Contemporary Romance

Review: If I Were You

If I Were You
If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Suspenseful and spellbindingly sensual, this story had me hooked from start to finish.

“People aren’t always what they seem…The art does not always mimic the artist. You never know the real person until you slide beneath their surface.”

Art major Sara McMillin had once dreamed of being part of that world. Heartbreak and the prospect of an unstable income led her to become a high school teacher though. But when her next door neighbor and best friend Ella unexpectedly elopes and leaves her with a storage unit that belonged to a woman whose love for an unnamed man leads her into the DBMS world she first embraces and later dreads is chronicled in descriptive erotic journals, Sara is not only captivated by what she reads but also driven to uncover her whereabouts. Finding it highly unusual that Rebecca would leave her very personal journals, all the contents in the storage unit and her amazing job at one of the biggest art galleries.

Following the trail left behind, Sara manages to meet and impress the gallery’s fascinating and domineering owner gaining Rebecca’s old job and also catching the attention of the famous and equally captivating Chris Merit. While worrying about her best friend Ella who hasn’t contacted her since she left, trying to figure out what happened to Rebecca and who she was referring to as her Master in the journals, Sara finds herself amidst a bevy of sexy dominant males all vying for her attention who make her doubt herself and everything she knows. Will she find answers to any of her questions before she herself is immersed in an erotic world she never imagined?

I’ll begin by confessing that I binge read this trilogy after I read the final book in the Careless Whispers trilogy. So I already knew what had happened to Ella AND about Sara’s happy ever after. On one hand, having this knowledge probably lessened my uncertainty and amount of questions I could have had if I had read this series first. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have read this series had Sara not appeared in the Careless Whispers series.

The key words though are “binge read.” I was completely captivated by the skilled writing, complex characters and multifaceted plot. I could not put the book down.

Even though I still had a lot of questions and there was enough testosterone to go around mainly because of the animosity between Mark and Chris, Chris was the one who I was fascinated with. While Mark is a thoughtful and observant boss, obviously attracted to Sara and a constant presence in her life, Chris is a tattooed rebel with a swoony, sweet and deliciously dark and sexy side. There’s obviously a lot of secrets the tortured artist is keeping. Chris first warns Sara off Mark, the gallery and himself but the attraction between them is too powerful for them to ignore.

“This ‘crazy’ thing you’re making me feel is the best crazy I’ve felt in a long time. I’m not ready to let go of you. I don’t know what you’re doing to me, Sara, but please … don’t stop.”

For those of you who are looking forward to the DBSM element hinted at by comparing this series to the Fifty Shades of Grey books, I have to comment that it’s only present in the tidbits we get from Rebecca’s journal who was in a M/s relationship. The main characters only engage in very soft bondage. But those entries are sizzling hot!

If I Were You is the first book in the Inside Out trilogy by Lisa Renee Jones who skillfully balances intriguing mystery with sensual romance. It is a contemporary romance, told by the heroine’s point of view that ends with a cliffhanger.

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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