Christmas chaos is over at the Emersons’ house, but the real holiday fun is just beginning when Jim presents Cora with a big, beautiful gift box she’s forbidden to open.
What’s in the crimson mystery box?
Cora finds out, slowly, over a twenty-four-hour period. The box contains tantalizing toys, temptations, tricky games, and an invitation to an erotic adventure at a mountain lodge that will refresh their marriage and bond them as lovers. If Cora can endure one hellaciously prolonged tease, she’s really going to enjoy getting a nice package.
Having read and reviewed several other works by this author I was excited to have the opportunity to read and review this holiday novella. It is a story that is written specifically with Christmas in mind, but even so, there are aspects of the story that are also timeless.
Jim and Cora have now gotten through the holiday madness and they have their house all to themselves once more. They have been married for some years, and while they love each other and their marriage is solid, they are experiencing just a bit of the “ho-hum” everyone feels when they settle into the routine of living with the same person for extended years. They have become a busy family with job and family and as a result, they haven’t had nearly as much time to spend just with each other. While exchanging gifts, Jim presents Cora with a very special mystery gift, one that contains lots of surprises and which will be opened over the next 24 hours. The process will also involve a trip to a mountain lodge that where they can really get away, and where more of these erotic surprises will be revealed.
Jim and Cora sound like really delightful people, a couple that are genuine in their affection for one another and both with giving hearts and generous spirits. I liked them both immediately. Jim is a dominant male and Cora enjoys being submissive. It seems to free her from her burdens of having to make so many decisions in the household and in regards to the kids and their lives. Yet this is where I begin to get just a bit irritated with this situation. I know that Jim is delaying giving Cora sexual satisfaction because he wants her to have maximum pleasure from their mutual experience. But he just keeps stringing her along. I mean really stringing her along . . . so much so that he keeps her in a state of constant wanting while she sees to his “needs” several times. After about 12 hours of this, I was really wondering why this lady put up with this. Who wants to be this miserable and uncomfortable for this long?
At the mountain lodge Jim and Cora encounter the “keepers” of the lodge who are a bit mysterious, and I am not really sure the full extent of how they fit in this story. Certainly there are opportunities for Jim and Cora to be alone together and to pursue this mystery journey of erotic renewal for their relationship. The inn keepers are both master tatoo artists–sort of an avocation, really–and I realize that not only must Cora relinquish some of her control issues, but there are also a couple of situations where Jim, a very successful CEO, can learn to release some of his control issues as well. It is here that the story starts getting a bit difficult for me to follow. Now I admit that this may not the case if I go back and re-read it, but first time around I was not really getting the story very well. I got the feeling that there was some sort of sub plot here that I wasn’t getting, and that probably says more about me than about the story. But for me, this is where things started to unravel.
Ultimately I think these two people found a new levels of understanding and connection because of this experience. And I always like to see that in romance fiction. Like all Leon stories it is not simple and I always look for the challenge. I just don’t think she did as well crafting this story as she has several others I have read. That is not to say she is a bad writer. Nothing could be further from the truth. She seems to be especially talented at writing about situations that are out of the ordinary, a quality of her work I have always appreciated.
So I hope you will read this novella–it may very well be one of your favorites. I am going to re-read it and see if I can unravel the story just a little bit better.
In the meantime, I give this work a 3.75 out of 5.
This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.