Charlie is a passionate, 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.
When I got the email asking me if I would be interested in possibly reading and reviewing Seductive Shadows I was instantly drawn to the cover. My only concern after insta-loving the cover was could this book live up to the awesome of the cover. Oh hell yes, is the answer!
Marni Mann and her damn Seductive Shadows had me hooked at page one with Charlie on the train trying to control her intense desire to jump and shag the hot guy sitting across from her. Charlie’s fantasies are prematurely interrupted by the insistent ringing of her phone and the loud complaints of her dying mother on the other end of the line. As she has for her entire life, Charlie sets aside her needs, wishes, and desires in order to care for her mother, a woman who really can’t die soon enough. (Read the book, dear reader and you will hate Lilly too.)
Up until she was a senior in high school, Charlie pretty much managed life with Lilly because of her best and only friend Emma Hunt. Emma was from a wealthy family who all but took Charlie in and raised her as their own. Charlie could manage her awful home life as long as she had Emma but all that changed the day Emma was killed in a horrific car accident. Because Charlie was driving, Emma’s family turned on her completely and for five long years, it has been Charlie alone dealing with her mother. In order to cope, Charlie works nights at a hotel, she takes art classes during the day and when the need arises (and it does frequently) she indulges her sexual desires. Everything changes one night when Charlie is approached at work by a woman who inexplicably knows about Charlie’s particular proclivities and her desperate situation at home. The woman offers Charlie an opportunity she cannot refuse.
Several nights a week Charlie is escorted to a mansion where she is dressed and prepared for the man who has purchased her services for the evening. The money is fantastic, Charlie is cared for medically and emotionally to a certain extent, and she is allowed, albeit anonymously to indulge her darkest fantasies. For a time, this arrangement works well for Charlie, she is able to provide care for her wretched mother and she works far fewer hours which allows her to further her painting skills in class. In fact, one of Charlie’s professors is so convinced of her talent that he pairs her with a talented and successful local artist for a joint project. Charlie is attracted to her partner, Cameron but doesn’t want her night life to intersect with her daytime life.
In all honesty, I thought Mann was going to take this plot line right on through to the end: Charlie would eventually tire of being a high-end hooker, her wretched mother would die and she could be free, her art would take off and she would be able to support herself and she and Cameron would be able to finally acknowledge their attraction for one another and make a go of it. Oh but no, Mann decided to throw a hugely ginormous monkey wrench into the plot that sucked me in even further and kept me up reading even later. Damn you, Marni Mann, damn you!! And no, dear reader, I am not giving you a single clue as to what the monkey wrench is or may involve. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!
The Bottom Line: I was hooked on this book from the moment I saw the cover and when I turned the first few pages I was a total and complete goner and couldn’t put this book down to save my life. Despite all the really bad choices Charlie makes I understand her decisions are based on her deplorable circumstances and can therefore completely understand her reasons for making those choices. By the end, Charlie becomes a most unlikely kind of hero and one I truly wanted to see succeed. As to the rest of the characters, there were a few I really liked (Cameron, Dallas, and Professor Emerson) and a few I truly hated (Lilly, the Doctor, and Hunter). BUT, everyone has a part to play and no matter my feelings for them, their parts were well played. As to the plot: the initial premise was enough to make me happy but the added twists and turns, even the truly sick twists and turns, took everything up a notch or two or three. The sex scenes were plentiful and deliciously detailed and nothing was gratuitous, a quality I very much despise in books. Overall, I can heartily recommend this read to adult readers with an interest in erotica mixed with suspense. Due to the graphic nature of this read and sexual content, I cannot recommend this read to readers below the age of 18.
“You wouldn’t tell me what they were before.” Cameron hadn’t watched me undress. He had turned in his chair, facing the opposite wall as me, but he swung back to the front as soon as he heard my movement.
“How naked do you want me?” I asked when I reached the center platform. The stool pressed against the back of my thighs.
A light came into his eyes, his face, a smile teasing his lips. “Just from the waist up.” As I was about to release the sheet, his mouth opened again. “But I want you to cover your nipples with the palms of your hands.”
I rested my forearm over both breasts while I slid the sheet down to my waist. Once it was tied and secured in place, I cupped my nipples in my palms. My skin was already warm, but it seemed to turn even hotter from his stare. I could feel his eyes on my body, especially on the bulges under each hand.
“Yes,” he said, a small change in his tone. “That’s perfect. Now take a seat on the stool.”
I slowly followed his instructions, making sure the sheet didn’t fall.
“Turn sideways, I want your profile,” he said.
My feet moved to the metal bars on the stool and I pushed myself to the left, rotating in the direction where I had faced before. My actions were shaky and nerves wracked my stomach, and I didn’t know why. I had no problem getting naked at the mansion, strutting toward my clients in much less than I was wearing now. But in here, with Cameron, I begged for a mask.
“Feel like sharing your thoughts now?” he asked.
I arched my back a little, pushing my ass into the wooden seat. “My thoughts aren’t all that different than they were before.” I wanted to see his expression, but moving could mess up his work.
I laughed. “I still won’t.”
I felt the change in the air as he approached me. I held in my breath, waiting to find out why he had gotten so close.
“I realize you can’t move your hands, but the sheet is sticking up in the back. Can I tuck it in for you?”
My eyes held his, and I nodded.
His shirt brushed past my bare arm as he moved to my side, and then the small of my back. Gently, he folded the sheet into me. His skin was as warm as mine.
“Anything else you want while I’m up here.”
He was in front of me again, his hands in his pockets. His stance wasn’t casual and neither was the look on his face.
I shook my head even though there was so many things I could have asked for, so many things I wanted from him, but silence was the safest answer.
“Then hold still,” he said, heading back to his canvas. “I need to finish the outline of your body.”
He didn’t say the word body different than anyone else. It just sounded sexier coming out of Cameron’s lips.
A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann, now a Floridian is inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. She taps a mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos, taking her readers on a dark and breathtaking journey. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, she’s scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking her four-legged children.
Marni is preparing for the summer release of her fifth novel, Seductive Shadows, a provocative, intoxicating, erotic and unforgettable tale of a young woman’s discovery as she learns to forgive, to love and be loved, and to find redemption.
Visit with Marni at www.marnismann.com, on Twitter @marnimann or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MarniMannAuthor – and don’t miss her inspirational images behind Seductive Shadows at http://pinterest.com/marnimann/seductive-shadows/.
Pre-order your Kindle copy of Seductive Shadows on today! (official release July 17, 2013)
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