26 Hours in Paris by Demi Alex

paris
26 Hours in Paris by Demi Alex
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (219 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

One day to see the sights.
One night to change your life…

Magazine writer Kathryn Taylor is traveling from New York to Paris for work. But the flirtatious Frenchman she left long ago is waiting at the airport–and he wants to play…

No one can guide Kat through the sensual city’s delights like Marko Renard. He let her get away once, and now he’s determined to make her stay–even if he has to tie her down. He will wrap her in cashmere, tease her tongue with chocolate, and take her to the peak of the Eiffel Tower…But can he convince the bohemian beauty she belongs with him, in his luxuriously decadent world? In business, he’s the master–but it’s Kat’s body and soul he truly longs to rule. He has just enough time to show her the pleasures of the boulevards, the boulangeries–and the bedroom. To finally get her to just say oui, he’ll have to seize the day–and the night…

26 Hours in Paris is the perfect mix of erotic romance with a traditional story of falling in love. My appreciation is deepened because Ms. Alex imbues her characters with a shared history, of love thwarted by assumptions and an opportunity for second chances. All three aspects combined to give readers a full-bodied, engaging yet stimulating read that singes the sheets while warming the heart.

Readers are left in no doubt early on that Kathryn absolutely loves Marko and later on will come to understand that Marko loves her as well. The crimp in the relationship comes from life – a tragedy. Their relationship had potential but took a direct hit when something happened to the heroine’s family and it fell apart. The good news is that Katheryn still considers the hero a friend. The bad news is, so much time and distance as come between them, she’s under the illusion that things could never be, that their love wasn’t still a living breathing thing, and a least three other reasons she’s come up with to convince herself that it simply is not meant to be. It’s a good thing for her and for readers that Marko not only isn’t on the same page, but as a Dom, won’t let her hide and run any longer. Marko has a plan.

I liked the dynamic of their relationship and the fact that all Kathryn’s friends, save Charlie, conspired against her. They knew something she didn’t, and because they know her so well, knew they had to come up with a story that made sense. She fell for it hook, line and sinker, which of course is a forgone conclusion. What I didn’t expect was the connection with the plane’s passenger, nor the chauffer, nor all that could happen in 26 hours.

The BDSM aspect was on the light side in that it was 95% percent focused on Marko and Kathryn. The author told the story from both their POV so I knew that the heroine was totally on board with Marko’s dominant ways, and I knew what motivated the hero and what his end game was so it was totally believable that it all factored in with their romance. Marko’s ‘lessons’ taught the heroine some important truths about herself and in doing so, made the hero’s wishes become a reality. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. The author threw in some significant conflicts to really show readers just how perfect the protagonists are together, and just how far Kathryn succeeded in achieving personal growth. The other 5% dabbled in a brief taste of exhibitionism and club life, with some telling to augment the showing. For readers who aren’t big on the BDSM scene, I think Ms. Alex’s handling of it was perfectly balanced and it did contribute to their learning about each other, learning to trust, and succeeded in propelling their romance forward. Still, the writing is still done well enough to make a person blush.

This is definitely a character driven romance supported by a varied cast of secondary characters that truly enhanced the story. I thought the heroine’s meeting with his relatives to be anti-climactic. I was waiting for some powerful dialogue or heightened drama to be revealed in detail but the author chose instead to focus on Marko and Kathryn and used his family as a delightful backdrop. Readers will have no reason to doubt Marko’s love for his family; it’s there for all to see, including Kathryn. I just expected more oomph or emotion or depth when they finally meet. As it was, it was … nice. Even under the circumstances, it was nice.

26 Hours in Paris is the perfect novel for readers who prefer an actual story to couch the erotic content. Ms. Alex has always had the ability to make the southern reaches steam while melting the northern and this book carries on that tradition. This is a delightful romance with two engaging characters. Kathryn might take a bit to get past her personal walls but when she does, the romance quickly comes to full blossom and the happy ever after satisfies. This story is really good for an afternoon escape. I recommend it.

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