January 23, 2015

REVIEW: I Belong To You (Inside Out #5)


I Belong To You (Inside Out #5), by Lisa Renee Jones
Published November 18, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: e-book, obtained from NetGalley
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Master…

Being that person, that man is how I define myself, how I allow the rest of the world to define me as well. And now, with a terrible loss shredding me inside out and someone trying to destroy my family to punish me, control is more important than ever. It is everything. It is what I need. It is all I need. Or maybe I just need…her.

Oh, how far the Master has fallen. Mark is different in I Belong To You than he was when he first met Sarah in the first book of this series. And, yet... he's still the same in some ways. Still domineering, overbearing, douchey. And, yet, we get to see him in a different element in I Belong To You, as he rushes to his mother's side to help her as she undergoes treatment for cancer. 

It's clear from what we've learned of Mark so far that he's a man who needs to be in control. He didn't earn the name Master in Rebecca's journals for nothing. After Rebecca's death, Sarah's attempted murder, Allure's closing, Mark's legal battles, and now his mother's illness, the man has been put through the ringer. He's lost himself in Crystal, the manager of his mother's New York gallery, a few times before, but thinks any sort of meaningful relationship with her is doomed. She's as dominant as he is. And, he can't fall in love again. Look what happened the last time.

It's impossible to not feel bad for Mark. How much crap can be piled on one guy at a time? On the heels of him finally being cleared of suspicion in Rebecca's murder, he has to run to New York to be with his mother, who isn't well. They're close, and seeing Mark the Son was eye-opening. He's completely different from Mark the Master and Mark the Boss. He's softer and kinder, yet still demanding. THIS is a Mark I really loved. 

Crystal is pretty awesome. She's so confident and sure of herself. She's an amazing business woman, and despite the fact that Mark makes her head spin, she still manages to keep it on straight when she's around him. For the most part, anyway. She knows she's not immune at all to him, but she also knows he's not in a right place at first for a relationship. She refuses to be dominated. And, she definitely won't be calling anyone Master. Rock on, Crystal. 

But the best thing about Mark and Crystal is that they find a way to meet somewhere in the middle. Mark sheds some of his dominance and lets Crystal take over when things just get too heavy for him. And, Crystal recognizes Mark's need to control something in his life, and since she cares about him, she gives him that power over her sometimes. It's a give and take that eventually makes Mark realize that, despite how much it might hurt sometimes, that love is worth it. That, even though he lost Rebecca and even though he has some crazy guilt over what happened to her, he can't go through the rest of his life denying himself someone to love. Especially when someone so perfect for him is standing right in front of him.

While Mark is trying to take care of his mother in New York, he's also still trying to do damage control with the Ava situation on the West Coast. Chris and Sarah have run to Paris, Ava has disappeared, and Mark is not only trying to find her so that he can get some answers once and for all, but he's also trying to find her accomplice, a really nasty hitman who seems to be gunning for Crystal. His fear for her life activates his protective instincts, which appear to be his undoing when it comes to Crystal. When he allows himself to care for her and her well being, he's done for.

The ending of I Belong With You was super exciting. And, although it seems like we tie up more and more loose ends in each book, there are always still some hanging out there. Since this was the final full-length novel of the series, I had hoped for some more closure in some areas, particularly in regards to Ella. But, I'll take the closure we get on Mark and Crystal's relationship. It ended just perfectly. 


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