I have been staring at her for three months. Watching her. Memorizing her.
For ninety-two days, I’ve looked into those lifeless green eyes.
And for ninety-two days she has inspired me in ways I never knew possible. A muse, unbeknownst to her. Motivating me. Encouraging my darkest desires.
I’m a man who knows what he wants. And what I want is the beautiful and broken Holland Howard.
My name is Jensen Payne—photographer, autocrat, lecher, Scopophiliac. I am who I am and I will not—cannot—change.
*This is an Erotic Romance. Recommended for readers 18+ ONLY.
WARNING: This book contains possible emotional triggers.
HARD is a full-length stand-alone erotic romance novel (approximately 50,000 words).
★★★★ 3.5 Stars ★★★★
Scopophilia: Sexual pleasure derived chiefly from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity; voyeurism.
Our hero Jensen suffers from this affliction and when he sets eyes on a fiery haired woman who looks lost and alone and sad, he has an urgent need to get to know her on the most basic level.
Holland has experienced an unimaginable loss that has left her a shell of a woman who cares about nothing other than getting through to the next day, if that. She used to have a good life but now she lives alone in a small attic apartment and works at The Pub as a waitress.
“I’m on a wheel of misery, running as hard as I can and getting no closer to my end goal.
Jensen has been watching her for a while but Holland doesn’t even notice the man who comes into the bar often to order his Whiskey Sour, until that is, he makes his move. Holland blindly follows him home and this is the start of her sexual awakening that will slowly bring her back to life.
Jensen is someone who likes to be in control. He doesn’t need to know why Holland is so sad all the time, but he loves to watch her come undone under his touch.
_ _ _ _
There were two facets to this story, the emotional and the erotic. There was a lot of sex in this book. Jensen & Holland have lots of kinky sex involving ropes and cameras, he loves to capture her when she is looking most sexually vulnerable and Holland for the first time in a long time, feels alive when they are together in this way. Jensen is scared when he realises that he starts to develop feelings outside of the bedroom. It isn’t what he normally does.
“Talking like this, sharing my personal shit – I don’t do it. I bind. I photograph. And I fuck.
There’s no point in anything else.”
Personally, I found the erotic part overpowered the emotional side and I that really was the only thing preventing me from rating higher. I think if this book had been slightly longer and with more emphasis on the poignant side of the story, it would have definitely worked better for me.
Saying that, this book was a passionate one and it will break your heart to hear how Holland has literally stopped living after suffering from loss, devastation and betrayal.
I loved seeing her slowly coming back to life and being there for Jensen when she finds out that he is also harbouring a secret that has prevented him from taking relationships to the next level. I also really loved Jensen’s pop as a character and the epilogue was lovely.
It was definitely unlike any other book I have read before and would most certainly recommend it for any erotica fans.
This is a standalone novel, told in dual POV.
ARC gratefully received from the author in exchange for an honest review
About the Author
Cheryl McIntyre is the author of the bestselling Sometimes Never series, as well as the Dirty series, Infinitely, and Dark Calling.
She calls Ohio home, though she secretly dreams of living somewhere much warmer–preferably near a beach. She is a mother, author, and insomniac, as well as a reader, self-proclaimed movie critic, and incredibly bad singer. Her life revolves around four things: family, music, books, and really bad scary movies.
You can follow her author page on Facebook where she lives part time. On Goodreads—which is like crack for avid readers. On Twitter, though she has still not yet mastered the art of tweeting. On tsū. Or on her website.
“Take off your clothes.” My voice is gravelly and I hardly recognize it. I’ve imagined how she looks naked a million different times. Dreamt of this moment more than I can count. My hands circle around the device clutched in my grip, squeezing firmly.
One auburn brow arches as if in challenge, a silent remark to my lack of polite request. I mimic her, cocking my own brow, but give her nothing else. Manners don’t belong in the bedroom. This is who I am and I do not apologize for it.
I ask once—and only once. I offer a choice and they make their decision. After that, it’s my way. Anybody who doesn’t agree is free to leave. I don’t want her to go—I’ve waited far too long for this—but I am who I am and I will not—cannot—change.
She threw me off with the striptease and the drink. And that kiss. That hot as hell, fucking kiss. But I’ve had enough questions and more than enough storytelling for one night. Talking like this, sharing my personal shit—I don’t do it. I bind. I photograph. And I fuck. There’s no point in anything else.