Published: July 28, 2015
Source: Personal Copy
You might enjoy this book if you like: P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (book or movie), very steamy romances, books about widows moving on with their lives
Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mate, but not Alyssa Barrow. She met Rob at nineteen, and they were set to live happily ever after—until he became ill. In his final days, Rob urged his beautiful, young wife not to abandon happiness—or pleasure. He even left her a special gift, a sexy game plan to help her move on: Thirty cards with instructions for thirty days of passion. You’ll know when the time is right, he’d said. Now it’s two years later, and when Alyssa meets her hot new neighbor, Harrison Kemp, she begins to think the right time is right now…
From his sculpted thighs to his devilish grin, Harrison is the kind of man women want. Before she can lose her nerve, Alyssa tells Harrison about her long-ignored cards…and asks him to help her fulfill them. It’s a favor he’s more than happy to, um, perform. With his skillful touch, and the hot press of his lips against her skin, Alyssa finds herself re-awakening to life—and a host of other sensations. But what began as not-so-innocent fun soon grows into true intimacy, and Alyssa realizes she’s opening herself up not just to sex…but to love. When it comes to a future with Harrison, what’s really in the cards?
So, ahem, I probably should have read the summary a little closer. This book was recommended to me as a homage to Cecelia Ahern's P.S. I Love You, a book I quite enjoyed. What I didn't realize before I read it (although I caught on very quickly) is that this is what some people would call erotica. Now, I'm not a prude--but I wasn't exactly expecting that kind of book when I started this one.
Personally, I still put it firmly in the "romance" category as the plot--and there is one!--is very clearly a romance. My previous experience with erotica, which I admit has been limited, did not feature well-developed stories or characters. d'Abo does succeed on both the plot and character points here. Even though this is a romance, I was still not sure how it would end up until I was almost finished with the book (which is not something that normally happens to me when I read this genre!)
Alyssa is a great character--she's past the hardest part of her grief, but she is still very clearly dealing with the death of her husband. I appreciated that d'Abo made that clear. I think a lot of authors would have treated this as if Alyssa had just reached that point where she was "over" Rob's death and ready to move on. d'Abo also shows Alyssa trying to balance her grief with her desire for a new life, something that I'm sure widows and widowers (or anyone who has lost a loved one) must deal with.
Harrison has more depth than your run-of-the-mill romance hero. We learn about him bit by bit and d'Abo was wise to mete out the information slowly. Ultimately, I do wish he was a bit more vulnerable as I think that would have made him more believable, but it ultimately wasn't a huge flaw for me.
So, yes, the sex. Yep, there is a lot of it and, yes, it is told in very great detail. However, except for the bit with the grapefruit, it wasn't overly kinky sex. Frankly, it was more vanilla than some books I've read that would be considered more mainstream romance. Still, you have to be okay with that level of spice or this book just isn't for you.
I'll admit that, because I was a bit in the dark about this book when I started, I was caught off guard. In the end, though, this is really an incredibly sweet love story that, if you can stand the heat, would be well worth the read.
I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.