Friday, November 22, 2013

Blog Tour: The Thrill of It by Lauren Blakely

Welcome to our stop on the blog tour for The Thrill of It by Lauren Blakely.  This is a fabulous story about sex, love and addiction and two people's battle to recover.  It's my first Lauren Blakely, but it won't be my last!!

A new adult story of Love. Sex. Addiction. Blackmail. And Power...

Some say love can be an addiction. Others say it's the thing that makes life worth living. Let me tell you everything I know about love...Love isn't patient, love isn't kind. Love is a game, a chase. A thrill. Love is wild and war-like, and every man and woman must fight for themselves. At least that's how it was for me. A high-priced virgin call girl by the time I started college, I was addicted to love and to sex. Even though I've never had either. I controlled love, played it, and held the world in the palm of my hands. Then I fell down from those highs, and I'm being blackmailed for all my mistakes, forced to keep secrets from everyone, except the only guy I don't regret.


With all the other women, I knew what they were. They were temporary. They were pills, they were bottles, they took away all the pain, and numbed the awful memories that wore down my ragged, wasted heart. Until I met Harley. She's the only girl I ever missed when she walked away. But now she's back in my life, every day, and there are no guarantees for us, especially since I don't know how to tell her my secrets. What happened to my family. All I know is she's the closest I've ever come to something real, and I want to feel every second of it.

How can you love with no regrets when regret is all you know?

This was my first Lauren Blakely book and I really enjoyed it.  While I always read a synopsis to determine which books I'm going to review for blog tours by the time I get around to actually reading the book I've well and truly forgotten the detail of what it is about.  I've taken to not re-reading the synopsis, just jumping straight in and I was really intrigued as to what The Thrill of It was all about when I started reading.  I'll admit that to start with it was a little slow but I'm glad I persisted.

Harley is a self proclaimed sex and love addict.  Interestingly, and almost ironically, she is also a virgin and a high class call girl.  Driven to her choices in life as a consequence of a rather unhealthy relationship with her mother Harley seeks control through her call girl activities.  She very successfully quarantines 'Layla' (her call girl persona) from the rest of her life activities and despite her mother's approach to their relationship, which is one of best friends rather than mother and daughter, her mother is blissfully unaware of Layla.

Despite Harley/Layla's caution someone becomes aware of her activities and in fact is blackmailing her, threatening to disclose her identity to her mother, who also happens to be a very successful investigative reporter, responsible for unearthing political scandal - again, rather ironic.

The night before Harley/Layla enters into a year long sex addict rehabilitation program she heads to a tattoo parlor and meets Trey.  The two connect, intimately, for what they both expect to be a one night, but imagine their surprise when Trey also turns up at the rehabilitation program.

In an attempt to bury the pain of a dysfunctional family Trey has turned to women as his drug of choice.  Recognising that he has an addiction, he has entered into the rehabilitation program in an effort to kick his habit.  His encounter with 'Layla' is a last fling, although he is completely unprepared for the impact she has on him and his inability to get her out of his mind.

The relationship between Harley and Trey was wonderful to read.  They are both so broken they don't trust their feelings are genuine and worry that what is growing between them is simply another element of their addiction.  They're both committed to recovery and yet are challenged by the growing feelings they have for each other.  Despite their fears and despite their history of hiding who they are and their addiction, they manage to be honest with each other.  As with any addiction Harley and Trey battle their demons, their resolve is tested and they must make choices that are never straight forward.  They didn't always make the 'right' choice, but what I was impressed with was that they were willing to make tough choices, often inspired by each other to do what was uncomfortable.

The story is told from both characters point of view, so we get to understand what each is thinking.  I really like this approach and understanding what is happening from different perspectives.  Blakely has a wonderful writing style.  I found myself thinking about the characters when I wasn't reading, wondering how their journey would play out and what the outcome for both of them would be.  There were some other very interesting characters in this story as well.  Harley's mother was a key driver to the choices Harley made and I was quite astounded that she could be such a success professionally and yet such a dismal parent to Harley.  Really, the story was full of broken characters and it was rather amazing that Hayley and Trey were able to find each other and help each other on their path to recovery.

Overall I really enjoyed The Thrill of It.  My greatest disappointment was with the ending.  I felt like I was given a teaser of what was going to be and then the story stopped.  While there is the promise of a next instalment in this story I really felt like The Thrill of It wasn't concluded in a way that was satisfying for me.  Having said that I will watch for book two, Every Second With You, so that I can see what does happen nextfor Harley and Trey.

4 out 5 stars

Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her novels include Caught Up In Us, Pretending He's Mine, Playing With Her Heart, Trophy Husband, and Far Too Tempting. On November 21, she'll release the edgy new adult novel THE THRILL OF IT. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.

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