Althea Grant is doing fine. Sure, her Charleston gallery is suffering from the bad economy, and her artistic aspirations have gone nowhere. But she’s happy enough. When rugged metal sculptor Steel rides up on his motorcycle looking to rent studio space, his infusion of cash is more than welcome. But his art is raw, visceral, sexual-and completely inappropriate for her pastel world of watercolor landscapes. Steel, fascinated by Althea’s rare albino coloring, sees in her the key to his next piece: a metal satyr that can be used for bondage games. Moving into her gallery basement is the first step; seducing the coolly polite lady into modeling for him is the second. As Steel peels away her careful manners and tasteful outfits, Althea begins to realize her life isn’t just fine at all-it’s as pale and washed-out as the watercolor paintings she’s failing to sell. Can she transform her life and accept her most secret desires?
Althea’s gallery is in financial trouble. Even as an adult she feels the need to live up to her parent’s expectations. They don’t necessarily agree with the choices she has made with her art gallery, especially since they had loaned her money. They do approve of her current boyfriend, though, who is as polished and fancy as them. Althea isn’t happy with her personal life or her career, but she just continues to plow through the “safe” world in which she lives. No big splashes for Althea. She couldn’t possibly let the inner Althea out. What would people think? Enter Steel.
Steel is the polar opposite of Althea. He doesn’t care what people think of him. He was an underprivileged kid who is lucky he isn’t currently in jail, considering the people he hung out with. Art was his outlet for all his “mad” growing up. As an adult, he specializes in metal sculpting and was sent to Althea’s gallery by Althea’s assistant. Both Steel and Althea quickly realize that his art would not belong in her gallery. She dismisses him and expects him to walk out as quickly as he walked in. Steel, however, is intrigued by Althea and talks her into letting him rent out the basement for six months.
When I first saw the interaction between the two of them I thought there was no way the author could pull off getting them together and making it believable. I didn’t feel an instant spark or any chemistry between them at the beginning (aside from Althea looking him up and down in his motorcycle riding chaps). Althea was just too upper class and a little snooty for him. Boy was I proven wrong.
Steel knows just how to get under Althea’s skin and make her want things she wouldn’t admit at first. Little by little, Steel is able to peel away the exterior of Althea and show her that she can act on her inner most desires. After ending the relationship with her current boyfriend, Althea agrees to an affair with Steel. She expected it to be just a temporary thing that allows her to play on the side. She couldn’t really consider having a relationship with him. What would the people she knows think if they saw her dating a guy like him? Steel took things slowly with Althea knowing it would take her some time to be comfortable letting go of the control and image she felt she had to keep and let the real Althea out.
This story was full of so many emotions. Steel really understood Althea and what she needed. He was always building her up and encouraging her to be the person he could see under the fancy clothes and appearances she put up. He believes and tries to convince her that she can be brilliant. Steel can be a very intense guy and at one point lost of a little of his control, which was a pivotal point in the book because you got to see how much he loved her and wasn’t sure what to do with all those unexpected and unfamiliar emotions.
There were some really awesome “aww” moments in this story. I loved the scene where Steel gave Althea the opportunity to paint what she really wanted and not just what was “safe.” I also enjoyed the part in the story when Althea invited Steel up to her apartment and turned the tables on him. The sweetest part of the story for me was when they were headed out to a formal fundraising event and Steel bought Althea a bold dress she normally wouldn’t buy herself and actually applied Althea’s make-up for her giving her a little more color. This was the real Althea.
Jeffe Kennedy did a fantastic job with this book. If you are looking to venture out and read something in the erotic category that includes a little bondage, I recommend you try Platinum. Her writing is wonderful and you can always count on a story from her that is meaningful, hard to put down, and still has you thinking about it weeks after you finish it.
Reviewed by: Amy R.