BOOK REVIEW ~ INSIDIOUS BY ALEATHA ROMIG

When a powerful man is willing to risk everything for his own satisfaction, only one woman can beat him at his own game: his wife. Or so she thinks…

“Let’s start with you calling me Stewart. Formalities seem unnecessary.”

Stewart Harrington is rich, gorgeous, and one of the most powerful men in Miami. He always gets what he wants. Anything is available to him for the right price.

Even me.

Being the wife of a mogul comes with all the perks, but being Mrs. Stewart Harrington comes with a few special requirements. I’ve learned to keep a part of myself locked away as my husband watches me submit to his needs. But the more he demands of me, the more beguiled he becomes and that’s to my advantage. So I keep fulfilling his fantasies and following his rules because he doesn’t know that what he’s playing is really my game. And winning is everything, right?

3.5 stars!
It’s been a while since I’ve read an Aleatha Romig book as I wanted to read something new and fresh from her that didn’t ride out on the coattails of the Consequences series. Although I didn’t fully love Insidious it is still a very worthy read and is a book that constantly kept me on my toes and had my head spinning with each new reveal and twist thrown at me. My biggest complaint is how things were so hastily wrapped up in the end but it didn’t annoy me to the point where it ruined the rest of my enjoyable reading experience.
There’s not much I can say plot-wise without spoiling the book. This author certainly loves her contracts and it’s through a contract that the female protagonist Victoria Conway signs away her life to the much older, wealthy, and charismatic Stewart Harrington to settle financial debts. Doe-eyed and innocent, Victoria has no clue that the contract she signs also enslaves her in a sexual role she must participate in or risk a cascade of financial setbacks that could hurt her family.
And so as the years pass by, she maintains an outwardly dutiful and doting wifely appearance while submitting to Stewart’s sexual demands. He thinks he has her completely under his thumb, but what he doesn’t know is that he’s underestimated Victoria. This book is partially their story – both past and present – of a silent power struggle between the two and the aftermath when the web of lies, deceit, and betrayal falls.
Romance is a very minor aspect in this book (like all of Aleatha Romig’s books) and is a secondary element to the suspense and mystery Victoria tries to uncover that revolves around Stewart’s company and the contract she signed with him. The romance was very unpredictable and I don’t think I would’ve ever anticipated Victoria ending up with the guy she ends up with. Even in the most lighthearted and romantic moments in the book, there are no pretty words. This book is dirty, filthy, but wickedly hot all at the same time.
Aleatha Romig is an extremely talented writer and though there was never a doubt in my mind that she could pull off a story so suspenseful and erotic, I also felt like it wasn’t her best. I’ve always believed that her strongest skill was her attention to detail and the ability to use that detail and stun and smack twist after turn in her stories that thrill us, excite us, and satisfy us. As this book is a standalone, I got the feeling that all the loose ends (there were many) had to be wrapped up quickly in the last 20% of the book in order to reach that ‘standalone’ status so I was disappointed that the quality I admire most in this author’s writing – her attention to detail – wasn’t present, thus several secondary plotlines that had the potential to become something major in the book were underdeveloped. I know I’m explaining things in very general terms to avoid spoilers of all kind but if you want all the sordid details I’d be happy to chat with you about them.
I still enjoyed this book overall and once I started reading, I didn’t put it down until I finished it 4 hours later. I do believe that if this story was expanded upon in another book I would’ve fully enjoyed each of the twists and turns the author presented.
Insidious is the first book in a series of dark erotic thriller standalones. It is not related to the Consequences series.