Author: Charlotte Stein
Publisher: Mischief (Harper Collins)
Review by: Onnica
Basic story: Alissa Layton is used to playing it safe. She’s comfortable with her mediocre job, her passionless failed relationships and her unsurprising life in general. If she doesn’t hope, she won’t be disappointed. When her best friend leaves the country for an extended holiday, she’s left to contemplate her dull existence. She comes across her friend’s diary in a bid to shed some light on why she disappeared. There’s nothing untoward in there, except for a monthly entry that says ‘Assignation.’ She prepares to find out exactly what the assignations entail but nothing can prepare her for what she will discover. Her enquiries lead her to The Harrington, an exclusive hotel that caters to particular tastes. She dares to enter the room that her friend reserved but then loses heart. As the door opens, she panics and hides.
Janos Kovacs is a handsome Hungarian businessman, a powerful and commanding individual. He has no use for emotions or relationships and frankly wouldn’t know where to start with one. When he meets Alissa, he is immediately intrigued. Who is this frightened woman who seems to believe she’s invisible? She isn’t polished, confident or sophisticated, but clearly she’s looking for what he can offer her. Neither he nor Alissa are prepared for their erotic journey into the unknown. Slowly, the lines between sex and love become blurred and they must decide whether running away from their feelings is easier than staying the course.
Why you should read this: Be still my beating heart. I loved, loved, loved this book so much. Charlotte Stein has done it again! Alissa is a joy – she’s a frightened mouse but she pushes herself to experience life and she is so cute in many ways. Janos – the ultimate alpha, but lacking the usual run of the mill childhood traumas alphas usually carry around with them. He’s sexy as all get out, wrestling with what he’s used to (feeling nothing) and the unknown territory of giving himself to another human being. Be warned: the book has a lot of sexual encounters and situations – do not read if you have puritanical tendencies! For me, it was a well-crafted, sensual read about letting down your guard and accepting the gift of love even if you don’t fully believe you deserve it.
What you might hate: As I said, you may be uncomfortable with the level of sexual themes running through the book. If this is the case I’m guessing you’re new to Charlotte Stein? I found this book near-perfect, but I will admit to finding our heroine a little exasperating at times. But I loved her all the more for it!
Rating: 5/5 – It set my Sunday and my world on fire! When is an alpha not an alpha? When he’s Janos Kovacs – he strong, intelligent has many, many abilities and I absolutely adored him. I want me a Hungarian…