Oh, Whitney G, how I have missed thy wicked words! Another scrumptious blend of steamy erotica and heart-wrenching romance from the author of one of my all time faves, this was a story I forced myself to savour for as long as I could, truly enjoying each surprising facet of this intriguing storyline, while my body was getting first-degree burns from the sheer incandescence of every single scene. I could not look away, I was grinning like a fool from the moment I opened this book, ridiculously happy to be back in this author’s realm of fiction, and once again, utterly lost to her every mouthwatering word. Angsty, unpredictable, confronting, addictive, and unbelievably hot, this is one of my favourite reads of the year.
“I honestly think you’re the most insane and infuriating woman I’ve ever met. I knew from the moment you gave me a tour of my own goddamn apartment that you were a special brand of psycho.”
You might expect this to be just your average story of girl meets boy, boy propositions girl, boy proceeds to bang girl against every available surface available to them whenever they meet, girl falls for boy…but you’re in for a treat because that might be the premise, but nothing about this wild rollercoaster of a love story is quite as one-dimensional or as simple as that. This is the story of Gillian, a hopeless dreamer, a woman in her early twenties searching for love, even when love is the one thing not offered on the menu. And her heart never stops wishing for that love, craving it, refusing to compromise, even when it keeps breaking time and time again. And this is the story of Jake, a cynic, a man who has long stopped believing in love, disillusioned and hurt by those closest to him, a man who had closed his heart off to any possibility of falling in love again, until a feisty brunette walks into his life, takes him home, and turns what could have been the hottest one-night stand of his life into…a tour of his own condo.
“You’re a goddamn thief and a liar, Gillian…” he whispered against my mouth as he slid his hand between my thighs and tore off my soaked panties.
As the youngest child of five in a family of over-achievers, nothing Gillian accomplished in her young life has ever measured up to those who came before her. With no palpable career aspirations or ambitions, she works merely to pay her bills, her family’s constant disappointment in her reminding her daily of all her failures. But there remains an inherent drive in Gillian, a strength of will always pushing her forward, never letting her become an impassive player in her own life, and always making her commit fully to whatever job she finds herself doing—that being a housekeeper at one of New York City’s most exclusive residences, or a ‘reserve’ flight attendant at one of the most successful commercial airlines in the country. During a welcome escape from her own disheartening reality, however, she meets Jake Weston—a senior captain in his late thirties—and while her body cannot help but react immediately to his dirty mouth and his smouldering good looks, her heart knows from the start that a man like Jake could easily break it in half. Yet it remains powerless before him.
“What will it take for what?”
“For you to leave with me.”
“Um…” Butterflies fluttered against my stomach and my heart raced at a completely foreign rhythm. I’d never been instantly attracted to any man I’d met in my life, never felt as if I didn’t need to talk at all, but this man was more than worthy of an exception.
“Is ‘um’ indicative of a yes?” he asked.
“No, it’s… Look, I don’t typically do one night stands.”
“Then we won’t call it a one-night stand.”
“A night of meaningless sex, then?”
“A night of fucking,” he said, his voice low. “A night of me owning your pussy on every single surface in my hotel room. If we make it past the alley, that is.”
And so a secret affair begins where they both agree to give in to the insatiable attraction between them by engaging in a raw, no-holds-barred sexual relationship, while every other aspect of their lives remains off limits to them both. They agree to meet up whenever their busy schedules would allow it, sex continuing to be the only currency exchange between them. But the more they share their bodies and the more they lose themselves in each other’s arms, the more Gillian starts to wish she were falling for a man who could love her back and not view her love as nothing more than an unwelcome burden.
“I won’t be the guy you think you can call when you need to talk to someone.” He paused. “Unless it’s about how wet your pussy is, I don’t want your name on my call log, and I don’t need you thinking we’ll ever be friends.”
As their affair takes flight and they both lose any semblance of control over their own emotions in it, they are pulled into a highly dysfunctional vortex of lust, obsession, longing, and unrequited love. We watch these characters struggle with their own feelings for one another, but they remain incapable of extinguishing them no matter how many times they try, or how many times their hearts break in the process.
My heart can’t take another sequence of angry arguments, another round in this dangerous game of “Will we make it? Should we make it?” or another spin on this never-ending carousel of highs and lows.
The heroine’s story arc, in particular, is one I connected with immediately—I cheered for her, hurt with her, wanted to throw a pillow across the room in sympathetic anger—and that connection never wavered until the very end. I got her, I felt her desperate need to be loved and wanted all at the same time, and I respected her determination to never lose sight of those dreams. The hero remained somewhat of a wildcard in my eyes, his background story losing footing at times and thus making me disconnect from him on those few occasions, but in my mind, his character simply needed enough substance to become a believable catalyst for all that needed to happen in Gillian, and he fulfilled that role to a tee.
“If I were to sleep with you again, I’d have to be your only one.”
“My only what?”
“The only woman you have sex with.”
I’m always ravenous when it comes to a new Whitney G. novel, and I found myself once again wishing to never have to part with her words again. Her clever dialogues remain one of the strongest features of her bulletproof prose, pulling the reader in and shaping the characters one sharp-witted remark at a time. With an unexpected twist cleverly woven into the story, this was a truly enthralling read start to finish, and it only left me wishing I could read it all over again for the very first time.
“We’ll share our bodies, not our lives. That’s all I can ever give to you. That’s all I ever will give to you.”