I recently read Naked by Raine Miller, and was pleasantly surprised. I can’t honestly rave about it, just because, having read Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You, I’m getting a little bored of the formula – young girl, older guy, instant connection, lots of money, tortured pasts, and BDSM undertones.
The book is set in London, and as a Brit, I was a little disappointed that little research seemed to be done by the American author. Things like Advil and Strip Malls are mentioned, which do not exist in the UK, and she describes him being wealthy and driving a hefty four by four. Housewives and stay at home mums drive those in the city, wealthy guys go for a nifty sports car to get through London’s tiny streets.
However, enough negativity. This is still worth a read. The characters, though predictably flawed and damaged, are actually likable and have an element of depth. Their meeting is interesting and original (he buys a nudey photo of her) and the sex scenes are scorching.
As a leading man, Mr Ethan Blackstone is excellent. He’s the tough guy that’s a softie, the classic male combo of strength and gentleness, a bundle of contradictions, just how women like it. He is based on David Gandy, male model extraordinaire, and when I googled this, I suddenly didn’t mind that he had a goatee. But Ethan is cooler than any model, as he was in the army, and is an actual real life manly man, not a guy that poses as one. (Male models don’t do it for me – stop basing characters on them please.
As with most contemporary romances, their pasts are twisted, though a unique take is placed on the past of Brynne Bennett, our tale’s heroine. She admits that she dealt with her parents’ divorce badly, and became something of a slut. However, she was totally taken advantage of as a teenager and assaulted (absolutely not her fault) but, refreshingly, though this has had an impact on her life, it doesn’t define her. She has friends, she socializes, she has a great career. There is more to these characters than their past, and the way the plot turns, the blocks in their relationship are almost realistic, and not half as melodramatic as in other contemporary romances.
However, the search is continuing for a novel where the heroine doesn’t ‘come’ on demand….