Gracelynn is drowning in an existence that fails to fulfill her. A ballerina by trade, she’s devoted her life to the stage, sacrificing adventure for discipline. When her boyfriend gives her permission to want what she’s not supposed to want, can she walk away? Or will she leap?
Jasper isn’t a man with many boundaries, and “sharing” a woman with his best friend is hardly a new endeavor. But the moment he meets Gracelynn he realizes she’s different. She leaves him feeling alive in a way he’s not used to, and for the first time in his life, he understands what it means to be wanted… Cherished… And he needs more…
But there are rules—rules that forbid Jasper from truly having her. As forbidden desire spirals out of control, Jasper has to decide if he’s willing to fight for something that doesn’t truly belong to him. His best friend doesn’t deserve her, but is Jasper strong enough to believe he does?
For me, reading this book took some balls. Angst, love triangle, cheating…did I scare you yet? As a reader who loathes all three, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I did enjoy the book. It has a very interesting book premise and for the most part the story was sensual, erotic, and at times, deeply emotional. But at the same time, this book also didn’t work for me. I think the combination of high angst, extremely damaged and flawed characters, and a meddlesome, needs-to-die-already ‘best friend’ all together messed with my emotions in a bad way. For every positive I can come up with, there’s a negative to counter so that leaves me with the middle-number rating.
Gracelynn Ellis ‘Gray’ is a ballerina and has been dating the seemingly perfect guy – Ian – for the past 4 months. Her past experiences have left her with an extremely insecure and timid side, and so Gray accepts much of Ian’s verbal abuse without defense. On one of her rehearsal days, Ian brings his best friend and bar owner Jasper Drees over to meet Gray in hopes of spicing up their sex life by sharing her, something these two rakes have done many times in the past. What started out as an outright refusal turns into a tentative agreement as Gray is interested in exploring her sexuality and breaking out of her shell.
Though Ian has set up rules that serve as boundaries to how intimate Gray and Jasper can be, the heart knows no boundaries and Gray and Jasper connect on a deep and emotional level neither of them have ever had before with anyone else. The story then portrays them fighting and giving into their attraction along with their inner turmoil, guilt, lust and about a dozen other emotions.
It’s pretty obvious that the book is a romance between Jasper and Gray so the whole ‘love triangle’ aspect isn’t too bad. I think the author did a good job with showing how crucial it was that these two characters had to be together, whether it be through the explosive sex scenes or emotional moments. Without that kind of desperation and deep feelings, it would’ve been hard to convince me of the strength of their bond. I still thought the author threw their attraction in the reader’s faces too soon, almost bordering on insta-love but at the same time I understood. With a shitty boyfriend like Ian, Jasper’s sensitivity and attentiveness is definitely more appealing. I have to admit, I wasn’t too keen about their relationship in the beginning but once I saw how much they were willing to go through for each other, they won me over. I rooted for them, even when I wanted to slap them senseless. As unstable, dysfunctional, and lost these characters were, they belonged together. They were better people by being together, and helped each other fill the void in their hearts. That much is undeniable.
This book could’ve gotten at least 4 stars from me if it weren’t for the fact I had to suspend disbelief in order to somewhat enjoy the story. The crux of the issue is why didn’t Gray just break up with Ian already so she and Jasper could be together?? Honest to God, there is not a single reason provided why she couldn’t just break up with him. Ian’s no saint – calling him rude, abrasive, and a douchenugget is being nice. But hey, if she did break up him early on in the book, then there wouldn’t be this ‘forbidden’ aspect, which means no push-pull dynamic and high angst. Moral of this little paragraph is to not question the logistics of their relationship because it would be futile. Oh and while I’m on the topic of their relationship, I thought it was a bad move on the author’s part to add in a little revenge scene near the end of the book. While I did like the sentiment behind the idea, the actual execution was very childish and completely trivialized Gray and Jasper’s entire emotional journey, making it like a game of ‘who got the girl in the end.’ Not cool.
In the end, maybe I’m just not cut out for these kinds of stories. It’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy this book at all because I did. I lived and craved for some of the one-on-one emotional scenes Jasper and Gray had where they actually worked out their problems and not let indecisiveness and insecurity take over. If you’re a fan of high and somewhat unnecessary angst, sizzling hot sex scenes with ménage, and a hard-earned, hard-fought, rewarding ending, this is the book for you.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Elizabeth Finn is a multi-published contemporary romance author. Her passion is creating stories packed full of believable conflicts, characters who leave you rooting for them, and romance that might just short-circuit your e-reader. She likes her characters flawed, but they always find the best part of themselves on their journey. And her readers find themselves devoted to her honest and heartfelt voice.