Deep Desires by Charlotte Stein
Erotic Contemporary, Novella
Released: September 27, 2012
Reviewed by Mandi
I think Charlotte Stein has one of the best voices in erotic romance. I always find her heroines so intriguing, so sexually curious, teasing and flirty, and many times they take the reins and show the hero what can be between them.
This book is darker though and I really like it. Abbie works as a grocery store clerk and lives in an apartment building called The Courtyard. She wears big frumpy clothes as she hides her body with low self esteem which resulted from a previous physically abusive relationship. As she looks out her window late one night, which overlooks a courtyard, she can see into one of her neighbor’s apartment windows. This night, his apartment is all lit up, and what she sees makes her take pause. She knows nothing about her neighbor, he is actually so mysterious some of her neighbors have nicknamed him The Serial Killer. No one knows where he works or what he does. When Abbie sees him undressing and then masturbating, she can’t pull herself away from the window. What lies beneath his usual heavy wardrobe is a body that turns her on like nothing else. What she watches this night affects Abbie, and she can’t get it out of her mind the next day.
I see him in the hallway getting his mail, but shamefully pretend I don’t. I go as far as to pretend we’re actually strangers, and have never so much as exchanged a nod of the head. Instead of the truth, which is still utmost in my mind:
I watched you masturbate last night.
I think the words at his back, as he turns and begins to sift through whatever letters he’s received. Probably bills, I’m sure. Maybe a leaflet from a charity he donates to. Possibly a subscription to a really innocent and normal magazine.
Like Horny Voyeurs Monthly.
Because that’s what I am, isn’t it?
Abbie develops this secret fantasy about him, peeking out her window each night to see if he is back. It takes seven days, but all of a sudden there he is. But this time, he is staring at her window and then she notices he has written on his window, ‘Your turn now.’ All of a sudden, Abbie’s world tilts. This is not just a little fantasy, but she becomes a player in this odd relationship that develops. Abbie’s life is so dull and boring, and now she has something exciting. She is recovering from an abusive physical relationship, and this relationship starts safe for her. And even though they haven’t spoken and their sexual activities take place through a window, Abbie gains some self confidence back, the confidence her previous abusive lover takes away from her. This leads me to one of my favorite scenes of the book as again they are ‘playing’ through their windows:
But I’m not quite there, until he reaches a hand up, suddenly, in the light from the middle of The Courtyard and clear enough for me to see.
And then he does something I recognize immediately:
He strokes over the shape of my body through the glass.
Of course I try to pretend otherwise at first. All the old issues take over, and I’m left imagining that he means something else. It can’t be my body he’s outlinig, like that, so reverently, so slowly and softly. No one would want to touch me like that, and even if they did…that isn’t my shape. That subtle curve at my hip, the fullness of my breasts….how can he even tell that I look like that beneath this shapeless gown?
And this is what I love about this book. The first half is them peering out a window at each other, doing dirty, dirty things. Soon Abbie finds his mailbox and discovers his name is Ivan Orlinsky.I basically start to adore Ivan before he even speaks. He gets bold though. He sends Abbie a sexual gift, something she has to wear around, and what he does to her is so naughty! I’m going to make you read it to find out exactly what it is but I love what he does. We also start to learn about Ivan. They start to speak on the phone. You learn he has OCD tendencies. He does the same thing every week. He has trouble leaving his apartment. You start to get the feeling something very bad has happened to him. There is a moment where Abbie knocks on his door, and he just can’t bring himself to open it. In a book that is so dirty and sexy, there are these very dark, heartbreaking moments, that just make me fall in love with these characters even more,
Eventually Abbie does get in that door, and ever so slowly, she works on breaking down these solid barriers Ivan has put up. He is in so much pain, and I really adore how Abbie treats him so well. He recognizes she has pain in her past too and together they both try to find their way out of the darkness, knowing there is something so good to be found, if only they can make that leap together.
This book is only a novella and oh how I wish we would have had more pages to discover these two together. We really skim the surface of their relationship. There is so much pain and baggage, that I wanted to see how these two will get a long months into their relationship. While they get over the initial feelings of trust, there is so much more road to travel. There is also a big dramatic moment towards the end that felt rushed. They are both such complicated character I want 300 more pages of them figuring things out.
I still completely recommend this novella. It is not only extremely erotic, but dark and wicked. She works in very sexy moments, with some heartbreaking ones too. Well done.