Review: Heart’s Prisoner – Olivia Riley (Dark World Mates #1)

Rating: 5 out of 5.


He’s not like anything Lana has ever encountered.

Asset X: Massive, deadly, a little terrifying to say the least. A devilish warrior. And a killer. Captured on a hellish world after attacking a military campsite and now imprisoned in a state of the art cell inside one of the military’s top bases–Lazris.

And Lana has been assigned to “study” him. To learn his secrets and gain his trust, if he is ever allowed to set foot out of his cell. As a top behaviorist, it is the biggest hurdle of her career.

Asset X–or Xerus as he is called–won’t give up his secrets easily. He is difficult, elusive, and–dare she say–unfathomably alluring…despite his seething demeanor and hard, frightening physique.

Something subconsciously draws her to him. Something wildly irresistible. Even if his wicked smile and needful gaze could just be a ploy to win her trust and escape his cell.

She shouldn’t think of him like that. He is an alien after all. And possibly their enemy.

For Xerus claims he is on a mission. A mission to destroy. And he cannot afford to fail. If he dares let Lana get close, dares open his cold heart to her, she could compromise everything.

Heart’s Prisoner is a complete standalone novel in the Dark World Mates series, a universe teeming with ferocious aliens and brave heroines. This book contains dark tones, heated intimate scenes, and intense moments with possible triggers including violence and is intended for mature readers.

*Inspired by the short “Dark Prisoner” by Lora Darc.


Alien and sci-fi romance is something I don’t read nearly often enough but thoroughly enjoy. So when I first heard about Heart’s Prisoner, book one in the Dark World Mates series, by Olivia Riley, I was very excited. Little did I know it was going to be even better than I expected!

Heart’s Prisoner tells the story of Lana, a behaviorist sent to study the alien known as Asset X (aka Xerus), and Xerus, said alien. After dealing with many awful humans, Xerus is hesitant to trust Lana and her motives; however, this story is such a great example of opposites attract with a smidge of enemies to lovers all wrapped up in a delightful sci-fi bow.

This book is BANANAS – and in the best possible way! There is so much action and intrigue going on which is paired perfectly with the romance between the MCs. As an avid romance lover, I wanted the romance plotline just as much as the action plotline, which rarely happens. Usually, I’m all about the romance first and foremost.

One of my favourite things about this book was that the hero was not ‘typically’ attractive. By that I mean, he doesn’t look like a bigger, buffer human with brightly-coloured skin. In Heart’s Prisoner, Xerus gets described as scaly, red, a lizard/insect combo, even at one point he’s referenced as kind of dragon-like. Basically, not the usual type of hero. But Riley really made the love story between these two species completely believable and kept me hooked during the entire book.

Olivia Riley is a fairly new author as well. I think I read (correct me if I’m wrong) she began writing only just last year in 2020 so the fact that she’s already published three books in this series is incredible! I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style and cannot wait to delve into books two and three soon. I highly recommend this series to all fans of sci-fi/alien romance, and Ruby Dixon’s novels.

Purchase your copy TODAY!
Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Want more romance reviews and recommendations similar to Heart’s Prisoner?
Check out these titles!
Tamed – Alison Aimes
Shadow Falling – Rebecca Zanetti


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