Title: Strip Me Bare
Author: Marissa Carmel
Genre: New Adult
Release Date: October 10, 2013
Cover Art: Amber Rendon - Novel Idea Designs
“I may have had more lovers than you, and I may take my clothes off for countless women, but you are the only one who can strip me bare.”
Do you ever stop loving someone just because they’re gone? Five years ago Ryan Pierce disappeared from Alana Remington’s life without leaving so much as a post-it note behind.
He was the one she gave her heart to, her soul to and her virginity to. So imagine her surprise when she finds him dancing at one of NYC’s hottest male revues as Jack the Stripper.
Ryan never stopped loving Alana, and now that she serendipitously dropped back into his life, he’s vowed never to lose her again. But being together has its costs, and challenges Alana isn’t sure she can handle.
She finally has Ryan back; but how in the world is she supposed to share the love of her life with half of the women in New York City?
We stop in front of some hanging crystals. They clink as Ryan pushes them aside, “after you.” I walk under an orange spotlight, into a small space with a white leather couch deep enough to lie on and walls a warm golden yellow.
Ryan steps in behind me and presses his body flush against mine. My mind races.
Is he really going to do this?
Am I really going to let him?
Can I even handle this? Five minutes ago he was with another woman. Quite possibly in this same room doing God only knows what.
“Why do you do this Ryan?” I expel. I know he explained it in words, but I need to experience it to truly understand.
He ambles around me so close; the only thing separating us is a whisper of air.
“I told you, the money,” he says as he unbuttons his shirt.
“You said women too,” I watch him cautiously, my gaze jumping between his eyes and his chest.
“That was before you walked back into my life. You’re the only woman I want to touch now. The others, like you saw before, it’s just an act. A business transaction. It’s what I have to do to get what I want.”
“Doesn’t it make them feel used?” I flick my eyes up at him.
“It mustn’t. They always come back.”
“You like it. I saw your face. That wasn’t an act.”
Ryan stands right in front of me, his shirt unbuttoned and dangling open. “I won’t lie to you Alana, I’ll never lie to you,” his tone is hard, but seductive. “I do like the attention. But it’s not real. It’s my job to sell attractiveness and fantasy, and I do it well. But that’s all it is, fantasy and I know it. When I’m with you, that’s my real.”
My breath catches when he says the word real. I can’t help but find the irony in his words; I’m exactly to him what he is to me. Two people one and the same, both living a double life to get what they want; a future and each other.
And that is what I want. A future, with Ryan.
I go to put my hands on his chest, but he steps away shaking his head no. “In this room, it’s all about you,” he walks around, stopping right behind me. “You have to tell me what you want Alana,” he whispers in my ear and I almost go limp, the sound of his voice is erotic as hell.
I swallow hard, but can’t utter a single word, because truth be told, I have no freakin’ idea what I want. At least, not in this scenario.
Ryan starts to rub my shoulders. I think he can feel my hesitation.
“Why are you so tense? This is supposed to be fun.”
Fun? The word rattles around in my head. Fun - a time or feeling of enjoyment or amusement.
Okay, let’s have some fun.
I turn around to face him and our eyes lock. “Show me.”
“Show you what?” his tone dripping with sensuality.
“Show me Jack the Stripper.”
Run- Leona Lewis
I Know You Want Me- Pitbull
Troublemaker- Olly Murs feat. Flo Rida
What You Wanted- OneRepublic
(I Just) Died in You Arms Tonight (Club Remix)- Cutting Crew
Counting Stars- OneRepublic
Marissa Carmel has loved writing ever since a young age. She has a duel degree in History and Political Science, but took as many creative writing classes in college as she could. She spent most of her twenties bartending, which is where she met her husband and a multitude of interesting people. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s hanging out with her family, experimenting in her kitchen or doing yoga on the living room floor.
~Connect with the author~
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a breath of fresh air that just might strip you bare ;0) I really really enjoyed this book. It was a nice change for me with extremely likable characters, witty dialogue between them and some issues that hit home for me personally. I was laughing and swooning at only 10% in and in my book that's a great start.
The story starts out with Emily, her friends, and her cousin, Alana, on their way to Culture, a male strip club, for Emily's bachelorette party. These ladies have quite the time and I was instantly laughing especially at Alana who seemed a little uptight at first.
I'm not even capable of an auditory response; my vocal cords have shorted out and my jaw has dropped to the floor. Raunch-y.
Alana is smart, beautiful, polite, the essential good girl if you will. I mean after all she is the daughter of a judge but something or should I say someone has been missing in Alana's life, actually for about five years to be exact, and what she doesn't know is she is about to come face to face with that something or someone, known as Jack the Stripper aka Ryan Pierce, a man she fell in love with, gave her heart and soul to, the realest thing in her entire life, but sadly she wakes up one day and he is gone. This brings on several issues for Alana but most of all she has questions! Lots of them. Why is he a stripper, why he never contacted her and most importantly why he left?
Ryan is sexy, loving, energetic, protective and certainly not perfect, but he loves Alana and that is as clear as day.
"I never thought I would touch you again, " he says smoothly, his tone laced with emotion.
Naturally they are both shocked and Ryan has some serious explaining to do which he fully intends too and hopefully Alana will understand. I enjoyed these two so much, in every way and the banter between them had me laughing and smiling. Their relationship never really ended, if you know what I mean.
"I've been dead for five years Alana." "You look pretty alive to me." He shakes his head, "I came back to life five minutes ago."
As Alana ponders what to do she decides to meet with him in hopes to have all her questions answered. Ryan slowly explains things to Alana and as they both take their time getting to know one another again, they find themselves in a relationship that is so natural and meant to be.
Ryan and Alana worked as a couple, they had chemistry, understood each other and loved each other unconditionally. She came from money, her father paid for everything and that included law school, somewhere she desperately wanted to go.
"I'm not lucky, I'm just privileged. There's a big difference," I clarify indifferently.
Ryan came from a home where his father wasn't around, his mother was a functioning alcoholic and his twin brother was a drug addict. All of which touched me in a very personal way. I laughed and I cried. These two have a lot to work through and they do. They learn to trust each other and fight for everything they have ever wanted. I envied them both for their unconditional love and strength.
Alana amazed me, especially when it came down to the fact that he was a stripper because let's face it, how many women could handle that. Ryan wasn't exactly thrilled about it but he had a plan and everything made sense. They both had insecurities and strive to love one another and I was completely in love with both Ryan and Alana, their determination in life, progress in their relationship and their ability to trust one another and work through the good times and bad.
I want to be the father I never had and the husband my mother was cheated out of. So if I have to take off my fucking clothes to make the money I need, I'll do it. And I pray you want me enough to suffer through it. Because I promise I'll make it up to you for the rest of my life."
Marissa Carmel did a fantastic job writing a story that I devoured in a day and fell in love with wholeheartedly. She has extreme talent, writes with passion, emotion, humor, love, reality and it all shows through her characters and the story being told.
Why did Ryan leave, what kind of future do they have, will he continue his life as a stripper, will their families approve of their relationship? All of these questions will be answered when you read this book. It is a standalone with no cliffhanger and I highly recommend you go buy it and read it for yourself.
So many quotes I loved in this book as well so I will leave you with just one more.
"You have power, you have force, and you irreversibly own my heart."
One more thing this is undoubtedly one of the best stories I have read about unconditional love!!
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