I don’t know about all of you, but when it comes to erotic romance, I read a lot of so-so books before I find a few gems that are truly worth the reading time. Sort of like kissing a lot of frogs before you find that prince. What I’ve found is the majority of erotic reads aren’t balanced between the hot and steamy sex and an intriguing and emotional story. So when I come across that author who hits all of those – and more – elements out of the park, she’s going to be one I’m on the lookout for in the future. Joely Sue Burkhart is the first in quite a long time to be in that very sparsely populated category for me.
The first thing that stands out in this book is that Ms. Burkhart makes me feel for her characters. Before there’s even a hint of sex, I like the characters. I want to know more about them. Their circumstances immediately pull me into their lives and I care.
Vicki Connagher is just beginning her second career, this time as a fashion designer – a dream she’s always had. But that dream was put on the back burner while she became an attorney representing the dregs of society. But that world came crashing down when one of her clients gunned down a cop – her lover’s partner. Her guilt was enough to break her, but when Elias also seemed to blame her and he walked out on their relationship, it was too much for Vicki. She quit her high-paying job, retreated into her now more private life and began to design the line of clothes that has always lived within her.
Having not seen Elias in months, Vicki is getting along. Trying to beat the coming snow storm, she’s returning home from the grocery store when she runs into the homeless man she came to know during her lawyering days. Jesse was a mainstay at the park she frequented when things got a little rough in the courtroom. That last day with all the emotional turmoil, Jesse is the one she ran to, the one who held her as she cried. Seeing him now brings back all those memories, especially when he hands her the birthday card he’d made for her months before. Deciding she can’t let him stay outdoors in the storm, she invites him into her home for the night.
Though it seems this move is a bit dangerous because she doesn’t really know Jesse, Vicki isn’t a stupid heroine. She does have him checked out. By calling Elias. The man is livid at what she’s done and hightails it to her front door. Jesse, meet Elias. As he rams the young man into the wall, cuffing him, ready to cart him off to jail. But eventually Vicki calms Elias down, at least enough to give Jesse the night’s respite she’s promised. From this point on, we delve into the relationship among each of these characters, what they want from the other, how the trio affects them individually, and Vicki’s new-found dominance Elias has always known about and enjoys fighting her for.
Jesse, of course, has loved Vicki all along, her kindness to a homeless man the start of it all. Elias is jealous as all get-out when he realizes Vicki wants to keep Jesse, but he knows he has no right to be because of his recent behavior. Vicki loves Elias, but her feelings for Jesse surprise her and she has no intention of giving them – or him – up. She does take it slow with Jesse, more for her own peace of mind and for Elias, hoping he’ll get used to the idea, but she also doesn’t want to hurt Jesse. He only wants to be loved, wants to choose how he’s loved and not forced as has been done to him so often in the past. He does like his loving rough and painful, which kind of surprises me, considering what he’s been through. There’s never really an explanation for why this is, which I would like because it just seems contrary to the Jesse I see throughout the story.
Between these two men, Vicki learns a lot about herself she never knew. She’s amazed at her need for Jesse, her desire for him, and she’s determined to give him what he wants. So she heads to big brother, Victor, who is a sadist. He’s known all along that Vicki is a dominant, she’s the one who’s had to find that within herself, and it’s Jesse who brings it out. While she has a great relationship with both of her brothers, it’s her mother who turns Vicki’s screws way too tight. Mother and daughter have been estranged for a while, but Victor has decided it’s time for them to work things out. It’s an interesting dynamic between them, and more emotion is wrung out of these characters to heal the relationship.
I love how Elias and Jesse have their own ways of loving and protecting Vicki. Both very different in methods but alike with a common goal. There are a variety of secondary characters who Vicki is able to to talk about the changes in her life, and each is unique in the role the play in the Dom/sub world. This type of story usually doesn’t appeal to me, mostly because I know I don’t understand the mindset, but once in a while an author does it just right and she gives me a new look at it all, giving me another viewpoint toward understanding.
This is the third book in the series, and having met Victor, I’m curious about his story, as well as Conn, another brother. I’m hopefully going to be able to squeeze those books in some day soon!
All fire and gunpowder need is a stray spark…
The day one of her old clients gunned down a cop, former defense attorney Vicki Connagher lost everything—her passion for justice, and her lover, Detective Elias Reyes. The dead cop’s partner.
Even though she’s following her dream to start her own fashion line, it’s tough with heartache as her only companion. Until she brings Jesse, a wandering street artist, in from a freak Texas snowstorm. His submissive flirting brings out dominant tendencies she never knew she possessed, yet she hesitates to let him take her as far and as hard as she wants to go.
Some homeless junkie in Vicki’s house? Not on Elias’s watch. Pride kept him away, but as long as Jesse is staying in Vicki’s downstairs shop, he’s staying with Vicki. On the couch, but it’s a start.
As the days go by, the three work out an uneasy alliance. But Vicki’s joy at having Elias back in her life is tempered with a growing desire to have it all. Elias in her bed, and Jesse under her command. The only question remaining is if her tough alpha cop is willing to embrace all that she is…
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: