"Tatum." Hearing my name cross his lips in that sultry voice is more of a turn-on than I could have ever imagined and I need to shut it down. "You looked really pretty this morning."
"Yep. And I bet you look even better right now in bed."
My pulse races. How does he know I'm in bed?
He yawns, and that makes me yawn too, even though now I'm wide awake.
"Thanks. You weren't that bad to look at yourself. What makes you think I'm in bed?"
"I don't know. I was just guessing. It is the middle of the night." He pauses before adding, "And that's where I've been picturing you."
I blush. "You're picturing me? What am I wearing?" I laugh to myself, thinking that the cliché question is suppose to be "What are you wearing?" But we're in his imagination and I'm eager to know what he keeps there.
He makes a humming sound that vibrates all the way through me. "You really want to know?"
"Yes." My one-word answer comes out slowly and wavers in and out, sounding like a question.
I hear the air hiss through his teeth before he says, "It isn't much. Sleep well. I'll see you in the morning." Then he's gone before I even say goodnight or talk him further into a pay-by-the-minute type of conversation.
I won't bore you with the details, but my faithful device, Mr. Right, just didn't cut it tonight. Maybe it's time for a new one.
Or new lots of things.
"I see his love with my heart, not my eyes, and I don't have to memorise it, because it isn't going anywhere."
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
The synopsis of Fade In had me immediately intrigued, a main character losing their sight was something I hadn't read before and I love when contemporary romances go against the grain. The prologue hits the ground running, so much so I actually had to re-read it a few times to get my bearings and understand whose point of view it was from and the context it was in. The main story is then told from Tatum's point of view and she is one crazy character, I like funny girls, Tatum was a comedy writer and again I liked how I hadn't read a girl with this profession before. Tatum spoke her mind and had a crass mouth around her friends, and well just about anyone she comes into contact with.
“Tell me the truth. Is it because of my adolescent masturbating? I was told that leads to blindness.”
“This again!? Would you quit with the masturbating!” He almost shouts.
“I wish I could. It’s just that I’m so good at it.”
The start of the story was all about Tatum and it set the scene of her working life, her home life, her douche of a boyfriend and her condition of losing her sight. Whilst I did enjoy getting to know Tatum, I was asking myself where was Ben at this point and more importantly when would I meet him. It was around 20% into the story when he was introduced as Tatum hired him as her personal assistant to simplify her home life. Ben appeared in a bit of a mystery and I was left wondering what his deal was, this continued to plague me throughout the book, I was hoping he wasn't a bad egg!
Tatum and Ben's relationship was sweet, although they tried to keep it professional, they were undeniably attracted to each other and they built up a solid friendship before taking it further.
“Two nights in a row that motherfucker has bested me.
Two nights in a row he’s left me horny as hell.
Two nights in a row I have to make a valiant effort to not beg him for more.”
Tatum was hesitant, as her eyesight deteriorated, she was reluctant to start something with Ben, as she didn't want to be a burden or a 'pity fuck' as she so eloquently put it.
“Tatum, if it comes to something like that”-he motions between our barely separate bodies-“in the future with us, then it won’t be just fucking. And, doll, you won’t ever want it over already.”
An impromptu road trip happened at 70% and I felt like that was when the story really kicked up a gear, it was going at a snail’s pace beforehand and I wished it had happened sooner as by that point in the story their trip had to be skimmed over in order to keep up with events.
Ben was a likeable character, he said and did some of the sweetest things, he almost had me swooning, I say almost as I felt I was kept away at the same arm's length that he kept Tatum. I really wanted Ben's POV several times throughout the story, it became clearer towards the end he was hiding something and it stopped me from falling for him completely.
Tatum was a great character, she had me laughing many times and when she was serious for a minute or two my eyes would get misty as I felt her fear of going blind and all that she would miss out on. I liked this element of the story and it brought something new to my reading.
“I’m so sad and I’m really, really scared, Ben. I hate this. I’m angry. I feel stupid and foolish and I’m afraid I’m going to be so lonely in the dark.”
Winnie and Cooper made for great supporting characters and I did enjoy the world M. Mabie created. I loved the tantrums Tatum would throw before thinking things through, she was a girl after my own heart. It was great to get more of Ben's pov in the epilogue as I was desperate for it and it was really sweet.
Fade In had lots of potential to be a really great read for me, my main issue was the pacing of the story I felt irrelevant things were drawn out, leaving not enough time for the main events to be explored fully therefore leaving only a few chapters at the end for a full resolution. M. Mabie's writing was witty and there were plenty of laugh out loud moments, there were other times I felt the writing didn't flow as well and I found myself having to go back over several paragraphs. Not all the elements felt cohesive, but I think it is a great début novel and I would definitely read more by M. Mabie as her writing grows and develops.
Fade In brought something fresh to the adult contemporary romance genre and definitely one worth a read.
"Please really want this, baby," he breathe into my open mouth. "Don't give me this-you-and then take it away. I won't take just a piece, Tatum. I want it all."
"I see a woman standing rather close to Ben. My Ben. It takes everything in my body not to sprint the straight shot to him and stake my claim. Not that we've ever labelled what any of this is, but it feels like something. Sure, we haven't swapped class rings or anything but dammit, we're shirt buddies. He's my shirt buddy, bitch."
"Just knowing that some kind of normal will be possible if my sight leaves me in the dark is reassuring. For the first time, I believe that Ben really can help me-and that I want him to."
M. Mabie lives in Illinois, NOT Chicago, with her rock-star husband. (True story.) She loves writing for Fifty5Cents Book Blog, which she owns and operates- at the moment quite poorly. She's a proud member of the Indie Author Romance Author Chicks writing group where she maintains a high standard of professionalism and lady-like maturity- or not.
She cares about politics, but won’t discuss them in public. She uses the same fork at every meal, watches Wayne’s World while cleaning, and lets her dog sleep on her head.
M. Mabie has never been accused of being tight lipped or shy. She’s THAT girl.
(She doesn't usually speak in third-person, but surprisingly does when weirded-out about writing her bio.)
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