Genres: BDSM Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley
Released on January 3, 2012
After reading books four and five in this series and absolutely loving them, I decided that I should probably go back and get it all from the beginning. Truthfully, this story caught my eye a few years ago when it came out, but I got caught up in others. Now though…I was ready to be caught up in this one. The premise promised a bit of danger and excitement along with hot passion and let me tell you it delivered on all counts. It was exactly what I expected and more. It is obviously the debut book for the author and I can definitely see how she has settled more into her writing since then, but that takes nothing away from this story.
Brynn has an eventful night when she learns an unwelcome face from her past will be working with her and that her sister has disappeared with some real ugly types on her tail wanting money that her sister owes them. Reid offers to help with her sister and she calls a truce on her hate of the man who defended her mother’s murderer in court and used her for his kinky needs while going about in public with the other girl who came of money and perfect home, but a truce is all it is. She wants nothing to do with him even if he does get her blood pumping and reminds her of sultry things she would rather forget.
Reid is no more thrilled to discover he will be working with Brynn after the way she cheated on him and knows that she will hate him more than ever if she discovers that he is still working to get the man she thinks murdered her mother proved innocent. He thinks Brynn’s sister, Kelsey, can provide the evidence he needs, but Kelsey will only talk to him if he’s with Brynn. Brynn needs him in his capacity as a dom as a way into the exclusive BDSM resort where Kelsey is hopefully hiding and he plans to show her exactly what she threw away that night when she ripped his heart out.
When they come together with their warring agendas and versions of the truth in such a setting, dangerous sparks do fly and ignite quite a dangerous fire. With such a fire, someone will get burned and second chances and reconciliations aren’t on the real killer’s agenda for Brynn and Reid.
Like the latest release in the series, this one is two stories in one because it offers the Brynn and Reid of the ‘now’ and the Brynn and Reid of the ‘then’. Because of this, it offers the fascinating story of a young couple coming of age and those same people almost ten years later when they can barely stand each other. At first, I was given one picture of what was going on, but then the story filled in all that I was missing to create a different picture by the end so that it’s obvious that things aren’t always what they seem. The author has an absolute gift for doing this it seems.
I found it fascinating and also heartwrenching with the various dynamics that were in play. This is not your typical BDSM erotica that jumps into the sack creatively and often. I’m glad because it totally wouldn’t have sat well with me considering the issues involved. Not to say that there is nothing to get your libido up, there is.
Due to outside influences, these two characters went through some pretty tough stuff. The Reid of the present is not an attractive personality because he is still hurt over Brynn’s supposed betrayal and conflicted because he still wants her, but knows that she despises who and what he really is. He treats her harshly. This is hard as a reader to see because unlike Reid, the reader is privy to the fact that Brynn is a rape victim so she struggles hard with the terrors that going to a BDSM resort and allowing someone to dominate her entail. I was able to hold on to a good vibe toward Reid even through the hard first part of their time together because of his ignorance of the truth. I was also aware of the fact that besides the rape issue, Brynn was also struggling with ignorance because the stuff she held against Reid were lies too. Her thing with his darker needs being only his and not her own was the one lie that was all on her. She was in denial. I liked this particular aspect of character growth when both characters must learn to accept each other, but also learn to accept themselves.
The story explored something unique for me. I’ve never read about a dom in the making so to speak. Usually books talk about guys who are already trained dominants. The past story of Reid was what it was like for a young guy to discover his dominant proclivities and the insecurities that can come with it.
[quote]He blew out his breath and leaned against the windowsill. “I hit you, Brynn. (he spanked her in non-abusive fashion) Used you. Talked to you like I owned you. You don’t deserve that.”
She zipped up the back of her dress and narrowed her eyes. “You loved it.”
His frown lines dipped deeper, and he turned his back on her, looking out the window to the swimming pool outside. “I don’t want to be like this. I want a normal relationship with you.”
She crossed her arms over her chest and toed on her shoes. “And I don’t want to be with someone who’s lying to me. If you want to date me, you come as you are- quirks and all- or go find someone else to play pretend with.” p. 117 Brynn and Reid from Crash Into You[/quote]
There are some truly hard issues in this one that have to be worked out in the romantic relationship. Brynn might have been in therapy and did several things to work through her rape issues, but it all doesn’t go away over night and really, there will always be things. A D/s relationship really complicates stuff for these two when they are dealing with her rape, the murder, their perceptions of the lifestyle and all the lies.
In fact, side note here, the past tense story line with Reid and Brynn will make those in the know about BDSM cringe. I suspect the way things were handled when they went to The Ranch will too. Brynn gets pushed harder, faster and most likely wrongfully than she should have been if it were real. I mean heck, she’s practically ignorant and she’s put through a slave auction and a master choosing process where almost anything is on the table. Granted, Grant and the others are given the impression that she has experience and go forth with that premise, but the reader knows differently so again, it’s hard to read. Okay, so back to what I was saying…this romance was complicated and for that reason it was so worth it when it finally started to gel. I was a puddle of goo by the time the book wrapped stuff up.
[quote]She stared at him for a moment, a small crease forming between her brows. “I think what scared me the most was losing control- being hurt again. But I realized the other night when I was with you without a safe word that submission is not about loss of control, it’s about trust. And I trust you.” She took a deep breath and her gaze did not waiver from his. “I love you. Always have.”
He closed his eyes for a moment, absorbing her words, letting the fear that gripped his insides for the last few weeks melt away. She loved him back. Thank you, God. As long as he had that, everything else could be worked out. p. 296 Brynn and Reid from Crash Into You[/quote]
So…final thoughts? I found this first book in the series engaging and exciting showing all the promise that will become the rest of the series. It played on my emotions several times and, again, I really liked the characters particularly because the author took the time to tell their backstory along the way. I can see now that each book in the series might possibly operate as a standalone the way they are loosely connected. I saw the hint that Jace’s story is next and I look forward to it just from the moments he was present in this one. So onward I go through to the next installment of the series.
Fans of BDSM romance with a slight romantic suspense feel would probably enjoy this book.
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