Published in electronic format by Samhain as part of the Sneak Peek duet, “Show Me” is one of Ms Burton’s erotic romances. As such, it contains graphic language and sexual scenes, and should be avoided by all minors as well as by adults with objections to either.
Here is the blurb from the publisher’s site:
He promises to indulge her secret fantasies, if only she dares to accept.
Socialite Janine Bartolino has always been in the public eye. Managing her late father’s philanthropic interests, she keeps her pastimes above reproach. But when a surprise thirtieth birthday celebration at a private club opens her eyes to wicked pleasures, and an intriguing man offers her the chance of a lifetime to indulge her every secret fantasy, Janine takes a leap of faith…at great personal risk.
Phillipe “Del” Delacroix knows what Janine wants, even if she isn’t aware of it herself—a chance to explore the world of voyeurs and exhibitionists. Soon, the once staid and reserved woman transforms into a daring and passionate lover, giving Del everything he could ask for in a partner. But when something happens that puts Janine’s reputation, her career, all she’s worked for, in jeopardy… Del must prove that loving him is worth the risk.
Before starting the review proper, I must own up to my own biases against key elements of the story—sexual voyeurism and exhibitionism, both of which are an important part of the two main characters’ make up.
At about one hundred and ten pages, I didn’t have enough time or space—so to speak—to allow Ms Burton’s writing to overcome my innate negative feelings against them.
This is likely to have colored, at least somewhat, my reaction to both the characters and the story itself. (In other words, I am not this story’s target audience.) Nonetheless, here’s my take on “Show Me”.
Janine is convinced that giving in to her sexual desires will bring disaster—not just on her head, but to her father’s legacy, a charitable foundation that has an “above reproach” reputation she is determined to uphold. However, when presented with the living temptation that is Del, something has to give—in this case, Janine’s repression.
She indulges her hunger for exhibitionism and voyeurism by engaging in a short and, to her way of thinking, dangerous affair with Del. Trusting him more after each successful escapade, the couple grow increasingly reckless. Inevitably, they are eventually caught in a compromising position and things between them come to a head.
The build up, the growing tension between Janine and Del is pretty good, but the resolution of the conflict felt a tad too abrupt. After reading the last line, I was still not convinced this couple can face subsequent difficulties successfully together. So, instead of a happily ever after “Show Me” ends—for this reader at least—with a happy for now.
Janine is too contradictory, too extreme, to be a believable human being. She spends most of her life repressing her nature—not just in public, but also when in the company of her three closest friends. She is afraid that she won’t measure up to her late father’s standards. Or rather, to what she perceives to be the strictures that these standards demand of her. On the other hand, she has all these wild sexual fantasies that she only indulges in the privacy of her own bedroom.
It truly bothered me that for a thirty year old, supposedly professional woman, Janine often reacts like a self-flagellating teenager in the throes of hormonal extremism. Occasionally she even blames Del for her own reactions and decisions—he tempted her, see; it’s his fault that she gave in. Not until the last couple of pages does Janine ever owns up to her choices.
The icing on my “oh, dear, I do not like this” cake was when each character lists what they love or like in the other. External and ephemeral attributes ahoy! Janine muses that “He was everything she wanted: gorgeous, etc.” while Del explains that he is in love with her “because she’s beautiful.”
Huh. Wonder how that’ll hold up in twelve or twenty years.
Due to my bias against most of the sexual activities depicted in the story, as well as my objections to the characters themselves, “Show Me” got a 5 out of 10—for me. Readers who find either or both of these two sexual practices unobjectionable, may want to add about two points to my personal grade.