Eva Tramell, a young, blonde society girl, moves from California to work at an advertising agency in New York and live with her deeply disturbed and highly-sexed best friend, who is also a drop-dead gorgeous male model who may or may not be in love with her. Shortly after starting starting her new job, she enters into a relationship with the intensely hot but extremely possessive Gideon Cross, a man who seems to own most of Manhattan – including the building Eva works in (the Crossfire), a chain of upmarket gyms, some bars, the building where she lives…. The list goes on – and displays disturbing stalker-like tendencies including checking her credit card purchases in order to wow her by knowing her drinks order and reading the lease on her flat in order to find out more about her living arrangements. Despite her initial and entirely rational misgivings – Cross’s idea of courtship is asking whether she’s available because he wishes to fuck her – Eva submits to to his possessive tendencies and embarks upon a relationship filled with mind-blowing sex which is only marred by the fact that both she and Cross have dark and disturbed pasts. Well, relationship may be a strong word for a series of (apparently extremely hot) sexual encounters interspersed with Eva freaking out and running away while Cross asserts his dominance by “marking her” as his, mainly by letting her get up close and personal with what is apparently the most beautiful and enormous penis in the world which Day describes in superfluous detail.
Ok, “synopsis” over. It is surprisingly difficult to write about a book with very little plot to speak of! But on with the review… As may well be obvious, Bared to You is one of several erotica series which were published following the success of E.L. James’s 50 Shades of Grey trilogy (and yes, I have read those too). It is obvious from the outset the debt Day owes to James, who in turn adapted her works from her initial Twilight fan fiction, and the central themes of sex, power and money run through both and highlight Day’s startling lack of originality. Instead of referring to the sexual acts in irritatingly coy terms, Day embraces the other end of the spectrum using phrases such as “he tongued my cleft” and “I looked at him in his civilized, urbane, outrageously expensive suit and thought of raw, primal, sheet-clawing fucking.” Hot!
So why then have I given it three stars? Well, somehow the writing manages to be oddly compelling (although doubtless not in the way Day intended). Rather than the dragging tedium of 50 Shades, with its poorly edited sex scenes and obsession with the Dom-Sub relationship, Bared To You contains elements of humour frequently interspersed with inexpert attempts at erotic writing which have the effect of bordering on the gross – who thinks that feeling spunk dribble down their legs is a turn on?! There is also slightly more parity between the characters of Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell than Christian Grey and Ana Steele. While both men are hot, loaded – in more ways than one (nudge nudge, wink wink) – and emotionally damaged, the real difference is in the female characters. Eva has more going for her than Ana does. She is independent-minded, financially self-sufficient and not immediately wooed by Cross’s coarse attempts at flattery. While the entire situation is incredibly contrived, Day has managed to create a world which feels more real than James’s.
Verdict: if you have time on your hands and fancy a giggle at Day’s attempt to write about steamy sex, then go ahead and read this. Just don’t go into it expecting it to be a) original, b) erotic or c) good.