focus on Psy characters, so this volume suited me more than others. The machinations of the Psy Council intrigue me, as well as the actions of individual Psy citizens. If I had my way, these political manoeuvres would be in the foreground and all the relationship issues would be background, but I am apparently in the minority on this issue.

Ashaya makes a daring escape from a secure Psy facility, only to be thrown into the arms of Dorian, a latent leopard Changeling. They have had limited communication before, when Ashaya arranged for the rescue of two children from that same facility and Dorian was the sniper on the other side. Unbeknownst to either of them, they both have become obsessed with each other. This is a typical Singh set up. The majority of the book is spent on getting these two people switched from enemies to lovers. That can't possibly be a spoiler, as it is Singh's consistent pattern.

In short, if you are looking for a paranormal romance this series is a good bet. I prefer books that include a stronger mystery component, so although I like one of these occasionally, they will never be a mainstay of my reading life.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,608 reviews1,481 followers
June 1, 2021
Second read. Dorian was kinda a dick through most of this. I really didn't like him very much this time around. He said mean things and was pretty hard on Ashaya. This time around I didn't see what she saw in him. Still overall solid plot movement and we get to see more and more of how the council is fracturing.

3.5 Stars

“Why are you sad, Dorian?"
He couldn't lie to her. "The leopard wants you to see it.”

Dorian the latent non shifting leopard has been a favorite of mine through all of the other books and I have to say that fact remains true even through this one. One of the reasons I like Dorian so much is he is completely broken and I do love a man who is a project. Physically he can’t transform like the other changelings, emotionally he is still deeply disturbed by the brutal murder of his little sister at Psy hands and mentally he is holding on to his rationality by a thread.

To make matters worse he can’t get the cold as ice Psy he encountered during a rescue operation out of his mind. Dorian feels like he is betraying his sister by having any kind of feelings for one of the Psy. When Ashaya lands in Dorian’s back yard he must protect her from being discovered which brings up all kinds of emotions everywhere from anger to lust. Ashaya has walked a very thing line within the Psy community and while she feels more than most Psy she has chosen silence for her own reasons. Dorian isn’t going to play fair and will push her as hard as he can to get her break free of silence.

I like the ongoing underlying plot line of the Psy trying to make a hive mind, the Ghost causing havoc for the Psy community, the new human component to the mix and trying to figure out what the ramifications will be if silence is broken. As seen in this book not everyone will come out okay on the other side. Some hard choices will have to be made.

There are also some different kinds of bonds explored in this book. The Psy Mom/Child bond is particularly interesting when not silence is not a factor and the idea of the twin bond. Both added a lot to this story and I really didn’t know how they were going to work it out without some kind of devastation.

But Dorian I’m so glad that in this he has found some sort of happiness and even has to confront his own feelings about not being able to shift. For so long he has lived without it and become strong in spite of not being able to shift. But what if it was a possibility?

“When you want something so bad it hurts,” he said quietly, “and you bury it, bury it so deep that you convince yourself it no longer matters . . . and someone tells you you can have it, it's terrifying. What if you take the chance and you're wrong? What if you let yourself feel the loss and it's this huge pain and you can't put it back in the box?”

Even though Dorian was a bit harsh at times I always understood where he was coming from in that broken part of him. I loved his growth in this book and the protective man that burst out at the seams for both Ashaya and Keenan her son.

Another fun, romantic book in the Psy-Changeling series.
Profile Image for Karla.
986 reviews1,094 followers
December 9, 2013

5 Ginormous Stars!!! Dorian...bite me...play with me...I'll be a hostage to your pleasure any day!!! RAWRRRRR!!

Hot damn was this good!!

I feel like I finally found my footing in this series. What I mean by that is, it's such a complex story with amazingly well developed characters, that it takes a while to get a real feel for what's going on. Who is with who, how they came to be, where they are now, how it all connects, and now I'm on solid ground!

From beginning to end this book was brilliant. How this author's mind works, the story she creates, layer upon layer, elaborate, but so well thought out, an explanation for everything. No down time, I was so into this read, I was lost to it. Ashaya and Dorian...KABOOM!! Two strong characters with an even stronger connection, I felt it right down to my soul. Keenan, too friggin' cute, you adorable leopard wanna be! rawrrrrr! Just a little shout-out for the little man, even though he's a Psy guy!

