Author: Kat Black
Publisher: HarperCollins UK, Avon
Date of Publication: 28 November 2013
Source: ARC from HarperCollins via NetGalley
In the beginning, I was tempted not to finish this book. I had issues with both the characters. I liked them well enough in the first chapter. I was really interested in getting to know them and how the story will unfold. But then by the second and third chapters, it felt like I was walking on shaky ground. My biggest issue was Aidan and his overly crude, forward, and bordering-on-sexual-harassment treatment of Annabelle. I was literally cringing whenever I’m reading whatever it was he was whispering or telling Annabelle. I didn’t like that I was reading him as an offensive jerk. I was expecting a straight-forward contemporary romance but it was shaping up to be something else. Then I went and read a review that mentioned that the book has a BDSM undertone to it and everything just made a bit more sense. Having shifted my expectations, I started enjoying the book.
But then to my utter and complete surprise, the book never really did get that close to the level of BDSM that I was then kind of expecting, given how Aidan was acting in the first few chapters. In fact, it became, for me, exactly my cup of tea when it comes to contemporary romance. And that made me a very happy reader.
The author was able to convince me that Aidan was using his crudeness and directness in order to get through Annabelle’s mile-thick defense she’s built around herself. I still think it was a bit creepy in the beginning and it can be a bit of a turn-off for some but I’m really glad I continued reading the book.
First impressions can be a bit deceiving and I was glad that Aidan turned out to be not what I initially suspected and was actually a pretty decent guy. I appreciate that he’s driven and has a strong sense of purpose and of himself, given what he went through in his life. And I love that he cares very deeply and very genuinely about Annabelle. He understands her better than anybody else and I think that beyond the caring, the attention, and the great sex that he’s able to provide her, his complete understanding of her as a person is the one thing that Annabelle needed the most.
Annabelle was a very interesting character to watch unfold throughout the book. In the beginning, she’s this seemingly cold and strict beyond measures kind of person, who pretty much likes to be in control of everything in her life. But she has issues, deeply ingrained because of her past that makes it hard for her to trust people other than herself. But Kat Black was able to flesh her out for the readers and show us what motivates such a self-shutting way of life for Annabelle. And I appreciate that Kat Black was also able to portray her with all her fears and anxieties without compromising her depiction of Annabelle as a strong and intelligent woman.
And if you like a slow-burn romance, you will enjoy this book. Forget about the BDSM undertones because I completely did and it wasn’t really severe as I had expected. In fact, the love scenes were organic to the story. It was part of the development of both characters and their relationship with each other. To be honest, majority of the book was in the build-up of all that sexual tension and that connection they have have with each other, which can be a bit of a frustrating wait but at the same time it was so much fun watching them gauge each other, their own feelings, and their idea of what their relationship can mean for their lives.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
About the author:
Born and raised in Australia, Kat spent a great deal of her formative years either lost in the pages of a book or getting carried away by the stories in her head. At the age of eighteen, she donned her backpack and set out to see the world. She got as far as London (her very first port of call) before running into a six-foot-one, solid British obstacle that stopped her in her tracks. Years later she’s still in England, missing the sun, sea and sand, and penning temperature-raising tales to help counteract the effects of the infamous weather. It may be taking a little longer than planned, but she is getting to see the world – bit-by-bit with her husband and children.
Check out her website here.