Monday, April 18, 2016

Black Widow - Lauren Runow (Club Bridge #1)

Amazon Goodreads
Rating: 3.75 Stars
Published: February 2016
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Romantic Suspense
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Read as part of Shh... R, R,R, and R Week

Preston found and lost the love of his life a year ago, he'll never feel those emotions again, but he finds an escape in the world of BDSM. He's created The Bridge, an exclusive club, that will require masks to be worn by all attendees. The mask will allow him to give and receive pleasure without guilt or connections.
Kamii's marriage was torn to shreds and now work is her life, with books being her only escape. Her first new friend in five years knows she's got a hidden side to her that she's afraid to show and she'll do anything to break Kamii from her shell. She's given the opportunity to live out her book fantasies at The Bridge, without a name and without fear of any feelings.
The masks are perfect for hiding their pasts and experiencing passion freely. When the two find the connection is still there once the masks are removed nothing can protect them from emotions that they share or from the danger that follows.

I'm shocked. I'm mortified. I am more turned on than I have ever been in my entire life.

Black Widow is an erotic suspense told from dual POV's about two lost individuals and their sexual desires. As their connection builds, so too does a dangerous secret from the past that threatens to unhinge everything. I found myself hooked on the story of Kamii and Preston from the very first page, both characters had painful pasts and were so intriguing as individuals. While both were closed off from emotions in their head, neither had control of their hearts. Kamii was so detached from emotion that even once it was there she remained unaware and it made her a very unique character to read from. Both her thoughts and her dialogue were impassive, even during passionate moments inside the club. Preston, on the other hand, was still reeling from the recent loss of his wife and while he was determined to have no emotional connections, his heart was not on the same page. I loved Preston as a character, particularly because of his emotional awareness and the depth of his feelings. As he welcome emotions back into his life I found myself totally wrapped up in him and couldn't wait for the chapters from his POV. The sex scenes were very well written and very, very hot. I loved that Lauren Runow didn't just write the scenes from one POV, but from both characters POV with their thoughts and feelings included. In those moments I truly felt the build up between the characters and how much emotion they both were feeling and hiding. Once suspense was tossed into the mix, I was on the edge of my seat. From BDSM to tragedy, this book didn't slow down and left no opportunity for me to get bored. The twists in this book take it to the next level and I really enjoyed the drama that played out, both between the characters romantically and the suspense that threatened to tear them apart.

The smut in this book was totally on fire, but unfortunately the suspense aspect of the novel was easy to pick up on and predict. I love a good erotic novel, but I especially enjoy them with a bit more to the story, which is what really intrigued me about Black Widow. I would have liked the suspense, and the background to each character's past, to be a bit more fleshed out. I had immediate connections to both, but at times it was at a superficial level and I found myself feeling the same way about the character's friendships with others. The characters seemed to have more connections in the club than outside and I wanted to see that connection build up in both areas of the novel. There were also several minor characters that I would have liked to see more from, as I think it would have brought more understanding to the suspense part of the novel.

"Really, how am I with you?" He puts his hands on my hips, pulling me even closer to him. "Your eyes darken when you're around me. Your lips part, dying for me to kiss them. Your breathing quickens and your body opens up to me, allowing me to do whatever I want. Like your body is mine."

While the book was at times predictable, and some of the BDSM scenes were a little lacking, I truly enjoyed the self-reflection and growth the characters had, both sexually and mentally. I was incredibly impressed with the development of the story, the world building, and the characters that Lauren Runow brought to life. I will absolutely be checking out other books from Lauren Runow and look forward to more from the Club Bridge standalone series.

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