Title: Hold Me Close by Megan Hart
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Apart, they are broken, but together, they are whole
Effie and Heath are famous. Not for anything they did, but for what happened to them as teenagers. Abducted and abused by the same man, they turned to each other for comfort until they were finally able to make their escape.
Now adults, their relationship is fraught with guilt and despair. Whether fighting or making love, their passion is strong enough to destroy them both—and Effie’s not about to let that happen. She knows it’s time for her to have a “normal” relationship, and Heath is nothing but a constant reminder of the dark past they share. Heath, on the other hand, knows Effie is the only woman he can ever love. She may want to forget what happened, but he’s convinced that they must face their past together in order to move forward. So while Effie continues to bring new men into her life, Heath becomes obsessed with proving he’s the one she needs.
Then a new crisis arises and Effie begins to lose every scrap of self-control she ever had. As she struggles against her desire to return to the one man who understands her, she discovers that sometimes the only safety you find is with the person who is the most dangerous for you.
With a unique but compelling storyline, complex and somewhat broken characters and dark, violent sexual encounters, Megan Hart’s latest release, Hold Me Close is a gritty and sometimes, heartbreaking, erotic romance.
Effie Linton and Heath Shaw have a long, complicated history together with a tragic past that both binds them together and pushes them apart. They were kidnapped as teenagers and held together in captivity by a sociopath who physically abused Heath and put both of them through physical and mental torture for three long years. During this time, they turned to each other for comfort and close to twenty years later, they are still drawn to one another. Heath would like to make their relationship permanent, but Effie longs for a vanilla relationship with someone who is not tied to her past. However, is it possible for Effie to walk away from the one man who not only truly understands her but also shares her darker desires?
On the surface, Effie appears to have moved past the trauma from the kidnapping. She has a thriving career as an artist and she is a good mother to her pre-teen daughter, Polly. But the inspiration from her art comes directly from her past and she cannot make a clean break from Heath no matter how hard she tries. She is closed off from everyone except Polly and she still maintains an unhealthy relationship from someone in her past. Effie makes a real effort to forge a safer relationship with a man she meets through an on line dating service, but she is unable to fully commit to an exclusive relationship.
Heath remains on the periphery for much of the novel, but he is an incredibly likable and sympathetic character. He truly loves Effie and he remains loyal and steadfast to be both her and Polly. Despite an initial downward spiral after they were rescued from their kidnapper, Heath’s life is finally on track and currently, he is in a much healthier place than Effie. He truly believes they belong together and for a while, he allows Effie to return to him whenever she needs the sexual satisfaction he can provide. However, once he realizes she is serious about finding someone else to settle down with, Heath refuses to allow her to continue pulling him back into her life.
Effie’s journey through the darkness of her past takes time but is very much worth the wait. It is incredibly frustrating watching her refuse to recognize what she shares with Heath is real and not quite as dysfunctional as she believes. The constant push/pull between them is exasperating but there is no denying the emotional connection they share. Their sexual scenes are darkly sensual and laced with violence but Effie and Heath crave the kink that they experience together. The anticipation of what direction the story is going to go and which man Effie will ultimately choose makes it virtually impossible to put down this captivating novel.
A fascinating story about overcoming a traumatic and life alternating event, Hold Me Close is another well-written and riveting erotic romance by Megan Hart. Some of the flashbacks to what Effie and Heath endured during their kidnapping are difficult to read but overall, this portion of the storyline is not overly explicit. This backstory paints a vivid portrait of how these events shaped both Effie and Heath, and, ultimately, their extremely complicated relationship.
Tremendous character growth along with a surprisingly uplifting conclusion make Hold Me Close a thought-provoking and enjoyable read.