SEDUCTION AND SURRENDER by C.C. Gibbs
(December 1, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; Reckless #2)
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From the peaks of erotic ecstasy—to the point of no return . . .
Power. Passion. Pleasure beyond imagining. Billionaire playboy Rafe Contini offers all this—and more—to the beautiful Nicole Parrish, a young American traveler with a taste for adventure that matches his own. From the private yachts of Monte Carlo to the palatial estates of Geneva to the glittering penthouses of Bangkok, Rafe has shown her a world of unimaginable sensual delights. Now, he is ready to take her to the next daring level. Of danger. Of desire. Of deliciously erotic self-discovery.
Nicole has never known a man as sexy, as strong—or as commanding—as Rafe Contini. Night after steamy night, he turns up the heat, tests her boundaries, and pushes the limits of her body and soul to the point of sweetest agony. But when this masterful lover sweeps her away to a secluded island getaway—where anything can and will happen—Nicole must decide just how far she wants to take this game. And just how much she can bend Rafe's rules . . .
Sooo, sooo, sooo happy I got to read this continuation of Rafe and Nicole’s story! Yes!
With the way the 1st book ended, some things occurred that could potentially put their lives in danger. It needs Rafe’s full attention and couldn’t really afford any distraction in the shape of Nicole, but the heart wants what the heart wants.
I’ll tell you now that I'm a fan, for certain! To be fair, I think some things that may not work for some because of certain expectations in this genre, and written CC-style at that, are the very same things that work for me.
For starter, in its entirety, this book read more like a romantic action suspense just because of the events that were unfolding, and if I see it from a movie perspective, definitely my kind of movie. I was anxiously swiping every page, wanting to find out what happens next.
Second, it felt like Rafe and Nicole were hardly together once you reach a certain point, but I’m ok with it, just because I was so engrossed in the situation happening. Also, because the event required more than a one-man operation, some focus had to be given to other characters.
Third, there’s such a formality to the dialogues that while it should feel stilted, it totally didn’t. This may not make sense, but it has such a European feel to it. And speaking of European, I dunno how CC does it but the lavish lifestyle of her rich and famous, with its European setting, never fails to suck me in, from the villas to the yachts to the premium champagne.
Fourth, the multiple 3rd-person POVs that takes getting used to. If you have read CC’s other works, it appears to be a challenge for some. I admit that even I had to get used to it, but once I got past it, I learned to totally appreciate getting glimpses of the other characters’ thoughts.
Now here are the things that I think anyone can appreciate whether the above things work for one or not.
Rafe and Nicole’s chemistry sizzles. Even I’ve forgotten how short amount of time they’ve really known each other. If I had reservations with Nicole’s doubts in the 1st book, I understood it better here. And Rafe, umm, what can I say? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. CC’s billionaire H’s are like crack to me. He’s your total alpha with a heart of gold. Swoon! With more money than god and loyal friends and stand-up values, well, from a reformed bad boy perspective, you’d think anyone will be hard-pressed to feel for him but not really. Given his childhood experience which contributed to his stunted emotions, there is such a vulnerability to his thoughts that I find totally endearing. Sigh…
And of course, since I’m a fan of CC’s other series, All or Nothing, the appearance of Dominic Knight is, and will always be, a major bonus. More swoon!
Nicole’s brows shot up in surprise. “A castle?” Leaning in close to Rafe so he could hear her over the rhythmic thump, thump, thump of the rotors, she felt a shiver run up her spine. “You didn’t mention a castle.” Castles had dungeons! Kink and dungeons were practically a stereotype, her overactive imagination pointed out, even as a flashback of images from way too many horror films suddenly had her heart tripping. Jesus, get a grip! She was on holiday with the most ridiculously beautiful, shamelessly lovable, wet dream of a man; life couldn’t be better. Okay?
“It’s not exactly a castle yet.” Rafe smiled. “It’s closer to a rock pile that’s burning through money. I call it my hobby. My accountant calls it a nightmare. ”
“Speaking of nightmares,” Nicole said, her apprehensions flaring again at the reference to things that go bump in the night. “Reassure me about dungeons. Don’t ask. It’s stupid, I know, but…”
Taking note of Nicole’s trepidation, Rafe chose a marginal lie rather than argue reality versus her wild imagination. “No dungeons. Don’t worry. And you’ll love the room that’s been restored in the tower,” he offered, avoiding further discussion of dungeons. “You can pretend you’re a twelfth-century demoiselle. I’ll pretend I’m the crusader who never reached the Holy Land, built this castle instead, and chose the lucrative life of a pirate.” He grinned. “So wanna play? I’ll make it worth your while.”
