(The Chrysalis Series #2)
by Elene Sallinger
Released: May 6, 2014, Sourcebooks Casablanca
My rating: 4 of 5 ⭐️
Bridget Ross appears to have her life together. Professor at a small college, good friends, nice dog and plenty of social interaction. But underneath that polished and slightly reserved exterior she hides a traumatic history that has left such an impact, it has changed the way she sees the world and more importantly, how she sees herself.
Connor Reynolds has perfect balance in his life. Or so he tells himself. He works to take care of his immediate needs, he uses his camera as a creative outlet and he paints to feed his soul. On top of that he knows exactly who he is. But when an innocent tangle of dogs in the park brings him to his knees in front of a beautiful woman, he feels his world tilting.
Charmed, but also a little apprehensive, Bridget tries to resist the persistent attentions of the much younger Connor, but with his gentle persuasion he manages to convince her to take a chance on him. But will Connor be able to release the fire Bridget is keeping so tightly contained inside?
Another fabulous book in the Chrysalis Series by Elene Sallinger!! A standalone novel with characters from the first book making their appearance, but this is a story all in itself.
I found REFLECTION to have a bit less of an edge than AWAKING, in that the plot was more predictable, there was less darkness in the build-up, less tension. The overall result was a very emotional journey for both main characters, actually. Although Connor's need for "reflection" did not become obvious - to him at least - until the final chapters of the book.
Bridget has reprogrammed her sensual development after a traumatic experience gave her a negative association, resulting in rather stunted and unfulfilling emotional and sexual relationships. Not to mention some massive trust issues she has still not been able to work through. And by my calculations, this event was more than half her life-time ago. That counts for a lot of years of damaging inner dialogue, without any apparent proper counseling to mitigate the effects. No wonder this woman cannot open herself up after simply unloading her past as if that is a magic healing.
Connor faces a similar emotional damaging pattern, except that for him it doesn't affect something inside him, but something that he can control - or thinks he can control - externally, painting. Of course the control is something Connor craves, something he would like to explore with Bridget. The dom in him is torn between knowing what she needs and honoring what she wants. He is so focused on her, that he loses sight of his own responsibilities and shortcomings.
An ironic parallel, not seen by either of the main characters, but needed to be put in focus by a third party. I guess Bridget did see at some point, but Connor needed to be told, which was a bit of a disappointment in all honesty.
I enjoyed this couple together, I liked Connor's irreverent nature and the way Bridget could let go when she wanted to. The chemistry was there, the heat was there, but I feel we never got to the point where we see them truly reach all their potential until the very last. I would've enjoyed more exploration.
Elene Sallinger's writing is excellent, her style is flowing and sharp. Not necessarily 'easy reading' but not too complex either, simply writing with some substance. A good author to choose if you are looking for some literary bite on your erotica!
✨A careful and sensual exposure..✨