Nalini Singh just keeps bringing the goods and Angela Dawe takes her words, her characters and adds an extra special touch to the narration! This is a series that's worth a listen! I can't wait to see who's up next!!
Profile Image for Lisa Kay.
924 reviews515 followers
June 24, 2012
Shazahn Padamsee (actress) as Ashaya Aleine
“Shaya” - as Dorian calls her - has pale blue-gray eyes; so, this is when she is wearing her dark contacts.

★★★★★ & a Whoa! (This is a review of the audiobook.) Angela Dawe does an excellent job of reading this powerhouse episode in Nalini Singh’s fifth installment of the Psy-Changeling series. There is a reason she is up for an “Audie Award” for an another audiobook this year.* She makes Dorian sound not only filled with possessiveness, but suitably conflicted. For Keenan’s (Ashaya’s son) four-year-old voice, she sounds just too cute. There are a lot of – for lack of a better word – “thought bubbles” going in this book and I never confused them with what a character was actually saying verses thinking.

All I can say about the storyline is that you had better put your thinking caps on for this one. I was confused for most of the book. There is a lot going on in this volume! However, Ms. Singh doesn't “info dump.” Oh, no. Not her style. Instead she gives us a Juggernaut! This one is action packed; nevertheless, she takes time for the sexy, steamy love scenes. Phew!

Still, you have to pay attention. There are tons of clues for the ongoing mystery. Sure, you get some answers, and tons of amazing secondary characters... but there is plenty left unanswered. Thank goodness, I had my fellow GRs Psy-Changeling “buddy readers” with whom to share all my “WTHs?” And, luckily, the next in the series are already published. Conversely, I don’t know if all of us will be able to hold out until next month for Branded by Fire. LOL!

If you want a great picture of yummy Dorian, check out Lady Jayne’s review. With this GoodReads formatting bug, you might have to hyperlink to her blog (the link is posted at the top).

Audiobook Covers

Slave to Sensation by Nalini SinghVisions of Heat by Nalini SinghCaressed by Ice by Nalini SinghMine to Possess (Psy-Changeling, #4) by Nalini SinghHostage to Pleasure (Psy-Changeling, #5) by Nalini SinghdescriptionBlaze of Memory (Psy-Changeling, #7) by Nalini SinghBonds of Justice by Nalini SinghPlay of Passion by Nalini Singhdescription

*The book for which Ms. Dawe is nominated is The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic) by the Audio Publishers Association’s: the prestigious Audiobook of the Year and Distinguished Achievement in Production Award.

Profile Image for Leah.
1,013 reviews338 followers
May 5, 2017
Dear Caressed by Ice,

You know that I love you. I truly do. You were my favorite for a while, especially compared to Mine to Possess. Alas, I must ask you to step aside. I have been caught up in a brilliant love affair the past two days with Hostage to Pleasure. At the close of this love affair, I find that I do not want it to end. Therefore, Hostage to Pleasure is now my favorite book of this series, with you as my very close second. You will always hold a special place in my heart.

Lovers You,

As I'm sure you can tell from my letter above, Hostage to Pleasure is now my favorite Psy/Changeling book. Dorian has always been my favorite male character, probably my favorite character of the whole series, and he remains that. I was worried about this book to be honest. If you've read my review for Mine to Possess, you know that I had a very bad experience with that book. So yeah, I was worried that this one was going to turn out just as bad and that I was going to hate it just as much as Mine to Possess. Alas, that did not happen. Thank God. I love this book, I want to marry this book, and I want to have this book's babies. Well, Dorian's babies at least.

As stated above, I love Dorian (or Oh God Dorian, as Sam and I refer to him)--love him--and if I didn't love Ashaya, I would be painfully jealous of the woman. Don't get me wrong, Dorian should still be mine but I am willing to share him with Shaya. Dorian is just so awesome. I can honestly say that the only thing that bothered me with regards to him was in the beginning when he refused to accept that he was attracted to Ashaya, and later that she was his mate, because she was a Psy. However, I do understand that because he felt like he was betraying his baby sister Kylie, who was butchered and murdered by a Psy Councilor. Other than that small thing, my Dorian, he's perfect.

