I believed I would never be able to trust any man again. That kindness was only for fools and would lead me down that same terrible path into darkness. I thought so with every fiber of my being—and then I met Noah Gideon Grant.
Everyone says he’s dangerous. He never comes out of his house—a place that looks like it could be featured in Serial Killers Monthly. But the thing is … I think something happened to him too. I know the chemistry between us isn’t just in my head. I know he feels it, but he’s holding back. The pleasure he gives me is unreal—if only I could give something in return. If only he would let me in. I think I can make him feel something good. And for the first time in forever, I want to.
He’s made a labyrinth of himself. Now all I need to do is dare to find my way through.
An unexpectedly effective vulnerability simmers in the heart of Stein's novella of salvation through submission. The spookily not-cute meeting of unlikely protagonists Beth and Noah is loaded with sharp edges and taut emotions, and it becomes an unusual and effective launching point from which to navigate the emotional side of sexual communication. With suspense and even horror lurking at the edges, the amped-up anticipation is both organic and beguilingly arousing. Stein gives Beth a clever wit that helps to mitigate the undercurrents of physical and psychological trauma, and reclusive Noah's bluntness is both entertaining and endearing. The sex, when it arrives, does so in a torrent and with a twist. Unable to physically express his desire, Noah talks about it while Beth enacts it. Her response to his words leads to the giddily disorienting passion that only a vivid imagination can provide, and a cathartic release from his self-imposed isolation. By seizing on the power of erotic language and allowing it to range from rhapsodic to raunchy, Stein (Beyond Repair) has written a radiant ode to the mind the biggest erogenous zone of all.