When the story starts Sara McMillan is a woman on a quest. Her friend has left her with the contents of a storage unit she has bought at an auction. The unit belongs to a woman named Rebecca, a woman who, among other things, left behind detailed and enticing journals describing her seduction by an unnamed man. A man who makes her experience sex and submission in a way she had never considered; a man who scares her as much as she wants and needs him.
But the journals end unexpectedly and Rebecca seems to have disappeared, leaving behind all her earthly possessions. Sara finds herself deeply interested in Rebecca, disturbed by her journals and worried about what might have happened to her and decides to use her school teacher’s summer holiday to find the mystery woman and reunite her with her stuff.
When Sara discovers Rebecca worked at a local art gallery before she disappeared, she goes there on the night of the unveiling of a painting by a famous artist, hoping to find out more about Rebecca.
While she doesn’t manage to get any information about Rebecca or where she might be, Sara does leave the gallery with a job offer. She is given the opportunity to take over from Rebecca until the girl returns. This is an opportunity Sara can’t refuse. Art has always been her first love. Teaching is the job she does because she needs a steady income, something the art-world can’t guarantee. And now she has a chance to do the work she’s been yearning for without jeopardising the security she needs. It appears to be a dream come true.
But, it soon becomes clear that her new employer Mark Compton, is anything but easy to work for. He is a control freak, demanding total obedience from his employees and known for punishing those working for him when they don’t meet his high expectations.
And then there is Chris Merit, famous painter and incredibly handsome, Sara is soon fascinated with him.
But, as she and Chris become closer it soon becomes clear to Sara that both of them are damaged individuals who could easily hurt each other. And although sexual tension and a strong attraction are pulling Sara and Chris together, the darkness inside Chris may yet tear them apart. And all the while Rebecca’s disappearance and continued absence hang like a dark shadow over everything Sara does.
This was a good read. This book comes with a good back story which brings both Sara and the reader into the circumstances that allow the author to introduce some very steamy sex scenes in a natural and believable way. And although the sex definitely is very hot, this is much more than “just” a work of erotica. There is a thriller element to this story that leads to the book ending on a massive –frustratingly so – cliff-hanger. The reader is given the opportunity to get to know the characters away from the bedroom scenes and to slowly learn more about them as the story unfolds.
On the other hand, a lot of things are left uncertain in these pages. Both Chris and Sara have issues resulting from their pasts, but we’re only given glimpses of what exactly happened in that past and so far, none of it explains the sudden shifts in Chris’ moods or his apparent darkness nor Sara’s claim that she is damaged. With this book being the first in a trilogy it is of course very possible that this is one of the themes that will be further developed in the later books. I certainly hope so because the credibility of the story seems to depend on that being the case.
I did really enjoy reading about Chris and Sara, and liked the way they are slowly getting closer, against their better judgment and their fears that the other one won’t be able to stay with them.
This book has been described (by the author) as Fifty Shades of Grey meets Basic Instinct. I really can’t commend on the Basic Instinct part of that statement so far, but maybe that too is an aspect that will enter the story at a later stage. As for Fifty Shades; this book reminded me more of Bared to you then the books by Mrs. James. But I do understand why FSOG is THE way to market any book of erotic fiction these days, so I guess I can forgive the author for that.
Overall I enjoyed this book, found myself caught up in the mystery surrounding Rebecca’s disappearance and intrigued by the reluctant romance between Chris and Sara. I find myself curious as to what might happen next in this story and will more then likely read the sequel when it becomes available. If for no other reason than to get past that cruel and toe-curling cliff-hanger.