Dare O’Shaughnessy had the world in the palm of his hand. A man known and feared for his ruthlessness, his word was law. The last word he ever expected to hear was no. Until he met her.
Aya Smith despised the ruling class who looked down on hardworking people like her. Sick of being treated unfairly by laws that protect the wealthy and punish the poor, she takes a stand but soon realizes, she might have crossed the wrong man.
Created as a government program to assist in the repopulation of the country when an untested drug wipes out millions of women, The Run eventually evolves into something much more sinister. Now played for the amusement of the super rich, women down on their luck find themselves the prizes of sadistic masters.
Aya is forced to volunteer for The Run, and Dare, the most sadistic of all, places her in his crosshairs.She will belong to him, body and soul. But when he catches her will she succumb to his mastery, or will he find more trouble than he bargained for?
Run isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. It is intense, there is dubious consent and abuse against women, it also makes some pretty strong political statements about society and class. That said, it is a story that is so well told that I was captivated from start to finish. I've seen the story described as a sort of sexualized and intense Hunger Games. I would disagree with this description however as any similarities are minimal at best. But I'm jumping ahead of myself. What is it about?
In a dystopian future society is divided into two clear classes: the upper class known as the "Elite," and the "Dregs" or lower class. In this world there is also a disparity between the number of men and women. Our heroine in the story is a woman named Aya. Aya is a young Dreg who is intelligent and strong willed. Her strong will sometimes asserts itself when is shouldn't and is a source of problems for her. As a result of her temper and willfullness she gains the attention of an elite man named Alasdair O'Shauhnessay, who goes by the name of Dare. Dare is automatically attracted to Aya and wants her. Aya who works in her uncle's bar, refuses to be his plaything. Dare isn't a man who is used to being told no and he sets out to make Aya regret her refusal and eventually get what he wants. After taking extreme action against Aya and her uncle, Dare manipulates Aya into the Run. The Run is a hunt in which women who are poor, desperate, and have nothing to lose are paid to enter. Often the women use the credits earned to help their families survive. They are stripped and hunted by Elite men. Once caught by an elite man, the woman is his until he tires of her and decides to let her go. The women are kept as sex slaves for the most part, although some of the men are abusive and sadistic and have been known to kill their female captures.
The actual hunt that is the Run is fairly short and ends as expected. After which we are once again subjected to the vileness that is Dare, his disregard and jealousy over Aya, and how she copes with the situation that she finds herself in. Ultimately, we learn more about Dare and why he is the way that he is, and the question of whether or not there can ever be anything between these two.
As I said, Dare is a vile human being for much of the story. It is however, a testament to Eve Vaughns writing ability that Dare is actually made human later in the book. I went from hating him to rooting for him. How is that?? Aya is a strong woman and I really liked her character. I was also pleased that she didn't look like every other romance heroine. Her hair is cut very short, almost bald, as an effort to make her less attractive (obviously didn't work). As much as I liked Aya, I felt she was a little too hard headed and impulsive when common sense said she should not have been. A strong heroine is great, but one that doesn't know when to proceed cautiously is just silly. Aya was silly at certain parts, but not so bad that it turned me off of the book. Another negative for me was Aya's strong sexual reaction to Dare. Those first scenes involving sexual contact between Dare and Aya seemed forced and fake. Aya responded too strongly to a man that she loathed. With the mess he had made of her and her uncle's life, there is no way that she would have responded to him at that point. That didn't work for me so much.
My final vote on Run is that it was an intense book that was very well written and grabs you from page one. Like I said previously, it isn't for everyone due to the dubious consent and violence in the book. If you can get past that you'll enjoy it. I did and I definitely recommend.
I give Run a score of 4 out of 5.
Aya took a deep breath as she made her way to the bar being careful not to look directly in the direction of the jerk supreme. As she poured his drink, she was tempted to spit in it. With each move she made, Aya could feel his heated gaze on her. She wasn’t naive about men like him. They acted like they owned everything they saw. He was toying with them and threatening their livelihood because he could.
She used as much time as she dared to fix his drink before walking toward him, still refusing to make eye contact. Aya forced herself not to slam the glass down in front of him. “Will that be all, sir?” she asked through gritted teeth while she kept her gaze planted on her feet.
“Look at me.”
Aya didn’t want to stare into eyes so deep a green they were almost hypnotizing. They were her favorite shade and she resented the hell out of him for that. Thoughts of her uncle forced her to comply. Slowly, she raised her head until she met his gaze full on. That cruel smirk curved his lips.
“If there’s nothing else, I need to see to the needs of the other customers.”
“I was under the impression from the proprietor that you don’t deal with customers. Which one of you is lying?”
She bit the inside of her lip to hold back an angry retort.
The bastard had the nerve to chuckle. “No need to answer. I can see he was just protecting what’s his. I can’t say I blame him. What are you to him?”
“I don’t think that’s any of your business.”
“Fair enough.” He picked up his drink and took a sip all while his gaze roamed the bar. After placing the glass down, the smirk returned. “How much do you think a place like this would cost if someone wanted to invest for the purposes of tearing it down and rebuilding?”
The blood pounded in her head and she dug her nails into her palms. “He’s my uncle.”
He nodded in seeming approval. “Have a seat, Aya.”
She didn’t like how he used her name as if he had the right but she complied. “Look Mr. O’Shaughnessy, I don’t know what you’re trying to do here, but we don’t want any trouble. We’re sorry if you haven’t found the service to your satisfaction but we just want to be left alone. Please.”
“You seem like an intelligent woman. I would have thought it was fairly obvious what I wanted.”
She folded her hands in her lap and clinched them tightly together to keep herself from trembling. This couldn’t be happening. There had to be a way she could get herself out of this. She opted to play dumb. “I have no clue what you’re talking about.”
He narrowed his eyes. “I think you do. In fact, I know you do. So, let’s not play games. You can make this really easy on yourself. You and your uncle will be taken care of for as long as I want you. And when I no longer do, you’ll be well compensated. You’ll be under my protection.”
She fought back the urge to attack him. The arrogant son of a bitch. “And what if I don’t make things easy on myself?”
“I don’t think you want to know. But the end result will be the same. I will have you.”
USA Today Bestselling Author Eve Vaughn has always enjoyed creating characters and stories from an early age. As a child she was always getting into mischief, so when she lost her television privileges (which was often), writing was her outlet. Her stories have gotten quite a bit spicier since then! When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, Eve is reading, baking, traveling or kicking butt in 80’s trivia. She loves hearing from her readers. She can be contacted through her website at: www.evevaughn.com.
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