Ashaya is my favorite female of the series thus far. It used to be Brenna, but now it's Shaya (with Brenna as a very close second; I do love Mercy, too, though). I loved that, although she was a Psy, unlike Sascha and Faith, the Silence Protocol never even stuck with her. It made her unique. Plus, I just loved her. She was an awesome character, not afraid to stand up for herself and not afraid to stand up to Dorian, even when he was being a complete ass to her. Strong woman, that Shaya. And I could just kiss her for "fixing," and I use that term loosely, Dorian. My Dorian feels utterly complete now, with his leopard and man halves finally combining into just Dorian. The only thing that sucked about Shaya was her blind love for her creepy sister; however, like with Dorian, I suppose I can understand that too. To a certain extent.

Speaking of Ashaya's sister, let's talk about Amara, who I disdainfully fondly refer to as Creepy Fuck. As I'm sure the nickname indicates, she creeped me the fuck out from the beginning, the weirdo. The way she stalked Shaya's mind and was creepily possessive of her...Ick. I still think that she should have died. She freaked me out that much. No way do I want her in any way connected to Shaya, Oh God Dorian, adorable Keenan, or anyone else I love (or hate, such as Bitchface).

Keenan, that adorable boy, was so cute and I just want to snatch him up and cuddle him. Another character that I came to love even more in this book was Mercy. I love that she is Dorian's best friend and that she is tormented by thoughts of a certain wolf. I can't wait to read her book next.

As previously stated, I am very glad that Hostage to Pleasure did not suck. I would have been sorely disappointed if it had. I mean, really. Dorian's book cannot suck. It's positively sinful for Dorian to have a sucky book! Therefore, good job, Nalini Singh, you are back in my good graces.
Profile Image for Hannah.
592 reviews1,052 followers
January 18, 2019
Not brilliant but fun enough. The world building is keeping me invested and Singh has a way of making her characters behave like the people they are even when they are in the background of the story. Also, what is it with these covers and the men all looking the same no matter what they are described as in the books?
Profile Image for Emma.
2,440 reviews830 followers
July 21, 2017
Note to self: please don't buy any more of these books Emma. They're all pretty much the same and you know you'll get bored and end up skim reading to the end.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews604 followers
January 9, 2021
This book is one of my favourite in the series and it's not solely because Dorian is lovable and a well developed character that have been in the series since book one.

“When you want something so bad it hurts,” he said quietly, “and you bury it, bury it so deep that you convince yourself it no longer matters . . . and someone tells you you can have it, it’s terrifying."

This book took place a few months after Clay's book. The psy are still trying to create the mind give that will allow the council to control the rest of the population, they have lots of opposition even among their own race, Ashaya the head scientist have to be blackmailed to do it.

Ashaya's character is very well developed, I like her personality. She is independent and knows what she wants, she isn't insecure and I love that.
Dorian is just amazing, his character growth is beyond average and his chemistry with Ashaya is so real.

“To admit to a need for change is to admit that I feel enough to know the difference between what I am and what I could be.”

The rest of the other characters made an appearance here and the plot is developing quite well.

Just like it's predecessors this is written in third person multiple POV, the writing is fast paced and easily comprehensible. The fight scenes are very well written.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,164 followers
October 1, 2015
Oooooh, I've been waiting for this book because Dorian has been one of my favorite males in this series. (Hawke is number one). Let's see, he has blonde hair, blue eyes, and is beautiful. I wonder why that attracts my attention...??

I know what you all are thinking. Oh, brother, here goes Jilly on another one of her "Chris Hemsworth is the perfect specimen of man" tangents. Gee, give me a break! There are plenty of other gorgeous blonde men out there that are (almost) as beautiful. I'm not that obsessed. (I totally am). So, to show my flexibility in this, I will use another blonde man as a visual aid. This is all in the name of science, of course.

he's Hemsworth-pretty

So, that's Dorian. His love interest in this book is Shaya, a psy scientist, and brilliant. She looks like this:

Shaya has a son and a twin sister. Her twin is a sociopath and is planning on killing her son, so Shaya made a deal with Dorian in a previous book that she would help the pack rescue two other kids if he would retrieve her son when she asked. Dorian has a soft-spot for kids and immediately falls in love with the kid.

An Alpha male bonding with a cute 4-yr old boy? How precious is that? Cuz, we all know that in real-life getting a guy to even go out on a date with a single mother is like pulling teeth. Only in our book-land can we get the most beautiful guy in the pack to mate with a single mother.

If we actually thought book-boyfriends would be like real-life men, we would be like these people:

Reality isn't pretty!

