I’m conflicted. Well, actually I’m more pissed and annoyed, but I think that’s actually a good thing. *grin* With all the 50 Shades hoopla, I’ve been hearing quite a bit about contemporary erotic romance novels and one I was told I had to read was Bared to You, the first novel in Sylvia Day’s new Crossfire series. I did get my hands on it and I have to say that it was sooo good and I definitely wanted to get my hands on the second book, Reflected in You. Even though it doesn’t come out until the 23rd, I was able to get an early copy of Reflected in You and now I’m where I said I was – pissed and annoyed.
Bared to You
Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness…
He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…
Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private worlds…and desires.
The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart…
Reflected in You
Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn’t stay away. I didn’t want to. He was my addiction… my every desire… mine.
My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We’d never work. It was too hard, too painful… except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity.
We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession…
Before I get to my angry feelings, I need to start with Bared to You, so where do I begin? Should I begin at the fabulously developed, emotionally broken characters that are Eva and Gideon? Should I talk about the wonderfully neurotic supporting characters that are Cary or Monica (Eva’s mother)? Or what about the mysterious atmosphere that constantly surrounds Gideon as well as those connected to him privately? I love a good smexy romance, but what I love more is when said smexy romance comes with delicious characters who are not just in it for the sex.
When it comes to romance, there is almost always one thing that all novels share – sex that can overpower any sort of plot and/or character development. You can disagree with me or not, but with romance (and always erotica), the story is always about two characters chemistry and doing whatever it takes to get them together. It’s not often that I come across a story that is able to weave such erotic scenes in with a well-developed, intriguing plot that keeps me glued to the pages just to see what is going on next. Bared to You does this and it’s fabulous to see how all the connecting pieces interlock.
The story is told through Eva’s point of view and you really feel what she’s going through. She is oh so broken and watching her struggle to build a solid relationship with Gideon is heartbreaking, heart-wrenching and so frustrating that you can’t help but feel for her. She knows she has issues, and she sees Gideon having the same issues, but she’s still willing to try and work at a relationship for the first time in her life. That’s part of the reason why Reflected in You made me so annoyed. You see all the hard work that Eva is putting into their relationship – giving way more than 110% of herself – and yet Gideon is this self absorbed prick who says he trusts Eva, but doesn’t let her in. He’s constantly saying Trust Me…Trust Me, but his secrets continue to pile up, and if it had been me, his ass would have so been kicked to the curb. I don’t care how hot and rich you are, you can’t keep shutting me out.
I know Reflected in You doesn’t come out for two weeks, so I don’t want to go into too much of what happens, but I will say this – you’re either going to drown in tears as you see all the suffering Eva goes through or you’re going to want to kick the shit out of Gideon. At least everyone I’ve talked with who has read it has said to keep Kleenex handy…I just got agitated.
But I digress…Bared to You is a wonderfully complex story about two broken people who instantly connect in ways that is seriously mind-blowing. The intensity of Gideon’s and Eva’s feelings for each other is seriously hot and watching them struggle through all of their issues while trying to make their relationship work is such an engrossing read. Add in an equally damaged best friend (aka Cary) and a cast of twisted individuals and I can’t get enough.
It’s not just Eva and Gideon I want to know about either. Eva’s best friend, Cary, is just as damaged and twisted inside that it’s fantastic that they have each other for support. He not only gets what Eva is going through, but he also sees the damage she’s doing to herself with this relationship. He’s not 100% behind it, but he’s still there helping her make it work. Cary has his own issues, and thankfully he gets his own wake-up call, but I still have to wonder how he will end up healing. Personally, after Enticed to You comes out in December, I’m hoping for a a fourth book that features Cary and, fingers crossed, a menage story that gives him just as much heartache and joy that I’ll be able to devour. *grin* Cary deserves a happy ending too.
Typically, with all this character chemistry going on, any kind of plot would get plowed over, but Day does such a fantastic job weaving it in Bared to You and Reflected in You that you can’t have one without the other. The situations that Eva and Gideon are dealt are not there to get them in bed – they are there plenty, trust me on that one – but are more there to jerk them around (if that makes sense). Eva and Gideon are seriously broken and they’ve been great at ignoring their pasts and trying to live; but their relationship has opened the flood gates and their pasts are throwing in as many obstacles as they can. When two characters are just thrown together and it all works out, that is the embodiment of pure fantasy in my opinion as a real solid relationship has to be worked at. There’s no anticipation, no anxiety of whether it’ll work or not. It’s a romance, we already know there’s going to be a happy ever after, so why make it easy on them? I can tell you right now, Day is making sure the reader feels the anticipation and anxiety when it comes to Eva and Gideon. And it’s so fabulous!
Seriously, I could probably go on and on about how complex Eva and Gideon are and how seriously fantastic it is to see these two struggle through everything that is tossed at them. But I won’t. I need to leave some things for you to discover on your own, right?
So I’ll leave you with this. Yes Bared to You and Reflected in You includes some seriously hot, erotic chemistry between two characters who are so very flawed that it’s seriously hard not to get emotionally invested in them. The Crossfire series may be a romance (and erotic as hell), but it is not an easy love story. There is pain, suffering, heartache all mixed in with joyous and happy times that it will leave a reader panting for more. Bared to You and Reflected in You may be a part of a romance, but there is nothing simple about this story. With mind-blowing sex, strong developed characters and a well blended plot of mystery and tragedy, Bared to You and Reflected in You will leave any reader completely obsessed and loving every minute of it.