Genres: Erotica; Contemporary Romance
Published: February 2016
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (3.5 stars actual rating)
Description from goodreads:
A flirtatious reading of erotica blossoms into something deep and tender in the steamy Florida heat…
Tell Me a Story…
Emma, a free-spirited bookstore owner in Orlando, keeps her business afloat with innovative ideas. Her most popular evening event is Story Brothel, where customers can pay writers to read aloud to them in a story-time for two, complete with cocktails. Despite the name, the event is usually tame. But things take a steamy turn when a handsome, urbane businessman hires Emma for a session in a private cabana. Daringly, she shares with him a reading of her erotica. Soon both of them are feeling the effects … and Emma’s wondering what kind of lover is underneath his expensive suit.
Caleb may be a billionaire real estate mogul, but he’s never been captivated by a woman as he is by the lovely, quirky Emma. Her rockabilly vintage dresses make him long to strip them off and do very wicked things to her. And her refusal to share her personal life only makes him more curious.
Soon the couple are spending every available moment together. But Emma’s building is in danger of being razed out from under her bookstore … and worse, Caleb may be behind her problems. Can she trust him with her life as she does with her body? Or will the prickly walls built during her harsh past keep them apart?
This story started off really well for me. Emma seemed cute and quirky and fun, plus she owns a bookstore, so I wanted to be her best friend. She wasn’t one-dimensional, she was a damsel in distress (sort of), but didn’t want the prince to come and save her because wanted to save herself, and she had a great personality. Caleb had a nice sense of humor and was pretty sexy, I won’t lie. They both had possibly “tragic” backgrounds, but neither of them were in need of being “fixed,” which I really appreciated. My only issues with either of them were his blue eyes (I’m just sick of so many characters having blue or green eyes) and Emma’s attitude about their relationship, which got a bit repetitive for a while. I would have liked to get more info about both of them, but I imagine that’s going to happen in later installments. Overall, though, I’d give this a ⅘ stars for characters.
While this is shelved on goodreads as “erotica,” and it does have quite a bit of explicit sex, I…just…wasn’t feeling it, I guess. I wanted to, and I think it had potential to be hot, but I honestly found Emma’s story within the story more erotic at times. I think the scenes were just too short or something. I’m not entirely sure what didn’t work for me, but it just didn’t. I thought it was kind of hot, but not “get lost and feel like you’re living vicariously through the characters” hot, if you know what I mean. I really liked Emma reading to Caleb and the build-up of their sexual tension, though. That was probably my favorite part of the whole story. So the steaminess gets a ⅗ stars.
The first half of the book was really good, but I think it could have used a little polishing, which would have made it great. I enjoyed the pace and the mostly light-hearted stuff that was happening, but I felt like the story kind of lost some steam about the three-quarter mark (not sexy steam, momentum steam, that is) and I struggled to stay in the world while I was reading. The last quarter was just a bit flat for me. I still liked it, but I’m not sure I liked it enough to pick up the next installment when it comes out later this week. I might, but I’m not sure yet. (Full disclosure: there’s a sneak peek of Tell Me a Desire, the second book, at the end of Tell Me a Story, but I haven’t read it yet because I didn’t want it to potentially influence my review of the first part.) So the story gets ⅘ stars, I think.
I might continue this series, but I’m undecided right now. I think I will definitely keep it in mind, though.
**I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review via Net Galley**