And, the reality of this book was that I didn't really like Shaya as much as I had hoped. I think I am ready for a female MC with a bit more oomph. The good news is that Mercy's book is next, and she is an awesome character. Bring it on!
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,649 reviews213 followers
December 4, 2020
One of the favourite moments: the appearance of Aden and Vasic.
I love how Nalini Singh expands this universe in each instalment.
As I said when I wrote about the first four books, I'd jot down a couple of things I love in each book and I won't bother changing the initial rating. Why would I? Even when there are nitpicks and stuff, the series is still better than a lot of others out there. Within its genre, of course.

When the Silence Protocol was first introduced, it didn't start right at that moment. It took its time. One of the worst things it did to its own people was to make them choose between being saved from insanity and never being able to feel anything. A lot of people died. And it caused the NetMind to split in two.

Ashaya Alaine is a Psy scientist who played the most important role in saving two kids from secret laboratories. The only thing she wanted from the changeling for her help is their promise to kidnap her son when she tells them it's time. The four-year-old is extraordinary and the book never even tries to make her a true Psy when it comes to her son. She defects and defies the Psy Council. For Keenan. She also has to avoid her sociopathic twin.

A lot of different factions come out to play in this dangerous game. They all want to possess Ashaya's knowledge, her research.

The romance is pretty much what you expect if you've read any of the other books in the series, but as usual, every book has its own twists. Dorian has his own demons to fight. He never did forgive himself for not being able to save his baby sister when a Psy serial killer murdered her.
Profile Image for Grecia Robles.
1,486 reviews342 followers
April 11, 2018
*** 3.5 STARS ***

No puedo creer que me haya clavado tanto a esta serie cuando no la empecé muy convencida, veremos hasta donde me dura la emoción hahaha.

Este es quinto libro de la serie y otra vez tiene la combinación de un cambiante y una Psy en este caso una Psy-m llamada Ashaya y era una científica que trabajaba para el congreso bajo coacción, en la investigación y elaboración de un implante que hará que todos los Psy sean una sola mente pero contralada bajo el congreso prácticamente serían unos títeres sin decisión propia.
Y nuestro cambiante es nada más y menos que Dorian el leopardo latente y al que el asesino del primer libro le mató a su hermana, le tenía muchas ganas a Dorian porque llevaba mucho dolor y oscuridad por dentro pero también es un leopardo travieso y coqueto, un niño bonito, un genio y un muy buen francotirador.

En el libro anterior Ashaya les pide un favor a Talin a cambio de salvar a los chicos que ella busca y ese favor consiste en secuestrar a su hijo que lo tiene un miembro del congreso, Dorian es el encargado del misión y rescata al niño.
Mientras tanto Ashaya logra huir y un psy que es una flecha y un viajero la lleva a las tierras de los DarkRivers.

La historia me gustó, Ashaya y Dorian eran lindos, pero sentí que le faltó algo y no sé que fue.
El epílogo fue lo que más me gustó me encantó que Dorian pudiera ser completo y al fin feliz.

Lucas y Sasha curiosamente me han gustado más en los otros libros que en el de ellos, siempre me sacan una sonrisa cuando aparecen y que decir de Judd.
Profile Image for Mar-Mar bookaholic.
962 reviews42 followers
July 12, 2020
LOVED IT! Epic! So far Judd and Dorian are my favorite male characters.

Oh my, Dorian was pretty mean with Shaya. But I loved how she held her own. Very emotional story and I couldn't put the book down even for a second. I was hooked!
Profile Image for Julie (jjmachshev).
1,069 reviews283 followers
August 29, 2008
Reviewed for queuemyreview.com; book release Sep08

As tempting and satisfying as Belgian chocolate! “Hostage to Pleasure” by Nalini Singh is the fabulous fifth book in her Psy-Changeling world and it’s oh so worth the cost and the time to visit there. She rachets up the suspense and the heat in equal portions and I couldn’t put the darn book down once I picked it up. This book is easily read on its own, but if you’ve been following the series you need to MOVE, RIGHT NOW and go get this book. It reveals more about the Psy and more about the Changelings and more about what’s happening with the Silence and the Council. She even gives us glimpses of a possible new enemy?/ally?.

