When Emily Wayborn goes home to visit her mom while on hiatus from her hit TV show, she receives a voicemail from her former best friend, Amber. Though the two were once notorious party girls, they haven’t spoken in years. Although the message might sound benign to anyone else, Amber uses a safe word that Emily recognizes, a word they always used to get out of sticky situations during their wild days. And what’s more chilling than the voicemail: it turns out that Amber has gone missing.
Determined to track down her friend, Emily follows a chain of clues that lead her to the enigmatic billionaire Reeve Sallis, a hotelier known for his shady dealings and play boy reputation. Now, in order to find Amber, Emily must seduce Reeve to learn his secrets and discover the whereabouts of her friend. But as she finds herself more entangled with him, she finds she’s drawn to Reeve for more than just his connection to Amber, despite her growing fear that he may be the enemy. When she’s forced to choose where her loyalty lies, how will she decide between saving Amber and saving her heart?
Worldbuilding: The contemporary setting was cool, some Hollywood/LA, some Wyoming ranch, but while the contemporary world of wealth, sex, fame, and commerce between them was very powerful and unapologetic, the actual location seemed of little relevance to me. Any place where rich people and beautiful people are is somewhat similar to a whorehouse, lol! Kudos to the atmosphere, imo.
Characters: Emily….oh, Em. There’s so much to say about her, so much to consider. She’s a victim of abuse, she’s submissive with copious guilt-trips over it, she’s got this love/hate relationship with herself. I mean that in itself is a roller-coaster. I loved her, even when I didn’t particularly like her actions or choices. There were things about her that are very well known to me, via close friends, and I’d never find it in my heart to judge her for anything. What I would say though, if given the chance, don’t choose to walk along the trails she picked. That way lies danger, and I don’t think basing your safety on pure luck is a good strategy. Other than that, to each their own. She certainly made for a very interesting MC though, without a doubt.
Reeve was freaking killer, uber-charismatic, millionaire bad boy, potentially-mob-vibe, stylish, domineering, ridiculously hot, the thoughtful sadist vibe of your dreams without going overboard, lol.
They were incendiary hot together, their romance was a fascinating hot mess, and I’m dying to read Last Kiss.
Plot: The romance plot was very exciting, fast-paced, pretty much addictive, the D/s vibe intense and delicious (but not hardcore, imho – keep in mind I read hardcore stuff usually though, so to the more inexperienced reader it might be a lot, and possibly triggering, considering the sort of play involved including the instance of breath play). The investigation outside the romantic plot was exciting and well paced too, though! I was sure I could guess what had happened to Amber, and then I had doubts, then I was sure again, then I thought I knew, but then!! But then!! Not giving it away. Last word of the novel. That’s all I have to say, lol. Last freaking word.
Writing: First person, past tense narrative. I loved Em’s voice. Read an excerpt here to make up your mind for yourself 😀
Curb Appeal: Nice cover, hooking blurb for sure – impulsive buy material.
I guess some will find First Touch shocking, maybe disturbing. I guess the fact I only find it intense and well done speaks lots to my reading habits and my evil reader villainous heart, lol! Keep in mind though that I’ve read looooooooots of hardcore BDSM, D/s, dark fic and love tortured characters to no end. First Touch is a prime source of that.
So I recommend it to lovers of romantic thriller/suspense, to lovers of D/s romance – in short, to the more hardcore crowd. Sweet and innocent this is not – nor should it be, for it’s close to perfect just the way it is. With one minor flaw (that felt fatal at the moment): the last scene, the last freaking word!!! Gaaaaaah!!! Laurelin Paige is obviously mistress of evilness. I want the next one, noooooooow!!