Star Rating: 5/5
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotica
Buy the book: Amazon
Synopsis (from Amazon): A painful past. A forbidden romance. Will she choose love and make the ultimate sacrifice? For Stella Welsch, buying a home and starting her own business has already pushed the boundaries of her strict upbringing. When she meets the sexy and powerful executive, Conrad Adams, Stella knows he’s off limits, but can't help daydream about forbidden romance. As sparks begin to fly, Stella reveals that the relationship could have her cut off from her family and life as she knows it.
If I had to describe this book in three words, I would say, "Very sexy fairytale." And I am an absolute sucker for fairytales, so I mean that as a huge compliment. It ticks all the right boxes for me, plus a few extras that I didn't expect. You've got the handsome romantic interest, check. Engaging and enjoyable female lead, check. Ridiculously unrealistic and wholly enjoyable fantasy element in the form of Conrad's wealth, double check. Honestly, this man could probably buy a small country and rule as king if he wanted to. Okay, that last one is actually true for a small fraction of people in the world, but for plebs like me, it's a fantasy. :)
And then there's the pacing. Man! It pushes you along at just the right pace. I think that's actually one of the things that impressed me the most. Like, a transitionary bit would come along where it's building up to more exciting, plot-progressing stuff, but little promises for the future were dropped in to keep you reading through the transition points. And those points (which I think are a challenge for any author) were made really interesting - little glimpses into the sweet side of Stella's life with her family, which really spoke to me on a personal level because her family in the kitchen sounds a lot like mine: carefully controlled chaos. XD
Warning: there is one bit that is very sad and brought me, the not-cryer (seriously, go about your business and stop looking at me I'm totally not crying) to tears. It's so hard but sooooooo good.
So all those basic elements are fantastic. Here's what I didn't expect and really appreciated. So I was annoyed with Conrad at first because he is a bit bossy and obviously used to getting his way. I got a little defensive for Stella because I was worried the relationship would be unhealthy and one-sided and maybe even potentially dangerous. When it came down to it, though, he asked her if she was sure, making sure he had her consent, making sure she felt safe. This. Is. So important! And I cannot express how much I appreciate that RK did this. Yes, fiction is an escape and it's not realistic all the time (which is part of what makes reading so fun), but this is one of those things I think is an immutable necessity. I won't get into all the reasons here because it is a long, complicated, incredibly nuanced, multi-faceted conversation. Suffice to say, consent and feeling safe is necessary. So bonus points for making that an important feature. At least, I definitely didn't see it as being glossed over in any way.
Now, there is one bone I have to pick. Fair warning, this might get a little hippie-dippy-Kumbaya-soapboxy...I dislike the position Conrad takes with Stella's religious beliefs, specifically the fact that he calls them "weird". Not the most respectful way to describe someone else's faith. Now, I admit that I have a bit of a personal vendetta against this word, weird. I've heard people use it my entire life to describe things different from them, as if being different is somehow wrong. The world is full of different beliefs. One of my good friends is Muslim, I am a Christian, and my twin sister is Wiccan. Our beliefs vary widely. We respectfully disagree about the way we believe the world works, but I would not call either of their beliefs weird. I don't think they would do that to me either. So that does bother me, but I didn't deduct points (why do I always rate books like a game show?) because different characters have to have varied opinions and viewpoints to make them diverse and three-dimensional and realistic. Doesn't mean it doesn't still irk me, but it is good character creation.
So there you have it! Will I be reading the next book in the series. Oh! It seems to have already fallen into my Kindle library. Imagine that. 0:) Yes, I fully enjoyed it, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to take an emotionally complex, steamy rollercoaster ride. Just be sure your calendar is clear because you will not want to put it down!
Thanks for reading!