Brett runs hot and cold, first insisting that he doesn’t mix business with pleasure, then breaking into Darby’s house and all but kidnapping her in order to make out. Though the nature of the business partnership with Slade’s company is often unclear, to the point of vagueness, it’s strongly hinted that the day spa will be turned into a front for some sort of sex parlor, as he sends a team of masseuses, a business partner named Abby, and a truckload of sex toys to be set up for “special clientele.”
Some euphemistic language and a disinclination to meet genre expectations position this novel somewhere between romance and erotica. As the characters struggle valiantly through Ferguson’s byzantine plot, Brett and Darby declare their love despite having very few conversations or interactions beyond general comments about business and their mutual physical attraction. They spend much of the novel apart, facing assorted dangers separately, thus making it difficult for readers to feel their chemistry or compatibility. Several sex scenes between Darby and other people, including a hot tub orgy with the new day spa staff, also contribute to making her feelings about the central relationship obscure. Still, readers open to genre-defying erotic suspense may find pleasures here.
Takeaway: A spa owner gets tangled up in a heated romance that leads to dangerous complications in this eccentric thriller.
Great for fans of: Emma Slate’s Wreck & Ruin, Joanna Blake’s Cuffed.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: B