If there's one thing I know to be true about a Gemma James series is that the first book of any of her series is AMAZING! It just hits the ground running and it seems like you're in for the ride of your life. As a reader, you fall in love with tortured male lead who's got a kinky side and it seems like it's all gonna work out in the end.
But nope - that's not even close. A few books in of the series, you've lost all faith in humanity and are just constantly in a state of *smh* for the female lead's lack of a spine and the over the top way the male lead just has to incessantly punish her for the stupidest of things.
By the end, you're totally over it and want only to read the female lead gets a clue and goes off to find herself and get a life, but this of course never happens. Then the last pages totally anger you as the female lead just realizes she should submit and just accept her fate. At this point, you're exhausted and left to wonder why you even started reading this in the first place. This happened to me with the The Devil's Kiss Trilogy and it happened to me as well with Condemned Series. Ugh!
As you recall in the previous book, we were introduced to a villain who came out of left field - Lucas Perrone. He was mentioned briefly in the series as Alex's fiancee whom she quickly broke up with before Rafe kidnaps her in the first book.
Of course Lucas is a sex trafficker and is Jax's father. Rafe killed Lucas' kin while in jail- it seems there was a hit out on Jax and now finally Lucas has come to collect the blood debt. What an added bonus it is that he gets to have revenge on Alex, too, for jilting him.
Lucas has an underground lair where all sorts of depraved things happen and lots of goons scatter the grounds just doing the worst. So in the end of previous book when Rafe, Alex, and Jax all escape and end up killing Lucas, we find out Jax's motivation was to find his sister, Tawny who was sold by her father in retribution for Jax's disloyalty.
Tawny is never found, but Jax vows to find her. But after everything's said and done, you'd think Rafe would run back to Alex and they would finally be together. Nope. Rafe decides he can't be with Alex at the end of book 3 and goes all Splitsville.
Vagrant begins six months later after Rafe runs out on Alex. Alex's stepfather is jailed for white collar crime, Zach is in hiding and pending charges Alex brought against him, and Lucas of course is dead. We meet up with Alex who's getting a tattoo to cover up Zach's name and wouldn't you know it, she's getting Rafe's name tattooed on her. Ugh! Hello! He abandoned you! Ugh.
Alex - who we're told is a college graduate is working at a woman's shelter and has a small apartment. Of course that deal goes south when Rafe shows up at her apartment and kidnaps her - AGAIN.
Reports that Zach's back in town prompts Rafe to come back to Alex - who can't even get an answer to her question of where he was or what's happening because she'll get punished. To make things worse, Jax joins in the punishments, too. Sure, why not.
Things escalate when Rafe, who's been fighting in underground fights (and never bothered to send some money to Alex and make sure she's been taken care of) takes Alex to his boat (preying on her fear of water) and he's been told by the fights ringleader, Shelton, that he must fight one last fight before leaving town.
Shelton tells Rafe to fight to the death against Zach. Rafe readily agrees, but Alex just can't stomach the idea. After all Zach has done to her, she doesn't want Rafe to go down that "road" and kill her stepbrother - mind you, Rafe has already killed two other people, but whatever.
So begins a race against the clock. Will Rafe let go of the ghosts in his past and go off into the sunset with Alex, or will he choose to end Zach's life once and for all? And what about Jax? Will he find his sister, Tawny? Or let's get real - are we all in to be subjected to a punishfest?
Rating: 3 Kisses