Screw fairytales. The only reward Gwen Anders got from her rough childhood was a thick skin and hard heart. She’s content with her daily grind managing a top NYC nightclub—Eighty-Eighth Floor. So hers isn’t a happily ever after. She doesn’t believe in those anyway.
Then she meets J.C.
The rich, smooth talking playboy is the sexiest thing that Gwen has ever encountered, but she’s not interested in a night-in-shining latex. But when a family tragedy pushes her to the brink, it’s J.C. who’s there to teach her a new method of survival, one based on following primal urges and desires. His no-strings-attached lessons require her to abandon her constant need for control. Her carefully built walls are obliterated.
Gwen discovers there’s a beautiful world outside her prison. Freedom is exhilarating—and terrifying. When she starts to feel something for J.C., she fears for her heart. Especially as she realizes that he has secrets of his own. Secrets that don't want to set him free.
Free Me by Laurelin Paige, narrated by Tanya Eby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Gwen had a rough childhood, and believes that the people she can love and trust are her brother and sister. Period. She does see a use for sexual release, but has no desire for a relationship beyond that. Gwen works hard, and follows the rules. She is thrown for a loop when she meets JC, a charismatic man who seems to have no problem breaking rules. JC is attracted to Gwen and offers to help her loosen up a bit.
I enjoyed the chemistry between Gwen and JC, especially after they started heating things up. Gwen is definitely a tightly wound character, and it was clear that she was using her strong work ethic and rule following to control as much of her environment as she could. It was sad to see the personal cost that her walling herself off from connections with everyone but her siblings was costing her. JC is an interesting character, and while it took a little while for me to decide whether he was sketchy or not, I did end up cheering for him as time went on. One of the intriguing things about the book was slowly finding out bits of information about JC. One of the frustrating aspects of this story was that just as things got really good, the story ended.
I also liked seeing some of the growth that all three of the siblings went through in this story when it was clear that the childhood they had effected them each in different ways.
My major complaint with this book was that at times Gwen's incessant internal questioning and acknowledgment of opposing feelings became a little daunting. Overall, I did like that the story went in directions I didn't expect, and I will be continuing on to the next in the series as soon as I can to find out what happens next.
The narrator had a lovely voice, but at times I felt that she was almost a little too articulate. In the beginning I also thought that her voice seemed a little too sensual to feel like Gwen. I was able to engage in the story without the narration distracting me, and I thought with some characters (like Norma), her voice was a great fit. I believe she would probably be the perfect narrator for some books, but overall I found her voice and inflection just okay for this story.
*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
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