~ About the Book ~
Source: Print copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I’m the best at what I do.
And you’d do well to follow my rules...
Hired to transform the uncultured, inept sons of the wealthy and powerful into decisive, confident men, Madame X is a master of the art of control. With a single glance she can cut you down to nothing, or make you feel like a king.
But there is only one man who can claim her body—and her soul.
Undone time and again by his exquisite dominance, X craves and fears his desire in equal measure. And while she longs for a different path, X has never known anything or anyone else—until now...
~ Review ~
Jasinda Wilder is one of those authors that I haven't read much of, but I really, really WANT to. I hold her in high regard and I've heard great things about her books. I've even read a couple myself, and I so enjoyed them. So when Madame X was announced, I was intrigued. I remembered thinking it sounded interesting, but it wasn't until I started READING this book that it fully hit me just how much I loved the concept. It pulled me in and held me under, literally to the point where I was up all night reading Madame X. And it was an experience well worth it.
One of the most amazing things about this novel is how beautiful crafted it is. The writing is stunning, and the storytelling in general, how the entire thing was pieced together, was genius. It was an addicting experience where I truly could not turn the page fast enough to unravel this story.
Madame X herself was fascinating, in her demeanor and memories and just HER. I liked seeing how contrasting her outer appearance could be to what was really going on inside her head. I liked seeing her grow to question things, and attempt to gain understanding to the many facets of her seemingly simplistic life that were actually complete mysteries.
This novel in general is very mysterious. The characters, the story. Madame X doesn't know much about herself at all, and she doesn't know much more about the people around her. She knows how to handle herself, and as the story progresses she stands up for herself and pushes to learn more about what is important to her. That mysterious factor, and that urge to learn about everything, gave Madame X an addicting quality that I enjoyed.
I can't say much about the other characters. The most prominent of characters other than Madame X is Caleb, and he... well. I don't think I like him. But I'm fascinated by him anyway. Which probably isn't good, because the more I learn about him, the more twitchy I get. However, there could be hope for him in the next two books. I'm not sure yet. For now, I guess I love the puzzle he poses but dislike what he DOES.
There's another character who comes into play later in the story, and I'm not going to say much about him because of his lateness to enter and how much of a game changer he has been and may continue to be, but I will say that I am such a fan of him. He lit up the story in a way I was hoping for.
Madame X is a gorgeously written, captivating novel that had me up all night flying through the pages. Jasinda Wilder has knocked it out of the park with this one, and I cannot WAIT to see what comes next!
4 stars - A stunning, edgy story that had me captivated!
~ Excerpt ~
A knock on the door, the silent swing of hinges, and then heat and hardness behind me, a faint but intoxicating hint of cologne, the creak of leather. Hands on my waist, lips at my neck. Breath on my skin.
I don’t dare tense, don’t dare suck in a sharp breath of fear. I don’t dare pull away.
Strong, hard, powerful hands twist me in place, and an index finger touches my chin, lifts my face, tilts my gaze. I cannot breathe, don’t dare, haven’t been given permission.
“You are lovelier than ever, X.” A deep, smooth, cultured voice, like the purr of a finely tuned engine.
“Thank you, Caleb.” My own voice is quiet, careful, my words chosen and precise.
“Scotch.” The command is a murmur, barely audible.
I know how to prepare it: a cut-crystal tumbler, a single ice cube, thick amber liquid an inch from the top. I offer the tumbler and wait, keep my eyes downcast, hands behind my back.
“You were too harsh on Jonathan.”
“I must respectfully disagree.”
“His father expects results.”
I bristle, and it does not go unnoticed. “Have I ever failed to produce results?”
“You sent him away after less than an hour.”
“He wasn’t ready. He needed to be shown his faults. He needs to understand how much he has to learn.”
“Perhaps you’re right.” Ice clinks, and I take the empty tumbler, set it aside, and force myself to remain in place, force myself to keep breathing and remind myself that I must obey. “I didn’t come here to discuss Jonathan Cartwright, however.”
“I suppose not.” I shouldn’t have said that. I regret it as soon as the words tumble free.
My wrist bones scrape together under a crushing grip. Hard dark eyes find mine, piercing and frightening. “You suppose not?”
I should beg forgiveness, but I know better. I lift my chin and meet those cold, cruel, intelligent dark eyes. “You know I will fulfill the contract. That’s all I meant.”
“No, that isn’t all you meant.” A hand passes through artfully messy black hair. “Tell me what you really meant, X.”
I swallow hard. “You’re here for what you always want when you visit me.”
“Which is?” A warm finger touches my breastbone, slides into the valley of my cleavage. “Tell me what I want.”
“Me.” I whisper it, so not even the walls can hear.
“All too true.” My skin burns where that strong finger with its manicured nail traces a cutting line up to my shoulder. “You test my patience, at times.”
I stand stock-still, not even breathing. Breath whispers across my neck, huffs hot on my nape, and fingers toy with the zipper of my dress.
“I know,” I say.
And then, just when I expect to feel the zipper slide down my spine, body heat recedes and that hot breath now laced with hints of scotch is gone, and a single word sears my soul:
My tongue scrapes over dry lips, and my lungs constrict, protesting my inability to breathe. My hands tremble. I know this is expected of me, and I cannot, dare not resist, or protest. And . . . part of me doesn’t want to. But I wish . . . I wish for the freedom to choose what I want.
I have hesitated too long.
“X. I said . . . strip.” The zipper slides down to between my shoulder blades. “Show me your skin.”
Reaching behind my back, I lower the zipper to its nesting place at the base of my spine. Hard, insistent hands assist me in brushing the sleeves from my shoulders, down my arms, and then the dress is floating to the floor at my feet. That’s all the help I’ll get. I know from long experience that I must make a show of what comes next.
I turn my head, and see tanned skin and the perpetual two-day stubble on a refined, powerful jawline, sharp cheekbones, firm, thin lips, black eyes like voids, eyes that drip desire. My hair drapes over one shoulder. I lift one knee so my now-bare toes touch the gleaming teak, curl my shoulders in, let my gaze show my vulnerability. With a deep breath, I unhook my bra, let the garment fall away.
I reach for my underwear.
“No,” comes the purr, “leave them. Let me.”
I let my fingers graze my thighs, wait. My underwear slides down slowly, and where fingers touch, so too do lips, hot and damp, touching my skin, and I cannot flinch, cannot pull away or express how badly I want only to be alone, to even once have the right to want something else.
But I do not have that right.
~ About the Author ~
~ Giveaway ~
There's a tour-wide giveaway for 5 signed copies of Madame X, along with a tote bag and lip balm! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below! :)