I’ve realized something today (well, the day I wrote this post, which won’t be the day it’s live)…after seeing the last 3-4 books I’ve read, I apparently am on a contemp romance, specifically those with BDSM themes, kick. Yeah, not sure what’s up w/that, either…other than some would classify it as “dark” behavior and well, I like dark. *wink*. I was browsing through a galley site and came across If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones. The blurb sounded interesting, so I requested it. Um…sooo glad I did!!
How it began…
One day I was a high school teacher on summer break, leading a relatively uneventful but happy life. Or so I told myself. Later, I’d question that, as I would question pretty much everything I knew about me, my relationships, and my desires. It all began when my neighbor thrust a key to a storage unit at me. She’d bought it to make extra money after watching some storage auction show. Now she was on her way to the airport to elope with a man she barely knew, and she needed me to clear out the unit before the lease expires.
Soon, I was standing inside a small room that held the intimate details of another woman’s life, feeling uncomfortable, as if I was invading her privacy. Why had she let these items so neatly packed, possessions that she clearly cared about deeply, be lost at an auction? Driven to find out by some unnamed force, I began to dig, to discover this woman’s life, and yes, read her journals—-dark, erotic journals that I had no business reading. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I read on obsessively, living out fantasies through her words that I’d never dare experience on my own, compelled by the three men in her life, none of whom had names. I read onward until the last terrifying dark entry left me certain that something had happened to this woman. I had to find her and be sure she was okay.
Before long, I was taking her job for the summer at the art gallery, living her life, and she was nowhere to be found. I was becoming someone I didn’t know. I was becoming her.
The dark, passion it becomes…
Now, I am working at a prestigious gallery, where I have always dreamed of being, and I’ve been delivered to the doorstep of several men, all of which I envision as one I’ve read about in the journal. Bu t there is one man that will call to me, that will awaken me in ways I never believed possible. That man is the ruggedly sexy artist, Chris Merit, who wants to paint me. He is rich and famous, and dark in ways I shouldn’t find intriguing, but I do. I so do. I don’t understand why his dark side appeals to me, but the attraction between us is rich with velvety promises of satisfaction. Chris is dark, and so are his desires, but I cannot turn away. He is damaged beneath his confident good looks and need for control, and in some way, I feel he needs me. I need him.
All I know for certain is that he knows me like I don’t even know me, and he says I know him. Still, I keep asking myself — do I know him? Did he know her, the journal writer, and where is she? And why doesn’t it seem to matter anymore? There is just him and me, and the burn for more.
Yep, that’s a pretty long blurb, I know. But how could I not read If I Were You after I read that? Also, I believe Ms. Jones did this as a self-pub. Normally I wouldn’t read self-pub’d books unless it is by an author I already read and know I like. I took a gamble here and it paid off in spades.
I admit, I almost gave up after about 30 pages into If I Were You. It seemed so boring; felt like it wasn’t going anywhere. But, I try to give each book I read about 50 pages or 3-4 chapters before I DNF it, just to be sure. People, keep with it, I promise you that If I Were You does.not.disappoint. After about, oh chapter 4…whenever Sara gets to the gallery in search of the elusive Rebecca, the pace and plot pick up immensely. I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I forced myself to stop at midnight on a Sunday only because I knew I had to be at work early on Monday. I wanted to read…forget sleep! There is this push/pull thing going on.
First, you meet Mark, the gallery owner. You can tell upon first meeting that he’s a Dom and would be into some pretty serious BDSM. His whole demeanor screams power and control and that he knows how to use both. Then you meet Chris Merit, a famous artist. At first he comes off as quiet and reserved, but really that’s because he’s a very private person. He takes immediate interest in Sara. And as you learn more about him, he is definitely a Dom. He’s not as intense as Mark but all the desires are there. He seems more genuine, more into the lifestyle for the “right” reasons. Not to say Mark isn’t…you don’t see him that way, whereas Chris and Sara explode. You see that Chris is caring and supportive…as well as protective.
I’m all for strong heroines who don’t let a man walk all over. Sara isn’t overtly strong, but she isn’t weak, either. But with this lifestyle comes a certain willingness to give up some control and Sara knows she has to do this, despite her need to control what she can in her life. To be honest, this part of Sara reminds me a lot of me. Which is probably why I connected with her so much. I can also see the allure to a man like Chris…or maybe Mark. Although I’m more likely to tell Mark to go fly off somewhere (well not in those words) and I think in some ways Sara wants to..but because of what he can do for the career she’s always dreamed of…doesn’t. Which is kind of why I’d like to smack her. Chris can do the same for her career. Albeit a different avenue…but it could be a better path. I just feel Chris genuinely cares for Sara and Mark is in it for what he can use Sara for…in and out of the bedroom, if he could. I’m guessing this is what Ms. Jones wants us to feel.
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed If I Were You. Apparently it’s been likened to the 50 Shades series, but I haven’t read those and don’t intend to read those. *ducks and runs* I have my reasons. So, on that note, I can’t say. But I can tell you that If I Were You is one hot and intense read…and yes there are BDSM themes but they’re fairly tame. Now with Being Me and Revealing Us… (books two and three) who knows if that tameness will continue? I know I can’t wait to find out.