4.5 "Saltwater Love" Stars!
“It’s always the simple things that can squeeze your heart with such exquisite pain.”
Saltwater Skin by Laila Blake is the third and final novella in her Breaking in Waves series, the end of Paul and Iris’ story – or perhaps the beginning. This is a series that explores dominance and submission between a forty-three year old reclusive American screenwriter living in a quaint small seaside town in England and a twenty-eight year old journalist who initially went to his home to conduct an interview of him. All three books in this series are not overly long and I would consider this a serial novella series; however, the series is a very well written one. Frankly, the writing is exquisite. This author has this innate ability to draw me in and Ms. Blake had me completely enthralled with her eloquent and lyrical writing style. I was swiftly entranced with the narrative and loved the rhythmic flow of this book. Nothing felt rushed. Nothing came out of left field. It was a simple continuation of the story between two individuals that captured my attention right from the start.
“We’re about to embark on something new, about to wreck what we had before in favor of the deeper, the longer, the more intimate connection. There is risk in that, and treasure. And also loss. Maybe.”
This story picks up where the previous one leaves us. Please note that the first two books do not end in cliff-hangers. They are simply a continuation of what is occurring between Iris and Paul, their love story. After being in a long-distance relationship for the better part of a year, the couple finally decides to take the next step and Iris moves the fishing village where Paul resides. What I absolutely adored about this installment is the fact that it is written in Paul’s POV. I loved seeing everything through his eyes, discovering his fears, needs and desires. His love for Iris simply transcends everything, as if he can’t believe he finally found his perfect mate. Paul worries about how he may be too old for Iris but when they are together all is right in his world. It seems that it simply took him a little longer than most to get to the place where he found the other half of his soul. Paul slowly must shed the last of his bachelor tendencies to make room for Iris in his home, his life. As for Iris, she is exactly where she wants to be. Paul is everything she desires and he fulfills her in ways she would never had discovered if it were not for him. The love this couple shares is truly beautiful. Can Paul and Iris merge their two lives together in the picturesque seaside world that initially brought them together?
“That’s what she does: she lights me up. That’s what she’s been doing from the first.”
“She is my air, my water, my bread. She makes me want to be better than I ever was, and then makes it easy to be just that. My marvel. My newfound world.”
I absolutely loved the setting where this book (as well as most of the series) took place, a small dilapidated fishing village off the coast of England. Ms. Blake does a stellar job transporting her reader into this picturesque and antiquated village where you settled in Paul’s home to have tea and walked along the rocky shores captivated by the driftwood and other inanimate stray objects along the beach. It definitely made for the perfect setting where Paul and Iris’ story could play out. While in the previous book we see Iris’ emotional journey play out, this time we see everything from Paul’s standpoint. We understand their intense connection through his eyes, watching him experience the plethora of emotions only Iris evokes in him. Everything builds and unfolds into an intense, complex and beautifully told love story with quite a bit of kink added into the mixing pot.
I have come to adore the writing style of this author. Ms. Blake writes in such a manner that each word, scene, nuance has a purpose. For me, nothing was wasted or superfluous. Each moment is carefully planned out as Paul takes Iris deeper and deeper into the world of submission, as we watch their relationship grow into something more and finally as we see them develop an everlasting connection. I once again loved Paul’s calm and collected demeanor and ease with his need for dominance at this point in his life and this was simply exhilaratingly sexy. I again had no problems imagining how freeing it was for someone like Iris to simply let go and trust herself, her body, to Paul. I understood their powerful connection. Paul wants to give Iris the world and she willingly places her absolute trust in the hands of the man she adores.
All in all, Saltwater Skin was a beautifully exquisite ending to this spectacular series. I am not a huge lover of novellas but this author has made me fall in love with Paul and Iris and their tale of passion and need. This is most definitely a series I will be re-reading.
******An advance reading copy of Saltwater Skin by Laila Blake was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.