A small frown mirrored her lurking anxiety. “I don’t know—maybe, probably, let me think.” Rafe’s unencumbered views on wealth always gave her pause to consider—how he could buy anything and anyone, pleasure and perversion alike, no hassle, no questions. And the words pirate and play weren’t particularly reassuring on this remote island with its spectacular limestone cliffs, wind-swept twisted pines, and medieval ruins.
“Maybe?” A teasing query. “Look, if you must know—and don’t you dare laugh—your castle ruin is kinda creepy. It reminds me of Frankenstein’s monster.”
Rafe’s brows rose. “Seriously? You believe in that sh!t?”
“I’m trying not to— oh God, is that the tower?” As the distance to the island narrowed, the castle tower loomed, half derelict, dark and gloomy against the blue sky. She squinted, took a small breath, and muttered, “That’s scary.”
He stared at her. “You’re kidding.”
“Okay, how about it makes me a little unsettled?”
His smile was so wide, his goddamned dimples showed. “Meaning?” she said, half guarded, wishing she hadn’t watched so many spooky movies.
“Come on, pussycat, relax,” he said pleasantly. “I promise you’ll have fun.”
Nicole gave him a hard, steady look. “No offense, but I’m in the middle of f*cking nowhere. I’m allowed to wuss out.”
He flicked a glance at the passengers behind them. “You’re in the middle of nowhere with beaucoup bodyguards. You’re safe as hell.” A small smile. “If that’s what you want.”
“They’re your bodyguards.” Her eyes grew wide. “Jesus, don’t look at me like that.”
His smile was pure, bad-boy brilliance. “Like what?”
“Like you’re going to eat me alive.”
“As I recall, you like—”
She put her hand over his mouth because the pilot was grinning and she wasn’t anywhere near as blasé as he was.
He licked her palm and she jerked her hand back and tried to glare at him, but he was smiling at her now like she was the best thing that had ever happened to him and her frustration fell away before the flat-out beauty of his smile.
Recognizing her capitulation, he leaned in, tucked a dark curl behind her ear, and kissed her cheek softly. “Consider me your guardian angel,” he murmured, and at her skeptical look, amended it to “Personal guardian—how about that? And we’ll have privacy once we land.” He flicked a glance toward the pilot. “Just you and me. No one else.”
“Except for those people down there.” She pointed at a small village of whitewashed, blue-roofed houses spilling down the hillside from the castle gates. “And the staff required for that.” A sprawling peach-colored Venetian palazzo surrounded by gardens came into view beyond the castle walls.
Rafe touched her ear with his lips. “Everyone will keep their distance. I’ve given orders. So you’re free to scream as loud as you like, wherever and whenever you like.”
She turned, grinning. “Appreciate your foresight and planning.”
“I’m here to make you happy, Tiger.”
See how Rafe and Nicole’s story begins in book one in the Reckless series, POWER AND POSSESSION:
The ultimate pleasure lies in sweet surrender . . .
Brash. Brilliant. Devastatingly handsome. Billionaire playboy Rafe Contini can have any woman he wants-no strings, no commitments, no promises. But when American graduate student Nicole Parrish crashes his private party in Monte Carlo, he wants more than a casual one-night stand. He wants to possess this beautiful stranger-body, mind, and soul.
Nicole isn't interested in being possessed by any man-especially one as powerful as Rafe. But with a seductive smile and enigmatic charm, he lures her into his private world of erotic discovery and pushes her to the brink of ecstasy. In the summer days-and nights-that follow, they explore every forbidden fantasy, every willful desire, every wild, dizzying sensation. And come dangerously close to crossing the line-between love and lust, pleasure and pain, power and possession…
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About the Author
C.C. Gibbs is the pen name of New York Times bestselling author Susan Johnson. She divides her time between the Midwest and Northern California, and considers the life of a writer the best of all possible worlds. Bringing characters to life allows her imagination full rein and researching books is great fun!
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