If I Were You
Trilogies abound these days with rich guys paired with average girls. But a story about a woman who finds a journal detailing the erotic acts experienced by a missing woman appealed to me. Friends, a pretty cover and an interesting premise could not make up for the strange awfulness that was this book.
The story opens with a shocking passage from the mystery woman’s journals. In it, the mystery woman Rebecca engages in a BDSM scene with her lover fondling her with a blade while she is blindfolded. Sara McMillan is reading the journal her neighbor left behind in her apartment the night before. It isn’t her neighbor’s journal however. The neighbor found it in a storage unit she purchased at auction. It’s one volume of many and the neighbor leaves it to Sara while she abruptly elopes. Sara becomes obsessed with the author and vows to return her journals to her.
In order to return the journals though, Sara has to find Rebecca, who abruptly left her job at a local art gallery. No one seems to know where Rebecca is or what she is doing. Sara, who has always wanted to work at an art gallery, decides that the best way to accomplish this is to assume Rebecca’s old job and learn as much about her as possible. This puts her in the path of Mark Compton, the mercurial gallery manager, and Chris Merit, a sexy, wealthy artist. She’s drawn to both men and their dark edginess, but wonders if either or both of them had a role in Rebecca’s disappearance.
Mark hires Sara, then turns out to be a complete control-freak. He treats her with chilly detachment while demanding that she learn everything possible that there is to know about wine. Not art. Wine. He administers detailed wine tests, glares, and lurks about the gallery. At one point Sara muses, “I’m more certain than ever Mark is the man in the journals. The evidence is overwhelming…. ’Master’ has to be Mark, and it is all I can do not to blush as I remember the intimate acts I’ve read with him as her master.” At this point I would have called the police on this psychopath. Not Sara, though. She thinks he’s a hot tamale. A few pages later she lets us know, “He is reminding me he is the boss and I am subservient to him.” I’ve got news for you, Sara. Submission to your jerkface boss is not sexy in the least.
Enter Chris, who is slightly better, though still totally creepy in his intensity. He is instantly drawn to Sara and she is to him. He and Mark have some sort of beef with one another, though and Sara is caught in the middle of their feud. I’d have run far and fast from both of them, but Sara is apparently made of sterner stuff than I am. She hooks up with Chris, who wants her yet pushes her away with the standard “I’m a poor, tortured soul you should avoid” schtick. There’s nothing new under the sun here.
And really, that’s one of the chief flaws in the story. What begins with the promise of a mystery and some sexytimes devolves into “passion, hurt, anger, lather, rinse, repeat.” I wanted to subtitle this book “Caught between Creepy and Creepier (and what happened to some chick at an art gallery?)”
The only thing that saves the book from being a complete F is the compulsive readability of it. It held my interest if only to see what that nutjob Mark would do next. Chris is kind of hot in a broody sort of way and he and Sara have good chemistry together. But they have some ridiculous dialogue which includes this gem Sara blurts in the middle of making out:
My mother is dead and I hate my father, so don’t worry. You’re safe from family day and so am I. All I want is here and now, this piece of time. And please save the pillow talk for someone who wants it. Contrary to what you seem to think, I’m no delicate rose.
Chris has a penchant for calling Sara “baby” which gets fairly funny and ridiculous rather quickly. The award for my favorite line from the book goes to him in reference to his dragon tattoo (because of course he has a dragon tattoo!): “Do you know what happens when you push a dragon? They burn you alive, baby. You’re playing with fire.” I’m not kidding. He says that.
So what happened to poor Rebecca? I have no idea and I’ll never find out because I’ll not be picking up books two and three in the Inside Out trilogy. If I were you? I’d not waste my money and my time on this nonsense.