From the Blurb:
Sex is the only thing they have in common. Total surrender the name of the game.
James had it all. Good education. City job and a wife he would have been willing to die for. Their motto had been work hard, play hard, but she’d pushed the boundaries too far and he’d walked. Became the man he felt he needed to be. Detached. In control.
Free spirit Kezia lives each day at a time; sharing, loving and giving are unconditional. And sex is part of the sharing.
When fate leaves James and Kezia trapped together for the summer, her openness is an invitation he just can’t resist. The attraction is instant, the sex all-consuming. And as their fantasies become reality, James begins to realise that willing surrender is a far different pleasure to forced submission…
James is looking forward to a relaxing summer by himself, when Kezia turns up. She wants work and a place to stay and neither of them want anything more. But their attraction to each other is too strong to deny and soon they can't keep their hands off each other.
I have to admit that when this story began I wasn't a huge fan of either Kezia or James. I found both irritating and a little pathetic, and honestly wanted to give both of them a good slap. But as the story continues and they begin to open up to each other, it's impossible not to sympathize with these two. Both are damaged and both need to learn to surrender emotionally and physically to each other if they want to take control of their pasts. As a result, the story is by turns emotionally heartbreaking and sexy.
Most of the novella is spent with Kezia and James getting to know each other on the farm where James works as a sex therapist - an occupation that doesn't quite fit for James in my mind given his own emotional and sexual issues, but it doesn't actually come into the story much anyway. The setting, however, makes for the perfect escapist location for this summer seduction. I could practically smell the grass and horses and desire.
One of the things I most enjoyed about this story was the treatment of fantasy. As the story progresses physical sex overtakes fantasies, as Kezia and James begin to put their desires into action. Yet, particularly at the beginning the expressed fantasies are almost more intense than the sex scenes themselves and I sort of loved that. In their story, Kezia and James' sexual fantasies play an important role of their emotional development and in the plot. Given that erotica is, at its core, a literary expression of sexual fantasy, I liked the idea of playing with this within the story. Perhaps I'm reading too much into this... but I thought it worked well.
There's also a little mystery subplot which was a bit of fun too. It made me wonder whether Zara Stoneley has ever written or considered writing romantic suspense, because I'd totally read it.
Summer of Surrender by Zara Stoneley was released by HarperImpulse on November 7, 2013, and is available from Amazon.
This book was given to Love Reading Romance in exchange for an honest review.