Why I read it: I picked this new release from Carina Press up at NetGalley and the blurb looked interesting. I do love books featuring established couples dealing with a conflict.
State trooper Alex Meyers is a master at uncovering the truth—except when it comes to his sweet, shy wife. She's clearly keeping something from him. An affair? She wants out? When he finally confronts Jess, he's shocked to learn she wants to turn her forbidden fantasies into nightly realities. But when he takes her to a unique B and B—Bondage and Breakfast—catering to couples and multiples, Alex is about to find out just how far he'll go.
What worked for me (and what didn't): This is a little gem of a book. It's short, just under 85 pages, but Ms. Griffin managed to tell a complete story in that space, in a way that I found very engaging. I've often thought it is harder to write short than long (this from a person who can't shut up!). Some of the things that make it easier to tell a whole story in that time is to have an established couple (check) and to keep the story relatively simple (ie, not multiple conflicts/storylines) (check again). Sometimes, a story like that can be boring however. This one was not. Not at all.
The first paragraph was a bit clunky in that it gave the impression that Jessica and Alex had had a fight - but actually, the problem was more that they had NOT had a fight (or a discussion) about the sexual fantasies Jessica wanted to explore. She felt horny and guilty but embarrassed and unable to talk to Alex about it for fear he would think she was "dirty" and that it might threaten the otherwise happy status quo of their 15 year marriage. She has too much invested to rock the boat. Alex, for his part, has been trying to get Jessica to talk to him - he's noticed how much more interested in sex Jessica is (and he's pretty happy about that) but she is withdrawing from him emotionally after sex and this has him very concerned.
However, I'm pleased to say that once that first paragraph or 2 was done, the book definitely picked up and the story hit its stride. It's simple, it doesn't try to be more than it is and it is definitely sexy. Unlike another book I read recently which was full of sex scenes which appeared to be there only to titillate, in this book, the sex scenes had a purpose. The demonstrated the connection between the couple and served to gradually resolve the "conflict" of the book - whether Alex could "cope" with Jessica's newly discovered sexual fantasies.
The sex scenes were plentiful and well written. Oh, there were a couple of things that I raised my eyebrows about in that they didn't altogether fit with Jessica's previous reticence in the sexual arena and her reluctance to talk to Alex about it but the rest of it was so good I was happy enough to go along for the ride.
I'm not usually a fan of the not talking type story, but it made sense in the context of this book. For a start, normal life meant that sex wasn't on this couple's mind 24/7 - Alex is a cop and he's very busy and often gets called out at all hours on cases etc. Plus, Alex and Jess have 2 children which keeps them busy anyway. The other thing is that Jess is presented as having been very sexually inexperienced and raised in a puritanical household - it made sense to me that she would need some time to sort out what she wanted in her own head before broaching it with her husband. And, finally, the book starts with Jessica finally being ready to talk to Alex about it so I didn't have to suffer through the "will I/won't I" part and I got almost straight to the "let's deal with it" part (which is always more interesting).
If you like a hot little m/f read - I think you might like this one.
What else? I believe Forbidden Fantasies is the author's debut release. I'm looking forward to reading more from her.