Title: Reflected in You (Crossfire Series #2)
Author: Sylvia Day
Availability: October 2 ebook, October 23 trade paperback (Berkley Trade)
In this highly anticipated sequel to the NEW YORK TIMES best selling Bared to You, Gideon Cross and Eva Trammel continue to try to work through their troubled pasts, searching for a future they desperately want … and need.
Unfortunately it’s one step forward and two steps back as Gideon and Eva are confronted with specters of the past, as well as their own jealousies and insecurities. When tragedy strikes and Gideon inexplicably pulls away, Eva is forced to decide if she can trust what she knows in her heart to be true over what she sees.
Gideon’s noble determination to slay the dragons of Eva’s past may cost him the one thing he can’t live without – Eva.
Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn’t stay away. I didn’t want to. He was my addiction… my every desire… mine.
My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We’d never work. It was too hard, too painful… except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity.
We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession…
“I’d kill for you,” he whispered, “give up everything I own for you … but I won’t give you up.”
Fasten your seatbelt and hold on tight, as Reflected in You takes you on a powerful, sensual roller coaster ride. At times you’ll want to cringe at what’s coming next, other times you’ll squeal with delight. No matter what, you are guaranteed an exhilarating trip – one that you’ll want to repeat as soon as you are finished.
At times I wanted to rail at Gideon for his high-handed behavior, then of course five pages later I wanted to cuddle him and assure him of his worth. And Eva’s no innocent here either, her jealousy takes on a life of its own and eventually her behavior sparks one of the hottest, most intense confrontations I’ve ever read. Through it all I felt for them, cheered for them, and gave myself over to Ms. Day’s skilled narrative. This is the rare sequel that holds its own with the original.
It’s not all dark and heavy the entire book, they have dinners with friends, a romantic getaway, times to act like a ‘real’ couple. There are much needed moments of levity and normalcy for the couple. A little too ‘normal’ for Gideon at times:
“What’s wrong? Do you need a doctor?”
“It’s my period, I whispered, not wanting Angus to overhear. “It should start any day now. I don’t know why I didn’t realize it before. No wonder I’m so tired and cranky; I’m hormonal.”
He stilled. After a heartbeat or two, I tilted my head back to search his face.
With his lips twisted ruefully, he admitted, “That’s a new one for me. Not something that comes up in the course of a casual sex life.”
“Lucky you. You get to experience the inconvenience reserved for men with girlfriends and wives.”
“I am lucky.”
Eva spreads her wings and makes steps to have more of a life separate from Gideon, taking a trip with Cary and making it a point to cultivate new female friends. Eva’s reckless past is brought into the forefront with the return of a former beau. We also see more of Eva’s relationships with her parents (as an aside, her dad, Victor Reyes? Hot Dayum! *fans self*).
Eva’s extended support system gives her the strength to persevere when Gideon is no longer a daily presence in her life. Sure she has her moments of pity, but she proves herself to be stronger than she realized. We don’t find out until the end of the book why Gideon was pulling away – it was an “a-ha” moment that made me want to race back through the book looking for clues.
Gideon’s mixed signals about his emotional commitment to their relationship present the most difficult challenge to Eva as she contemplates moving on. She was no shrinking violet before and continues to stand up for herself (while also knowing moments of great weakness). I loved that she told Gideon off and let him know his behavior was unacceptable – no curling up in a ball for our Ms. Trammel. (“I don’t know what the fuck you’re doing, ace, but this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde shit ain’t cutting it with me.”) Eventually Eva assures Gideon that he has her trust, but without it being mutual, they have nothing.
“There is no us.”
“Stop saying that.”
“You wanted my blind trust and you have it, but that’s all I can give you. You’ve shared so little of yourself and I’ve lived with it because I had you. And now I don’t–”
“You have me,” he protested.
