Series: Grayson Brothers #3
Published by Macmillan Source: Netgalley
Genres: Alpha Guy, Animals, BDSM, Best Friends Sibling, Contemporary Romance, Friends With Benefits, Romance, Workplace Romance
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She's the only one he wants...and the one he can never have…
Ella Clark has been in love with Alex Grayson forever. She’s tired of being invisible—or worse, being treated like his kid sister. If she can just get him to drop his iron-fisted control for two seconds, she’ll prove she knows exactly how to blow his mind.
Alex has been fighting his attraction to Ella since her should-have-been-innocent sweet sixteen kiss burned down his world. He's damaged, and there's no way he'll ever drag her into his screwed up life. Until she offers him something he's always craved—steamy, no-strings sex inside his exclusive BDSM club. Where she'll be safe from the darkness that haunts him.
Except there's nothing safe about being with Ella, and the more she gives, the harder it is to let her go. If he stays, he risks everything, but how can he walk away from the only woman he's ever needed?
I read the second book in this series, and liked it, so it was an easy choice for me to pick up this book. This book apparently has a bit more of BDSM element to it, after all our hero owns a BDSM club, so I was mildly concerned. My big issue with these kinds of books is that they are often done quite poorly, but in this book I would call BDSM-lite. While Alex is a bit of a control freak, and they use some of the lingo, there is very little actually BDSM in this book. So if that’s a hang up for you, fear not, this book is safe.
More about our hero, Alex. Alex has a tragic past, his father was abusive, and one night when he was quite young, he killed his father while his father was basically in the middle of trying to kill his brothers. I think its safe to say that anyone would be affecting by having something like that in their past. And it has resulted in Alex being unable to trust himself or others, and through this has spent his life trying to control every single aspect of life, all the time. He likes Ella, our heroine, but he doesn’t trust himself with her, so he avoids her. I feel bad for him, clearly he is messed up from his past, and while there are occasions in the book where he comes off as being commitment-phobic, the reality is he is honestly to do the right thing by everyone, so it’s hard to blame him.
Ella, is an interesting character. I had a hard time picturing her, because the author said things like rainbow hair or multi-colored lipstick, and seemed like she was in a constant state of rainbow reinvention, I don’t know what orange mascara would look like, so she was hard to picture in my head. She is an animal lover (cats), so I really liked that about her. I didn’t particularly love how it almost seems like she lets herself be taken advantage of, I mean she pays have the mortgage of her mom’s house when she didn’t even live there, and her mom is horrible to her. And I didn’t really feel like enough of explanation was given as to why she was that way. Also when her physical relationship with Alex starts, she reads a lot into things, without really ever talking to him about it, and then when it becomes apparent that she was wrong she is hurt, and then shortly after makes the same assumptions again. It was a little frustrating for me.
Ultimately, with this book my biggest complaint was that I didn’t feel like the characters were super well developed. I understood the mechanics behind why Alex was closed off, but his background really wasn’t delved into, it was more just like told to you. And there more than one aspect of Ella that was told to you but then never explained, and I wanted the explanation. It was a quick read, fast paced, enjoyable, I just wanted a little bit more depth. I wanted to connect more with the characters then I did.