Format: ARC (NetGalley)
Release Date: August 24, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Fifty Shades of Grey meets Basic Instinct
How it began… One day I was a high school teacher on summer break, leading a relatively uneventful but happy life. Or so I told myself. Later, I’d question that, as I would question pretty much everything I knew about me, my relationships, and my desires. It all began when my neighbor thrust a key to a storage unit at me. She’d bought it to make extra money after watching some storage auction show. Now she was on her way to the airport to elope with a man she barely knew, and she needed me to clear out the unit before the lease expires.
Soon, I was standing inside a small room that held the intimate details of another woman’s life, feeling uncomfortable, as if I was invading her privacy. Why had she let these items so neatly packed, possessions that she clearly cared about deeply, be lost at an auction? Driven to find out by some unnamed force, I began to dig, to discover this woman’s life, and yes, read her journals—-dark, erotic journals that I had no business reading. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I read on obsessively, living out fantasies through her words that I’d never dare experience on my own, compelled by the three men in her life, none of whom had names. I read onward until the last terrifying dark entry left me certain that something had happened to this woman. I had to find her and be sure she was okay.Before long, I was taking her job for the summer at the art gallery, living her life, and she was nowhere to be found. I was becoming someone I didn’t know. I was becoming her.
The dark, passion it becomes…
Now, I am working at a prestigious gallery, where I have always dreamed of being, and I’ve been delivered to the doorstep of several men, all of which I envision as one I’ve read about in the journal. But there is one man that will call to me, that will awaken me in ways I never believed possible. That man is the ruggedly sexy artist, Chris Merit, who wants to paint me. He is rich and famous, and dark in ways I shouldn’t find intriguing, but I do. I so do. I don’t understand why his dark side appeals to me, but the attraction between us is rich with velvety promises of satisfaction. Chris is dark, and so are his desires, but I cannot turn away. He is damaged beneath his confident good looks and need for control, and in some way, I feel he needs me. I need him.
All I know for certain is that he knows me like I don’t even know me, and he says I know him. Still, I keep asking myself — do I know him? Did he know her, the journal writer, and where is she? And why doesn’t it seem to matter anymore? There is just him and me, and the burn for more.
IF I WERE YOU by Lisa Renee Jones to me feels more like Fifty Shades of Grey than Basic Instinct. Sara McMillan reminded me of Anastasia Steele in that she's meek, introverted, smart, a tad insecure and a minx between the sheets. The men linked to her are rich, irresistible and charmingly dangerous it's hard to stay immune to them as they slowly woo Sara into their dark and seductive world. As far as book one of LRJones' new series is concerned, it still straddles the lines of contemporary romance and erotica, kink is non existent but it reared it's ugly head by the end of the story. In a nutshell, IF I WERE YOU is a story about romance and dangerous liaisons that kept me flipping the pages because of the heat, urgency and mystery that Lisa Renee Jones wove together easily.
Throughout IF I WERE YOU I liked Sara enough to keep on reading, it is after I've mulled over the story that I realized she grew on me and I feel for her the way she feels for Rebecca: fascinated and protective. Sara's intuitive, sincere, a little naive but at the same time she's also impulsive and has a little wicked gleam in her eye if you look closely. The recent turn of events had her succumbing to her whims over rationality, she sees the warning signs in neon color and shouty capitals but instead of perceiving it as dangerous, she looks at it as something new and exciting. And even is Sara's back story is not as messed up as Eva Trammel's I still found myself worried over her, Sara has daddy issues and her last relationship was far from blissful so the last thing I want for her is stumbling into a relationship that will surely leave her broken and bruised. Literally and figuratively.
There is a reason I don't date much. I'm horrible at it. I get shy and I pick the wrong men, who use both of those very things against me.Searching for Rebecca, a new job at the gallery working for Mark Compton and a brand new love affair with Chris Merit is both consuming and overwhelming for Sara. Her whirlwind romance with Chris and Mark's demand for excellence isn't helping either plus the ongoing tension between the two men is putting pressure on Sara. And inasmuch as Sara is so smitten by Chris, she can't help but respond for both men strongly: Chris makes her want to be needed while Mark elicits the need to be wanted. Though the story predominantly deals with her romantic relationship with Chris, it's quite obvious that Sara is caught in some sort of ego contest between the two and unfortunately for her, she's their chosen prey.
I'm trying to protect you here. This world you've strayed into is filled with dark, messed up, arrogant assholes who will play with your mind and use you until there is nothing else left for you to recognize in yourself.I like nor dislike either man, Chris and Mark both make me wary and the bottomline is it's a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils so to speak. Chris Merit is a tattooed, smooth talker who knows his game, the guy can charm your pants off with room service, fine wine and even finer art. He can be gentle but there's also an edge about him that really sets off warning bells like his mood swings, one minute he's all Mr. Seductive and the next he's surly. Mark Compon on the other hand is a cold, domineering, d-bag that can intimidate you with a glance. He's not charming but he's handsome, intelligent and powerful, Mark has an air about him that makes you want his approval. He's the type of guy who makes clumsy, babbling girls uneasy as his presence commands spotless conduct and a keen mind in case he asks you about Picasso or vintage Bordeaux. Both men are quite the Dom in this little trifecta and Sara is like a little puppy caught between two warring Alphas. So you understand why I'd rather become a nun than get stuck with either man.
I'm going to make sure you are so thoroughly f**ked that being f**ked has a new meaning.But the real clincher is this whole business with Rebecca Mason. The girl can write some serious erotic tales and like Sara, I want to know what happened to her or if she's even alive and well! Rebecca's desperate cry for help to get out of her relationship is practically screaming at the reader. There's so much about Rebecca that got me rattled, for one she sounds trapped in this thing with her Master, not knowing if she can get out or if he will let her. Next it's quite obvious that Rebecca has become a trained sub and even if she wants to escape, a part of her craves the expert dominance her lover applies on her. Rebecca's story is like a rabbit-hole getting out of it isn't a guarantee.
The ending is no better, after Mark one-upped Chris by telling Sara what a sneaky bastard his new boyfriend is, Chris retaliates by outing Mark and their shared kinky lifestyle. This of course triggers Sara's panic button and I'm so proud of her for standing her ground and walking away from Chris and Mark's power play. Now the last scene put me in suspense, it's one of those WTH?! moments we are
Here is the story behind the story of the storage and Rebecca Mason's journal.
First off, this is the new cover art for Lisa's amazing new novel, If I Were You. It's beyond gorgeous, right?!
But on to more exciting news, Lisa just forged a deal with Gallery (Simon & Schuster). S&S has scored major deals with a couple of self-published authors lately including Colleen Hoover (Slammed series) and Tina Reber (Love Unscripted) and now Lisa's part of the team. This is not the first novel by Lisa to be traditionally published, as some of you might know her story, Taste of Pleasure (The Masters 1), is part of Harlequin's Spice Briefs and Mills & Boon 12 Shades of Surrender.
Everyone should read If I Were You and you need to hurry up and finish Being Me, I need to know more about Rebecca, what happened to Sara McMillan in that storage place and if she decided to play D/s with either Mark and/or Chris!