Sunday, August 23, 2015

Emmy's Double Review... Exposed: Laid Bare & Unveiled: Laid Bare

There’s something about Lucien Chambers. Something beyond his amazing success, his good looks, and his uncanny ability to turn everything he touches to gold.

In the eyes of the world, Lucien is a sexy and savvy business man. But when a naïve photographer, Dahlia Vaughn, is hired to take pictures of the hot entrepreneur, she discovers Mr. Chambers may be much more than what he seems.

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First off, many thanks to S.R. Grey and Give Me Books, who provided a copy of Exposed in exchange for a honest review.  

I freaking loved this novella.  It is so much more than it seems on the surface.  I went into it not knowing that there was a paranormal element to it.  I had only seen the teaser picture, and it was pretty enough, and interesting enough, to warrant a request.  So, props to whoever created the teaser pic, that was great work.  I love the tone of this story - it’s opulent, and rich, it feels like velvet when you’re reading it.  But even in the midst of all that beauty you sense that there is something dangerous underneath - something that slithers, and you read with a foreboding sense of anticipation.  Barb and I spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out what particular stripe of supernatural Lucien was.  We were both stumped, and that never happens.  

Dahlia is a very talented young photographer, who is both thrilled and a little intimidated when she is chosen to shoot the elusive Mr. Chambers for a magazine article.  Lucien Chambers is notorious for staying out of the limelight, and even though he’s a multimillionaire, there are very few pictures of him in the media.  The lack of information about him beyond the very basics is intriguing.  Shortly into the shoot, Dahlia takes a close up of his eyes and notices not human at all.   She is both powerfully attracted to him as well as slightly afraid when he admits that he’s “no ordinary man”.  It’s not long before she is pulled along into an encounter.  It’s an epic, all night long kind of encounter.  The day after Dahlia experiences some surprising after effects - it’s like he was some exotic drug that she is hooked on.

She goes back to the picture, just to confirm to herself that she’s not crazy.  What she saw the night before is still there, an otherworldliness in his eyes that she cannot explain.  She taps her cousin, Veronica, to do some subtle digging into his past, figuring that there won’t be much for her to find.  What she does find was unexpected, and although Veronica was all for Dahlia hooking up with Lucien before the shoot, now she is warning her away.  Veronica sees something dangerous in him, while Dahlia only finds something appealing.

By this point in the book I was going slightly nuts trying to figure out just what this guy is.  Their second encounter leaves very little clues, and I was STILL unsure. By the end I was only certain about one thing: Mr. Chambers is nowhere near done with Dahlia Vaughn.


Lucien and Dahlia can’t stay away from one another, so, why fight it? Giving in to their feelings, they vow to start anew. However, a surprise visit from Lucien’s mysterious cousin, Selene, puts a damper on the passionate reunion.

Who is this disarming woman? Is she like Lucien, something . . . different? And why is she so set on getting Dahlia out of Lucien’s life?

Faced with Selene’s disapproval, Lucien finds he is forced to unveil more of his power to Dahlia, thus placing her in a perilous situation.

The Laid Bare story continues, but not without a cost to all those involved.

Volume 2 of the Laid Bare novella series

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Many, many thanks to S.R. Grey and Give Me Books, who provided a copy of Unveiled in exchange for an honest review.

This novella picks right back up where Exposed left off.   Lucien and Dahlia have been separated for a couple of months, which have been nothing short of miserable for Dahlia.  She visits a park near Lucien’s house, hoping to re-establish just a shadow of the strange mental link they shared previously.  Lucien senses her there and comes to her, bringing her back home.  In this novella we get some of the answers to the questions left over from Exposed - and some more questions, just for good measure.  

I liked the alternating POVs in this installment.  I found that I really started to like Lucien once I had been in his head.  Not that I didn’t like him in Exposed - I spent the better part of that book trying to figure out just what he was.  His past is, unique, to say the very least.  When you are in his POV in this book, you really get to see just how much he does care for Dahlia.  I was surprised to find out just how strongly he does care for her.  They decide to continue their affair, unable to stand the distance between them any longer.

Lucien’s cousin Selene shows up on scene.  She’s been sent by his parents with the express purpose of breaking Dahlia and Lucien up.  She is like him, not quite human, and in her first meeting with Dahlia shows off her powers in increasingly creepy ways.  Honestly - she reminded me a bit of the Brides of Dracula - remember those chicks?  Deadly, and voraciously sexual.  She tells Lucien that he must get rid of Dahlia, that she and him have a destiny and a purpose that their parents will not let him deviate from.  Lucien is certain that Dahlia is his soulmate, which is a double edged sword for him.  Loving her can cause him harm, but he cannot help himself, and binds Dahlia closer and closer to him.  He’s becoming more human the longer they stay together.  He keeps all of this from Dahlia.

Lucien isn’t the only one affected by this arrangement.  Dahlia is picking up on his stress and worry, becoming physically sicker by the day.  It all comes to a head when Lucien risks himself - his power, his very life - to restore her strength.  

Certain parties are NOT happy about this, and this novella ended on a cliffhanger.  Dahlia is poised to make a big mistake, her naivety leading her to trust the wrong person for help.  

The writing in Unveiled is just as lush and beautiful as I noted in Exposed.  But instead of the underlying feeling of foreboding, in this novel - and with the addition of Lucien’s POV - the reader is treated to the depth of Lucien’s feelings for Dahlia.  It’s a welcome warm glow around the edges, where before I questioned if he was merely using her.  He’s truly a unique creature, and I’m looking forward to learning the rest of the story.

Spellbound is the third novella in this series, and is due out in late August - early September.

S.R. Grey is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author and a Barnes & Noble #1 Bestselling

She is the author of the popular Judge Me Not series, the Inevitability duology, A Harbour Falls Mystery trilogy, and the new Laid Bare series of novellas. Ms. Grey's novels have appeared on Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists in multiple categories, including #1 on the Barnes & Noble Nook Bestsellers list last year.

New novels slated for 2015 release dates are a New Adult novel this fall, titled Tomorrow's Lies, plus more Laid Bare series novellas.

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