For Your Eyes Only by Julie CannonFor Your Eyes Only by Julie Cannon is a novella, written primarily in first person, about someone who thinks she has everything. But an encounter at her best friend’s birthday party proves her wrong.

Riley Stevenson has worked hard to be a successful CFO. She painstakingly cultivated the perfect image. She pushed beyond her introverted comfort zone with her friends and at work — at least to an extent. She’s the levelheaded one, always steady and in control.

At her best friend’s birthday, the stripper hired for entertainment affects her in a way no one ever has. Jess gives her a glimpse of passion that is uncontrollable and unrestrained. It’s irrational, but she can’t help but schedule one-on-one sessions with her. Jess only dances, never allowing Riley to touch her, yet being with Jess grows more and more addictive.

Still, no matter how much it distracts her, it is consigned to a single corner of her life. There’s safety in that. Until she is introduced to one of the newest employees at her company, someone she immediately recognizes. Jess.

The Characters

Dana Mason dances under the name Jess. Dana is about to graduate from college. She is trying to forge a career by day and be the sensual Jess by night. Of the two main characters, it took me longer to associate with Dana. Her introductory chapter puts us directly into the action of the birthday party. We have to back into who she is as a character in the subsequent chapters and her challenges and struggles, beyond financial ones, aren’t depicted as clearly.

At one point in the novella, Dana asks Riley, “Am I worth the risk?” This question is an invitation to jump into the unknown, even if it’s impossible to know where they will land. This is the opposite of the way Riley lives her life. Riley is naturally reserved and avoids risks. She is not only restrained; she likes it that way. I connected with her character because she is flawed but honest with herself.

Riley’s battle between her wants and her fears that drive the story.I loved Riley’s journey. She goes from thinking her life is fairly complete to realizing just how wrong she is. The more electricity Dana added to her world, the more I cheered for Riley to surrender to it.

The Writing Style

We get to see their all-important first meeting in first person from both of their perspectives.

The last part of the book is written in third person, with alternating chapters of Riley’s and Dana’s points of view.

It’s an interesting combination of techniques, and I found it to be potent.. Before this book, I hadn’t considered the slow building of sexual tension to be an art form in and of itself. Now that I’m a graduate of Julie Cannon University, I know better.

The Pros

It’s important to see this story as an exploration of both sexual tension and rising passion. It’s hot. I mean, panting, sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, really-shouldn’t-be-reading-this-at-work-but-you-can’t-stop hot. 99.9% of the book feels like a slow, personal striptease. When Cannon describes a scene, she draws you in. Riley slowly goes out of her mind with need as the book progresses, and honestly so do you.

The Cons

This isn’t, strictly speaking, a romance, nor is it erotica. Riley and Dana have a connection, but will they live happily ever after? What obstacles will they face working together and how will they overcome them? The reader isn’t told. Remember what I said about it being an exploration? It’s foreplay, amazing foreplay but the final moment when everything, um, culminates is fairly short. I’d even go as far as saying that it feels sudden. I was left wanting more and that’s probably entirely the point.

The Conclusion

Absolutely read this book. I could have read another two hundred pages, but alas, Cannon is both kind to give us what she has and cruel to deny us more.

Still, this novella can and should be savored.

Excerpt from For Your Eyes Only by Julie Cannon

The music was raw, her moves fast and hard. She was wearing a tailored men’s suit with a blue shirt and red and white striped tie. She looked nothing like the men in my office. But there was no doubt she was in charge. Whoever said a woman in men’s clothes was just flat-out sexy was absolutely right.

There was nothing slow or tempting about this dance. No teasing, a fleeting glimpse or a preview of what was underneath. Her moves were quick, decisive and deliberate. She unbuttoned her jacket and threw it to the floor, as if it was a claustrophobic barrier. She quickly discarded her trousers and kicked them across the room.

She danced to the heavy beat, her body moving with pure, primal sex. Her moves were aggressive and possessive, as if she were a jungle cat stalking her next prey. She yanked off the tie, wrapped it around my neck, and pulled the knot tight. Not tight enough to restrict my breathing, but enough to experience what a little bondage might feel like. Being the control freak, I never thought I’d be interested in such a thing, but I was painfully aroused by her simple maneuver.

Straddling me and sitting on my lap, Jess grabbed my hands and put them on the bottom of her shirt. With her hands over mine, she wrenched it open, sending small white buttons across the room. My pulse skyrocketed at the innuendo that I’d been overcome with desire and ripped it open, exposing the tiny red bra underneath.

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 978-1-63555-527-1

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Julie Cannon Online

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