S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline

secretPUB. INFO: Broadway Books, 4/2013
GENRE: Contemporary Erotica
SETTING: Louisiana, USA
SERIES: book 1
NARRATION: First person

From Publisher: Cassie Robichaud’s life is filled with regret and loneliness after the sudden death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed.

The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies.

MY THOUGHTS: Cassie is a thirty-four year old widow. Her husband was a sometimes abusive alcoholic who died almost four years ago. She hasn't had sex since before he died. Their relationship was bad, they'd stopped having sex and she wasn't sad when he died accidentally. She'd been married for fourteen years and her husband was the only lover she'd had. She's very lonely, works most of the time so when the opportunity to be part of this one year secret 'experiment' presents itself it didn't take her long to become part of it. I assume the woman who recruited her at the restaurant thought she was attractive.

I was disappointed that the sex scenes didn't have more graphic language. I think the P word may have been used once or twice early on. The sex scenes were pretty lackluster and not exciting to me and were pretty quick. During the one and only anal sex scene the word 'anal' or 'ass' wasn't even used. I think the author was clearly going for less graphic, perhaps 'sophisticated' erotica. Whenever a man's age was given it was to say he was a little younger than her, which is a turn off for me. I don't like stories of any kind featuring younger men with older women. Not usually, anyway.

Outside of her sexual encounters the storyline was pretty boring, especially the charity stuff. There wasn't much use for her coworker, Tracina, in the story, except to involve her with their boss, Will Foret, in something together near the end. That was just something conveniently thrown in to allow Cassie to continue on with her journey through S.E.C.R.E.T. Just when she and Will had gotten close emotionally something happened to blow it. I don't know why they hadn't dated before now since she's worked for him for several years and there's always been an attraction between them. I did like his jealousy when she went out with someone he knew.

We didn't get much backstory on Cassie. We only know she's from Michigan and was married her whole adult life to the same man, Scott. Nothing at all about her childhood. Physically, we only know she's got brown hair and is a C cup.

Now for a few things that irritated me. The author is Canadian. She clearly loves the French. Cassie's last name is French, the story takes place in the French part of Louisiana, and Cassie wins a ski trip to Canada (what a random thing to throw in) and the ski instructor just happens to have a bit of a French accent. The story should have just taken place in Canada.

If you're into mild erotica, meaning it's not too descriptive or hardcore, you may want to try this series. If you're like me and like your erotica very graphic, like real porn, skip this. The sequel is due out in October.

Here's some info on what the acronym means:

Safe, in that the participant feels no danger.
Erotic, in that the fantasy is sexual in nature, not just imaginary.
Compelling, in that the participant truly wants to complete the fantasy.
Romantic, in that the participant feels wanted and desired.
Ecstatic, in that the participant experiences joy in the act.
Transformative, in that something in the participant changes in a fundamental way.

S.E.C.R.E.T. Ten Steps: Surrender, Courage, Trust, Generosity, Fearlessness, Confidence, Curiosity, Bravery, Exuberance, Liberation.

Same review posted here.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.