A young woman becomes drawn to an attractive, wealthy, and dominant man in this debut novel.
Beautiful Evelyn “Eve” James, a painter, photographer, and blogger, has just moved to Boston, where her brother, Nick, a successful businessman, lives now that he is about to get married. In a park, Eve catches sight of an intriguing black-haired man, who she soon discovers is her brother’s close friend Malcolm Preston Lynch, 24, one of Boston’s most eligible bachelors. Eve can be hard to sympathize with, considering her eye-rolling disdain for the women who stalk Malcolm; she characterizes them as gold-digging bimbos. She’s unnecessarily snarky, too, criticizing commenters on her public blog for their curiosity. Up close, she’s struck by Malcolm’s gorgeous green eyes and the hurricanelike power he radiates, which sends her into over-the-top physical reactions. Malcolm hires Eve to paint his office walls and arranges outings that display his influence and wealth. Despite her love of independence, she enjoys Malcolm’s bossiness and the feelings he awakens. He appreciates Eve’s beauty and dislike of presents. Both Malcolm and Eve have painful memories that explain their difficulties with intimacy, but as the story continues, the couple’s feelings grow and find thrilling erotic expression. Eve discovers that she enjoys being pampered and exploring kinky scenarios—but will a threat from the past and a misunderstanding shake the pair’s newfound trust? In her novel, Cartwright offers standard romantic tropes: a rich, powerful man whose seeming coldness protects deep psychic wounds; a young woman who gives up her autonomy for a dominant and sexy guy, as when Eve feels she must ask permission to call Malcolm, her brother’s friend, by his first name even when speaking of him to a third party. The strong erotic scenes have heat for those who like in-charge men. But here (as elsewhere), clumsy writing can detract: “Malcolm’s hips moved, rubbing against Eve’s clitorises.” In general, the book needs a sharp editor to correct some errors involving spelling, tense, word choice, and grammar (“She almost stumbled to the ground from him powerful pull”; “I rather have a drink”).
An uneven erotic tale.