Review: Crave by Jennifer Dawson (Undone #1)
It's been eighteen months since Layla Hunter's beloved fiancé John was murdered in a dark alley way. Her nightmares are filled with memories of her helpless, watching him bleed out. She goes to the one place where her punishment can be doled out but according to the rules that she sets in place. But no one can give her what John did and the craving for the pain mixed with pleasure is something she never expects to find again...until she locks eyes with a man who she instinctively knows can fulfill her needs and wants, and that's more than someone like her deserves. Layla knows she needs to distance herself from Michael Banks, but he tempts her in ways that have her craving not just the pain and the pleasure but also the man who could change her life. How can she let someone else into her heart when it's still occupied by another?
Crave is the first novel in the Undone erotic romance series from author Jennifer Dawson and is a heartrending story of Layla Hunter, a thirty-year-old woman still mourning the death of the man she was supposed to marry but who was married a few weeks before their wedding. Layla was there to witness her fiancé's murder and she was attacked as well. She and her fiancé, John, were into the BDSM lifestyle and since his passing, she's craved how he made her feel, but she believes no one will ever be able to give her what John did. Then she meets thirty-three-year-old police detective Michael Banks and she's drawn to him even as something tells her that she needs to stay away from him, fearful that she could grow too attached to him and what he can give her. Nothing is easy in their relationship but both are worthy of love.
Layla is a shell of the vibrant woman she once was. Her heart belonged to no one else but John for so long that the loss of him in her life has broken her in ways that her family and friends feel helpless to understand. With Michael, she's both excited and afraid of what being with him means. She's been loyal to John even after his death, with her emotions being locked away and her body being the only thing that receives temporary release from the one-time hook-ups she engages in. Michael doesn't just fulfill her sexual needs, but he's able to provide her with the love, acceptance, and understanding that she needs but isn't exactly actively looking for until he comes along. Theirs isn't just about lust, dominance, and submission, but it's also about care and respect and earning one's trust and then giving your own in return.
This is one of those books that's able to surprise you because it isn't exclusively focused on the heat that certain scenes can generate but it also touches upon the heart and evokes feelings of empathy and understanding. I really liked Layla and Michael together and Michael's patience when it came to Layla was above and beyond what you would expect from such an alpha male. The supporting characters are also fascinating, especially Michael's best friend Leo, who gets his story told in the second book in the series, Sinful. I realize that this is an erotic romance but it never felt raunchy or distasteful, even though the heat between Layla and Michael was scorching. This was more than about BDSM; Crave was a story of finding the person who brings you back to life just when you thought there was nothing left to live for. Five stars! ♥
Date Read: 17 November 2015
Learn more about Jennifer Dawson.