A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.
Before I started reading LOST IN YOU, I already knew that Sommer Marsden could write great erotic romances. What this new book showed me was that she can do all that within the structure of a somewhat conventional “a couple from different worlds meet cute and fall in love” and make it even better.
Before our hero ever makes his appearance, LOST IN YOU provides a brief but illuminating sequence of events showing us exactly what our heroine, Clover Brite, is all about. She might have a name evocative of some cute Saturday-morning cartoon character, but this woman is all business when it comes to her job. Clover had to claw and scratch her way up from an impoverished life with her single mother, and she’s not taking one bit of her success for granted. Our heroine has high expectations for herself and others, and isn’t afraid to yell at anyone, even if it’s the oh-so-snooty glasswork expert she needs to check out the condition of the glass dome in her beloved Rotunda. Oh sure, it’s not really *her* Rotunda, but Clover has fond childhood memories of time spent in that building, and with the childhood she had, good memories are few and far between. So when the expert refuses to show up even after she’s gone and dismissed the whole construction crew just so he can work unobserved, it doesn’t occur to Clover that the guy has a very good reason to turn her down. Her single-mindedness over the job at hand has blinded her to the fact that there is an honest-to-God superstorm on the way and nobody would go outside in this weather voluntarily, let alone climb out on the roof of the Baltimore Rotunda.
The impending storm might have taken away the man who was supposed to handle this major task for Clover, but it also puts in her path the one man who will change her life forever: Dorian Martin, our hero. Dorian’s life up to this point has been pretty much the complete opposite of Clover’s. He grew up never wanting for anything money could buy, by people who didn’t seem to care much about him, while she had been rich in love instead of material things. As a wealthy and handsome single man, Dorian could have his pick of any beautiful woman in the world, but when he hears Clover yelling on her phone before she throws it across the room, he’s hooked. He may be her boss by virtue of owning the Rotunda building, but it soon becomes obvious to Clover that he wants to be more. The isolation of being stranded together will soon enable this unlikely pairing. But can what they’ve found in each other survive past the end of the storm?
What I loved the most about LOST IN YOU was its hero and heroine. They were completely adorable, and I mean that in the best possible sense. Clover was so good at her job and working with her crew, but in a realistic way – never as a Mary Sue. When she first laid eyes on Dorian, it knocked her so completely off balance that it almost felt like I was experiencing it myself. It’s not immediately apparent if this sudden attraction is mutual until the storm finally hits, and Dorian gets a full view of Clover’s soaked white blouse after their unsuccessful attempt to leave the building. But even then, is it really Dorian reacting that way, or is it just Clover projecting her own desires on an unaware man? In that moment, Clover’s self-doubt became mine, adding layers of enjoyment to my eventual discovery that Dorian was just as smitten. As they succumbed fully to their shared insta-lust, then struggled to maintain their connection after the storm ended, I got to experience all their doubts and fears and mistaken reactions until at long last, they fumbled their way to a beautiful HEA.
I will admit to being frustrated by Clover’s negative self-esteem which always seemed to rear its head at the worst possible moments, especially when she allowed Dorian’s evil not-really-his-girlfriend to take advantage of that self-doubt. But in retrospect, it did make sense for Clover to be second-guessing every moment of happiness at that point in the story. It also helped that Clover’s most unfortunate moment of doubt was later redeemed by one of the finest moments of a heroine groveling that I’ve had the privilege to read in quite some time. (I do so love a good grovel!)
It’s true that Dorian had his own moments of low self-esteem, manifested in the way he’d internalized all the disappointments he’d received at the hands of those who should have loved and supported him. But his love for Clover was as real as she kept trying to keep herself from believing, and the fact that he never truly gave up on her (even when it seemed that he’d given up on himself yet again) made his last-ditch efforts to get her back all the more touching and sweet.
The only real issue I had with LOST IN YOU was related to one of my personal pet peeves becoming a real distraction for me, thanks to Clover’s previous history. As you might imagine, Clover and Dorian have sex repeatedly and often, and each scene is incredibly erotic and emotional. But at no time do either of them ever use, or even mention, any sort of birth control. I understand that writers are not obliged to include such things, and normally, I would just sigh and move on. But because Clover’s own mother had been abandoned by a wealthy lover while still pregnant with Clover, all those scenes of unprotected sex between Clover and Dorian had me half-expecting a repeat of this type of pregnancy drama, and that was the last thing I wanted to interfere with this delightful and heartfelt romance.
Yet that’s just one tiny quibble in an otherwise charming story and it shouldn’t put anyone off reading LOST IN YOU. I quite enjoyed Clover and Dorian, and recommend their story for anyone who appreciates an erotic romance that’s hot and sweet and yes, adorable.