Dirty by Megan Hart

Book description (via Amazon):

I met him at the candy store. He turned and smiled at me and I was surprised enough to smile back. This was not a children’s candy store, mind you—this was the kind of place you went to buy expensive imported chocolate truffles for your boss’s wife because you felt guilty for having sex with him when you were both at a conference in Milwaukee. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

I’ve been hit on plenty of times, mostly by men with little finesse who thought what was between their legs made up for what they lacked between their ears. Sometimes I went home with them anyway, just because it felt good to want and be wanted, even if it was mostly fake.

The problem with wanting is that it’s like pouring water into a vase full of stones. It fills you up before you know it, leaving no room for anything else. I don’t apologize for who I am or what I’ve done in—or out—of bed. I have my job, my house and my life, and for a long time I haven’t wanted anything else.

Until Dan. Until now.

Elle, the main character, has a dark past that she is trying to get over. Due to her past, she has issues with getting close to anyone and she uses sex for pleasure only and never ‘dates’. She meets Dan, who starts to change Elle’s outlook on sex and dating, but is Dan enough to overcome her past? And is Dan willing to stick around and get her through it?

This book is categorized as an erotica but it is much more than that. It has a plot with a deep, dark theme so be forewarned that this is not a light read. The erotic scenes were well-written; steamy, sexy, adventurous at times, but it never went over the top. The storyline is what makes this novel stand out from being categorized solely as an erotica though. I would shelf this in bookstores right next to Bared To You by Sylvia Day.

Hart did a great job with character development, especially with Elle. I understood early on that Elle feels damaged and broken, which is depicted in everything she does; the way she is obsessed with work, why it is hard for her to be close to other people, why she views sex the way she does, etc. I was torn between rooting for Dan to rescue her, yet at the same time rooting for Elle to find a way to save herself.

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