In this chapter, we finally learn Eva’s mysterious past that’s been driving the plot and repeatedly referenced even though it’s never mentioned what it is. So it’s a really good thing I used that Mary Poppins gif in the last post.
Eva and Gideon have sex.
Look, sometimes, I just have nothing interesting to summarize.
I didn’t even pretend not to stare at the magnificent package between his legs.
But then the sex gets less sensual and more… distracting?
He’d had no nightmares during the night. Sex as a sedative seemed to be working
And then it gets predatory.
“I hope you don’t think you’ve gotten away,” he said when he prowled after me into the kitchen.
I’m having a very hard time seeing the emotional connection between these two characters.
At work, Eva checks the celebrity gossip, which now thinks that Eva is keeping her roommate-boyfriend Cary a secret from her billionaire CEO Gideon, who has reacted in turn by going to dinner with the ever-subtly-named Magdalene Perez. Honestly, I wish this was actually the plot of this book. It’d be immature college-y love triangle upon love triangle bullshit, certainly, but the characters are immature enough for this anyway.
Noon. My office.
“Really?” I muttered, irritated by the lack of salutation and closing. Not to mention the lack of a request. And who could forget the fact that Gideon hadn’t even mentioned running into Magdalene at dinner? […]
Sorry. Have plans.
A bratty reply, but he deserved it.
And it continues.
“Cary’s like a brother to me. You know that.”
“Ah, but what are you to him? The photos were amazingly clear, Eva. I know love when I see it.” […]
I shoved the door open and looked at Gideon over my shoulder, letting him take a good look at my face. “Obviously, you don’t.”
I slammed the door shut and set off briskly, righteous in my anger.[…]
“Eva. Stop right there.”
I flipped him the bird over my shoulder
“I had plans, asshat. And you’re fucking them up for me.” My voice broke, tears welling as I felt the number of eyes on us. I was going to get fired for being an embarrassing spectacle. “You’re fucking up everything.”
Our tongues stroked and dipped, the kiss wildly passionate. I was vaguely aware of the multitude of people milling around us, the buzz of numerous conversations, and the steady rumble of the ceaseless midtown traffic, but none of it mattered while I was sheltered by Gideon. Cherished by him.
Sure, there’s nothing necessarily bad about a narrative about immature characters who overreact to their paranoia. But we’ve been reading the same overreaction for 162 pages. And sure, paranoia is a tough nut to crack, but we’re supposed to be seeing these characters’ relationship grow, and we’re not. It’s really tough to buy the deepest and truest of all loves developing between these characters when their emotional maturity is more appropriate for an episode of Lizzie McGuire.
Although the novel’s gay stereotypes don’t seem to mind.
Steven stood with his hands in his pockets and a big grin on his attractive face. “I feel like I should applaud. That was better than watching a chick flick.”
Because everybody knows gay men are actually just stereotypical women.
Mark smiled. “How else will I give Steven regular updates on your love life? He’s a soap opera addict, you know. He loves romantic dramas.”
Well. Now we’re at the sad part.
Five o’clock found me steeling myself to divulge my secrets.
Honestly, Sylvia Day does a pretty good job. Eva’s turmoil knowing she has to tell Gideon something traumatic she herself can’t really handle is actually conveyed convincingly, both in small ways:
In an effort to gain that control, I took my time in the shower. Unfortunately, it made me remember the one we’d taken together just that morning. Had that been both our first and last as a couple?
And in more significant ways:
I just wanted to get it over with, to get it all out so I could put it back into the box in my mind where I forgot about it in my day-to-day life.
Eva’s backstory is that her mom got pregnant with her and was disowned from her family, but still kept the baby. She eventually married a widowed millionaire with a son two years older than Eva, who raped Eva from when she was ten and for the next four years. Eva kept it a secret under threat of violence until she had a miscarriage and the truth was revealed. Eva’s mother got a divorce and she and Eva both got massive amounts of money in the settlement. When Eva’s mother remarried Stanton, he covered up the matter, which was on public record, as tightly as he could.
Day does a good job telling the story appropriately, and mostly keeps Gideon’s response at “actual human being” levels too.
“But you have a right to know that this could come out and embarrass you.”
“Embarrass me?” he snapped, vibrating with rage. “Embarrassment isn’t on the list of what I’d feel.”
Although for some reason Eva doesn’t think so.
It was my greatest nightmare realized. I’d feared that my past might negatively impact his attraction to me. I’d told Cary that Gideon might stay with me for all the wrong reasons. That he might stay by my side, but that I’d still—for all intents and purposes—lose him anyway.
And it seemed I had.
Although there are no signs from Gideon that this is actually happening, so… guess that’s one way to end the chapter?
But Is It Better Than Fifty Shades of Grey?
Despite the thoroughly irritating miscalculation of treating Eva’s backstory like a big reveal even though it was driving the plot the whole time, Sylvia Day did actually manage to tell the story tastefully and emotionally. I would be terrified to see E L James even attempt this.
The Winner This Round: Bared To You