Title: The Pleasures of Winter
Author: Evie Hunter
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
* I received this book for free from Penguin Books UK via NetGalley.
Synopsis from GoodReads:
The Pleasures of Winter is a steamy erotic story of romantic obsession and explosive sexual chemistry for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You.
When reporter Abbie Marshall needs to escape Honduras, a private jet carrying a Hollywood A-lister is her only way out. She has a ride home with Irish actor Jack Winter - notorious womanizer and all round bad boy. Abbie is shaken to the core by Winter's blazing beauty and provocative mind.
After the plane's nose-dive into the remote rainforest forces them to fight for survival, Abbie catches tantalizing glimpses of the complicated man behind the image. And the more she sees of him, the more he touches some primal part of her that she is determined to suppress. But after a devastating encounter with Winter's shadow side, Abbie's detachment is shattered.
On returning to normal life, Abbie cannot forget what happened, nor ignore the shocking rumours about the star's private life. Her struggle to make sense of her torment leads straight back to Winter, who is just as obsessed by her. But if they are to have a relationship, Abbie knows she must embrace his hidden desires ... and accept her own.
No longer caring about anything but their intoxicating love affair, Abbie is drawn deeper into the dark heart of Winter - and the secret that threatens to destroy everything ...
'Evie Hunter' is actually two Irish authors who discovered a mutual love of erotic fiction when doing a creative writing workshop two years ago. They are delighted the rest of the world has caught up with them. Before writing The Pleasures of Winter, their first full-length novel, they co-wrote a number of BDSM-themed novellas.
So this book will draw the inevitable comparisons to 50 Shades of Grey and Bared to You because of its BDSM elements, but it's much more. Oh yes, we have the tortured, alpha-male hero but our heroine is not meek nor damaged. And it's her strength that makes this story so exciting, in my opinion.
Abbie is a sharp and intelligent journalist who isn't afraid of being chased down and threatened by gun-toting drug smugglers or dirty politicians in order to get her story. So when Jack awakens in her desires that would have seemed inconceivable, she approaches her need for knowledge the way she'd approach any story. Yes, her search originally began as a way to punish Jack, but ended in learning much about herself along with creating an indestructible bond with Jack.
Jack, a man who's been running from his past, seems to have it all. He's rich, successful...but lonely. And he finds in Abbie the one person who makes him want to be better, to share all of himself in a way he thought he never would. He never thought to find a woman whom he could share all of his life with, all of himself. It's not an easy road these two travel. There are misunderstandings and trials to overcome. But in the end, love conquers all.
Overall, I was completely enthralled with this novel. My only complaints are that the story Abbie is working on when she first meets Jack is never resolved satisfactorily for me and that the supporting characters aren't as fleshed out as I like. When we first meet Abbie, she's in Honduras working on an investigative report about drug smuggling. There are some truly suspenseful moments in the story where I think something is going to happen with regards to the people who are trying to keep her from telling the story...but it just never happens. The element of Abbie's devotion to her job and her skill at it drew me in to this story and I felt the authors kind of let it fall to the side in deference to the love story. Don't get me wrong...I enjoyed the love story. I appreciated Abbie's desire to learn all she could about this lifestyle she might lead and I enjoyed she and Jack's journey into and through their relationship. And the sex was scorching! I just felt like a piece was left unfinished as far as Abbie's career. I mean, Jack's career is more settled (following scandal) than hers and it was her job that had me thinking "yes, this isn't just a 50 Shades knockoff." Also, although I liked Kit and Kevin, I felt as though they weren't quite as well explored as I'd have liked. (Y'all know I like strong supporting characters!) It is these things that keep me from giving it 5 worms.