"I am more than my past. I am my future and it belongs to me."
I’m going to admit I was a little bit judgemental before starting this book. I thought the premise of a ‘virgin call girl’ was a little ‘gimmicky’. I worried that it was a spin on the usual storyline, trying to be that little bit different. There is a reason why we shouldn’t be so quick to judge, this book proves my point and I’m so glad it proved me wrong. The Thrill of It was much more than Harley’s previous profession. I did not expect her struggles, her family life, the element of blackmail and most of all the subject of her addiction. I could feel it. I could feel the pull it had on Harley and I could feel how badly she wanted to slip back into her old ways. I felt all that while simultaneously willing Harley to stay on the right path, choose this sexy bad boy Trey rather than going back to the darkness her life was previously.
On paper, Harley and Trey shouldn’t have worked, they both had addictive personalities and they were thrill seekers, using that feeling to mask the pain from their lives but for some reason they worked perfectly together. For the first time they found themselves being open and honest and proving to each other that there is light in love.
The story started at a fast pace, Trey and Harley had already met, thinking it was a once time thing before they started a new chapter in their lives. Only to discover they would meet the very next day and that the secrets they hid, weren’t all that different. The story then jumped to six months later and Trey and Harley had built a tight platonic relationship, even though they both want more. I did feel like I missed out at the beginning of the story. I always like to read about the first meeting, I need to feel that initial connection rather than be told about it. I was desperate to read about their first night together so I’m glad a prequel novella has been made as I for one need it.
From the synopsis, Harley might sound like a girl you could dislike. She used men for money and she loved the thrill of it (pardon the pun) but Harley only used what her mother told her was her best asset. She was pretty and she should use it. My heart went out to Harley, her mother instilled years of emotional abuse in her. She wasn’t a mother to Harley and she introduced her to adult things at a pre-adolescent time. I hated her mum and the power she wielded over Harley but when Harley took a stand and decided to live the life she deserved, it made the victory all that sweeter.
Then we have Trey, oh my sweet Trey. The things that came out of that boy’s mouth; both super sweet and panty-melting hot in equal measure. He too had a sordid past and again it was his vice to block out the loss he wasn’t allowed to acknowledge. But Trey wanted to change and he sought the help he needed. The transformation was heart warming yet heartbreaking. When Trey finally opened up, my tears were flowing. A vulnerable, hot bad boy is my Achilles heel.
"It’s so strange to watch someone else’s reaction. I’ve been living my own reaction for years, inside of me and locked up in my head, and now this story that’s only been told in hieroglyphics on my body is someone else’s to own, to process, to feel. It’s as if I’ve given her a piece of my heart, and said there, do with it what you will. I’m frozen in time, waiting, to see if she’ll kick my heart away."
"I’m here, next to her, and my chest is cracked open, and I’ve given her my bleeding, beating heart, and she’s holding it in her hands, and she’s not crushing it, she’s not destroying it. She’s doing the opposite. She’s getting me. She’s understanding, she’s burrowing her way so far under my skin, into my head, and around my heart that I am dangerously close to joining her in the tears department."
The storyline itself was unique and at the beginning, we were drip fed information. Situations and secrets were hinted at and the impatient side of me wanted all the answers immediately. Why was Harley being blackmailed? What was Trey’s secret addiction? But good things come to those who wait and thankfully I didn’t have to wait long. Harley’s call girl days were recounted and we got to learn the reason behind them. Harley never once excused her actions and if anything, she was a too hard on herself but this made her even more endearing and I wanted her to find her happy place, with her perfect match in Trey.
Now I have to mention the undeniable chemistry between Harley and Trey. Only Lauren Blakely could fill a book about a virgin with so much chemistry and passion. The more I read the story, the more I learned that this was no gimmick. Harley seen her mother give her body away too easily, Harley was exposed to sex and her mother’s love for it when no young girl should be. Harley’s mum wanted a bff to spill her secrets to but instead she used her daughter as a poor substitute-as inappropriate as that was. "But he’s not mad at me. He’s mad at her. And maybe, just maybe, I am too. I didn’t want to be dressed up and paraded around. I didn’t want to be her wingwoman. I wanted to be her daughter."
So even though Harley was a call girl and let men get off to the fantasy of her, she kept something sacred and only when she found Trey did she start to feel for the first time and she found the man worthy of her most precious gift. Trey was a true gent, he moved at Harley’s pace and not once did he push her father than she was willing. "Here, where there is sex and love, and love and sex, and they don’t just spill over into each other. They are one and the same with him." This part of the storyline was handled really well and I respected both characters more due to their decisions and actions. That’s not to say they didn’t have fun and Trey didn’t use that dirty mouth of his because oh boy he did! ;-)
I loved Lauren Blakely’s writing, I have been a firm fan before, but I was swept up in this book and the writing was simply beautiful. From the descriptions to the dialogue, to the imagery, my highlighter was used copiously. Lauren goes from strength to strength with each story and this is my favourite so far. I connected to both Trey and Harley and my heart was in my mouth most of the time, just wishing they would make it to the other side in one piece, as a whole, together.
To be perfectly honest, I would have been happy if Harley and Trey’s story ended with book one. If Lauren had thrown in a big fat epilogue then I would’ve been content, only for the sole reason that I am a worrywart and I shy away from angst so I do worry what the next book will bring. I want Trey and Harley to remain in a happy protective bubble. With that being said, I am intrigued with the revelation at the end and will read book two to discover the next part of their journey.
The Thrill of It was great story; I got more than I bargained for. I fell for both main characters and it was a deeper, more emotion tale than I was expecting. Fans of Lauren Blakely will adore it and for new readers you must simply check this one out.
"Love isn’t a quilt. Love isn’t patient, love isn’t kind. Love is a game, a chase, a thrill. Love is wild and war-like, and every man and woman must fight for themselves."
"All I hope is that you can someday know that love doesn’t have to be a brutal, bitter, power game. Love can be the ugly beautiful.”
"Her belief in me is the strangest thing I’ve ever known. I’ve felt lust, I’ve felt rage, I’ve felt pain. I’ve felt sadness. I’ve felt power. But now this – faith in myself from another person. It’s foreign, and it’s heady, and it’s addictive in its own way."
"We are just a guy and a girl trying to figure out what it’s like to be with someone when it’s not a game, when it’s not an addiction, when it’s not a transaction."
“You belong to the beer you never drink, and to your friend Kristen, and to that group that I used to wish I never went to, but now I’m so damn glad I did because it might not be how I met you, but it’s how I fell in love with you. And you belong to my brothers,” I say, and it’s then that a tear slides down her cheek. “And to the tree you kissed. Most of all, you belong to the ugly beautiful. You belong to this messy, crazy, brave and honest love.”
“Trey Westin, when I walked into No Regrets more than six months ago, I had no idea that I was getting a whole lot more than a tattoo. That I was getting you, and us, and a place to belong. Because I belong to us.”
"I could snap my finger, swivel around then strut off, reality show style. But I don’t. Instead, I simply walk away, and it hurts that she isn’t who I wanted her to be, but it also feels good that I finally found the words to tell her so. In my own way. In my own time."
"Now I know. Now I get it. I understand. This is love. It’s not a game. It’s not a razor’s edge. It’s not a transaction. The poets are right. The dreamers are right. The lovers are right. This isn’t nothing. This is everything."