5 TELL ME A STORY STARS (★★★★★)
*** Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. However, this doesn’t affect my opinion of this book and the words in this review. ***
I knew what I could expect when I started Tell Me a Story, because it was my second Tamara Lush novel. What I expected was exceptional writing combined with a very good and steamy story and that is exactly what I got. My first novel was Hot Shade and although you can see the resemblances, Tell Me a Story is also very different as it doesn’t have the romantic suspense side and it is a rather short novel. This didn’t really matter, because I loved it all the same.
Book-store owner Emma, who is also a writer, meets rich businessman Caleb at an event Emma thought of together with best friend Sarah to give readers in the area a little extra. Some one-on-one time between reader and writer where the writer reads aloud one of his/her stories. After a very sexy first encounter, Emma reading her erotica novel aloud to Caleb, a strong connection is made. They are both attracted to each other and can’t seem to stay away.
What starts as a one-night-stand slowly grows into something more. But Emma has been lied to and hurt in the past, which is why she is determined to keep the sweet and caring Caleb as far away from her heart as possible. Even though things are becoming more serious by the minute, she insists on something casual between them. Which also means keeping him out of her problems with losing the store. Can she keep this up or will Caleb wurm his way into her life and her heart?
I keep falling in love with the characters Tamara creates as I did with Emma. She just feels so real to me. It’s like I almost wanted to jump into the book to give her a warm hug and tell her she doesn’t have to do it all on her own. It is clear that Emma secretly wants more from Caleb, but that she is also afraid to admit this to herself, because she is scared to let him in. She is ashamed of her past and she tries her best to protect her heart by never staying the night and omitting some details from her life. Her way to keep a certain distance between them. No matter how much he begs her to stay, she always leaves.
She wants to stay independent. She doesn’t take hand-outs and shies away from asking for help. But she is also very brave. I can’t imagine reading erotic fiction I wrote myself to a very handsome man, sitting so close to me, oozing sexuality. And even though it makes her very nervous, Emma still does it. Damn, if that doesn’t deserve some respect, I don’t know what does.
Tell Me a Story starts with a strong connection and some flirting, it’s immediately steamy. Tamara really knows how to write steamy sex and the scenes in this novel were no exception. In fact, they reminded me a lot off the steaminess in Hot Shade. The sexual tension between Emma and Caleb is built in a very slow and believable pace. Those hot moments of them together eventually leads to the big explosion, resembling fireworks. And the dirty words Tamara uses, they are not too much, but just enough to add to the tension.
I can’t really pinpoint the reason, but Tamara’s books all seem to leave me with a sweet and warm feeling. They just make me happy. I love how you slowly get to know the characters, with the details of them being sparse in the beginning. In Tell Me a Story Caleb stays a mystery for the most part of the book, but when I finished it I really had the feeling I knew both him and Emma.
I think Tamara is really gifted, because normally I’m not into the whole short novel thing. They actually kind of irritate me, because they don’t know how to satisfy my needs. When I finish them I feel incomplete, in some way. But with Tell Me a Story I felt the complete opposite. I got what I searched for: a complete story with well-rounded characters. There were no more words needed to tell Emma and Caleb’s story. Tell Me a Story had the perfect length. Oh and I absolutely loved the ending! OMG I sound like such a fan-girl, I’m sorry…
Tell Me a Story shows you how it feels to be scared to put your trust into others. It tells the story of Emma opening herself and her heart up to Caleb, even though she’s been hurt before. It’s about being the best version of yourself and building a relationship from a strong connection using honesty. Leading to finally letting in someone completely and letting go of insecurities. Tell Me a Story contains a sweet, hot and heartwarming tale. I am absolutely sure of the fact that Tamara Lush needs to be your new go-to author and you should pick up Tell Me a Story immediately if you’re looking for a short read in-between that will leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling.
I wanted him the second I looked into his steel-blue eyes.
“How much?” he asked. It was a sexy voice, a deep voice, and I smiled—a smile that alluded to everything but promised nothing, aware of appearing coy and knowing and not-too-eager.
I was in the mood to flirt.
Before I could answer, my friend Sarah broke in. “It’s two dollars a minute. Two dollars, one minute of reading. Half goes to charity, half goes to the writer. But you can negotiate with the writer, if you know what I mean.”
The man smiled and ran a thumb over his full bottom lip as he looked me up and down.
Sarah laughed and wiggled her dark brows. “That’s why I called it Story Brothel. It’s between the reader—” she clapped him on the shoulder “—and the writer. God, I love this. I feel like a madam. Like the Heidi Fleiss of Florida fiction.”
She reached to squeeze my arm, then leaned into me and lowered her voice playfully. “Remember: half for charity. No skimming.”
I rolled my eyes. “Like I’d do that.” Sarah stood on her tiptoes and kissed me on the cheek.
“He looks rich. Maybe he’ll pay you extra so you can save the bookstore,” she whispered.
I scowled, not wanting a reminder of work. This was my rare night out, a time when I wasn’t buried in orders or paperwork or my writing. It was when I transformed myself from serious shop owner into romance writer, like some pulp fiction superheroine. Glasses off; wild, curly hair down; blood-red lipstick staining every napkin and cocktail rim in my path.
And maybe this man’s mouth in a short while. I was long overdue for male attention. At least, that’s what I told myself as I took in his charcoal suit, his crisp white shirt, and the platinum glint of a wristwatch dial. I hadn’t been kissed in a long time—not well, at least. And not by a man this interesting looking.
An unfamiliar song came on, some Arabic-lounge groove with strong, heavy drums. It was how my heart felt against my ribcage. Sarah moved into the crowd. I kept smiling. So did he.
“Story Brothel,” he murmured in a voice so low I could barely hear the words. Because he was tall, he had to tilt his face and his gunmetal-blue eyes downward to look at me.
I shook my head dramatically and clicked my tongue against the roof of my mouth. “You don’t seem like the type of man who’d come to an event like this.”
“I don’t?” His eyes glittered and teased. They were such a gorgeous hue that popped against his long, dark lashes. He wasn’t the most handsome man I’d ever seen, but he radiated confidence and sensuality. His features—high cheekbones, a slightly big nose, a strong jaw—wouldn’t have stood out on their own, but the combination was irresistibly masculine. Intriguing. Fuckable.
“No. And I’ve never seen you here before.”
“This isn’t a one-time only thing?”
“It’s a monthly thing, for the Orlando Literacy Council.”
“So you’re an experienced…story…?” He motioned in a half-circle with his hand, and a salacious grin crept on his face.
“Whore?” I offered with mock innocence.
“You said it. I didn’t.”
That made me giggle.
“What’s that quote about writing and prostitution?” he asked.
I tilted my head, and a grin the size of the Everglades stretched across my face. It was impossible not to react because his question surprised me. Even though I owned a bookstore, meeting well-read, hot men was a rare event in my central Florida city, which was better known as the home of a giant cartoon mouse.
“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love…”
He chimed in. “…then you do it for your friends, and then for money.”
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