Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Age Group: Adults
Publication Date: July 18th 2014
Publisher: Elorra's Cave
Format: PDF eARC
Source: provided by publisher
Reeling from a sudden breakup, Casey Webb leaves Brooklyn, drives north and settles in a sleepy mountain town in upstate New York. She’s convinced she’s happy being alone—until she reads the acknowledgments in her ex-boyfriend’s hit debut novel, thanking his new girlfriend “above all”. Good thing Ben Mailer is in town. The hot, young Brooklyn-bound chef offers the perfect distraction, and soon Casey is having the best sex of her life—on a mountain, in the lake, all over her cozy cabin. But as their weekend fling turns into something more, the demands of Ben’s family and budding career make moving to her idyllic town impossible. Now Casey must decide what she can’t live without—her life in the mountains or the man she wants as hers. Smart, sweet and blisteringly hot, Above All is about getting lost…and finding yourself right where you belong. A Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave.
Above All sounded like a wonderful story about healing from a broken heart and finding something better along with the added bonus of some steamy romance to come. It was everything I had hoped but this wasn't just your typical erotic romance. Above All was a slow building character driven story, a journey if you will. One woman's struggle to mend her broken heart and one man's journey to finally grow up and learn about life and love.
Ben and Casey meet while she's running a campground in the mountains and he and his friends come up for a relaxing weekend before he has to start classes at the American Culinary Institute (CIA). After Casey and her ex split she packed up and moved from New York and high tailed it for the mountains and fell in love with the small town of Bonnet. A place with peaceful beauty and open air she could mend her heart in. When Ben walks into the camp's office carrying a book written by her ex she flips to the acknowledgement's and sees him thanking some mystery woman referred to as his muse. The pain of that moment and the loneliness challenge her to look at her life and question if she's truly happy being alone. The relationship between Ben and Casey is only a mild attraction at first that begins to grow and develop the more time they spend together in the short time he's at the camp. Ben is 8 years younger than Casey who is in her early thirties. She's more settled and knows what she wants and Ben, with pressures from his family, has to decide if staying in the mountains with Casey or heading to New York to utilize his new culinary skills is what he really wants in life.
I really loved this couple even from their first interaction. Ben was this boyish young man with the world at his fingertips and Casey was a scorned woman who needed someone to open her up and help her have fun. She locked herself away for over a year in that campground cabin of hers while she was healing only to find out it hadn't done much good. Until Ben came along and opened her heart again. Together the two built a foundation on friendship and trust doing all the little idiosyncrasies a new couple does to get to know each other. They would take hikes, swim in a frozen lake, make dinner together and have honest talks about everything from deepest fears to greatest joys. This couple didn't always get it right, with Ben having made promises he couldn't keep and Casey closing herself off and being stubborn. Both characters grew and developed tremendously throughout the story that made me sad at times when they were apart and very happy when they would come together. Ben was a great guy and even though he was young and made his mistakes I still thought he was perfect for Casey in the end.
Above All is classified as erotica and from my experience with the genre it's mostly sex, sex, sex and very little story. That wasn't the case with Above All. There was a plethora of story with some hot sex mixed in and I love that in my books. The times that Ben and Casey got close definitely added some hotness to their romance but I found myself focused more on the story and how things would work out. I don't know if I would call this one erotica per say, more like an Adult Contemporary but it was still SEXellent! There were times when I felt like the story took forever to end and that doesn't mean it wasn't enjoyable but that tends to happen to me when I read a drawn out character driven story. I get impatient for the conclusion and wanting to see the characters happy.
There was a lot going on between Casey running the camp, having her paintings show in a gallery and all the in between with Ben. The two spend significant time apart throughout the book and while I got a look at what Casey had been doing, I would have liked to see what Ben was going through even though it was explained later in the story. It felt like Casey was sitting around pining for Ben all that time, broken hearted while he got to "make his mistakes". I hate when the girl is off licking her wounds while the guy is out doing God knows who or what. Call me crazy but I don't think it's fair that Casey didn't explore the dating world while I'm sure Ben wasn't alone the entire time. Pay no attention to me though because I get on these "Men are stupid" rants sometimes when I read. None of the elements that bothered me were enough to detract from the overall story and I enjoyed the high note Above All went out on. It was very endearing and sweet, true to the characters growth and maturity throughout. I recommend Above All if you have at least a day to sit and chill with this story in your lap curled up in your favorite reading chair.
"Don't let them give you a hard time," she turned toward Ben.
"Oh, I don't," he smiled. "What they don't realize is that sometimes it's worth waiting for the right person to come along." eARC 10%
"What are you talking about?" Casey paused, confused.
"The Cold!" he cried.
Casey laughed and ripped off his towel with one hard tug, but his hands flew straight to his crotch.
"I'm shriveled up like a sack of dimes! Tinier than a fingerling potato!" he cried as he leapt, buck naked, up to the cabin, his adorable butt a moon of white bounding over the path. eARC 41%
"You're crazy ," she said
Ben nodded vigorously. "Crazy for you. Crazy enough that I know I can just go for it, for whatever we want together. And right now, I want to see you pleasure yourself. Please?"
Casey chewed on her lip, but she didn't move her hand from where it was lodged on the waist of her shorts.
"I'm begging you," Ben said. Then he changed his tone. "I'm commanding you."
The persona made Casey laugh.
"I'm asking you?" he tried.
"Are you really sure?"
"Do it." He nudged her hand down.
"It would bring me oh so much joy." eARC 52%
Sometimes she was lonely and often she was alone. But she wasn't unhappy. She had made peace with what her life had become. eARC 85%
About The Author:
Rebecca Brooks lives in New York City in an apartment filled with books. She received a PhD in English but decided it was more fun to write books than write about them. She has backpacked alone through India and Brazil, traveled by cargo boat down the Amazon River, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, explored ice caves in Peru, trekked to the source of the Ganges, and sunbathed in Burma, but she always likes coming home to a cold beer and her hot husband in the Bronx. Her books are about independent women who leave their old lives behind to try something new—and find the passion, excitement and purpose they didn’t know they’d been missing.