Bared to You

Bared to You  - Sylvia Day To those viewing Eva Tramell’s life from the outside it would seem she has it all. An apartment on New York’s Fifth Avenue that she shares with her male fashion model best friend Cary. A new job with one of the preeminent advertising agencies in the United States. She is beautiful and fit. And, her mother is married to an extremely wealthy man who is quite willing to shower her with gifts. However, like all us, Eva has been shaped by her past and unfortunately her’s is marred by childhood sexual abuse. The horror of the trauma she endured isn’t revealed until an emotional scene much later in the novel but readers are made aware that she and Cary, share more than a close platonic relationship. They are trauma survivors and lean on each other for support.

By chance, Eva meets Gideon Cross in the lobby of the Crossfire building, home to her new employer. A mega billionaire, Gideon owns the building and controls numerous assets. As Eva observes he exudes a Dark and Dangerous persona, the man has a powerful force of will that draws her and those around him in.

“As he stared back, he altered…as if a shield slid away from his eyes, revealing a scorching force of will that sucked the air from my lungs. The intense magnetism he exuded grew in strength, becoming a near tangible impression of vibrant and unrelenting power.”

Bared to You © Sylvia Day

There is a potent, undeniable sexual attraction between Gideon and Eva. He is as possessed by the force of it as Eva and when they later cross paths during a business presentation given by her boss, Gideon takes her aside and makes it clear he wants her. In essence, Gideon crudely propositions Eva in a way that caused me to snort.

“Because I want to fuck you, Eva. I need to know what’s standing in my way, if anything.”

Later he approaches sharing intimacy like a business negotiation:

I was equally fascinated and appalled by the conversation. And, yes, tempted. It was hard not to be while faced with such a gorgeous, virile male so determined to get hot and sweaty with me. Still, the dismay won out. “Sex that’s planned like a business transaction is a turnoff for me.”

“Establishing parameters in the beginning makes it less likely that there’ll be exaggerated expectations and disappointment at the conclusion.”

“Are you kidding?” I scowled.

“Listen to yourself. Why even call it a fuck? Why not be clear and call it a seminal emission in a preapporved orifice?”

Bared to You © Sylvia Day

Ha! So, there Mr. Cross.

I admired Eva, her ability to call out this powerhouse of a man who was accustomed to bending people to his will and declining his crude and patronizing “suggestion”. Gideon soon learns Eva is smart, very kind and compassionate, but has a fiery temper and a carefully established set of rules concerning morality. Although he recognizes that she is going to be high maintenance and force him to rip open the very carefully sewn seams that encapsulate his life he cannot resist her. Sylvia Day writes beautiful erotic prose and the steamy vividly explicit love scenes described in this novel reveal the staggering depth of carnal passion Eva and Gideon share during their tempestuous relationship. Moreover, the author adeptly reveals the magnitude of what they feel for each other, for Gideon, it transcends love.

I give Day kudos for drawing a conflicted damaged character like Eva and telling her story in the first person. It gave me understanding of her insecurities, her volatile and jealous nature…Her fears. As well, I felt Eva gave me good insight into Gideon, his turmoil, his anguish and embarrassment during some of the more emotional and moving scenes that show the damage his apparent history of abuse (we don’t know exactly what happened to him only that it was horrible) has caused to his emotional and personal wellbeing. I have to say, his tortured essence made him all the more appealing to me.

The frenetic pace with which the protagonists relationship moves and the resulting highs and lows did exhaust me at times. And, there is Cary, who holds a key secondary role in the story, he is achieving success in the competitive world of male modeling but I found his self destructive behavior leading to a train wreck of personal relationships deeply disturbing. I’m worried for Cary and want to see what sort of resolution Day gives to his story. Cary depends on Eva for emotional support and guidance and she him. What is going to happen now that Gideon is in the picture, and needing her too?

As for Eva’s neurotic, controlling mother? I had a bit of a niggle with an issue that occurred earlier in the novel concerning her stalkerish behavior that went unresolved but this is a continuing series so I’m sure more will be seen of ‘Mom’ the debutant.

I didn’t view this as a BDSM erotic romance per se. Meaning, if you are expecting blindfolds, restraints, spankings and paddlings, you aren’t going to find it, which I felt was very wise on Day’s part. When you are dealing with protagonists who have been victims of such sadistic violation and resulting psychological damage, and in particular when one hasn’t been treated it would have been difficult to buy the breaking out of whips and handcuffs. However, I didn’t have a problem with Gideon finding pleasure in a sexually dominant role and recognizing Eva as a natural submissive. She is aroused by his dominate nature and taking control in the bedroom. Eva doesn’t understand his assertion that she is a sub and rejects it but it is a turn on for her, hopefully this aspect of their relationship will be explored further in Reflected in You, the next novel of the series.

I found the ending of Bared to You, fitting, viewing it as a HFN. Day left many open ended plot threads and I hope she gives us satisfactory resolution to her steamy and very dark erotic romance. Will I read the next novel? Yes. As much as Eva and Gideon, and Cary wore me out, I am looking forward to seeing where this talented writer takes her well crafted characters next. I’m just relieved I have until October to recover. lol

IMHO Bared to You is an impressive opener for Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series.

This review was originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.