Monday, May 6, 2013

9 Heart Review: Blush by Lauren Jameson

Blush (In Vino Veritas #1)
Lauren Jameson

Page Count: 304

Release Date: 7 May 2013
Publisher: New American Library (Penguin)
Source: Won in a giveaway
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

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...

Review


A night of risks—a night when Maddy Stone finally decides to push herself and try something new—presents her with a hot, sultry encounter with a man who can read her better than she can even read herself. Alex Fraser picks up on her deeper notes right away, and he's not letting them go anytime soon. Whether it be with wine, with words, or with one delicate touch, he'll seduce her... that is, if he doesn't fall in love with her first.

I absolutely devoured this book! Jameson's writing is smooth, sleek, and sexy, and her witty dialogue and mesmerizing character interaction are right on par.

Alex, a Vegas business tycoon, is not a nice man. He's your typical rich, dominant, Acqua de Gio-wearing tall, dark, and deadly (yes, I just made that a noun); in other words, totally swoon-worthy—I need more of him now!!! He has a cool, controlled exterior—except in the presence of Maddy, with whom he doesn't feel coldness, nor mere attraction, but rather, a slow, wicked burn. The development of their relationship is exactly that: a slow, wicked burn that ignites at its hottest points and sizzles when it's cool.

Alex knows right away Maddy will not be able to handle his intensity, unless, that is, he pushes her all that far. However, she's much too innocent to do the things he wants to do with her, cravings aside. And his life is too much of a mess for a woman clearly dealing with her own issues. Yet, something inevitable draws him to her, and that's what's so heartbreaking—so devastatingly perfect—about the two of them together.

Maddy, after losing everything, wants to start afresh in the quaint town near Las Vegas. She's irrationally afraid of trying anything new and as it is, Alex—his world, his background, his body, and of course, his mindgames—is as new as it gets. As troubled as she is, she discovers she needs Alex because he knows what she needs even when she doesn't. Nights of unbridled passion, insecurity, and heat expose both of their vulnerabilities to each other, and to the most painful realization of all: heartache.

The couple dynamic here is interesting. It's not just a love-at-first-sight kind of romance story. Both characters are deeply flawed and deeply scarred, with more emotional baggage than each can handle, which means their relationship is weird, complicated, and utterly messy. Maddy's been rendered passive ever since her family tragedy, so her lingering guilt and humiliation dictate her into thinking she just might deserve the pain of Alex's singular tastes; Alex, on the other hand, wants to punish her, but only for pleasure—because that much, he knows, she deserves.

Alex may be her cure, but Maddy just might be his demise. The force of this kinky duo will have you panting and your insides searing. The climax is a bit disappointing—Alex's deep dark secret is, without giving too much away, not that deep and dark. And for a large portion of the book, I felt like Maddy was being rather a baby, but I reconciled with her behavior upon realizing how weak, how fragile, of a character she is. It's obvious within the first few pages of Blush that Alex will become the remedy for her frailty, and that's where the journey of their irrevocable love begins.

Pros


Alex is a fabu-fuckin'-lous alpha male // BDSM scenes hit the spot! // Relatable protagonist // Realistic chemistry // Pitch-perfect dialogue // Emotionally solid // Love that the next book in the series will have recurring characters

Cons


Not exactly a fresh plot (Bared to You reference right on the cover...) // Stilted ending // Deep, dark secrets are not actually that deep and dark; would have liked to see edgier

Love

[Susannah] had insisted on helping Maddy decide what to wear on the date that Maddy didn't even yet have.

From the size of the pile of "no" clothing in Maddy's lap, she was pretty sure that she'd be attending the so-called date naked.

Verdict


Sultry and alluring, Lauren Jameson's first full-length novel Blush is a sinful thrill of a read, and it'll definitely become your next guiltiest pleasure. The inescapability of one's identity is highlighted upon in Maddy's attempted flee from her past, and her acquaintance with the smokin' hot Alex Fraser will make her—and readers—understand that. As she discovers that although he may seem indestructible, in the end, Alex too, is only human, readers get a private glimpse of the composed dominant's perspective—the insides of an outwardly tranquil and authoritative character. A better-written and actually classy variation of the Fifty Shades of Grey madness, this first book in the In Vino Veritas series is heavy on secrets and heavy on sex; it expertly explores the necessary trust and determination in the sexuality of a BDSM relationship, on top of its erotic tendrils Americanflag

9 hearts: Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf (x)