(I was also a little swayed by the hero, who happens to be a grumpy, hot, Scottish writer. Grumpy, hot AND Scottish? Sounds like my catnip! Yes, please!) And let me tell you, I’m sooooooo glad I gave this one a chance!
First of all, I think it’s important to point out that while there are definitely parts of the book that are (ahem) erotic and feature BDSM, the bulk of this story is a beautiful, slow-burning, highly emotional ROMANCE between a hero burdened by guilt (he broods a bit, which would normally be annoying in a hero, except...did I mention he’s grumpy, hot and Scottish?) and a heroine damaged by a past bad relationship (that’s an understatement, really. Her past “bad relationship” makes all other bad relationships pale in comparison). So, in other words, there’s enough kink to keep the erotica readers happy, and there’s enough character development and romance to keep the contemporary romance reading crowd happy. I guess it’d be safe to call this one a “category hopper”. (And I mean that as a complement of the highest order! I ADORE books that defy classification.)
The plot is simple enough to make this an easy read, but engaging enough that it kept my full attention from beginning to end. There was just enough backstory to let me get to know the main characters, but not so much that it bogged down the story in any way. (That’s a delicate balance for an author to create, folks. Never take this for granted. I’ve seen LOTS of books that failed miserably and gave either way too much or way too little backstory.)
And sure, the writing mechanics are solid, but all that is the boring stuff. The BEST parts of the book are the characters. Angus and Eliza had a nice, easy rapport and flowing, snappy dialogue that very quickly pulled me into the story and made sure I was super invested in their eventual HEA. It wasn’t love at first sight, or even lust at first sight. These two got to know each other before falling into bed together, which made the whole romance seem totally plausible.
I’m not an expert in BDSM, but I think those readers who are will appreciate Angus. He seems like a good example of what a dominant should be. He’s open-minded, responsive, always attentive to his partner’s nonverbal cues, and very gentle with “after care”.
Eliza was a super relatable, believable heroine, too. Her trauma was real, and I totally understood her reluctance to enter into another relationship after her last one turned out to be such an epic failure. But despite her fear, I had to admire her courage and willingness to trust Angus after everything she’d been through. Eliza’s a survivor, and to me, there’s no more kick-ass heroine than a survivor.
The resolution with the “bad guy” was also satisfying. Although personally, I would’ve enjoyed an epilogue that talked about how he got shanked in prison...but that's just me.
(And this is kind of off-topic, but as a huge geek, I totally appreciated the descriptions of the Comic-Con and the Stormtrooper jokes. Nicely done, Ms. Green. Nicely done.)
So, long-story short, this is an erotic love story that still managed to give me a major case of the feels, and I recommend you go 1-click the crap out of it. Immediately. Oh, and Angus is my new book boyfriend. That is all.
Note: we received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Crushes it! No rehab needed. This one is clean and sober.
Other reading suggestions
Check out the author’s backlist. I know I’m gonna.