Dorian is a latent leopard, unable to shift. This ‘lack’ has been the impetus behind his fierce need to excel at everything to become one of the toughest Guardians of the DarkRiver Pack. He hates the Psy and the Silence with a bitter rage that hasn’t lessened since a psychotic Psy brutally tortured and killed his sister. When he rescues a young Psy child, he unwittingly forms a blood bond that enables the child to escape from the Net. Then he is given the assignment to guard and protect an M-Psy defector who happens to be the child’s mother, and both he and his leopard are confused and furious with their instant and unflagging attraction to her.

Ashaya is a brilliant and talented M-Psy who is desperate to escape from the Council’s clutches. But first, she must free her son, the Council’s hostage for her cooperation in concocting an implant to enslave her race. And if she must die to ensure her son’s freedom and safety…then so be it. When her daring escape is successful, she becomes the Council’s #1 target for elimination; so she’s assigned a Guardian for protection. She’s met this Guardian before and hasn’t been able to forget him or his actions in saving her child. But Ashaya is also keeping some VERY big secrets; secrets that could cause serious problems for Psy, Changelings, and humans and upset the delicate balance between the three. To keep her secrets, she MUST maintain silence. But every minute she spends in Dorian’s company is undermining her ability to stay cold and unfeeling.

What a rush! Every time I thought I had the ending figured out, Singh kept throwing something else in the mix. The tension built so skillfully I didn’t realize how tense I was until my hubby remarked on my facial expressions! And the heat between Dorian and Ashaya…yowza! His fierce protectiveness combined with the fire of the mating bond—well, you’ll want to keep a fan handy. This world has such an extensive and complex society, yet it’s not hard to keep track of the main players and issues, even those that carry from book to book. That takes a real talent and Singh has it in spades. She does a fine job of keeping a balance between romance and action, I didn’t feel ‘cheated’ with either. The entire cast remained in character throughout the book and the relationship obstacles were logical and reasonable for her universe. The ‘happily ever after’ was probably the best yet, but you’ll have to read it yourself to see what I mean.

I’ve read each of Nalini Singh’s four previous books in this series and I think I become a bigger fan after each one. It’s hard to find anything to dislike except maybe that she doesn’t write faster. And she does such a great job of subtly setting up the next book in the series. It’s part of the plot of this book and doesn’t leave you hanging or jump out of nowhere. More than anything, it makes me anxious for her next release, “Branded by Fire” coming in ‘summer 2009’. I can’t say enough good things about “Hostage to Pleasure” and this series. It’s original, it’s interesting, and it’s sexy. And that’s really all I’m looking for in a book or a series!

Til next time
Profile Image for Namera [The Literary Invertebrate].
1,195 reviews2,946 followers
February 6, 2023
I'm actually not 100% sure why I like this one so much, because I definitely wish we had more of the hero and heroine just being cute together instead of dealing with interpersonal angst, but I keep rereading it. So I must bloody love it.

Dorian is the resident sniper of the DarkRiver leopard pack - only, unlike the others, he can't turn into a leopard. He's not human: he has an inner cat like the other changelings, but somehow he can't shift, and the inability sometimes claws him up inside. Now the recent murder of his beloved younger sister is just the latest in a line of tragedies he's lived through.

She was murdered by a Psy serial killer, so Dorian is especially enraged when he finds himself ultra-attracted to another one of that race. Ashaya Aleine is an ice-cold scientist who once worked for the Psy Council itself. He can't trust her, but DarkRiver does owe her a favour, and they've also taken in her son Keenan for his own protection. Dorian's torn. Is she the quietly passionate, loving mother he sometimes thinks he sees, or a vicious and emotionless traitor?

I'm not generally a fan of books where the hero angsts over whether or not the heroine is a good person, but it does work here. The book is so well-written I found myself sympathising with Dorian's guilt over loving a member of the race that killed his sister. He definitely says a few cutting things, but in the grand scheme of things there's nothing unforgivable. I was looking forward to seeing some of his much-vaunted charm - in other books, he's known for his charm and flirtatiousness - but he spends this book pretty much solidly grumpy. It irked me initially, but I think Singh's trying to show us that for the woman who really matters to him, he feels too raw to do the charming thing. I can live with that.

As for Ashaya, she's a great heroine - competent, smart, and realistically nervous about the fact that she's never encountered someone like Dorian before.

(Also, he's a blond, blue-eyed surfer boy while she's a dark-skinned, grey-eyed intellectual. When I first read this years ago I remember goggling at the racial diversity Singh managed to work into this series, and it still impresses me - I mean, this book came out in 2008!)


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