L. Marie Adeline, I have to begin with a little disclaimer. If you're under 18, a prude, religious, or not a fan of erotica, I suggest you come back later.
Cassie Robichaud is content to be lonely. She toils her days away waiting tables at a failing eatery in New Orleans. At the end of a long shift, she heads home to her cat and an empty apartment. Her husband is dead, but their relationship was over long before his demise. Something is missing in her life, but she doesn't know what. After discovering a rather revealing notebook left in the cafe by a mysterious woman, Cassie is about embark on a journey that will change her forever!
What's in this notebook? It's filled with this woman's sexual fantasies. Sex with multiple partners at the same time, and that's just a small taste of what was in the notebook. Cassie isn't sure she should keep reading. It's an invasion of privacy right? Is she crossing a boundary? Or is she afraid to admit she's turned on by these fantasies? Does Cassie want these fantasies to become her reality?
Turn's out the owner of said notebook is a member of an underground society of women called S.E.C.R.E.T. This "club" is dedicated to helping women rediscover themselves. Yes, they do it through sexual fantasies but fortunately the book isn't all about sex. I like that there is a buildup, an actual storyline before plunging into Cassie's fantasies. At first, she's afraid to indulge. Before Cassie can become a full member of S.E.C.R.E.T, she has to go through several steps. With each step, Cassie earns another charm a special bracelet, which is given to all women in the club. Once all the steps are completed, she can choose to become a member of this society and help other women just like her or seek out a loving relationship.
Surrendering is the first step and the hardest for Cassie. Each step comes with a choice, and she isn't always sure of which way to turn. She isn't doing this alone, Cassie has a mentor, Matilda, to confide in. Whatever insecurities or uncertainties Cassie is having she can go to Matilda. But Cassie still has her doubts. What if people can notice the change in her? What if she runs into people she knows while indulging in her fantasies? Can she go through all of the steps? Is she really desirable? Can she truly see herself as desirable?
With each chapter, the change in Cassie is noticeable. She comes out of her shell. She becomes bolder and more confident. The book is more about female empowerment than sex. Yes, there are A LOT of racy scenes, but they don't overpower the central plot -- Cassie discovering her true self. The whole time I felt like I was reading a diary. Each chapter is Cassie's intimate thoughts. Even I began to wonder, "Should I be reading this?" But I kept going! This is the first in a trilogy, so I will definitely finish the other two books. In fact I already have them! Stay tuned!
Note: I received a copy of the book from Sullivan and Partners in exchange for an honest review.