“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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Only a small portion pertains to the cam girl
A complexity of emotions transform these two young girls. A second chance at love, at life, at self purpose. Clinging onto a past, facing the past, letting go of the past, and stepping into the present.
Emotionally and physically scarred, Vada is carving her path in life by finding her true self.
Overall: There is a complexity to the story far beyond my interest. The mentioning of art, artists, and photography was lost on me. Within this artistic lyrical style of writing is a message that was originally unclear. For me the story took too long to make its point. I got combobulated by the other stories: Max the grieving father, Ryan the other driver, the cam girl, the sexual identity, and Blue’s character. There were too many elements being expressed when really there was one sole purpose. This purpose got lost in the delivery of mixing too many themes by interlocking the same message.
I thought this book was solely about a cam girl. While there were some cam girl scenes they were cut short once Blue entered the story. I felt the entire story was a tease. Teasing the reader with Red. Teasing the reader with Blue. Teasing the reader with the cam girl.
I felt the author was too cautious in the beginning by withholding the true significance of this story. The accident scene led me to believe the story was headed in a different direction. I kept expecting something profound to happen from this accident. I loved what the author was trying to say, but the delivery of this message was hidden for far too long and by the time she decided to reveal it I couldn’t let go of my preconceived ideas from earlier.