And then, the moment I know I will die remembering. The moment when the steel of a blade touched my lips. The moment that he promised there was pleasure in pain. The moment when the blade traveled along my skin with the proof he would be true to his words. And I knew then that I had been wrong. He was not dangerous. Nor was he chocolate. He was lethal, a drug, and I feared…
Ok, Ms. Jones you have my attention. Within the first three pages you captured me. What a beginning. If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones has a blurb that refers to it as Fifty Shades of Grey meets Basic Instinct. Huh. That alone made me pick up the book but after a few minutes I knew I would not be putting it down any time soon. This theme is the face of erotica so let’s see how this book lives up to the last couple I have read.
Done in the first person point of view, If I Were You tells the story of high school English teacher Sara McMillan. Sara’s best friend buys storage lockers as a hobby and when Ella elopes she leave Sara with the keys to a storage locker and instructions that it must be cleared out within the week. Already found in the storage locker are journals of a girl named Rebecca. The journals are the tantalizing story of a girl in a seductive web she cannot work her way out of. Sara doesn’t know what to do so she decides to go to the storage locker to try to find more information about Rebecca. What she finds are more journals, a jeweled box and a big mystery.
Sara finds out that Rebecca worked for the San Fransisco art gallery Allure. Sara has long given up her dream of working in the art world even though she has a masters in art. When the opportunity presents itself for her to attend a showing at the gallery she buys a ticket and tells herself that she is only going to find more information about Rebecca so she can return her stuff. At the showing she meets two very enigmatic men, one an artist and the other the owner of the gallery. She is told by the owner, Mark Compton, that Rebecca has taken a long vacation leaving the gallery shorthanded. Sara tells Mark she is on summer break and Mark hires her on the spot.
Slowy but surely we see Sara envelope herself more into the role of Rebecca’s life. She has her job, her stuff, her office and possibly her boyfriend?
If I Were You is filled with dark, disturbing characters. Mark Compton is clearly a dominant personality. Past experiences in her life have led Sara to be susceptible to this type of personality. Without knowing how or why Sara is compelled to please Mark. Before they even form a boss/employee relationship mark is testing Sara and her submissiveness. Sara is scared she is in over head but, like Rebecca, cannot find a way out. This job is her dream though and she will do just about anything to see it through.
Is this the real me? That idea scares me deep down into my core. This can’t be me. I am not this person. But even more that that fear that I am, indeed, someone I do not recognize, I fear the idea of not being that person.
The second new man in her life is Chris Merit. Chris is an artist who sells his paintings for seven figures. Chris and Mark are tied together by the gallery and something else Sara cannot name. He is rich and way beyond where Sara is. Chris also slowly starts to insinuate himself into Sara’s life creating an explosive chemistry between the two of them. Chris is the type of man we have been seeing a lot in erotic romance novels. He is drawn to Sara even while convinced he is not good enough for her. He is always telling her he should not be with her because he is bad for her. He is the type of hero that could be bad with me??!
“Look, Sara.” He hesitates, and lifts his head to the sky, seeming to struggle for words before fixing me with a turbulent look. “I’m trying to protect you here. This world you’ve strayed into is filled with dark, messed up, arrogant assholes who will play with your mind and use you until there is nothing else left for you to recognize in yourself.”
“Are you one of those dark, messed up, arrogant assholes?”
He stares down at me, and I barely recognize the hard lines of his face, the glint in his eyes, as belonging to the man I’ve just had lunch with. His gaze sweeps my lips, lingers and the swell of response and longing in me is instant, overwhelming. He reaches up and strokes his thumb over my bottom lip. Every nerve ending in my body responds and it’s all I can do not to touch him, to grab his hand, but something holds me back. I am lost in this man, in his stare, in some spellbinding, dark whirlwind of…what? Lust, desire, torment? Seconds tick eternally and so does the silence. I want to hold him, to stop whatever I sense is coming but I cannot.
“I’m worse.” He pushes off the wall, and is gone. He is gone.
Sara isn’t the strongest of personalities. She starts this quest in order to find Rebecca and make sure she is ok. About 15 minutes into her quest she is overwhelmed by two dominant men and does nothing to find her way out. In fact she does the opposite and promises to look for Rebecca the next day, and the next day and so on. If you like stronger heroines Sara will not sit well with you. In this book, that is. Who knows what will happen to/with her over the next two books. The men in the book more than make up for Sara’s shortcomings. They are too intriguing to pass up. Right now, I don’t know who is good and who is bad. It is perfect.
The book ends with two cliffhangers, of course. Chris and Mark’s dark secret is revealed. I can say it was no big surprise but Sara was surprised and scared. There were too many clues to ever doubt what these men dabbled in. The book also ends with the promise of another player in the manly men arena. Sara is set to meet another artist for a private showing.
At this point I am not sure who Sara will end up with or even how she will end up. I do know that I am anxiously awaiting the second book to this trilogy. This is a self pub book so it is not quite as smooth as a normal book but, IMO, it didn’t take away from the reading. Is it 2013 yet?? Final grade- B+
I am lost in a world that isn’t mine and never can be, but somehow, right now, it is.