"I see it, Jack. Your muse is back. The thing that gave you passion, tormented you, and haunted you is back. You're reeling in ecstasy and dread. It's something you want, but can't ever have. And the one that brings the pain is pure, white as snow... and standing in front of you."
One kiss could have changed Abby's life, but when it didn't happen, she ran. Jack was everything to her and when he didn't respond, Abby couldn't bear it. Everything about that night--leaning in close to his face, feeling the night breeze teasing her hair, the way his scent filled her head--was burned vividly into her mind, including the moment when Jack pulled away. There was no kiss. Abby was wrong. She was wrong about him, wrong about them.
Maybe she didn't have to go to college two thousand miles away, but she did. She had to forget about him. Abby threw herself off the grid, disappearing completely from the life she knew. After completing her undergraduate degree, she enrolled in seminary. All contact with her old life was severed and she never looked back, until she was forced to.
When Abby puts idealism into practice, her congregation throws her out. If she can survive a year on her own, they'll take her back, and continue to pay off her student loans--but if she fails, Abby is on her own with enough debt to fund a small town. Seminary wasn't cheap. With no place left to go, Abby returns to New York and her best friend takes her in.
Desperate to make it on her own and prove she was right, Abby follows a job lead to an art studio on Long Island. It isn't until she hears Jack's voice that she freezes. The hairs on the back of her neck prickle as she turns to see Jack, ten years later, looking even more tempting than before.
FIVE HUGE, SINFULLY SCANDALOUS STARS =)
"I see it, Jack. Your muse is back. The thing that gave you passion, tormented you, and haunted you is back. You're reeling in ecstasy and dread. It's something you want, but can't ever have. And the one that brings the pain is pure, white as snow... and standing in front of you"
This is one of the best books I’ve read all year. That’s a heck of a statement, but I mean it. I don’t know how I found this book, maybe it was divine providence, but it quenched everything I love about romance books. I was initially hesitant at first, considering the H/h were not at all typical, but the cover and hidden promise of what might transpire just drew me right in. By the way, how beautiful is that cover? I’ll tell you right now, the story is just as provocative. It tore me up, made my heart ache, made me cry and made me happy.
As I said, Jack & Abby were not your typical H/h. Jack is a famous artist, whose work can be construed as either fine art or pornographic. He does not touch, nor date, nor sleep with his models. He also hires a female assistant to oversee his every move when he’s painting a model. With these simple rules, he maintains a pristine reputation that helps him sell his art. Abby is the dubbed as the one who got away. Jack and Abby were close high school friends until she disappears after their near kiss. A decade has passed and Abby returns, practically penniless & desperate looking for job. She has spent most of her time as a minister in a small church in Texas. However, her church forced her to take a mandatory sabbatical after she openly commits an offense. So she’s back and her desperation lands her at Jack’s studio. Yes, she is a minister, but she doesn’t find his work offensive or disgusting, but evocative and beautiful. He hires her as his new assistant.
Working in such close proximity to Jack is having a profound effect on Abby. He’s stirring up feelings within her that she thought was long gone. Those repressed feelings that she has had for him all these years are returning with a force. As for Jack, he’s always seen Abby as his “unattainable goddess.” How long can these two keep up this charade?
He reached out for me, tugging me by the waist closer to him. Gazing down into my face, he whispered, “I’m sorry, but I can’t be the one to start this. I can’t be the one to pull you from your calling and break your vows.”
Talk about forbidden love and lust…WOW!! Though this was told in Abby’s POV, I felt so much for both characters. The tension was palpable and so physically powerful; it literally reached out and tugged at all my emotions. When they finally couldn’t take it anymore, their coming together was explosive. My God, it was beautifully erotic. When a story elicits so much emotion from you, you know it’s good. I love, Love, LOVE this story. I cannot recommend it enough.
Side note: H.M. Ward writes paranormal YA romance. Ella Steele is her pen name. I hope that Ms. Steele continues to write more these adult contemporary novels because this was utterly fantastic.