The Thrill of It by Lauren Blakely
Series: No Regrets #1
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publication date: November 21, 2013
Format: eARC, 275 pages
How I got it: From the author
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Some say love can be an addiction. Others say it's the thing that makes life worth living. Let me tell you everything I know about love...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. At least that's how it was for me. A high-priced virgin call girl by the time I started college, I was addicted to love and to sex. Even though I've never had either. I controlled love, played it, and held the world in the palm of my hands. Then I fell down from those highs, and I'm being blackmailed for all my mistakes, forced to keep secrets from everyone, except the only guy I don't regret.
With all the other women, I knew what they were. They were temporary. They were pills, they were bottles, they took away all the pain, and numbed the awful memories that wore down my ragged, wasted heart. Until I met Harley. She's the only girl I ever missed when she walked away. But now she's back in my life, every day, and there are no guarantees for us, especially since I don't know how to tell her my secrets. What happened to my family. All I know is she's the closest I've ever come to something real, and I want to feel every second of it.
How can you love with no regrets when regret is all you know?
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In Review: My Thoughts
“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 for himself.”
I don’t even know where to start. The Thrill of It was just so damn good. This book just had it all. Love, sex, addiction, blackmail, recovery, hopelessness, hopefulness, family. I was drawn in from page one and I couldn’t walk away until I finished. There was something, um… addicting, about Harley and Trey.
“I was pretty. That was my purpose. Is it any surprise that I became what I am? I was programmed for this.”
Harley was an incredibly interesting and complex character. A product of her environment and the upbringing of a truly heinous woman, she became an escort. While she didn’t sleep with the men who hired her, she played in their world. She was their toy. They had some bizarre fetishes and paid good money for her to play along. A string of bad decisions led to her being blackmailed by a publicist to write a book titled Memoirs of a Teenage Sex Addict. Especially interesting as she was a virgin. But, there’s no denying she got a high off the control she had over these men. Her relationship with her mother was a huge part of this book. Her mother’s influence was what set her on the self-destructive path she’s on.
“Be the guy who doesn’t pay. Be the guy she wants. The guy she’s not set up with. But I’ll never know if she wants me for me. Or because I’m part of her fix.”
Trey and Harley met by chance and spent a magical night together exploring the city – and each other. A tattoo artist, he’s a sex addict with a shady past and an affinity for older women. They connected in a very deep way that night. While we don’t find out what happened between them that night, we come to realize that it changed both of them. (And if you want the nitty gritty about what happened that night they first met, you have to read The Start of Us.) Trey and Harley come face to face again at a Sex and Love Addict Anonymous (SLAA) meeting. They become friends and eventually find themselves denying what they want most: each other. One of the rules of SLAA is that the participants are discouraged from entering into any type of relationship for one year.
“Life. It’s what’s happening now. It’s the real, scary, dangerous, amazing possibility in front of me.”
Trey and Harley can’t deny themselves for long. The sexual tension was strong and believable. They combusted when they were together. The sex scenes were page-melting hot. So much passion. But, they shared more than passion. In each other, they were able to find peace. Their road wasn’t easy, but I was so devoted to the characters that I stuck with them through the ups and downs, the secrets and lies, the bad decisions and the sweet moments. While Trey and Harley made me want to scream at them at times, I really liked them and I wanted the best for them. I desperately wanted them to conquer their addictions and find something real with each other.
“I am not my past. I am my present. I am my future. The past can chase you if you let it. You can spend your life trying to outrun it or you can stop running, turn around and look it in the face. I’ve stared down my past, and now I’m moving on. I am more than my past. I am my future and it belongs to me.”
The Thrill of It deals with the topic of addiction in a very real way. Because the book is told from both Harley and Trey’s POV, readers truly learn about the people behind the addiction and the root issues that led them to the addiction in the first place. While some moments were pretty heavy, the overall message of the book was hopeful.
“I’m Harley. I’m a sex and love addict. I’m in recovery. I was a virgin, I was a call girl, I was my mother’s daughter. Now I am a friend, I am a girlfriend, I am trying. I am twenty, and I don’t care how many guys I’ve kissed. There is only one guy I am kissing and will kiss. Now and always. And that has to count for something.”
This book was pretty much the total package for me. The writing was fantastic. The characters broken and damaged, but likable. The story was unpredictable enough to keep me guessing, but not far-fetched that I found it unbelievable. The Thrill of It was real and gritty and ended with a cliffhanger that left me breathless and desperate for the second book in the series.