“Not the way I need you.” I lifted on shoulder in an awkward shrug. “You’ve given me your body and I’ve been greedy with it, because that’s the only way you’re really open to me. And now I don’t have that, and when I look at what I do have, it’s just promises. It’s not enough for me. In the absence of you, all I have is a pile of things you won’t tell me.”
“If I lose you, Eva,” he said hoarsely, “I have nothing. Everything I’ve done is so I don’t lose you.”
“I need more.” I rested my forehead against the glass. “If I can’t have you on the outside, I need to have you on the inside, but you’ve never let me in.”
And so he does let her in, sharing his some details of his trauma, and all of his heart, in a touching, gut-wrenching scene. (“People get over love. They can live without it, they can move on. Love can be lost and found again. But that won’t happen for me. I won’t survive you, Eva.”)
As determined as Gideon is to protect Eva, she’s just as intent on fighting for him – facing down his demons when he won’t to do so himself. I wanted to cheer aloud when she told off Corinne and confronted Gideon’s mom for failing to protect Gideon as a child. Add in creepy Dr. Terry and asshat Christopher, and it was all kinds of Eva empowerment. I loved her righteous indignation and her refusal to allow Gideon’s pain to be trivialized.
I think Eva’s strength is what sets her apart from most heroines of this sub-genre and makes Reflected in You such a compelling read. While the dynamics of their sexual relationship leaves no doubt about Gideon’s dominance, this situation does not translate to their interactions outside of the bedroom (or wherever else they decide to shag).
“You’re completely unmanageable.”
“When I’ve got clothes on. Get used to it.”
Despite their mutual obsession, Eva maintains her independence. Indeed, her need to do so is integral to her personality and Gideon’s acceptance (and ultimate respect) of this trait demonstrates the growth of his character and their relationship.
What I really enjoyed about this book was the character development arc. Gideon and Eva are not the same possessive control freaks they were at the beginning when they could barely contemplate spending two days apart. By the end of the book, they had learned to communicate and trust one another, knowing they didn’t have to be each each other’s pockets in order to be in each other’s heart.
“Do you realize that your reaction to my lunch with Christopher is very calm? And my reaction to you spending time with Corinne? We’re both reacting totally different from the way we would have just a month ago.”
He was different. He smiled, and there was something unique about that warm curving of his lips. “We trust each other, Eva. It feels good, doesn’t it?”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the more erotic aspects of this book. It is smoking hot at times – melt your e-reader, singe your hands hot. There are no barriers between Eva and Gideon anymore and (just about) anything goes. There is a scene in the first half of the book that really demonstrates Gideon’s sexual mastery and dominance over Eva’s body. No ropes or spanking or anything like that, yet still not for the faint of heart. No matter if it’s fierce, raw fucking, tender lovemaking or playful foreplay, Sylvia Day manages to infuse each encounter with an abundance of emotion and a true sense of the characters – it’s not gratuitous sex, every time they come together, you care about Eva and Gideon and it’s obvious they care about one another.
Eva and Gideon are an exhausting couple whose journey keeps you on the edge of your seat, in less masterful hands than Ms. Day’s, the result would not be nearly so satisfying.
The third book in the Crossfire Trilogy, Entwined with You, is expected to be released December 31, 2012. Luckily we don’t have to wait too long to enjoy Eva and Gideon’s happy ending – I refuse to contemplate the notion they won’t get one. :)
If this book were a nail polish it would be: Ascalon by a-england
A reflective grey shot through with flecks of blue and lavender, brightening what could otherwise be too gritty and dark. Ascalon is named after the legendary sword St. George used to slay the dragon and free the Princess Sabra. Rather fitting for our noble modern-day knight in a three piece suit and his tenacious lady, as they fight to protect one another… and their love.
(I’ll post better pictures once I discover where my 4 year old hid my good camera ;))
My Rating: 5/5 bottles of polish.
This is everything an erotic romance should be: engaging, sensual and evocative, with characters whose fate you truly become invested in.
*I received a digital advance copy via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*