Once again…Drew Jordan leaves me speechless with confusion and satisfaction with her conclusion to the Crash Series, Expose.
A quick recap for this who haven’t read Crash and Hide: Laney’s thought her life was spiraling out of control but it was nothing compared to her rescuer after a horrific plane crash in Alaska. The Stranger (who’s true name we don’t learn) rescues her…but can she trust him? He’s controlling and alluring. Feeling like prey has never felt more compelling. But when Laney’s past comes after her she takes drastic measures that force her and The Stranger to go on the run. Will they survive? Will Laney?
When I first read Crash i remember throwing the manuscript across my living room and screaming. I was in utter shock that a writer could make me feel the way i did; morally corrupt. Jordan’s Crash Series makes you feel and bond with two people who’s level of normal ranges more on the sadistic side.
Finally we get to see a part of the story from The Stranger’s point of view! I have never felt more excited to read inside the mind of a predator. The Stranger’s thoughts open up in a way that you don’t often see in male characters. He’s soulless and unsympathetic to everyone and everything. But with Laney we see his world open up; emotions of lust, anger, remembrance, and love come to the forefront. In Expose we finally see these two irrational people find rationality in one another; to the point that they would die for one another.
Once again…the ending. When Laney and The Stranger must split I’m devastated but also charmed by their unerring faith in one another to stick to the plan. And after a year’s gone by and suddenly he’s back? It took me a minute to piece together the puzzle: Laney’s walk home with someone + police tape the next morning + The Stranger finally coming to collect her = for one hell of a reunion. And once again…the last sentence…trust me you’ll be dying for more.
I’ve been ridiculously giddy for this series from the start and now that its come to a close I couldn’t be happier!
P.S. Yes, I’m in love with The Stranger….does that make me a bad person? 😉
They say God took a rib from Adam and made Eve. And they wonder why men are obsessed with women? It’s because since the beginning of time all we’ve really wanted is our fucking rib back. That’s what loving Laney means- a piece of me is locked inside of her and it hurts to have it gone.
So I keep her.
“It doesn’t matter,” she said, staring up at me from the bed in a room above the general store in Rush, Alaska. Her eyes were wide, shielding nothing from me. Laney didn’t have much of a poker face. Not with me. She was scared, but she was choosing to be obedient. Choosing to ignore that I wasn’t who she thought I was.
That I was a stranger.
I went for the zipties, because I was both angry and relieved. I had let her go home, to Seattle, because she needed to say goodbye to her family before I took her off the grid entirely, started over somewhere else. But then it had been hard to have her gone. Too hard. I felt that missing rib, the pull was there, the draw of my body to hers. She had punched inside me, ripped out my flesh and bound me to her and when she left, I panicked. It was like she had blown a hole into a vault, jacked my valuables, and strolled back out.
I had been afraid. Afraid she wouldn’t come back.
Fear was an emotion I hadn’t felt in so long I almost hadn’t recognized it. It had been deep in slumber, the Rip Van Winkle of my feelings, and it came awake like an earthquake, unexpected, powerful. Shaking the ground beneath my feet and knocking me to my ass.
There was no way I was going to let fear has its way with me. Fuck that.
So I had called Laney and lied to her. And she had returned to me.
It was a hot and heady feeling, to have her back, beneath me.
“Then let’s make this look real and convincing,” I told her, because the swirl of unwanted emotions had me edgy, needing her under my control. And even in a town like Rush there were eyes and ears. We were no longer protected by the wilderness.
I had lied about the body being found and now she was lying that it didn’t matter to her who I was. That I wasn’t Cody Doyle, like she had wanted to believe. But it was better, of course, that I still had no name. Because I was anonymous, and tomorrow when we left, no one would know how to track me. But if they did find us, she would be seen as my victim, my prisoner.
And after all, wasn’t she?
Laney had been my captive since her plane went down, even if she hadn’t always known it.
“Raise your arms up,” I commanded.
She did, immediately, in a way that always made me tight with want, desire ready to spring forth, attack her.
I smiled. “Good girl.”
Yanking her coat and sweater off, I then tied her wrists together. I preferred my ropes at home. They were natural, thick, elemental. This plastic was too commercial, too flimsy, but I would work with what I had. There was a tear trailing down her face and it gave me pause. She was so beautiful, so silken and smooth, that sometimes it hurt to look at her. Before she had fallen out of the sky, like manna from a twisted heaven, it had been years since I’d seen a woman naked, and even then, she hadn’t looked like Laney.
The first time I saw Laney I thought she was dead in the wreckage of that plane crash. She was still and pale, her hair tumbled around her face as she slumped slightly to the side. Like a perfect porcelain doll on a little chair, and I thought it was a waste of such a beautiful face. But then her eyes popped open and they were filled with pain and fear.
I knew that look. It was the look of every animal that has been hunted and hasn’t died yet. She was the fox with her leg in the trap, and I freed her from the seat crushing her ankle, picked her up and took her home.
I am the hunter. She is the prey.
Sometimes I forget that. Sometimes I revel in it. Sometimes I refuse to believe it.
“I’m sorry about Victoria,” I said, and part of me meant it. I didn’t want to cause Laney pain. I yanked the zipties tighter. Well, not emotional pain. The physical I did, because I watched her take it, absorb it, grow aroused from it. She learned from it. “Should we go get her?”
I would kidnap the daughter if I could keep the mother.
But Laney made a face. “Of course not. We can’t haul her around with us while we’re on the run.” She studied me. “Do we have to go on the run, if they haven’t found the body? Or can we go home?”
I wished we could. There had been an easiness to our days in the cabin. And our nights had been filled with deep, pervasive passion. I hadn’t known what it would feel like to have a partner, a companion. To have her fill the cabin with her incessant humming, her smile, her pout. It had been four walls before. A shelter. But Laney had made it a home and I wanted to go back, to hold onto that feeling. To fucking wrap my hands around it and snap its neck so it was paralyzed and couldn’t move.
“For a few days. That’s it.” I ran my hand down her soft cheek, wiping away her tear. “Would you have come back, if I hadn’t called you?”
There was genuine bewilderment on her face. “Of course. I said I would.”
Except I didn’t trust her. She’d tried to leave me before. I hated that I even had to ask because I knew the answer. I couldn’t trust her.
But then she’d killed for me. To stay. So she said. That was the body- the source of our need to flee. But I wasn’t stupid enough to believe that was the full story. That she had just wanted to be with me and couldn’t tell Michael no. Laney had a fucking walk-in closet of skeletons. It was the goddamn catacombs in Paris.
There were things she wasn’t telling me.
Just like there were things I wasn’t telling her.
But maybe Laney was right.
It didn’t matter.
All that mattered was us. Here. Now. Together.