Title: By Private Invitation
Author: Stephanie Julian
Publisher/Year: Penguin Group (USA) 12/31/12
Length: 320 pages
Series: Salon Games #1
Some invitations don’t need to be sent…only accepted.
Antiques dealer Annabelle Elder’s life is nowhere near as passionate as the erotic art she collects. A cheating ex-boyfriend and her business have seen to that. So when she attends a New Year’s Eve party at Haven Hotel, she sees a chance to blow off some steam. But she never expected to meet anyone like Jared—or to experience such passion in his arms…
Handsome, rich, and charming as hell, Jared Golden brought his Midas touch to Haven Hotel—and created an anything-goes pleasure palace on one floor to cater to his special friends and their very special desires. After falling in lust with Annabelle at first sight, seducing her was easier than he expected. What he didn’t expect was to be seduced in turn…
But unrestrained passion in the bedroom is not the only spark between Annabelle and Jared. Their mutual attraction is confounded by their separate pasts. Caught in an ever-growing web of painful secrets and sensual fantasy, will they be able to face the truth about themselves and trust in true love?
How Refreshing it is to get this story – where we have a steamy sexual tension and chemistry among characters, but it’s not necessarily in the same realm as private BDSM clubs. In this first installment of the Salon Games series, we meet Annabelle (Belle) while she’s with her friend Kate at a New Years party at the lavish boutique Haven hotel in Philly – which happens to be owned by the Sexy and erotically charged Jared Golden and his brother. What happens in Haven, does not stay in haven.\
The ladies have decided that Belle needs to step out of her shell after getting out of a long relationship that wasn’t right (she wasn’t into it and she felt that she needed more) and Kate is one of those friends that is up for causing trouble. The girls are at a costume ball amongst some of the most beautiful socialites and upon their arrival to the party, they are greeted by Jared and sparks fly at once. Because of Jared’s stature and role with the hotel, and his own personal preferences, he continues on with his night for just a bit, but we know that won’t last for long.
Upon meeting Belle, Jared notices a beautiful pin that she’s wearing and it seems awfully familiar. This pin is something that her grandfather had found at a yard sale of some sort and gave her before he passed away so it has great sentimental meaning for her, but has a different meaning for him. after spending time with Belle, not only is he drawn to the pin (which he thinks may actually be a piece that was stolen from his grandmother years ago) but he’s drawn to her – because she’s sensual, and not at all the typical woman that he goes for. See, Belle owns her own antique shop and is quite successful on her own. She also has this mysterious past that she HAS to keep hidden for her own safety and that makes things all that much more interesting as the story develops.
Where the story really takes a hot turn is when Jared steers Belle into the gardens for a little personal time and they end up in the private club room – the Salon for a private party that would put any sex club to shame. this is an invitation only place hand picked by Jared and his brother for their friends to experience their greatest fantasies without any inhibitions. The draw for Belle is not only the sensual nature of it all but the antique victorian feel which is one of her favorite periods to immerse herself in.
So, the story begins here, she spends the entire evening with Jared only to be woken up in the morning to overhear a conversation with Jared and his brother about the pin and makes her second guess motives all around. she storms out, a little bit of time passes, Jared figures out where to find her and the roller coaster begins. Belle is shaken up that he was even able to find her since her identity is quite hidden, and what’s even worse is that upon setting foot in her small town, he’s decided that it would be an ideal location for a new destination spa that he’s been looking to open. Their stories are once again intertwined when he asks her to do all of the decor and furnishings in the spa and that brings the sexual tension to the forefront.
What i really enjoyed about this story is that we’re given a sense of what caused Belle to be fearful of anyone knowing anything about her. We find that there’s a sordid past that surrounds her and that people went to great lengths to hide her identity to keep her safe. We also know that Jared is a power to be reckoned with and that Belle is useless to fight against him.
Where this story goes – we’ll have to wait and see in book 2
so my questions
1) will Belle’s past come out and will she be safe?
2) what does their new relationship mean to Jared’s current life?
3) will kate find happiness?
4) will we get to know Jared’s brother more and find him to be happy?