|From the author of Surrender to Temptation comes a provocative story of overwhelming passion set free with one exquisite touch.
Madeline Stone is determined to heal from her tragic past, one difficult step at a time and she doesn’t need any distractions. Then she meets a mysterious and captivating stranger—and over a glass of outrageously expensive wine, her world turns upside down. Try as she might to banish the wealthy business mogul from her thoughts, Madeline can’t fight Alex’s staggering appeal or his enticing offer of intimate discovery.
Alex doesn’t date—at least, not in the traditional sense. Still, he wants Madeline and his sexual intensity provides her with a much-needed escape. They embark on a tumultuous erotic affair, one that takes them to the pinnacle of obsession and desire. But underneath each explosive encounter lie dangerous secrets waiting to consume them both.
Madeline has been going through the motions ever since she and her sister were in a car accident. Madeline was driving and walked away from the crash, her sister did not. She’s living with guilt and horrible anxiety now, she moved away from her home and sister’s fiancé, her job, basically everything she once knew and is now living in Paradise, Nevada. She’s working as a waitress and at the suggestion of her therapist as part of her recovery, she’s making a list of things that she wants to do that she’s too anxious/nervous/petrified of doing now. Her life reminded me of a bubble, she has a hard time handling new situations and places that she hasn’t fully prepared herself for, so this list is a way for her to slowly break out of her shell. Currently at the top of the list is to go into a casino and play a hand of blackjack. Never could she have expected to meet Alex when she unknowingly walks into his casino. Alex is instantly intrigued by Madeline and wants to get to know her much better.
Alex is a Dom and senses that Madeline might be the submissive he needs and wants in his life. Madeline is pretty inexperienced all the way around and Alex’s lifestyle isn’t something that she’s ever considered much less thought about. But for her, the appeal lies in the safety she feels when she gives control to Alex. For some reason, having him in control and her not having to make all the decisions brings her a level of comfort she hasn’t had since the accident. Their relationship doesn’t start right out in the bedroom, thankfully. Alex keeps showing up, talking to her, getting her to be comfortable around him. It’s hard for her at first, but she eventually takes a chance on Alex and takes a chance on moving forward with her life.
This book was a hard one for me for the simple reason that when I finished it, I can’t say that I loved the story, but I also can’t say that I disliked it. There are parts that I liked, I liked when both Alex and Madeline finally opened up about their pasts and trusted each other enough to be vulnerable in that way. And this was something that was very hard for Madeline and it in fact causes the main relationship angst between the two. While there is a BDSM theme running through the story, for as important as the lifestyle is for Alex, it never felt overly so. I almost expected there to be more with that storyline. He does take her to his club that he co-founded with two other men as a place where they could be themselves and act in a safe, accepting environment, something Alex didn’t always have. There are a few scenes at the club, and he is dominant in the bedroom, but other than that and a few scenes where he wants her to wear specific clothes, or call him sir, it never felt as big of a deal as maybe it should have. But that’s ultimately the problem I had with the story – all the storylines just feel like they skimmed the surface and never went as deep as they could have or as I wanted them to. There’s a side story with Madeline and her sister’s fiancé that just gets touched on but I’d have loved to know more about this man. A co-worker of Madeline’s shows interest in her and it was brought up but never explored more. It was little threads like that that were introduced, but I felt like more could have been expanded on them in some way to add a little more depth to the story.
Ultimately, I liked the story – I can’t say that I was completely caught up in the romance but I did like seeing these two people find comfort with each other. It’s a good story, I just felt like it needed something more.
Release Date: May 7, 2013
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*eARC provided by publisher for review*