Title: The Pleasures of Winter
Author: Evie Hunter
Genre: Adult Fiction
Rating: 3 stars
The Pleasures of Winter is a steamy erotic story of romantic obsession and explosive sexual chemistry for fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You.
When reporter Abbie Marshall needs to escape Honduras, a private jet carrying a Hollywood A-lister is her only way out. She has a ride home with Irish actor Jack Winter – notorious womanizer and all round bad boy. Abbie is shaken to the core by Winter’s blazing beauty and provocative mind.
After the plane’s nose-dive into the remote rainforest forces them to fight for survival, Abbie catches tantalizing glimpses of the complicated man behind the image. And the more she sees of him, the more he touches some primal part of her that she is determined to suppress. But after a devastating encounter with Winter’s shadow side, Abbie’s detachment is shattered.
On returning to normal life, Abbie cannot forget what happened, nor ignore the shocking rumours about the star’s private life. Her struggle to make sense of her torment leads straight back to Winter, who is just as obsessed by her. But if they are to have a relationship, Abbie knows she must embrace his hidden desires … and accept her own.
No longer caring about anything but their intoxicating love affair, Abbie is drawn deeper into the dark heart of Winter – and the secret that threatens to destroy everything …
This book started out with such great promise. The Pleasures of Winter begins with action, suspense, danger, intrigue and some serious sexual tension between Abbie and Jack. So much promise, I was pulled into the story from the very beginning. Investigative reporter Abbie is on the run from some Honduran bad guys. She’s moments away from capture but she’s able to finagle her way onto Jack’s private jet. Just when she thinks she’s safe from harm and will only have to deal with Hollywood egos for the duration of their flight, all hell breaks loose and they crash deep in the rainforest. Yeah, it’s safe to say Abbie is having a shitty day. Once they make it to safety, the lingering sexual heat Abbie and Jack felt for each other in the rainforest crashes in on their real worlds.
Jack has a secret, he’s a Dom, with a checkered past and he enjoys some dangerous kink in his relationships. Abbie, always vanilla, is mortified by her body’s reaction to Jack’s ministrations. She has difficulty coming to terms with the idea of being a submissive. One thing I like about The Pleasures of Winter is the way it explains the intricacies of a BDSM relationship. Paloma, a former sub to Jack and sneaky pseudo matchmaker for the two breaks it down for Abbie. But sadly, this is where the story starts to fall apart for me. Don’t get me wrong, the sex is scandalicious. Seriously hot, the tension, the chase, the pay out, it’s all there and it’s all good. My problem is in the details. Let me break it down a bit. First off, we know these bad Honduran drug runner guys are hot on Abbie’s trail, they even break into her apartment. She simply files a police report and takes an overnight bag to her friend’s apartment down the street and suddenly all is better. You’re selling, I’m not buying. These guys tracked her shit all the way from Honduras and they can’t find her a few doors down at her best friend’s place? Hummmm. Secondly, Paloma was Jack’s former sub, she’s now in a new relationship but they are still friends. She tells Jack, and Abbie’s bestie Kit (a relationship counselor) that she and her new Dom are having troubles, serious troubles…everyone is concerned but there’s no resolution. Paloma does her thing explaining BDSM to Abbie, laments her serious relationship woes and that’s all we get…not loving that loose end. My tertiary complaint is with the relationship that blossoms between Kit and Jack’s best friend Kevin. Kevin has a pretty big role in the book but his happiness with Kit is a mere blurb, barely a blip on the radar of this story. I’m thinking their engagement could’ve gotten a wee bit more fanfare than it did, Kevin gets dicked around a bit in the book, it would be nice to see his happiness get a little more page time and Kit is snarky enough to make it very interesting. Finally, there’s the relationship between Abbie and Jack. They finally sort their shit out and get together and bam! the story ends. I mean literally ends, like three words later. Too many questions are left unanswered. How are they going to work a bi-coastal, perhaps bi-country relationship? Their reconciliation is tentative at best, they confess their love to each other but after such a rocky start, surely they have some major trust issues that will cause problems, let’s see some of that. I’d like to see more of how Abbie and Jack handle the day to day of making a relationship work. Abbie has never even considered a D/s relationship, the one time they make love in a vanilla sort of way, Jack straight up tells her he was acting the part. Come on, don’t leave me with that – there is a lot that can come out of a statement like that. She has the best sex of her life but notices he’s closed off and afterwards he admits he was acting. Hummm. Other than their time stranded in the rainforest, they don’t spend more than a couple of nights together yet we’re supposed to believe they are a solid couple. It’s being sold that way but again, I ain’t buying it. Again, the potential for a great story is there but the last 65% of the book feels rushed, not enough detail, not enough depth.
Now, let’s talk about the sex. Oh the sex these two have is really hot. Jack reigns his Dom side in a lot to be with her. A far darker side of Jack is implied, way darker yet we don’t see any of that, nor do we get any further explanation, just the implication. Also, there’s one scene that leaves me scratching my head. Now, this may just be my inexperience in the ass play department but, some shit goes down that I can’t seem to understand. Perhaps you guys can help a girl out. Abbie has never had anal, in fact she tells Jack anal isn’t her cup of tea. Abbie is not down with the ass play. Yet, one evening, before they head out to a play, Jack slips a remote controlled vibrating dildo into her ass!??! Never had anal Abbie then sits…SITS! through a long play as Jack periodically buzzes her ass? Is that even possible? I’m so confused. Sort me out, please.
So I did a little research before I sat down to write this review. I was trying to find out if this is the beginnings of a trilogy or series. I don’t believe that’s the case, which is a shame because there’s a lot that goes unexplained. There is another book, it’s a short story entitled, A Touch of Winter. It’s just over 30 pages long and apparently it occurs a year later and revolves around yet another misunderstanding. I’ll be honest and tell you I haven’t read this, but the reviews pretty much state it’s more sex, really hot sex and very little story. The reviews also state this should be more of an epilogue to the book, not an extra fee-paid short story. In the essence of full disclosure, when I started writing this review, I had it pegged as 4 stars because I did enjoy the beginning of the book, the characters have great potential and the sex is really scandalicious. As I typed, I nudged it down to 3.5 stars and the more I typed, the lower my rating went. Guess that’s the anatomy of a review, it all subjective. I don’t see the 50 Shades comparisons, unless we are relegated to saying every book from this point on, that includes someone new to BDSM or D/s relationships is 50 Shades-esque. I don’t want to fight, but let’s not do that, okay?