Friday, January 11, 2013

Review: By Private Invitation (Salon Games #1) by Stephanie Julian

Some invitations don’t need to be sent…only accepted.

Antiques dealer Annabelle Elder’s life is nowhere near as passionate as the erotic art she collects. A cheating ex-boyfriend and her business have seen to that. So when she attends a New Year’s Eve party at Haven Hotel, she sees a chance to blow off some steam. But she never expected to meet anyone like Jared—or to experience such passion in his arms…

Handsome, rich, and charming as hell, Jared Golden brought his Midas touch to Haven Hotel—and created an anything-goes pleasure palace on one floor to cater to his special friends and their very special desires. After falling in lust with Annabelle at first sight, seducing her was easier than he expected. What he didn’t expect was to be seduced in turn…

But unrestrained passion in the bedroom is not the only spark between Annabelle and Jared. Their mutual attraction is confounded by their separate pasts. Caught in an ever-growing web of painful secrets and sensual fantasy, will they be able to face the truth about themselves and trust in true love?

Wanting to experience a night like she’s never had before, Annabelle is recovering from breaking up with her jerk of a boyfriend and wants to let loose. She enlists her best friend Kate to go with her to a New Year’s Eve party at Haven Hotel and meets the most gorgeous man, Jared Golden. He, along with his brother Tyler, owns the hotel and after a few dances together, she gets her wish and has a hot, semi-private sex with Jared in the hotel gardens. Jared wants to invite Annabelle to an exclusive gathering at the hotel in the Salon; a place where fantasies come true and anything goes. Annabelle, feeling alive for the first time in years, agrees and it’s the start of a sexual relationship with Jared that makes her come alive and experience feelings and desires she never thought possible.

Annabelle is hiding a painful secret about her parents that rocked her world when she was a young girl. The scandal surrounding her was so devastating her Grandfather helped her change her name, set up a new past and buried the truth about her parents so she could live in peace. One piece of her past that remained somewhat hidden was the art her father created – the hidden fact being that the artist was her father. The pictures show her parents relationship in an erotic and sensual way as it was a relationship that was not considered the norm and was the ultimate cause of the scandal. Jared, being an art collector, noticed the pieces her dad created in both Annabelle’s antique shop and her home and was instantly curious about her and her connection to the artist. He starts digging into her past and that is never a good thing for a hero to do.

“I absolutely love a man in boxer briefs.” Her sexy voice reached out and stroked his libido, making his balls tighten and his cock throb. (…)

Reaching for some of his legendary control, he leaned back into the couch. “Why don’t you come here and take them off me?”

Annabelle had never in her life seen anything as sexy as Jared Golden reclining on her couch in only his boxer briefs.

He should have been a Calvin Klein underwear model. He certainly had the body for it – broad shoulders and muscular chest, washboard abs, slim hips and powerful thighs. A swimmer’s body.

When did the man find time to work out? And why did she care when he was spread out like a banquet just for her?

I really enjoyed these two characters. Both Jared and Annabelle are so likable. They care about their families and friends, they work hard and they’re sexy as hell together. They go into their relationship not expecting or wanting more than sex, but sex turns into dates, which turns into a working together, and that leads to spending more time with each other. They’re so erotic, every sex scene between them is hot ranging from hard and fast, against the wall sex, to pushing Annabelle’s limits when Jared invites his best friend Dane to join them, to sweet and romantic moments. They just worked as a couple on all levels, they’re very engaging and it was easy to get swept up in their story.

A nice supporting storyline is the interest building between Tyler and Kate. Tyler’s had pain in his past, losing the woman he loved to an illness. Kate was engaged to a man she didn’t love and after breaking it off, it felt like she was crushed more for losing the dream of a husband, family, and home then she was losing the man himself. There are big sparks between Tyler and Kate and I can’t wait for more. I’ll be interested to see what role the Salon plays in Tyler’s book as he’s not into that scene at all. I can’t imagine he’ll stay completely away once he and Kate get together.

This story hooked me from the start and didn’t let go. It’s erotic without going overboard with the sex scenes and Jared and Annabelle are so easy to root for. I loved seeing them separately dealing with their families or their jobs, but they really came alive when they were together. A steamy read I’d definitely recommend.

Rating: B+

Release Date: December 31, 2012
Publisher: Berkley
Stephanie Julian: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: | B&N
*Book provided by publisher for review* 



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