I recently read an e-galley of Charlotte Stein’s upcoming novel, Intrusion, courtesy of the lovely Avon publicity team and Avon Addicts program. It was my first reader’s foray into erotic contemporary romance and I was completely entranced. It’s this delightfully creepy story about the hot, weird guy next door, all told from the point-of-view of a young woman nursing wounds from a past traumatic event.
First-person narration is a tricky execution, one (I think) often doomed to narcissistic failure (a la teenager writing alone in her diary). Yet it’s a driving force in Intrusion and plays into the storyline beautifully. We learn about this troubled man in pieces, just as the protagonist does, lending the entire story a slow-reveal quality that mirrors the couple’s unbelievably hot journey to sexual connection. The odd absence of names throughout much of the novel only heightens the feeling of complete reader-immersion, until you find yourself wondering “What will I–I mean, she, do next?” Intrusion is strangely intimate and unexpectedly subtle.
Clearly, I found the book spellbinding and sexy and scary and smouldering and all the S-word adjectives in the world.
But why? What was it about this tragically damaged man that was so sexy? I think the appeal of the damaged man is played out in one book after another–sometimes wonderfully, sometimes not–but this was the troubled hero taken up a notch. This dude was weird, like, guy-at-gym-who-bounces-on-the-fitness-ball-for-30-minutes-straight weird, or man-with-the-beautiful-face-who-never-makes-eye-contact-with-anyone weird. But still hot. Perhaps there’s an entirely new creepy romantic hero type waiting to be exploited? Or maybe I just don’t read enough erotica? This kind of balls-out weirdo hot guy is not making his way into any of the historical romance novels I read, and I think I’ve been missing out. If, like me, your romance reading falls squarely in the Regency or Victorian era genre, give Intrusion a shot. There’s something about this creepy-sexy novel that will appeal to the same kind of readers who like the cerebral quality that witty historical romance often possesses.