"Wow" was all I could think when I read the last paragraph of CLOSER. In this part of the series we get to witness the tremulous beginning of a real relationship between Nicole and Gabriel. A little time has passed from the ending of #1 CRUSH. Nicole has finished college, found a full time job in New York, and is on her own. Gabriel is fully investing himself in his music career and moving forward. Now that their attraction is out in the open Nicole and Gabriel are free to explore each other in every way possible and I do mean every-way-possible. Any limited inhibitions that Nicole may have had are definitely gone. She and Gabriel go at it like rabbits. Gabriel is slowly showing Nicole a kinkier and more aggressive side of himself and she is lapping it up. Gabriel's sexual desires have a darker bent that is slowly coming to light. I freely admit that I am a bit surprised at how full blown erotic the relationship is between two relatively young people, but hey, what do I know?
Although the descriptive sex is plentiful throughout CLOSER Bennett does bring more actual relationship development in this one. Gabriel and Nicole become exclusive and try to make a relationship that will have to endure periods of separation work. A tentative trust is built between them but it is also tested pretty quickly. A specter from Gabriel's past appears in the form of Meredith, a woman that he was involved with before Nicole and who is now back in his life in a way that she can't be easily avoided. Meredith is so freaking unlikable that I found myself gritting my teeth every single time that she had any interaction with Nicole. She is manipulative, deceptive, and selfish and is the perfect nemesis for Nicole. They are complete opposites and she had my palm itching to slap someone!
Nicole is tempted to go further outside of what she's comfortable with all because she thinks it would please Gabriel. She falls into the trap of self doubt that so many young women find themselves in when trying to please someone else more than themselves. Self confidence and a lack of a bigger sense of self worth are issues Nicole wrestles with in this one. Gabriel on the other hand wrestles with the fear of letting Nicole see who he once was even though he has moved forward from his past. Gabriel doesn't trust that someone can love him enough to accept his failures and mistakes and give him credit for who he is now.
Bennett has definitely delivered again! She has presented another installment that left me twitching a bit as I finished because it does end in a cliffhanger. Luckily for me I came into this series at the very end and the third and final book, MIND OVER MATTER, is out today!
**I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.**
You can read my review of book 1 #1 Crush here.