I have loved every single book I have ever read by Alessandra Torre, truly believing that this author’s talent has no bounds in whatever genre she decides to tackle, but I get a special kind of tingle when she returns to the one that made me fall in love with her writing in the first place—the titillating world of a fast-paced erotic romance. Built on the premise of a mysterious stranger sweeping in and saving a ‘damsel in distress’ from her own life with an unexpected marriage proposal, this is where all the similarities to a storybook fairytale end, and where the story takes off in one of the most mouth-watering page-turners this author has ever written, a book I simply could not read fast enough. Taking her reader on a racy, emotional roller-coaster is what Alessandra Torre does best, and from the moment I opened this book, I could not wait to throw my arms in the air and scream my heart out. A gripping, angsty must-read cover to cover.
The lights flicker off and my eyes move, traveling across the empty room and over to his. The eye contact is terrifying, the cigar tight in his mouth, a fierce look in his eyes. It is more than simple arousal, a hungry and possessive stare that rips pieces of me off and marks them as his, each dagger of eye contact laced with blatant desire that he makes no attempt to hide.
Candace Tapers never imagined that her ordinary suburban upbringing would one day lead her to the seedy, disheartening walls of a smoky strip club in Destin, Florida, but that is where poor choices in life have forced a twenty-seven-year-old Candice to sink all her hopes and dreams for a better future. Drowning in student loans and credit card debt, Candice has had to take the only job that could pay for her mistakes, but even after three years of working as a stripper, she is no closer to being free from her financial burdens. So when a handsome stranger walks into the club and asks for her by name, she jumps to the opportunity to make some extra money any way she can, his good looks only sweetening the deal. But when he returns the next day and makes her an offer she would be crazy to refuse, a simple ‘I do’ changes her life forever.
“I understand what I am giving up, but fail to see what I am getting from this arrangement.”
“This life. You are barely struggling by. I am offering you a life of luxury, with everything you want, at your fingertips. You won’t have to work, will no longer have to straddle sweaty men with wandering hands.”
When Nathan Dumont proposes marriage to a young stripper he’s just met, he is not signing up for romance, or for the contract between them to ever become anything more than a simple business arrangement, but from the moment he lays eyes on Candice, he knows that, even in the absence of real feelings between them, their union would be consummated frequently and in many, creative ways. With the demeanour of a man used to getting his way, he storms into Candice’s life offering her a way out of her problems, and besides her name next to his on a marriage certificate, he only demands her physical surrender in return. And in order to keep emotions out of the equation altogether, Nathan goes out of his way to make sure his new wife wouldn’t develop any for him either.
“I will not love you. I will have no use for you other than sex and photo ops. That is something you might want to consider when making your decision.”
We watch as the new Mrs. Dumont slowly finds her footing in her new, carefully controlled ‘fairytale’ by trying her best to be the meek, obedient wife that her husband expects her to be, but she soon realises that she could never be happy in that role. Nathan’s every touch ignites the kind of passion in her that makes her wish for more—more of his time, more of his regard, more of his heart—but when she finally discovers the reason he married her, she knows for certain that he would never see her as anything more than a contract.
“I got the memo, Nathan. You don’t love me. Aren’t going to love me. I hear it loud and clear.”
Spellbinding and provocative, I loved the way the author used the characters’ explosive physical connection as a building block in the heroine’s growing emotional attachment to the hero, lacing their every interaction with equal parts of steam and angst. My heart ached for Candice, but I loved her selflessness and unwavering strength in the face of heartbreak, making me her greatest cheerleader start to finish. Nathan was somewhat of a mystery at times, our limited insight into his mind requiring us to fill in the blanks on occasion, but even when I hated him, I sympathised with him. Once again, Alessandra Torre does a remarkable job at keeping her reader thoroughly entertained and dazzled, and more than a little exhilarated from all the prickly moments of angst pushing the story forward. And I could not get enough of it all.
He made a mistake in touching me, in giving a drowning, lonely girl hope.