Consequences isn’t a romance in any sense of the word. This is about a psychotic individual bent on revenge who targets a young, vivacious woman and destroys her just because he can. Anthony Rawlings is one f’ed up bastard. He’s the monster in the closet, the deranged villain who on the outside is a very appealing package. He’s rich, handsome powerful and respected. He has many traits a romantic hero has. But right from the start we’re show how unstable Tony is. He's a sexual predator who gets off on the pain of others-specifically Claire Nichols, a twenty-something unemployed television meteorologist who is up to her eyeballs in debt.
When Consequences opens, Claire has been violated and raped. She locked in a beautiful room at the mercy of Tony. Claire met Tony at the restaurant she works at. She is confused but pleased that this older man, who apparently has money, would take an interested in her. She tells him of her job loss and he jokingly has her sign a napkin and dates it where she says she’ll do anything to work off her $200,000 debt. Claire is clueless to the fact that Tony takes this as a binding contract and expects her to work off her debt through him because he ends up paying off all her loans and bills after he kidnaps her. Now Claire is at his mercy, and no matter how much she fights, she can’t escape him. His staff is dedicated to him and he’s so aggressive and abusive and overpowers her. He expects Claire to accept her new lot in her life as his companion, or rather a slave who must do his every bidding. Tony has planned everything perfectly where she has no choice to obey. She’ll do what he wants and open to his every whim while she tries to figure out a way to save herself.
Claire is given free reign of Tony’s massive property and estate. As long as she obeys him and does what he wants, he’ll give her more freedoms. He even allows her to accompany him to events and parties, as long as she behaves. Again Claire has no choice because even if she was able to get away from Tony he might track her down and hurt her loves ones, such as her sister and her husband, the only family she has. But there is another side to Tony who is a very giving lover and very generous with clothes, jewelry and other materialistic things Claire has only dreamed about. Soon Claire thinks she is falling for Tony, but always must keep in mind that he makes the rules and expects her to obey him or will punish her for her mistakes. But Tony is frustrated because he feels Claire is always hiding a piece of herself from him and he expects her to give herself fully to him regardless of his abuse and rage.
Finally Tony goes too far in a jealous rage and the aftermath is what changes him. He promises never to hurt Claire again and through a new type of courtship, Claire welcomes this new side to Tony who wants to offer her the world, and for her to forgive him for his brutality. She accepts him, body and soul, and to a new life that has become a true fairy tale. But this fairy tale has major cracks, and it’s all part of Tony’s final plan where Claire is just collateral damage because of something that has eaten away at Tony for years. The consequences of those individuals and events from both Tony and Claire’s past are the reason these two were destined to meet, or rather because of Tony’s diabolical actions.
Consequences is all about the cause and effect of people. There are major consequences because of Tony. He’s the reason for everything that happens to Claire. Claire has no choices because Tony takes everything away from her because he feels he has the right. Aleatha makes an interesting case of Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to Claire and why she would end up falling for Tony and accepting his abuse. Tony is uber-powerful and master manipulator. Claire never stood a chance with him.
The first half of the book kept me riveted, but then it spirals out of control in this never ending drama and non-stop introspective from Claire who acts immature and naïve at times. She’s very angry and hurt at first, as well as scared, and does try to fight, but I felt she succumbed too quickly and her falling for Tony felt fake. Also Althea makes the mistake of jumping into Tony’s POV as if to try and explain why he acts the way he does. That's a big no-no because it ruins the entire thriller element that’s slowly building, which when all is said and done, never delivers. The overall plot became tedious. I felt Aleatha got to a point where she needed to end things but didn’t know how and decided to throw what should be a whopper of a shock to finish things off, but the steps to get there weren't planned effectively. Things just didn't add up for me with this ending.
Consequences had so much going for it. The first 100 pages are excellent reading but then things falter majorly with an ending that left me cold not because of the twist and the ruination of a young woman by a sick man, but that overall lack of execution to make sense of Tony's delusions.
Final Grade: C