Aug 23, 2013

Seductive Shadows

 Reader's Beware: This is not your mother's romance, nor is there a rich, playboy millionaire seducing an innocent virgin. Charlie leads a passionate, controversial, and thought-provoking life - the sex scenes will make you blush, the twists will make you gasp in disbelief and the characters' angst and pain will make your heart ache. Prepare to dive into a highly sensual, unique storyline with substance and a touch of darkness - as well as explicit language and descriptive sexual content. After all, real life is lived in the shadows, and Marni will take you there. But love can linger in the darkness....
Charlie is a sensually-inspired art student, desperately seeking an escape from the abusive past that haunts her and a tragic accident that emptied her heart. Scarred and unable to love, her yearning for physical pleasure leads her into a tantalizing, dangerous world of power and seduction. The anonymity of the deal offers security; the money brings financial freedom and the madam is the mother figure she longs for.
But the thrill of the mansion and its arousing dominance quickly fades when she meets renowned-yet-mysterious Cameron Hardy, whose intense baby blue eyes send a nervous flutter through her core. Cameron is sexy, and not in a subtle way. He stimulates Charlie's art, her intellect and her desires. Just as he begins to break through her emotional boundaries, she discovers a devastating connection between her past and her scandalous work at the mansion, shattering everything she thought to be true.
Provocative, intoxicating and erotic, Seductive Shadows is the unforgettable tale of a young woman's self-discovery as she learns to forgive, to love and be loved, and to find redemption amidst a remarkable journey that will captivate your mind and stimulate your soul.
This book is for mature audiences. It contains explicit language and sexual content.
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I received a copy of this story for an honest review.

Child abuse, alcoholism, cancer, death, random sexual encounters and prostitution don’t usually add up to a fun read. But when handled with the skill and care shown by Marni Mann in “Seductive Shadows,” all of the elements add up to a gritty and gripping tale of survival, redemption, and finding a way to love yourself.
To truly appreciate light you have to have experienced the dark and twenty-three year old artist Charlie knows dark. She has spent her entire life existing in the shadows. From a brutal childhood full of neglect and violence to a traumatic accident that broke her body and stole her best friend, Charlie goes through the motions of life without any hope for herself. Art allows Charlie to channel her feelings but sex is her only honest release, brief but fleeting sparks of light and pleasure. Sex is like water or air for Charlie, she needs it just to survive.

Faced with her mother’s pending death and mounting credit card debt, Charlie thinks she’s found a solution to all of her problems when she receives an offer to work at the mysterious Mansion, sexually entertaining the upper-crust of New England society. 

“I could get lost in the sex; I could escape, even if it was for just a brief period of time. I could forget.”

As Charlie navigates her way through the Mansion she learns that it may not be everything she hoped for. Charlie’s time with her clients serves as an escape but she begins to realize that the encounters do nothing to fill the emptiness that she feels inside. Secrecy about the Mansion begins to wear on Charlie.
“Sex and art briefly waylaid my emptiness, but I didn’t believe I had ever found fulfillment.”
Charlie’s newly forming world is rocked when she’s partnered in her college art class with Cameron, a talented professional artist who see’s value in Charlie’s art and in Charlie herself. Cameron challenges Charlie to embrace her scars and begin to heal.

 “Accept the darkness, because it’s who you are. It’s who we all are. Some of us get lost in it…others wrap themselves in it and wear it like a skin.”

“Seductive Shadows” was a difficult but rewarding read for me. Flashbacks to Charlie’s childhood are heartbreaking and make Charlie’s pain palpable. Scenes between Charlie and her clients in the Mansion are in turns steamy, intense, and disturbing. The story continuously shifts between drama, suspense, and erotica. Through every twist and turn, Mann ensures the story flows seamlessly. 

I found myself alternating between feeling happy for Charlie in her brief moments of pleasure to wanting to jump in the book, pull her out and just give her a big hug and safe place to stay. “Seductive Secrets” made me invest in Charlie from page one and I really cared about what happened to her. 

If you’re a fan of well-written angsty reads, “Seductive Shadows” is the story for you. “Seductive Secrecy,” a continuation of Charlie’s story, is scheduled for release 10/24/13. I’ve already added it to my TBR list and look forward to being part of Charlie’s continued journey.

Happy reading.

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