The Crossfire series has been sitting on my TBR shelf for a couple of years—not because I wasn’t interested in reading it, but because I knew the finale of the series, One with You, was set to come out in April 2016. Now that it has been published, I decided it’s finally time to dig in to this series. The hype surrounding this series, specifically the first installment, Bared to You, lived up to the hype!
This book follows Eva Tramell, a twenty-four-year-old who moves from San Diego to NYC to start a new job in the Crossfire building. While there, she meets billionaire and owner of the building (and practically everything else in NYC) Gideon Cross—a super sexy, wealthy, control freak. Both Eva and Gideon are attracted to each other, and survivors of sexual abuse, and even though their relationship starts off sexual, an inevitable romance ensues.
This book was such a quick, easy, and fun read! Even though it has been likened to Fifty Shades of Grey, most of the book was easy to separate from FSoG.
First of all, I enjoyed how setting and relationships (or lack of relationships) with friends and family was executed and woven into the plot. Eva’s relationship with her father, her stepfather and mother, and best friend really played an important role in the plot and in her relationship with Gideon. Unlike other books of this nature, I feel like these factors enhanced the focal relationship instead of hindering it. I also enjoyed how Gideon’s personal life was basically a foil to Eva’s—unlike Eva, he doesn’t exactly communicate with this family and doesn’t have close, personal friends. It seems as though his only true relationship is with Eva, and even though the two main characters were similar in many ways, they were also very opposite in certain ways as well.
As far as the setting goes, it accurately depicted life in NYC—busy and bustling and alive and overwhelming. The NYC setting flowed well with the character’s lives and personalities. I think the NYC setting was a perfect choice of setting for the novel. If the novel would’ve been set anywhere else, I don’t think it would’ve worked. The business of the city complemented Gideon’s and Eva’s busy, bustling lives, and in a lot of ways, helped and hindered their relationship.
The characters, especially Gideon, were phenomenal. Unlike FSoG, I could actually understand why Gideon and Eva liked (or loved) each other. Besides their attractiveness, both had unique personalities. Eva was strong willed, stubborn, intelligent, outspoken, and active. Gideon was possessive, wealthy, obviously brilliant, caring, and a sweetheart underneath his rough exterior. Why they liked each other was obvious, and I never once questioned why they chose the other as their partner.
Even though BDSM is supposed to play a role in this novel, it isn’t that obvious, or if it is, it’s vastly different than the BDSM in FSoG. Gideon’s interest in that lifestyle is foreshadowed early in the novel, but isn’t actually discussed until the book was ¾ over, and even then, it wasn’t executed fully in the first novel of this series. The only thing that is brought up is Gideon’s need for control and how he has a dominant personality and how he likes Eva to be submissive (but he also likes for her to take control, too). There is no contract, no toys as of yet, no Red Room of Pain (Gideon has his own hotel suite for the kinky things), and no abuse—at least in this novel.
The two main characters fight over the silliest and littlest things, but in a way, I think this helps uncover the complexities of their relationship and their true personalities. Both are incredibly jealous people with complicated pasts that always threaten to ruin their relationship. However, after their fights (and even before and just generally all the time), Gideon shows just how sweet he is.
Which brings us to the characters—Eva and Gideon. I liked Eva. I liked how strong and stubborn she is. She’s a woman I wouldn’t mind being. She stands up for herself, and yet, shows the man she loves her affection for him. To me, in a romance novel, she’d be the ideal character. She’s someone who isn’t closed-hearted, but isn’t naïve either. She’s the perfect balance of open and warm, yet smart and stubborn. I truly enjoyed reading this book through her POV.
I can honestly say, though, as I’m sure most other women who read this novel can agree, that Gideon Cross was the best character in this novel—and perhaps one of the best characters I’ve ever read. He reminded me of the kind of characters that the Christina Lauren duo would write. Even though he’s possessive and dominant and insanely wealthy, he has a beautiful soul and is incredibly loving and sweet. He shows just how in love with Eva he is, and ultimately, it made me swoon. He was (and is) so in love with Eva and can’t function without her. Honestly, I wanted to jump in the novel and take Eva’s place. He’s willing to do anything for her, and does, most of the time.
However, as much as I loved this novel, there were a few things that I had issues with. My issues are as follows:
- Even though it’s relatively similar to Fifty Shades of Grey, there are enough differences to separate it. However, the aspects that were the same were practically spot on, such as the D/s roles, Gideon being obsessed with control and being extremely wealthy, Gideon being known to sleep with lots of women and being an overly sexual creature, and Gideon is haunted by his past and has nightmares. There were a few other examples, but they were executed differently, and these differences kept the novel from having the same storyline as FSoG.
- Insta-love. Like many other book bloggers, Booktubers, and book lovers in general, I don’t enjoy books where the characters seem to instantly fall in love with each other. Of course, as most erotic novels portray, it was primarily about the sex at first, but quickly after they meet each other, they become each other’s everything. Even though it was executed well, the insta-love is a con for me, because even though people can fall in love easily, it didn’t seem very realistic, especially in this situation.
Bared to You is a fantastic opener to the Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day. It was the perfect blend of sexy and fun, complicated and beautiful. It’s a novel that is not only an easy read, but keeps you thinking as well. This was my first Sylvia Day novel to read, and I’m sure I’ll be reading many more of her books in the future!
This book receives 4.5/5 stars from me. I can’t wait to read the remainder of the Crossfire Series!