Series: Inside Out #1
Published by Gallery Books on September 13, 2012
Genres: Erotica, Mystery
How It All Started...
One day I was a high school teacher on summer break, leading a relatively uneventful but happy life. Or so I told myself. Later, I'd question that, as I would question pretty much everything I knew about me, my relationships, and my desires. It all began when my neighbor thrust a key to a storage unit at me. She'd bought it to make extra money after watching some storage auction show. Now she was on her way to the airport to elope with a man she barely knew, and she needed me to clear out the unit before the lease expired.
Soon, I was standing inside a small room that held the intimate details of another woman's life, feeling uncomfortable, as if I was invading her privacy. Why had she let these items so neatly packed, possessions that she clearly cared about deeply, be lost at an auction? Driven to find out by some unnamed force, I began to dig, to discover this woman's life, and yes, read her journals--dark, erotic journals that I had no business reading. Once I started, I couldn't stop. I read on obsessively, living out fantasies through her words that I'd never dare experience on my own, compelled by the three men in her life, none of whom had names. I read onward until the last terrifying dark entry left me certain that something had happened to this woman. I had to find her and be sure she was okay.
Before long, I was taking her job for the summer at the art gallery, living her life, and she was nowhere to be found. I was becoming someone I didn't know. I was becoming her.
The dark, passion it becomes...
Now, I am working at a prestigious gallery, where I have always dreamed of being, and I've been delivered to the doorstep of several men, all of which I envision as one I've read about in the journal. But there is one man that will call to me, that will awaken me in ways I never believed possible. That man is the ruggedly sexy artist, Chris Merit, who wants to paint me. He is rich and famous, and dark in ways I shouldn't find intriguing, but I do. I so do. I don't understand why his
dark side appeals to me, but the attraction between us is rich with velvety promises of satisfaction. Chris is dark, and so are his desires, but I cannot turn away. He is damaged beneath his confident good looks and need for control, and in some way, I feel he needs me. I need him.
All I know for certain is that he knows me like I don't even know me, and he says I know him. Still, I keep asking myself -- do I know him? Did he know her, the journal writer, and where is she? And why doesn't it seem to matter anymore? There is just him and me, and the burn for more.
Sara McMillan finds herself in possession of an abandoned storage unit belonging to Rebecca Mason, a woman who has mysteriously disappeared. Sara finds Rebecca’s journals containing entries scandalous, erotic entries detailing Rebecca’s relationship with her dominant boyfriend and her exploration of the BDSM world. Sara wants to return the journals and other belongings to Rebecca. She goes to the art gallery where Rebecca works. There, she meets Rebecca’s boss Mark who offers Sara a summer job. She also meets Chris Merit, a famous artist, with whom she begins a romantic relationship and who introduces her to the dark, kinky world of Dom/sub relationships that remind her of Rebecca and her mysterious lover.
Sara is a schoolteacher who, while she enjoys her job, yearns for an exciting, fulfilling life. The mystery surrounding Rebecca brings Sara into contact with exactly that – a new job in a field she loves, meeting artists, attending parties, dating a passionate man who is a bit of a mystery himself.
In this first installment of the trilogy, Sara meets and begins dating Chris Merit. Chris is an artist who likes to remain as anonymous as possible. He’s passionate and harbors a particular dislike for Sara’s boss Mark. He is a control freak and he is frightened by the emotions Sara stirs within him because it threatens the tight control he has otherwise been able to keep on his life.
Sara and Chris both come from privileged, but damaged backgrounds. Neither fully trusts the other and that causes some problems and adds to the mystery surrounding Rebecca.
I am a little concerned about Sara’s willingness to allow Chris to push her around a bit – more than I think is healthy considering the short time the two characters knew each other. I also don’t understand Sara’s pressing desire to find Rebecca – as in, there wasn’t a plausible explanation for Sara’s actions. I like a good mystery, but Sara’s character takes the “find Rebecca” mission above and beyond what I think any other person might do in a similar situation. Granted, Sara is a schoolteacher conveniently on summer break, but surely she had other plans or things to accomplish with her time before Rebecca’s journals landed in her lap.
This is the first in a series, so perhaps some of these questions will be answered in later books. This installment ends on a cliffhanger, so I’m certainly eager to continue reading. Side note: Ignore the comparison to Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s a poorly executed marketing ploy. The two books do not compare – If I Were You treads lightly on the BDSM and has a decent plot with good pacing and characters.