Reviewed by Mandi
In my opinion, Charlotte Stein is the queen of the awkward erotic romance story. She loves pitting two very awkward people together, who clumsily find their way to climax (and love) with each other.
Intrusion is no different, but it has a definite dark twist to it. Beth lives next door to an extremely recluse man. When her dog goes missing, she gets up the courage to go next door to see if he stole her dog. He barely opens the door a crack, before her terror overcomes her and she goes back home. Beth was stalked by someone she knew, and the terror of that still haunts her today. Noah isn’t a dog thief, or a horrible person – but he does have major issues. Noah is somewhat of a genius, once a professor who is an expert profiler. When the police where tracking a serial killer, killing women, Noah figured him out to an eery degree. But Noah’s thought process and imagination do not work like most.
To imagine what drives them, to feel what they feel. I’m very good at feeling what other people feel, Beth. So good that sometimes I would wake up and think I was strangling some poor girl, in the exact way he did. The things he was responsible for became the things I am responsible for, and not matter what I do or how much therapy I get, that twisted truth is still there inside me. It makes me stop before I even contemplate putting a hand on a woman, because what if I do and my thoughts are all of violence? What if I wake up in the night and instead of only imagining my hands are around someone’s throat, I see that they are?”
Let me also note, Noah is a very big sleepwalker, walking outside in the middle of the night. Beth becomes fascinated by Noah. She is extremely attracted to him – almost to a obessive amount. As Stein does, the sexual tension in this story is at 100%. Beth really, really wants to not only have Noah trust her and be able to explore his sexuality, but to have sex with him. It’s all she can think about, all day, every day. But Noah can’t – he is so afraid intimate contact will lead to him acting violently. But even after a while, Noah can’t help himself…
So why is he rubbing his leg against mine?
Because that is definitely what he seems to be doing. He has exposed an expanse of skin, and is currently stroking that skin in the most casual way possible. His le just sort of rocks in this slow, maddening circle, until that one point of contact is pretty much all I can think about. All thoughts of being restrained and respectful of his wishes fly right out the window, and I can’t blame them.
The whole thing just feels too good. It feels good in a way nothing has ever felt good before. I thought I could cope because sex has never really meant that much to me, but somehow it means absolutely everything in this moment. It consumes my body, from the neck down. My nipples have stiffened, even though it’s hardly cold in here and he isn’t touching me anywhere rude.
You learn the extent of Noah’s horrific past, and you can understand why he can’t joyfully enjoy sex. Beth is kind and patient and never puts pressure on him or rushes him. It’s an intense look at two people who need to be together, yet have so much baggage, and dark nightmares, and sad things in their lives.
I do think the last chapter is awfully suspenseful and I could have done without that part of the story. It felt a little forced to me. This is a shorter book – but the HEA worked for me. Just not a fan of the events in the last chapter. I almost always enjoy Charlotte Stein’s work and then feel like the end is rushed or forced. But definitely recommend this one and most of her work. She really had a great voice.