I'm currently giving away a paperback copy of S.E.C.R.E.T on my blog here: http://www.feelingfictional.com/2013/02/review-giveaway-secret-l-marie-adeline.html This is one for US / Canada residents only I'm afraid but since I'm a Brit blogger that should mean you have a higher chance of winning! The giveaway closes on the 25th of February
Since the death of her abusive husband Cassie has spent her life living on the sidelines, she spends her days working and her evenings reading and is too scared to even consider dating again. She has lost her confidence and has created a safe little world to live in without even really noticing how lonely she has become. It is only after she reads a mysterious notebook that was left in by a customer at the cafe where she works that she starts to question her safe routine. The notebook contains an explicit account of a woman's journey to fulfil her wildest sexual fantasies and gives a glimpse at a secret organisation that helped her achieve her dreams. When Cassie is invited to join S.E.C.R.E.T she is scared to take the risk but reading that notebook has opened her eyes to the possibilities and she finds she can't walk away without taking a chance.
I wasn't too sure what to expect from S.E.C.R.E.T when I first picked it up but I have to say I really enjoyed it. As much as the idea of talking to a bunch of complete strangers about your innermost desires was a little odd I really liked the idea of having a group of hot men who are willing to play out your fantasies! What girl wouldn't like to be made to feel special and beautiful and have men going out of their way to pleasure them? What I actually liked most about the story though was the way Cassie's confidence grew thanks to the help she had from S.E.C.R.E.T, the goal wasn't just sexual empowerment but to help her step away from the sidelines and start to live again. The story takes place over a year and Cassie went from being someone who had very little experience and was very shy to a confident and in control woman who knew what she wanted from life and was happy to go out and get it. The encounters Cassie has vary in intensity and don't all lead to sex but they all help her discover something about herself and they were all hot and enjoyable to read.
I had a few minor niggles with the story and have to admit that I rolled my eyes on learning about a secret society called S.E.C.R.E.T - surely they could come up with a better name for themselves than that? - but I was able to forgive them when I found out that each of the letters stood for something meaningful. I still think I'd have preferred a different name for the organisation but that didn't stop me from enjoying the story. I'm all for women being able to explore their sexuality in a safe environment, Cassie was able to live out her wildest dreams but was never at any risk and she had to agree that she wanted to continue at every step along the way. Perhaps it's partly my age and the fact that I'm single but I found it really easy to relate to Cassie and I have to admit that if I was invited to join this kind of society I'd jump at the chance! I'll warn you now that the ending is slightly frustrating but it has definitely left me wanting to carry on reading the series. If you're looking for something that has a bit more depth to it than some erotic romances then I'd definitely recommend giving S.E.C.R.E.T a try, don't go into this expecting a happy ever after though - the book is more about Cassie's self discovery than a standard romance story. I have high hopes that she'll find her HEA by the end of the series though.