BLOG REVIEW: Acquisition: The Complete Series by Celia Aaron

***3.5-stars
SPOILER-y Plot:

25yo loner artist heroine (h) reluctantly agrees to a 1-year contract to be owned by arrogant & controlling district attorney, 29yo Hero (H), to save her beloved father from being sentenced to prison & dying there per H's instructions. H wants to be indifferent to her & treat her like a possession as fitting of an Acquisition but he finds himself possessive & protective over her, esp during the Acquisition trials where others get to see naked & even touch her but she was able to fight them off. She'd like to hate him, esp after he viciously whipped her during the Acquisition ball, but she can't help being drawn to him too. He confused her since his vicious whipping didn't jive with the obvious remorse & desperate tending he did to her after she fainted from the whippings per her maid's info. Plus being part of the Acquisition was not his choosing. It took her close to 1 month to recover from her whipped back with help of her maid, who she soon found out experienced what she did 20 years ago as the Acquisition of H's mother. When H saw her again, she could see how haunted & sorry he was for hurting her & they soon hotly smexxed bareback with H pulling out but his bro watched them & goaded H re: sharing h. She got a little revenge by making H jealous, when she deliberately held her stepbro's hands & kissed him goodbye during her reward visit to her dad. But she softens & yields to him again, when he tenderly cared for her when she fell from her horse after a lightning struck them. They hotly smexxed bareback with both letting their feelings for each other come through. Right after though, they both tell each other that it can't happen again with H making a cryptic comment re: getting through the 1-year Acquisition trial. 

Things come to a head when H showed h the sale documents her father signed before she signed the contract, selling her to H for $1million. His jealousy over how she stood behind her younger bro made him see the truth about her dad, when she demanded to go see him at the hospital he was at. But she ended up hating him for the truth re: her dad so she told him she was choosing her younger bro (OM) as her new owner since OM just told them that she can choose him as her owner per their mom's info. H threatened her younger bro & told him he doesn't know all the rules & consequences but his younger bro threatened him back. She flies to Cuba with OM & tries to avoid the next 2 week while he's busy with their sugar business. But he puts the pressure on to yield to him but she rejects him since she's tired of men in her life using her for their own greedy ends. 

A farm revolt has her waiting in OM's room while he takes care of his rebelling farm workers. Hero surprised her, when he came into the room wounded from knife wounds she helps tend to as she sees him remorseful of hurting her thru the Acquisition yet stuck with having to continue with the Acquisition and feeling possessive over her. H makes her lie next to him but she refused until he grabs her. OM takes her from H as H was about to smex her. She lets OM kiss & touch her (i.e. finger her, kiss her boobs) a couple times as part of her plan to use OM's desire for her to mess with the 2 brothers & to escape from the stress of the Acquisition trials esp since OM has officially become her new owner. But that last time before the Christmas trial hunt, she told OM to stop before he smexxed her coz she realized she only wanted H. H rescues her from the Christmas trial hunt right after her stepbro got to her 1st & boasted re: smexxing her roughly in front of others but H knocked him out & got h back in the lodge while still wearing his hunting mask & pretending he's his brother OM. OM helps them make noise in his room so others will think he's raping her while H is carefully tending to h, who was surprised that he came back for her but he said always keeps his promises esp after his bro OM suddenly called him to let him know that he's transferring ownership of h back to him w/o explaining why & updated him re: the Christmas hunt plans. She asked him why he couldn't stay as kind as he was with her now & not turn back to a cold-hearted monster. H said he couldn't due to his obligation but wouldn't say anymore & became distant again, telling h to inform the Acquisition leader later that day that she wanted to transfer owners from OM back to H. She realized that he loved her & felt hurt when he had to hurt her. So, she was ok with & turned on with him inflicting some BDSM pain on her. 

Hero surprised heroine with a friendly spa team from Hollywood she befriended when they prepared her for the ball. They had a lovely Christmas dinner together, except for her missing maid who'd been tending to H's demented mom on the upstairs rooms. When h asked H about the spring Acquisition trial in 3 months, he clammed up & became cold & harsh with her again, telling her that sex with her didn't mean as much as winning the Acquisition did. She confronted him of his love for her but he denied it & told her he was just playing her yet she insisted that he did love her. She goes up to his mom's suite upstairs in hopes of getting some answers H won't tell her from her maid. But his mom was more lucid this time & willing to give her answers, despite her maid's pleas for h to go back downstairs. She found out from H's mom how she harshly molded H to be the cold & heartless man he is now, when he was still a child who she let witness her 1st murder of 1 of the Acquisition players at that time & had his workers killed also. H's mom also told h of the 7 Acquisition rules, with the 1st rule: the loser Acquirer will have to kill his youngest sibling. When H found out h knew everything re: the Acquisition, he left to stay in town & allowed her the run of his family mansion. 

Heroine trained for combat with her Russian former-fighter friend the next 2 months with her goal to dismantle the Acquisition once & for all, spurred on by knowledge that failing meant that H's beloved youngest bro will die. So, when H brought a beautiful date (OW) to his younger bro's bday party, h was hurt & had no problem sparring with him with all her might while asking him who OW was & if he loved her & why he'd been stayed away from h for months. H told her that he didn't want to distract her from her training & he was wooing OW (who's the Acquisition leader's daughter) as part of their plan to bring the Acquisition group down. She won 1x of the 2 battles with the other 2 Acquisitions during the Spring trial, where the loser has their family member brought there be savagely hurt or killed. She deliberately lost 1 battle to the male Acquisition who she befriended to save his young sister to the detriment of her father, who she didn't mind being punished for his lies & selfishness. 

