Tuesday, 13 August 2013


Pages: 320
Date: 13/08/2013
Grade: 3.5
Details: no. 3 Stark Trilogy
            Received from Random House
            Through NetGalley
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

This sexy, emotionally charged romance continues the story of Damien Stark, the powerful multimillionaire who’s never had to take “no” for an answer, and Nikki Fairchild, the Southern belle who only says “yes” on her own terms.

Our desire runs deep. But our secrets cut close. Beautiful, strong, and commanding, Damien Stark fills a void in me that no other man can touch. His fierce cravings push me beyond the brink of bliss—and unleash a wild passion that utterly consumes us both.

Yet beneath his need for dominance, he carries the wounds of a painful past. Haunted by a legacy of dark secrets and broken trust, he seeks release in our shared ecstasy, the  heat between us burning stronger each day.

Our attraction is undeniable, our obsession inevitable. Yet not even Damien can run from his ghosts, or shield us from the dangers yet to come.

My thoughts:

You are what I need, Damien. You’re all that I need.”

Damien and Nikki are in Germany where the powerful man has to face murder charges. When an unexpected development stops the trial almost before it starts it should mean the end to their problems, but life is rarely that simple and this isn’t one of those rare occasions. Damien is determined to keep his past the secret it has been for so long, but it appears that suddenly that decision is no longer in his hands. Somebody out there can make those sordid secrets public at any time. The fact that nobody knows who that somebody is only makes the problem bigger.

And there is more. Gossip about Damien and Nikki is regularly leaked to the tabloids and Nikki has acquired a stalker who is getting more threatening with each encounter. Facing so many threats together should bring Damien and Nikki even closer than they already were but Damien’s instinct to protect Nikki keeps on getting in the way:

“I believe with all my heart that Damien loves me. What I fear is that love isn’t enough. Not when he’s determined to push me away in some misguided attempt to protect me.”

Damien may tell Nikki that:

“At the end of the day, it’s just you and me. We make our own reality, Nikki. And no one can take it from us.”

But that doesn’t stop Nikki from worrying that they are living in a bubble; a bubble that could all too easily be burst by the very real threats the rest of the world still possess.

Despite the threat of disclosure hanging over Damian and the stalker issue Nikki is facing, there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot to this story except for the sex Damien and Nikki seem to engage in as a reaction to everything that happens to them. Sex when they’re happy and sex when they’re sad, sex when they’re celebrating and sex when they’re commiserating, sex when they feel carefree and sex when they’re under threat; sex seems to be the only way they have of dealing with the world and everything it throws at them.

“Between Damien and me, sex is as necessary as conversation. It is our method of discovery. Our sharing of trust. And our ultimate surrender.”

Do not get me wrong, I love a good erotic novel and can easily get caught up in descriptive and imaginative sex-scenes. And some of the scenes in this book really hit the mark. It is just that there were too many of them in this book. After so many scenes I reached saturation point and found myself skimming over the sexy bits to get to the little bit of background story that had to be hiding somewhere.

As much as I loved passages like the following:

“You’re what gives me strength. If I am what centers you, Nikki, then you are what anchors me. Every time I touch you, every time I bury myself deep inside you – Nikki don’t you see? You are the talisman of my life, and if I lose my grip on you, then I have lost myself.”

...it wasn’t quite enough to make this book a truly satisfying read. It seems to me that the characters could have grown more. The Damien and Nikki we end this trilogy with are not so very different from the personalities we met in the first book. In the last paragraph of my review of “Claim Me” I said that I would read this third and final book not so much because I was worried about whether or not there would be a happily ever after but because I wanted to know if these two characters would be able to resolve all their issues. I really am sorry that I have to end this review with the observation that while I was right about the relationship I was also right about those issues. This happily ever after has come to a couple that appears to be unable to truly come to terms with their pasts. If Damien and Nikki were real people I would be very worried about their future together.

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