When I first approached by fellow blogger, Leontine with the proposal of a double dare, I was a little nervous. Her taste in romance books is pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum to mine, but that’s the reason I wanted to do the double dare with her – to broaden my horizons.
Leontine offered me three choices: Laid Bare by Lauren Dane, A Fostered Love by Cameron Dane and Holding the Cards by Joey W Hill.
After having read their synopsis on Goodreads, I decided to go with Laid Bare by Lauren Dane. I cracked this book open with apprehension and knew, just by the first line, that this was going to be an experience!
First line: “Music, raw and hard like sex, pulsed through the speaker stack…”
I will be totally honest, my initial reaction after the first few chapters was “Gaaaahhhhhh” *blushing profusely* “Oh. My. God” *did the author really just use that word* and “Don’t think this book is for me”…
Ms Dane takes no prisoners when it comes to the scorching erotic sex scenes and I found myself squirming uncomfortably on my usually very comfy sofa. I’m more of an old-fashioned romantic and for someone who has never read erotica before, let alone m/m/f, I can honestly say I was truly out of my comfort zone.
I can’t say I got used to all the naughty words, but after a while the characters and their story took over and I found myself completely taken by surprise at how much I enjoyed this book and I gobbled it up in practically one sitting.
The story begins ten years in the past when Erin, a rock chick guitarist, and police officer, Todd, are itching to get to know one another, even though they aren’t each other’s usual type. One night Erin makes the first move and there begins a passionate fling between the two. Erin is completely comfortable with her sexuality and knows what she wants. Todd on the other hand holds back, scared to reveal his secret erotic needs, to the point where he’s too afraid to continue the relationship and they part ways.
Flash forward ten years to the present day and things are very different. Erin is a shadow of her former self due to an incredibly painful experience which continues to haunt her, and the free spirit she once had is gone.
Todd on the other hand has come to accept who he is. After a failed marriage, divorce and change in career, he now knows what he wants and needs. He’s more self-assured, especially in the bedroom, and when he bumps into Erin unexpectedly in the cafe she now owns, he shows it by ravishing her the very same night they meet, and this is where their relationship takes off for the second time.
Laid Bare is chock full of sizzling sex and I did find it a little overwhelming at times. I would have preferred less sex and more story, but with that said, this is a story with many layers, complex emotions and characters that are well-rounded and loveable – especially Todd *hubba bubba*
I really liked the relationship between Erin and Todd. They have a respect for one another that is sweet and I loved that it was so evident especially as their sexual relationship is based on D/s, with Todd being the dominant and Erin the submissive. This side of Todd’s nature begins to grow stronger the more he’s with Erin, he feels alive and totally himself for the first time in his life. And because Erin fully admits to how much she likes him taking control, I was comfortable with this aspect to their relationship.
As Todd and Erin find deeper love and security with each other, they decide to bring Todd’s oldest and dearest friend, Ben, into their bedroom. Although he is introduced at a good pace, I couldn’t get to grips with the introduction of Ben, even though he’s a total hottie. I was so deeply immersed in Todd and Erin’s journey that I felt Ben was an outsider and I was reluctant to let him in. I was hoping he would be just a casual addition to Todd and Erin’s ever growing sexual dynamics, but he wasn’t. Although both Todd and Erin said they loved him, I felt sorry for him – he still felt like the third wheel to me.
But my favourite part of the book was the story of Erin, which touched my heart – what heartache she had to endure. I really enjoyed watching her grow from a scared victim to someone in complete control of her life, and to see her freeness of spirit return was inspiring. I think Ms Dane did a wonderful job at describing Erin’s emotions.
Laid Bare is a story with a happy ever after, but I’m not sure it’s my happy ever after. I continued to struggle with the three-way, constantly worrying about Ben. However, it was a very satisfactory ending where Erin and Todd were concerned, and I read the last word with a contented sigh.
I’m not sure this is a genre I could read in great quantities, but I have definitely had my horizons broadened and I was so taken with Ms Dane’s writing, and now rather intrigued with this genre, that I have bought book two in the Brown Sibling’s series, Coming Undone.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Laid Bare
- Coming Undone
- Inside Out
- Never Enough
- Laid Open
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