“Darkly erotic…a must read” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Unteachable and Black Iris comes a new, sexy romantic suspense novel about two best friends who are torn apart by a life-shattering accident…and the secrets left behind.
Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she’s got the two things she loves most: her art and her best friend—and sometimes more—Ellis Carraway. Ellis and Vada have a friendship so consuming it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It’s intense. It’s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.
Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.
Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone.
She’s got nothing left to lose.
So when she meets some smooth-talking entrepreneurs who offer to set her up as a cam girl, she can’t say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night stripping on webcam, and the “tips” come pouring in.
It’s just a kinky escape from reality until a client gets serious. “Blue” is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada’s life than her body. Online, they chat intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. It’s an easy decision: she’s starting to fall for him. But the steamier it gets, the more she craves the real man behind the keyboard. So Vada pops the question:
Can we meet IRL?
Blue agrees, on one condition. A condition that will bring back a ghost from her past.
Now Vada must confront what she’s been running from. A past full of devastating secrets—those of others and those she’s been keeping from herself…
Raeder (Black Iris) paints a heartbreaking picture of a young woman's struggles with identity in this darkly erotic new adult contemporary. After Vada Bergen and Ellis Carroway are in a near-fatal car accident that takes away Vada's longtime dream of being an artist, she slips into a deep depression. As Vada's financial situation worsens, she takes a job as a "cam girl," performing sexual acts for anonymous clients via webcam. At first, Vada stays emotionally detached. But when a customer digs deeper than the surface, wanting to know Vada as a person rather than a body, she panics. Who is this mysterious client, and should Vada simply walk away from her or pursue their connection? Raeder's beautifully broken characters are so full of life that they leap off the page and demand that the reader pay attention to them. Readers who have grappled with their sexual identities will particularly be drawn to Vada and her story, but it's a must-read for anyone wanting a sexy deep dive into a tangled psyche and a difficult life.
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My Person's Books Review
Cam Girl is unlike anything we have read. Leah Raeder’s poetic and artistic view from her main character was unique. This book takes you into a different world, it's is a beautifully written story about a moment in time that not only changes one girls future but the future of two others. Her path to adjusting to this new life laid out in front of her, her road to self discovery and acceptance of who she really is. The are so many twists and turns your head will spin.
Her name is Vada and this is her story.
Vada and her best friend Ellis are close, so close they cross that line to something more. After a night out they are in a car accident, a car rear ended them, killing the other driver and leaving Vada with a severely injured arm. It was just that, an accident. But that doesn't make the guilt any easier, nor does the secret she is keeping from this night.
Vada is an artist and her future of continuing her passion has come to a halt now she doesn't have proper function of her arm. She may not physically be able to continue her passion but the imagines of artistic moments continue to flood her mind. The way she describes life, the contrast and depth she sees around her is magical. Living with such passion is torture, her outlet in life was her and now it's been taken away.
On top of all that she is struggling with her sexuality, she is attracted to both guys and girls. She's in love with Ellis but is internally being held back. She was brought up in a conservative culture by her mother, she's meant to get married to man, always thinking she would end up with a man even though she's attracted to girls. Making her in more confused about being in love with a woman. Vada has always held back with sharing just how important Ellis is to her. You really feel the internal struggle Vada goes through with her sexuality, there is so much pain and anger radiating from her.
Confused and angry Vada pushes Ellis away. Their relationship was highly codependent, they seemed to hurt each other more than love each other. She also stars becoming friends with Max, the father of the man who died in the crash, two lost souls who find comfort from one another.
“If two people could make each other smile and laugh and forget all the pain and darkness in the world for a moment, why should we feel ashamed of it?”
Hitting rock bottom Vada is given a work opportunity, she starts working as a cam girl. It's easier to sexually connect with a stranger online than it is with someone who is in arm's reach. It was frustrating at times watching the push and pull relationship between Vada and Ellis. They connection so strong but their dishonesty was brutal and life altering.
Vada is a popular cam girl, she meets a client ‘Blue’ online who is willing to pay her to perform for him and no one else. The problem is they talk and connect, she's fallen for him leaving Vada even more confused. With Blue she can be herself she has opened up to this stranger in ways she never did with Ellis, at a crossroads she confides in him and tells him about herself, the real Vada not the cam girl persona. Having a connection with Blue each night cause strain between Vada and Ellis. Their once codependency is now a 3 way tug of war. Full of emotion and jealousy.
Max knows Vada is hiding a secret from that night, Ellis was drunk and doesn't remember anything leaving Vada very protective of her. Max starts digging around trying to uncover what Vada is hiding, comments he makes are leading her to start her own information gathering on his son. The relationship between Vada and Max at times felt off and strange. Their was such a turmoil between them.
Hold onto your seats because the twists and turns won't stop coming until the end. With Max digging into the personal lives of Vada and Ellis and them in turn digging into Max and his son's life; Vada and Ellis trying to be friends and maybe more than that, Vada trying to discover her sexuality, her relationship with Ellis and Blue you are in for one hell of a ride!
The big question is what is the secret Vada is keeping from the night of the accident, and who is Blue?
Kayla - Wow… I am once again blown away by the ability Leah has for making me feel things that make me question my own mind. It's like she reaches in and jumbles up everything inside of you. Cam Girl was nothing short of spectacular. The twists and turns, the lies, the love and the innermost battle Veda had kept me on the precipice right until the end. I can't wait to see what Leah delivers next.
Kristy - when I finished Cam Girl I didn't know how to rate it. The plot really keeps you guessing until you read those last few pages. It did feel a little drawn out at the time Vada and Ellis were trying to repair their relationship, I totally get that they needed to do this but it was a little long winded for me. The mysteries and twists keep me hooked. Leah Raeder did a remarkable job expressing the feelings of her characters coming to terms with their struggles on their sexuality and gender.