Tuesday, May 17, 2016

5 star review: At The Brink - Anna del Mar

Rating: 5 Stars
Published: May 2, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
ARC provided by Carina Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Read as part of Shh...TopPicks May 8: Heroes with Illness/Disabilities/Injuries/Addiction

Amazon Goodreads
Goodreads Blurb:
A Story of Sexual Obsession
I should never have agreed to it.
A woman will do a lot to keep her husband happy. But when my husband sells me to the highest bidder—billionaire, former navy SEAL, pride of Boston's business scene—I agree, not to keep him happy, but because it gives me the chance to finally escape. Escape my marriage, escape my debts, escape my life…
Josh Lane demands a steep price: my pride and my morals. But the truth is, I've never felt anything like what I feel for him. He brings color into my gray world. And his insistence that I submit to his commands—his depraved, filthy, amazing commands—only feeds my craving to be taken by him. Again. And again.
I should never have agreed to it, but I'm so glad I did. 

I don't need to pay to keep women in my bed. Though my preferences may be unorthodox, I never leave a woman unsatisfied—far from it. Lily Boswell, though… Her innocence draws me, her secrets intrigue me. Having her is worth dealing with her cowardly scum of a husband.
I want to release her passions and heal her wounds.
On my terms.
Because the blindfolds and restraints hide more than she could imagine. I must keep her safe from the people who would destroy me—and the demons that haunt my dreams. 

I loved this book far more than I expected to. It's emotional from the start, it starts with a bang and it ends with one. Josh and Lily are the kind of characters that could easily have their own standalone novels focusing on their pasts, they're both slightly damaged and looking for escapes, but when they come together everything makes sense for just a little while. Both have major weak points, but are stubborn and strong regardless of their weaknesses. I really liked reading from their dual POV's, because they both were so uniquely different and I truly felt like I switched from a young woman's artsy mind to an older male's business mind with each perspective shift. Lily is probably the strongest "damaged" heroine I have read about in a long time, girl has guts, while Josh was very weak when it came to his emotional problems, but strong when it came to control. The plot is similar to many out there, from the "Indecent Proposal" similarities (Thanks S, I watched it this weekend!) to every book about a sexual relationship becoming more, but it is how Anna del Mar tackled it that was fantastic. Both characters were so interesting and complete character development took place over the course of the book. The reader is shown glimpses of their pasts and short explanations of why they are how they are, but it isn't until the very end that you understand everything about them. It is only together that they both overcome what has held them back for so long. The secondary characters were so vital to the development of the main characters as well, I think they brought a new layer to Josh's story and really helped in showing that Lily was more than just another girl and that Josh was more than the controlling alpha-male he comes across as.

"Erotic pull? Is that what it was? I remembered the feeling, the universe darkening around us, his massive star pulling on my puny planet, altering my orbit, and the sense of an impending collision rattling my senses and obscuring my reason." 

"What and infuriating sound. It meant everything that I already knew. We couldn't really make up, because in order to do so we'd have to be some sort of a normal couple-which we would never be-instead of two really screwed up beings bound together by a quasi-contractual agreement and a wild flare of chemistry." 

There is immediate attraction between the main characters, but it's not instalove or even really instalust that's acted upon. The biggest intrigue is Lily's husband offering her up to save himself and both Lily and Josh, the businessman, finding that their attraction is stronger than the business deal. The book is very sexy, some beautiful smutty moments, but it isn't everything between the characters. For Josh it was something he relied on and hid behind, while Lily was almost virginal and found a new self that had been hidden inside her. Their relationship was tumultuous, at first their communication was poor and it was just about the sex, but their sexual relationship was what brought out them learning to open up. There was a lot of discussion about trust and sharing your darkness, which I really enjoyed. The end was a total twist for me and even though I had started guessing at it, I never could have predicted how it all worked out.

Her gaze consumed me with the passion I'd discovered in her soul. I knew at that moment that she saw me, not as I wanted to be, but rather exactly as I was" 

This emotional roller coaster of a book is part angst and part sexy, plus a lot of really incredible writing. Anna del Mar leaves you on the edge of your seat, giving just enough new information to leave you hanging on, but still keeps the anticipation high. I loved not knowing the final outcome and seeing Lily and Josh work out their problems both separately and together to form a better union. The chemistry between these two is very real and I definitely would suggest At The Bring for readers looking for an emotional, erotic romance with some serious depth.

Favorite quote: "It wasn't even a question. I was game for all her games."

1 comment

  1. Hi Carlene. I'm thrilled you enjoyed At the Brink. I want to thank you for posting such a phenomenal five star review on your blog. Reviews like yours make a huge difference to new authors like me. Thank you for choosing to read At the Brink and thank you especially for recommending the novel to your readers. A.


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