It was with no small amount of trepidation that I embarked upon this novel. After reading hugely differing opinions on the hero and the writing in general in reviews, I was concerned that this story was going to wave all sorts of personal red flags for me, rake up painful memories and generally traumatise me. Thankfully, this caution was most definitely misplaced as I very much enjoyed this book – in fact, I loved every second.
It’s the story of interior designer Ava, a girl about town, in London. She is asked to go to The Manor, a ‘hotel’ in the Surrey foothills to quote on a redesign for some of their rooms. The minute she meets the owner, Jesse Ward, there is an instant, physical attraction sparking between them. Ava can hardly function, she’s so flustered by the impossibly handsome Mr Ward and he feels the same way about her but manages to remain far calmer. He pursues her and they embark upon an emotionally exhausting relationship. All the time that I was reading this, I was waiting for the ‘big bad’ that would make me hate Jesse but it never came. He is kind of outrageous but I found a lot to love.
‘Just tell me one thing before you leave, Ava.’ His voice prickles at my senses, and I find my eyes travelling up the leanness of his body until our stares meet. His face is serious, but still stunning. ‘How loud do you think you’ll scream when I fuck you?’
So, Jesse Ward. Mr Ward is quite the enigma.
|The enigmatic Jesse Ward|
Jesse is devastatingly handsome, he towers over her, kisses her on the cheek and generally puts her under his spell right from the very first second she claps eyes on him. Despite her initial reluctance as she thinks he already has a girlfriend, Jesse aggressively pursues Ava, almost forcing her into a relationship. He reduced her to a quivering mass of lust and sexual awareness, using her desire to coerce her into his arms. He’s aggressive, unreasonable, challenging, protective, possessive, moody, temperamental and an absolute control freak. There’s almost a desperation to him as he endeavours to keep Ava within arm’s reach at all times, to keep her from her normal routine and friends, to completely take over her life. He appears mortally afraid that he will lose her but yet he just demands these things of her, attempts to control her but will never open up and tell her why.
He’s keeping so many secrets – he won’t tell her his real age, he has a prominent jagged scar across his abdomen that he won’t explain and he certainly won’t tell her what is really going on at The Manor. He’s so possessive – he tells her relentlessly that she’s his but he never confesses his true feelings. One second, he talks about them being together forever and the next he tells her that they’re just fucking. With such uncertainty, Ava decides not to confess to Jesse that she is in love with him.
I drop my head. I can’t look at him. What can I tell him? That I’ve fallen in love with him? Perhaps I should – he might freak out and leave me alone. I shrug instead.
Ava is a great heroine – I really enjoyed reading her story. It’s so nice to have a British author set the story firmly in London – everything is authentic and Ava’s lifestyle is spot on the way a 20something single girl is, working the 9-5 in London, getting drunk on the weekend with her friends and work colleagues, going to pubs and clubs, shopping in Camden. This is just exactly how it is and it lends an air of reality to the whole story.
I think I’d have to put this one in the erotic romance category because there is a whole lotta lovin going on. Jesse and Ava share an exquisitely intense physical connection as they steam up the pages of the story with their sex scenes – there’s sense fucks, reminder fucks, rebound fucks, hangover sex, sleepy sex – all with perfectly synchronised orgasms. Perfect 10’s every single time. OK, so that is all highly unrealistic but it sure makes for pleasurable reading!!
So, I think I understand why so many reviewers had problems with the hero – he is most definitely a bit of a jerk but the story’s so compelling to me and that’s what I’m judging this book on. Jesse may be a bit of an idiot but it sure makes for a captivating and engrossing story and you know I’ll be waiting with bated breath for the upcoming sequel as there is still a long way to go yet.
So, if you like an uber-alpha, dominant, controlling, obnoxious yet very handsome hero who is shit hot in bed and a taut, emotionally exhausting, intense romance, I think you might well enjoy this book. Give it a go and come back and tell me what you thought.
4.5 stars batshit crazy romance
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