My 5 of 5 stars is based on original story-telling, character depth, plot, editing and "that something extra" which I call completion of all. That something extra is how the other four come together and make you feel at the end of the story.
Elizabeth delivers a story that progresses with every line, making you want to read more. The dialogue is fantastic. The premise is delivered with unique realism. The story draws you in. When the secondary character, Cindy, takes stage she almost overshadows our heroine. But as Samantha--our heroes sweet, strong, compassionate love interest continues on, I couldn't help but fall in love with her along with Derek.
I have a snippet below in which I think captures what the story is about.
When a man tells you who he is, believe him
Billionaire entertainment investor Derek Damon Wright learned at a young age women were trouble. He’s unprepared for dancer Samantha Rose who walks into his thirteenth, Washington DC nightclub opening with an authenticity and passion for life that quickly rocks his jaded, albeit privileged, world.
Samantha, an aerial artist and dance studio owner, hasn’t been lucky in love, and falling for the charismatic and resolute bachelor Derek won’t draw her closer to her greatest dream of having a baby. Yet she’s helpless to resist his charm and sophisticated world of private jets, Caribbean islands and the sexual pleasures of dominance and submission.
As their whirlwind romance progresses, past mistakes rise up to threaten their future. Only when they rely on each other for safe haven do they find the answer to their dreams.
"Gentle may not be in my repertoire." ~ And yet, I found Derek very much the gentle Dom for most of the ride.
These two characters lend themselves to lovability.
I love the tag line ~ When a man tells you who he is, believe him yet I found Derek bending his bachelor ways in spite of himself. He's the bachelor that didn't know what he wanted until it twirled above his head like a star just out of reach. Samantha was the ultimate "whatever" girl. A Whatever girl doesn't fret about later. She's in the now. While she wanted a baby and it was her biggest dream, she didn't let it stop her from enjoying what she had with Derek in the moment. That is how many a man has faltered from the single life. A woman who has her shit together and doesn't press demands is a woman who gets to pick her way to the right guy. That's Samantha. Courageous, loving, charitable and sexy. I dare say she's what a lot of men want.
I applaud Elizabeth on her real-to-life characters, her every-woman's-fantasy vacation and the book boyfriend we will talk about for weeks.
Real-world, noble man--that would be Derek. He's giving but uninvolved, kind but doesn't think about motives, rich, flashy but broken in many of the same ways as Samantha. They are a good match.
I remember talking to Elizabeth SaFleur about her characters and she mentioned Samantha felt she was un-lucky. A curse to men. But I remember thinking, Samantha might think that but there was so many good things about her that I feel as though only the douchebags flocked to her because the decent guys felt out of their league. But then came Derek.
Elizabeth SaFleur always has birds in her books for headers and I'd consider Derek a peacock but that bird I think might be reserved for one of the other characters. I see Samantha as a white raven.
I highly recommend the book. It's a wonderful read and has a real Elizabeth SaFleur flavor of Doms, exotic destinations, light BDSM elements and powerful men treating their women right.
Here are some of my Favorite Lines:
“I’m afraid I’ve said too much.”
“No, please. Tell me more.” Her voice sounded overeager even to herself. “One minute he’s lavishing me with trips and diamonds, and then the next he pulls back. And, why his aversion to family? Do you know anything about that?”
Alexander’s lips tightened. Yes, there most definitely was a story there.
“Samantha, these are conversations that you both need to have. You are right to keep prodding him to open up, gently, of course. I believe you may be the only person in the world who could.”
“It hasn’t worked so far.”
“Derek, I should have said something the day I bailed you out of that police station.”
“Don’t get caught again?”
“No. I should have told you, you aren’t special.”
Wow, that was some cold shit. “Never said I was.”
“Yes, you do. By the way you live. As if you’re above it all. None of us is above love.”
“Not interested. And, besides, you’re single.”
“Right now, yes. By choice. But you’re not choosing anything. You’re letting your past do the choosing.”
“Man, this place has turned into a therapy center.” He scrubbed his hair and almost stood but something in Alexander’s eyes made him stop. Jesus, the man could freeze Medusa.
“Swim back to me.”
“What if I don’t?”
“I’ll march you downstairs, strap you to the spanking bench and tan your ass with my bare hand.” He wouldn’t, really. At Accendos, whenever a guest was involved, a third party not involved in a scene must witness the guest’s consent before any serious play could ensue. He could still threaten a spanking for effect.
“Promise?” She threw him a smile that could only be characterized as daring. She lifted herself from the pool. “Catch me .”
Samantha Rose was sex-on-silks.
He had always seen women as something to put into the cracks of his life—like flowers bursting through flaws in the sidewalk. They weren’t part of his real life. Opening properties, amassing a fortune and a fortress, making sure no one could get inside—that was his reality. He saw now what an asshole thing that was to believe.
Derek fisted her hair. “Don’t test me, ballerina.”
Test him? Wasn’t that what he’d been doing to her? Binding her with silks in her studio and taking her to the rigging hut in St. Thomas were not enough—not for him, not for her. They’d had fun but she was left with nothing more than postcards in a scrapbook of experiences.
She looked up at him. “It’s like they’ve been loved all the way through to the other side.”
He cocked his head. “Interesting way to put it.”
“It’s something my grandmother used to say to me. I love you all the way through.”
"I lost someone important to me a long time ago, and she gave me the perfect advice to help me through the grieving process. Live the life that would make him proud."
"We all eat lies when our hearts are hungry.”