“One day I’m going to touch you in a thousand different ways and show you how to touch me,” he said.
And he did.
Struggling with a tormented past, undergraduate Olivia Winter once led a practical but isolated life. Then she met Professor Dean West, a brilliant scholar of medieval history who melted Liv’s inhibitions and taught her the meaning of both love and erotic pleasure.
But after three years of a blissful, lusty marriage, Liv and Dean now face a crisis that threatens everything they believe about each other as dark secrets and temptations rise to the surface.
“Liv,” he said, his voice rough with tenderness, “you don’t have to be afraid.”
“Because I’ll slay monsters for you.”
Can a heart beat so fast when you read a book? Yes, it can when you read Arouse by Nina Lane. This book was recommended to me by my friend Lena, and I’m so, so grateful to her that she did. I’ll be honest and say that I hadn’t heard much about this book, so when Lena described it to me, it sounded promising and I decided to give it a try. But I didn’t expect I’d become so obsessed with this book. Twenty pages in and I was completely (and I mean completely) enraptured by the story and the characters. Yes, people. This novel is so good, it deserves to be read several times. I absolutely love it!
Dean West and Olivia Winter are a blissfully married couple, and they’re so much in love that nothing seems to be able to come between them. Dean, who is thirty-nine years old, is a very successful professor at King’s University, and Olivia, nine years younger than him, is his loving and trusting wife, who decided to always put him first and support him and his career. Until one event suddenly threatens to to tear them apart, and they have to face the fact that perhaps they aren’t as blissful as they thought they were. Do we protect the people we love by omitting some thruths? How far are Dean and Liv willing to go, to hold onto their love and save their marriage?
This story has so much intensity and passion in it. It’s told in the present mostly from Liv’s POV, but towards the end of the book we also get Dean’s point of view, and I loved Nina’s decision to give us both their perspectives. Because we get to know their reasons, their thoughts, their feelings, and we get the whole version of the story, from both parties. Furthermore, I’m a sucker for male POVs, so…
The novel gives us also amazing flashbacks, where we see how Dean and Olivia met and fell unconditionally in love. We get to know how Dean rescued Liv from her demons and a hurtful past, and how Liv brought happiness and love into Dean’s dull and success – driven existence.
Dean is an unbelievably handsome and hot Professor, who exudes authority and sex appeal. He’s very experienced and he loves his wife to the fullest. My list of book boyfriends is definitely growing. Professor West is a character you absolutely need to meet. He’s intense, passionate, and his love for Liv is like a flame that burns so bright, that it will be impossible to extinguish. No matter the darkness that threatens it.
Liv’s a strong character, who’s had a difficult childhood. For her, there was no love on the horizon, no affection, no happiness. But Dean changed all that. He was her savior, her lover, the man who made her dreams come true. He’s her husband, who makes her touch bliss every single day, and that wants to give her the moon.
And now more than ever, they’ll have to prove to themselves that no matter the curve balls that life throws at them, their love and their marriage can’t be broken.
This is fiction, but at the same time this story is so realistic. Relationships and marriage take effort. It’s not always hearts and flowers. Things happen, there need to be compromises and communication. But if love is authentic and true, it always wins.
There are several intense and steamy love scenes in this book, but they’re not just “sex scenes”. Every touch, every caress has a meaning behind it. Every encounter shows how deeply the two characters love each other, and how much they want to fight for their marriage. It’s emotional and so touching.
“Since the day we met, I haven’t wanted anyone but you,” Dean says.
My heart jumps a little.
“Never looked at another woman,” he continues, “Never thought about one. It’s always been you, Olivia.”
For the HEA lovers, I’ll say that everything turns out as you hope for, but this is the first book of the Spiral of Bliss Series, and it ends with a slight cliffhanger. But the two other books in the series, Allure and Awaken, are already out, so you can grab them as soon as you finish the first. This is exactly what I did 😉 I’ll be reviewing them soon.
If you look for an intense, thought provoking and steamy romance that makes you feel all kind of emotions, look no farther. Arouse is the book for you.
I give Arouse 5 glittering stars.
More beautiful passages:
“If you don’t know something, you find out about it. And if you can’t do something, you learn how. Especially if it’s something that intimidates or scares you.”
“My point is that fast is fun. It’s exciting, an adrenaline charge. But slow is no less satisfying. In fact, it can be even more of a rush to work and savor every step rather than fixate on getting to the end.”
“Come here, beauty,” he says. “You need to be kissed.”
“Fall seven times. Get up eight.”