Saturday, July 6, 2013

Private Message by Danielle Torella

** 3.5 out of 5 Stars **


Tess has never had sex.  Believe it or not, she’s never had a decent kiss.

The aspiring Seattle painter and photographer is still recovering from the trauma of being beaten and nearly raped at a rock show nearly three years before.  So she keeps life simple:  she goes to school, goes to work in a coffee shop, goes home, goes on living.

But then Ben’s naked body crashes—almost literally—through Tess’s wall against the world.

Ben is doing his dad’s art-teacher girlfriend a favor when he agrees to pose nude for her drawing class.  But what he draws is the interest of the irresistible punk-looking girl—and it’s interest he reciprocates, with interest.

Their sexual chemistry is too much to resist.  But it’s when they have their clothes on that their heat quickly slips on ice.  Ben’s womanizing history is one thing, but its history of another kind—related to that fateful night at the rock show—that threatens to tear the young lovers apart forever.

This book was ok.  I was excited when I saw the cover.  You've got the virgin girl with trauma in her past and the tattooed bad boy who changes his ways when he meets the right girl.  What’s not to love right?  Well for me the story was lacking in some areas.  The characters weren't developed enough in my opinion.  This book is short and there is no epilogue.  Things seemed to be wrapped up rather quickly and all in all everything that happened was predictable.  It was a good story though.  It had an easy writing style with minimal editing errors.  The characters were easy enough to relate to and the plot kept me reading.

Tess is a college student majoring in art.  She works at as a barista in a coffee shop.  She has very few friends.  She’s quiet and closed off to the world.  She’s never been in a serious relationship and she’s a virgin.  We don’t really find out what she looks like aside from the fact that she prefers jeans, t-shirts, and converse to dresses and heels.  She’s had some trauma in her past that has kept her away from men.

Ben is your typical womanizing bad boy who goes home with a different girl every night.  He’s tall, dark, and handsome with tattoos and a killer smile.  He’s been burned by love in the past and deals with it only in the way that bad boys can.  He’s a possessive alpha male and he works for a music magazine.

Tess has a rough night having to stare at a naked guy in her art class so she decides to slip into a bar after and have a drink.  Little does she know that the guy in the bar is the guy from her art class.  She doesn't find out until the following week when they see each other in the class.

First let me talk about this bar.  It’s pretty cool in theory.  It’s called Chatz.  When you enter the bar you log onto the bar’s webpage and chat with others in the bar.  It’s about giving you the ability to be more open to the people you talk to.  It’s like a coffee house for dating. 

After she realizes that the guy from her art class is “Big Ben” from the bar things begin to move pretty quickly.  He hasn't dated since he caught his ex fiance with their professor.  He wants her and not just for sex.  They begin “dating” and he asks her not to see anyone else and in return he’ll do the same while they explore the thing between them.

One thing I didn't like was a particular scene at Chatz.  He’d already promised her he wouldn't see anyone else.  She shows up at the bar unannounced and catches him with a girl on his lap.  As they begin to leave together he spots Tess.  In true bad boy fashion, it isn't what it looks like and she believes him. 

She spends a lot of time at work and there is a guy named Dave who she’s friends with.  This guy is weird and I saw it for what it was before the fact.  He’s gay and he’s always wanting her to go clubbing with him.  He’s too persistent and you get the feeling he’s up to something.

Towards the end of the book, she and Ben finally get together and he tells her he wants to be with only her.   The following night she gets cut at school and then taken to the emergency room.  The doctor on call happens to be Ben’s father and he remembers her from 3 years prior.

3 years prior she was sexually assaulted at a rock concert and brutally beaten.  Someone saved her and brought her to the er.  It turns out that Ben is the one who pulled the guy off of her, beat him to the point of needing plastic surgery, and took her to the hospital.  This is where I lost it for this girl.  She’s angry that he left her at the hospital.  She didn’t know him then but she’s so mad she refuses to talk to him because of it.  I mean it’s to the ridiculous point with how she feels about this.  I get that she was hurt and alone but come on.  She’s just plain horrible to him.  He tries to smooth things over but she’s still not having it.

Tess, If I could offer you a reason, any reason at all for what happened I would. I don't know how we went from what we were to nothing at all. I understand your hurt over what happened three years ago, but I was a different person then. I have changed considerably. You have changed me. I can only hope that one day you can forgive me, because I will never forgive myself for losing you. You have my heart. Forever. 

Because she’s angry and refuses to forgive him she agrees to go out with her friend Dave.  She senses something is really wrong and texts Ben to come get her.  It turns out that Dave is the guy who attacked her 3 years ago and he’s out for revenge.  He traps her in a back room and attempts to rape her.  He wants Ben to suffer as well because of the damage he caused.  No one realized who he was because Ben had beaten him so bad that he had to have plastic surgery.

Ben comes barging into the room and saves her.  He was already at the club working and he already knew she was there.  Because she didn’t want to talk to him he was keeping his distance but when he realized something was wrong he was already on his way to help her.

She wakes up in the hospital with Ben freaking out and promising that he’s there and he’s not leaving this time.  They are officially together from that point on.

The book ends at Chatz where he officially outs them as a couple. 

There is no epilogue so you don’t know if they made it or not.  The book itself was way to short but I did enjoy it.  I give it 3.5 Stars because of the length and character depth plus it felt rushed at the end.  I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a quick read.

My Ben/Tess


Favorite Quotes:

"If you EVER say anything like that again to or about my GIRLFRIEND, I will be sure that everyone will know what you did to Dan and what kind of a dirty bag you are. Do you understand me, Jackie?"