When she woke up after the battle, heroine's wounds were being tended to by her maid & learned that H had gone to fly off somewhere with OW for a few weeks. Her uncertainty re: H's real relationship with OW & hurt from his lack of contact with her weakened her resolve to succumb a bit to his bro OM's kisses with help of alcohol he plied her with but put a stop to it coz could only think of H, although turned on by OM's sexual touches. OM agreed to sleep with her without trying anything & that's what H walked into the next morning, when he was eager to see h since he'd missed her so much & doing his best to make an ally with OW. He felt hurt & betrayed at thinking h finally succumbed to OM so said some harsh words to her, when she happily saw him again but felt hurt & betrayed herself by him defending OW & rejecting her. As much as she wanted to hurt H as he hurt her for assuming she'd smex his bro OM, she couldn't take revenge on him by betraying him with his bro coz she wasn't like that & she was glad she's retaining this part of herself despite all that's happened. So, when H ordered her to give up her room for OW & sleep in the barn & be at OW's beck & call, h complied coz she wanted H to win to save his brother so then she can be done with them & leave them forever. It hurt more when she realized that H was now engaged to OW but she kept her cool during the engagement dinner filled with Acquisition players. But, when she was almost anal-raped by her stepbro who was 1 of the dinner guests, H realized his love for h could overlook her smexxing his bro & was relieved to find out from h's maid re: h not smexxing his bro OM. 

Hero apologized to heroine & told her his ILY (I love you) & that he never intended to marry OW but was covering up for her & her real BF coz intends to ruin her father soon. She told him her ILY& would only forgive him if he promised to completely demolish the Acquisition with her & he complied. Their affair blossomed with H at times spending time with OW to cover up for her romance with her secret BF. H's mom had 1 lucid time, where she confirmed to H that she wanted him to do away with the Acquisition & that she hoped that his & h's love for each other will save them. The last trial came as a surprise with a surprise visit from the Acquisition leader who told h &H to go to the destination with him. She chose to be the 1 beaten by the leader instead of her beating H as the last Acquisition challenge. H became the next Acquisition leader due to the sacrfice h made for him, which was 1 of the secret Acquisition leader rules. He tended to h the next few weeks sorry for what she had to go though for him & awed that she would do so. They planned the demise of all Acquisition players the next 3 weeks. So, at H's coronation day, his 1st plan was to revoke himself as the Acquisition leader & pit each player against each other to be the next leader with weapons he put out there at their disposal. They all started killing each other while H&h & their group snuck outside in the secret door while all the doors were locked. She lit the fuse which blew up the mansion with all the Acquisition players in there. Months later at Christmas time, her stepbro stabs her maid & almost abducts her but H's younger bro got there but he shot him. She went after stepbro with a knife & killed him. Epilogue...2 years later, H&h married & have a toddler son & she's almost due with twin girls. H's bros are happy & healthy. HEA.

*556 pgs
*good suspenseful writing & pacing, esp when h & the other 2 Acquisitions were being hunted down
*loved h's quiet but tough inner strength & determination to survive her 1-yr enslavement(with whippings & forced tattooes) with cool grit as she can muster & not let H or anyone else involved in the Acquisition break her down & instead quietly store up her rage into vengeance for all involved
*good emo with angst/poignancy from H&h's secret care & longing for each other that they had to resist & can't show coz of others & H thinking she slept with his bro so banished her to the barns & made her be servant to OW he was now engaged with
*good char change with h transforming from a somewhat placid wanna-be artist recovering from her suicide attempt to becoming more fiery & then determined to survive the Acquisition intact & bloodthirsty for revenge
*loved H's character change from an indifferent & cold-hearted manipulator who only wanted to be on top to being protective & secretly caring of h that he was haunted by his whipping of h & what he had to do for the Acquistion game. H was inherently a kind & caring person as it shows with his youngest bro but being the 1st-born trained to continue their Acquisition role by his crazy mother warped his character but being with h gradually helped steady him
*loved H's alpha demanding possessive-protectiveness over h. But wished he was quicker about chasing after h the 2 times she went away with his brother OM, who was obvious about desiring h. Instead, it took him crucial days to weeks to finally go after her coz he was either moping or feeling helpless. Then, he'd act jealous, demanding, & worried with h for possibly smexxing OM now.
*loved having both their POVs coz got good grasp of the inner workings of both characters 
*average S chem
*good explicit S with emo & some BDSM-y spankings & rough smexxing but not overdone or overfocused
*h tried to commit suicide a few years ago by slitting her wrist but her dad found her & rushed her to hospital. It took her 1 year to recover but was still a loner for years after.
*h only had sex 1x & it was with her ex-stepbro (their parents were only married for 6 mos) coz she was still an emotional mess from her mom's suicide death & she considered the sex a “non-event”
*liked that she let her anger out by frankly confronting him on his abuse of her & slapping him to defend herself from him to a limit & her petty revenge re: playing it up with her stepbro
*liked that she stood toe to toe with him emotionally including feeling possessive of him
*didn't like how h was sorta easy with letting men kiss/touch her that she even let her stepbro devirginize her even though she wasn't into him coz she just wanted to escape her bad feelings
*good rom/rom dev & emotionality

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