Review | Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

Under LockeUnder Locke by Mariana Zapata
Contemporary Romance
January 19th 2014

About the Book:

He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.

After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.

And the last thing they ever expected was each other.

But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop.

… she should have chosen the strip club.


So, it turns out Mariana Zapata overlaps her stories. If I’d known I would have read them in publication order. I would have started from the beginning.

In Wall of Winnipeg and Me, the overlapping story wasn’t obvious. I had no idea there was another book. However, in Kulti, the scene at the tattoo parlor felt too important. I know I was missing something. I immediately searched for the tie in book, Under Locke. In completion, Zapata has become my newest favorite author. I feel a big binge coming on.

Expect a lot of Mariana Zapata reviews.

I’m kinda in love.

Under Locke was another really excellent story. For being one of her earlier books, you can still sense the amount of talent she has. Each chapter filled my stomach with butterflies and bumblebees. I adore brooding, gruff, tattooed love interests, so I fell crazy in love with Dex right along with Ris.

When the gruff hero becomes tender, it feels so much more meaningful, I guess. I can tell you, it’s probably the number one reason I love this authors books. She writes about men who show their love in actions, and less in words. It does require the ability to read the subtext though. When Dex says, “You are not a waste of time to me” it’s because he knows it’s what Ris thinks she is. It’s what she’s been made to feel like; a waste of time. She believes she’s an “inconvenience”. He knows those words mean something to her. It was the perfect declaration of love for a woman like Iris.

That’s not to say the story was perfect.

Mariana Zapata has definitely grown in her writing. As much as I loved Under Locke, it did hit a few speed bumps. For instance, Ris is a virgin. That’s fine, of course. Ris had a hard life, with a lot more downs than ups, and without any time for relationships. My issue was in how the author then made her magically good at anything sexual. Her fellatio made Dex want to “kick the ass of whoever taught her”, except we as the reader know she’s never done it… it just felt gratuitous and rarely (if ever) the reality.

Also, there were a few times in the story I thought Dex’s temper went too far, and his half apologies were accepted by everyone, and I can’t get behind that. There was never ever physical abuse, just yelling. Yelling is still damaging. Words can still be damaging. “Grow a tougher skin” is not how you apologize, a$$hole.

I fell in love with him. You know his heart. He still should have had to grovel.

What does all this mean?

Well, I’m not a Zapata professional, but I definitely felt like these weren’t issues I found in Wall of Winnipeg and Kulti, so that feels like growth. The relationships become more balanced, which is a good thing.

Regardless of either issue, I was still addicted to Under Locke. In the end, I would have chosen to forgive him too. I still want Dex and Iris to live on my growing Mariana Zapata bookshelf.

In fact, my new paperback should deliver tomorrow.

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

12 Responses

  1. I’m an ultimate MZ fan, Ive reread her books so many times I lost counts already. And it’s so nice to meet a fellow fan. 💖 Under Locke is my least fave among her works (and I haven’t read Lingus).

    Have you read Wait For It. For me, it’s the most heartwarming and I love both the hero and heroine. 💖


      1. I didn’t want to read Lingus because I’m afraid he’s still have sex with other people after meeting the heroine. It’s his job anyway. I have nothing against people working in porn industry but just in general, in romance, I don’t want the H/h having sexual relationship with other characters after meeting each other. 🙂 🙂

        Hope you enjoy her other books. ❤ Oh, I just remember I also haven’t read, Dear Aaron.


  2. So glad you’re still enjoying her books! Callie Dalton narrates most of them, and when you buy the eBooks, the Whispersync audio is $7.49, making them less than an Audible credit if you don’t have a subscription.

    I swear this isn’t an infomercial. LOL

    Great review!


  3. I liked this book, but it isn’t on my favorites list of hers. If you read Kulti and Winnipeg, you need to read Wait for It. It bridges those two with it being Diana’s book. And it also bridges to this book because it’s set in the same town as Wait for It. (In case you didn’t know.)

    If you read more of hers, read Dear Aaron and then From Lukov. Also, Luna and the Lie before The Best Thing.

    Great review!


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