Desire can have dire consequences Two years ago, David Madden made a mistake that almost cost him his marriage. His wife, Alison, gave him another chance, but she has not forgotten, nor has she forgiven. She is irresistible Then David meets the alluring Nina at a theatre in London. When he loses his phone in the dark, she helps him find it, and by giving her his number he unwittingly invites her into his life. What David initially views as an innocent flirt turns into a dangerous game of deception. She is insatiable Nina pursues David relentlessly, following him to New York where she gives him an ultimatum: sleep with her, just one time, and then she’ll get out of his life forever; or she’ll ruin everything he holds dear. She is unstoppable Of course, once won’t be enough for Nina, and what David hoped would be the end is merely the beginning.
Just One Time is billed as a ‘steamy psychological thriller’ and it certainly ticks the first box. The prologue is a raunchy introduction to a racy and provocative story and, overall, the rest of the book is quite a rollercoaster. David is a three-dimensional character, albeit not necessarily a likeable one, and you can sort of sympathise with the maelstrom of misery he finds himself in. The descriptions within the book are rich and sensual and the story itself rattles along at a steady pace.
However, there is also a fair bit of filler here: a lot of repetition of David’s thought processes, loads of the minutiae of eating and drinking and taking showers, plus so many street directions, road names and entertainment venues that, at points, I felt like I was actually reading a travel guide. I also wasn’t totally convinced by Nina’s motivation and the final quarter of the book runs the full gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous; I was hoping there would be more twists or revelations – I was curious about the shifts in viewpoint from first to third person – and, after everything that had gone before, the ending is pretty abrupt.
That said, providing you can suspend your disbelief from the rooftops and keep your tongue firmly in your cheek, Just One Time is an easy holiday read, a fun and sexy story – and certainly not one to be taken too seriously. Thank you to #TBConFB for the opportunity to read the ARC. 3.5/5 stars.