A slow burn romance that deals with tough topics
I have never been an addict. I do know what it feels like to be drawn to something that's not good for you. However, I do not know the strength that it takes to turn away from temptation and to come out on the other side. In Tempted, the new standalone romance by Ava Harrison, we are taken into the world of Silver, a high end night club where the rich and powerful and attractive congregate to have fun, drink and occasionally do drugs. Bailey, a recovering drug addict, is at the end of her rope. She desperately needs money and so she takes a job at Silver even though she knows it is going to be full of temptations that could land her back where she was. Her boss, the club's owner, Drew, hires Bailey against his better judgement. A difficult memory in his past pushes him to want to help Bailey, and he has no choice but to bring her into his world. What neither of them realize is that the biggest temptation that they will face, is each other.
This is not a cute and sappy romance. It deals with dark themes and may present triggers for some people who have dealt with addiction. Out of desperation, Bailey puts herself in a situation where she could fall victim to old habits. And Drew, even though he technically is responsible for Bailey being there, is set on saving her - despite the fact that should not be his role. He mixes his past and his present, bringing his previous failings into his relationship with Bailey, which proves to be a dangerous thing. The attraction between them is very real, but the potential consequences of them being together is more compelling.
Do not read this book if you are after a quick solution to the characters' problems. The difficulties Drew and Bailey face are complex and there is a very slow lead up. The character development was well done, but I did find myself wishing for more during the first half of the book - more sizzle, more spark, more smoke, more scorching heat. Perhaps I have grown too used to insta-love romances. What I did like about Tempted was that I did get to know the characters separately. I did see into their world, and although I walked on eggshells and stood in the corner out of the way, I did keep watching, fascinated. I wanted to see where this, and they, would end up. Harrison brings you into the darkness of Drew and Bailey's world, and into the swirling lights of their relationship. You feel a bit dizzy at first, but you don't turn off the strobe lights. Read this book if you are after a dark, slow burn romance, and I think that you will come out better for it on the other side. Thank you to the author and to Grey's Promotions for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.