When I'm With You, Parts I-VIII
Intermix / April 23, 2013 / $1.99
Beth Kery's When I'm With You comes to its startling climax as Elise and Lucien, and Francesca and Ian, discover the truths that compel them, reveal the secrets that haunt them, and the uncontrollable desire that could destroy or heal them...
In the luxury of Ian's penthouse, he, Francesca, Lucien and Elise gather for an evening that begins in pleasure and ends in a shattering confrontation—one that finally reveals the secrets of Lucien's past. And, at Elise's impulsive urging, the bitter truth that Lucien has hidden for so long is finally exposed. But the reality is more soul tearing than Elise imagined—leaving her with the guilt that she pushed the man she loves too far.
When both Lucien and Ian go to London, Elise is left in self-doubt. Surely Lucien is furious at her for tipping his hand so impetuously—it has been his greatest fear since he met her. With a heavy heart, Elise makes a heartrending decision for both of them. But Lucien has one more reveal for Elise, one that could make or break a relationship that has consumed the both of them. One that could change their futures forever.
When I'm with You is the sequel to Beth Kery's Because You are Mine serial. We first met Lucien in Because You are Mine, where he was introduced as Ian Noble's good friend. Lucien definitely holds up on his own, and his story in When I'm with You is more romantic, and feels more complete.
Lucien Lenault and Elise Martin have known each other for a decade, and have been friends of a sort for that period. Elise was only fourteen when they met, but they bonded. I felt that Ms. Kery did a great job with showing that they had an established relationship, but that it didn't turn romantic until the two reconnect in Chicago, with Elise nearing 25. It helps that they had so much in common—parents who are mutual friends, both children of self-indulgent, selfish, neglectful parents, who only provide money for them. Lucien got himself out of there as soon as possible. On Elise's part, she took advantage until the tragic loss of a friend acted as a wake up call. The two of them understand each others' history, and how their upbringing and social world has shaped them.
When I'm with You is, of course, a very sexy book, with major BDSM. But here it's more than just BDSM being to the character's mutual pleasure; it's something that is to their mutual benefit. Being dominant is Lucien's nature, but it also is Elise's path to learning restraint and control. She had been, until rather recently, a wild heiress partying her way across Europe with little thought to herself, others, or consequences. I enjoyed the character growth throughout the novel that shows Elise is coming into her own, a confident woman with substance. What makes it even better is Lucien's assistance in that process. He might seem condescending and sarcastic at times, but it isn't cruelty, it's mostly self directed. Despite his being in control, he's unsure of his romantic relationship with Elise, and his own feelings toward her.
There's a touch of romance and emotion, this tenderness even in the most hardcore BDSM sessions that Lucien and Elise have, that made me like the book. While I'm still not all about BDSM, I can appreciate it. The intense sexual play is integral to the story. To Lucien, because that's who he and Elise are, but also as a way to establish and develop their relationship and portray Elise as a person. Lucien coaxes Elise into slowing down instead of acting recklessly. She isn't malicious, and in fact is an incredibly good, sweet person, but she just hasn't had the opportunity to grow. It helps that such a sexy, dynamic, powerful man as Lucien is absolutely mad for her. (Even though she's never sure of it. She's had men panting after her all her life, but Lucien always was aloof. So she thought. His actions confuse her, and lead her to play with him, and tease him, and it was always fun to see Lucien off kilter.)
I liked that both characters had their flaws and uncertainty, but each accepts the other for who they are. In a way, Lucien himself is out of control and needs help from Elise to learn to open up. I liked how by the end Lucien and Elise were able to communicate their thoughts, fears, desires and emotions to each other. It's hard to trust, and Ms. Kery does a great job of showing two people falling in love learning to do just that.
Learn more about or order a copy of Beth Kery's When I'm with You, Parts I-VIII (Part VIII is out today):
www.tartsweet.com - A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet