Title: Blush (In Vino Veritas, Book One)
Author: Lauren Jameson
Release Date: May 7, 2013
ARC provided by NetGalley
Alex doesn’t date—at least, not in the traditional sense. Still, he wants Madeline and his sexual intensity provides her with a much-needed escape. They embark on a tumultuous erotic affair, one that takes them to the pinnacle of obsession and desire. But underneath each explosive encounter lie dangerous secrets waiting to consume them both.
Madeline Stone is trying to find a little courage to hit the blackjack tables and check off the item off her bucket list. Her life has been turned upside down since the night she and her sister were in an auto accident--fatally killing her sister and leaving Madeline overwhelmed with guilt and grief. She leaves her hometown, moving to Paradise, Nevada, and is currently under the care of a psychiatrist to help with her often debilitating anxiety. Her bucket list was contrived to help her step outside her protective bubble and learn to live again.
Alex Fraser is the sexy owner of a Las Vegas casino and spots Madeline at the bar. He is intrigued by her telling blush and her innocent nature. But being a Dom, she should be off limits to him. He didn't do relationships. However, he cannot seem to stop himself and he sits down beside her to offer her a drink.
Their conversation at this point is awkward--and I almost want to stop reading at this point. I don't feel a connection to these characters at all. Their dialogue was dry and lacked a spark to whet my appetite.
But I trudged along and continued reading...
For me, Madeline's overwhelming interest in this stranger seemed to happen too fast. But I can understand seeing a man and thinking--"Oh, my!" And thus begins a running visual of some very vivid fantasies in your head. But for Madeline, who has been such a recluse and has anxiety, I felt their first meeting was a little out of character for someone like her.
As the story line continued, I did fall for Maddie and Alex and their connection became more believable. Both are hiding secrets, afraid to open up to each other. With Madeline, she refuses to tell Alex about how the death of her sister has affected her life. And with Alex, he refuses to tell her that he has a young daughter.
But for their relationship to work, trust has to be established. And secrets could destroy their fragile foundation.
The BDSM lifestyle is one that Madeline knows little about, but the freedom she gets when Alex takes control becomes addictive. Her anxiety lessens the closer she becomes to this man and wants to mean more than just a sexual partner. But can Alex commit to her in a serious relationship when he has never done so in the past?
Alex is fighting a losing game. No matter how he tries to stay away from Madeline, he always seems to come back to her. He sees something in her that compels him to want more. But his past has a way of rearing its ugly head and the secrets that Madeline is hiding from him has him walking away. For Alex, trust means everything. And Madeline has made it quite clear she cannot share her secret.
Overall, Blush in an entertaining read with just a few small parts that felt a little forced and overdone. But I loved how Madeline learned to find herself and embrace her sexuality with Alex. For those readers who enjoy a walk on the kinky side, Blush should fulfill their every fantasy.