As someone who reads a constant stream of books, it takes a lot for one to stand out from the proverbial slush pile. You're always looking for that book with the 'it' factor. That factor being the special little something that really perks you up and makes you pay attention to what the author has to say. Alessandra Torre had that and more with this book.
Many readers hate to read a love triangle because the fact that they will have to choose between to ultimately amazing characters is heart wrenching. Who would want to say good bye to one of them? Though there is a three way relationship in Sex. Love. Repeat. I never felt that Madison was really torn between them.
It started two years ago when she meets Stewart Brand, a driven businessman who doesn't have time for a relationship. He and Madison click, but he does not have the time to offer her more than sex and bling. She's more than willing to settle for the occasional romp in the sheets, but she won't maintain exclusivity if he can't commit more time to her.
“Stewart loves me with a tiger’s intensity, his need taking my breath away, his confidence in our relationship strong enough to not be bothered by the presence of another man. He stares into my soul as if he owns it, and shows his love with money, sex, and rare moments of time.”
Magnanimously, Stewart proposes that instead of bed hopping to satiate her raging libido she find another man with whom she can have a steady relationship with. Basically she'll have Stewart, who she has come to love but can never fully have and another man to share her day to day life with and fulfill the emotional and sexual needs that Stewart can't.
Enter Paul. A pro-surfer that she stumbles upon whose carefree attitude and easy smile are immensely attractive. He becomes the second man that Madison shares her life with. Though don't get it twisted, she doesn't lie to either of them. They are both aware of one another and though they each want Madison for themselves, she's not the type of woman who will be chained down.
“Paul loves me with unconditional warmth, his affection public and obvious, his arms pulling me into him, his mouth littering my body with frequent kisses.”
She is always under the impression that one day her perfect arrangement will come to an end. Either Stewart will realize what an amazing woman he has by his side and make time for her or Paul will finally break and demand an end to sharing her with someone else.
Which is what the mysterious woman in the background hopes will happen. Interspersed between the story of Madison, Stewart, and Paul are little snippets from the point of view of Dana, who is extremely curious about the woman who has stolen the hearts of these two men. Who is she? What does she want with them? And will they survive whatever catastrophe is waiting to happen?
This was such a refreshing read for me. I've never had anything by Alessandra Torre before - I'd seen her serial, The Dumont Diaries, around and it's been on my TBR for the longest time. It's now been bumped way up because I loved Torre's frank, fresh voice and willingness to tackle socially controversial situations.
Let me just say as well that Madison is one of my favorite characters. Her attitude about sex and just in general reminds me a lot of Maise from Leah Raeder's Unteachable. Direct, openly sexual, doesn't take any shit, but still laid back and in control. I adore women that don't apologize for themselves or their appetites.
“She fucks because she loves it and loves through it. It is her gift to the world, and I am lucky enough to be a part of that world.”
A definite must read.