Published by Harlequin on November 1st 2016
Genres: African American, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
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A redeeming passion Ten years ago, rebellious corporate heir Alexander Diallo was living in Jamaica, a world away from his moneyed roots. But his youthful indiscretions have followed the successful computer engineer back to Miami. Now he's being emotionally blackmailed into romancing a perfect stranger. The seduction becomes all too real when Lex starts falling for Noelle Palmer…and longs to turn the pleasure-driven charade into a more permanent union. Being abandoned at the altar left emotional scars, and Noelle isn't ready to trust again—even if Lex is everything she ever dreamed of in a lover. His sensuality and magnetic charm tempt her to let down her guard and open her heart. Until she discovers that they didn't meet by chance. Can Lex convince her that what began as a deception has deepened into a love that can erase all the mistakes of the past?
Bare Pleasures by Lindsay Evans is the first book I’ve read by the author but it certainly won’t be the last. Aside from the fact that I enjoyed the romance, it mentioned Jessica Pearson from the TV show, Suits, and Olivia and Fitz from Scandal over the course of its 200+ pages. So for this reason alone, this book is alright in my book.
While Noelle Palmer and Alexander Diallo’s first “chance encounter” and the subsequent date was planned unbeknownst to Noelle, these two hit it off instantly. What unfolds next is a blossoming relationship that neither one expected. Lex makes it easier for Noelle to open up and become more assertive, specifically to her sister. Lex was a self-proclaimed hoe but with Noelle, he knew he wanted more.
While this relationship promises a bright future and is something they both want, it was built on a lie. We all know what’s done in the dark must come to light. When the truth about their courtship is revealed, everyone is hurt and we’re left wondering if this fragile relationship has what it takes to move past the deception.
Lex is an heir to a multi-billion dollar conglomerate but he doesn’t wear his wealth on his sleeve. I loved the fact that he was determined to define success on his own terms. He didn’t follow in his parent’s footsteps because that wasn’t where his heart was. I think this was one of the reasons why I liked him for Noelle, he was able to get her to see that she should tell her sister how she felt.
Despite my fondness for him, I was still pissed that he allowed himself to fall into this game of seducing Noelle. She was a perfect stranger and he really owed no one anything. He knew this would come back to bite him in his ass, and it did.
Speaking of Noelle, in the beginning, she came off as very timid and unhappily settled into her life. Readers will find that that wasn’t the case at all. She actually knows what makes her happy and what she wants to do, she just had to become more assertive about it.
Noelle and Lex were at risk of losing a potential lifetime love because of misplaced favors, meddling siblings, and deceptions. However, we are reminded that if a love is meant to be, it’ll find its way to overcoming obstacles. (Noelle was a lot more forgiving than I would be but we’ve already discovered that I’m very petty.)
The only reason that I didn’t give this book a full 5 stars is because there were still some unresolved issues. Unless I skipped that part, Noelle isn’t aware of the full extent of her sister, Margot, and Lex’s relationship and what Margot was really doing in Jamaica. I thought that was pretty crucial and could have altered a lot of things for the three of them even after the initial truth came out.
I have to say that I also loved the fact that Bare Pleasures was grounded in today’s world. It doesn’t date itself but I very much liked the pop culture references, the Miami locale and of course the Caribbean music. Bare Pleasures was a delightful read with a clear emphasis on family. May I make a request, if it’s not too much to ask, can each of the remaining 12 Diallo siblings get their own story?
They can be spread out of course but if you can outline those stories at your earliest convenience, it would be greatly appreciated.