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Book Review: Smoldered





Smoldered (The Electric Tunnel #2) by Rachel Blaufeld: Asher Peterson is a self-made man, owner of the Electric Tunnel, Sin City’s hottest adult entertainment spot. Brazen and formidable in designer T-shirts and motorcycle boots, he seems unflappable whether he’s making his rounds through the decadent decor of the Tunnel, or whipping through the desert heat on his bike. But inside he is a shattered man, desperate to understand what unconditional love from a woman feels like.

Hiding the effects of his emotionally stunted youth behind a gritty persona, and keeping his fractured soul buried deep while seeking out his baser instincts, Asher is convinced he is man enough to leave the past in the past. The only clue to his broken soul is his deep-seated need to provide safety and a good life for emotionally damaged women within the glamorous walls of his strip club.

Fooling himself that he deserves little in life, Asher keeps his big heart tightly guarded with everyone but Sienna Flower, his friend, business partner, and headliner. Until, that is, the night he runs into his childhood friend, Natalie Parker. While trolling a rival strip club, perusing their offerings for his own personal pleasure, he collides with his past. Coming face-to-face with a woman he only knew as a girl, he’s shaken when he finds the dark-haired beauty in a precarious position. Now all grown up, she’s a hardened soul who reminds him of where he came from, and stirs within him the need to protect yet another woman.

Known as Nat to most everyone, Natalie is a single mom to Quinn. But when she’s under the bright spotlights in a thong, she’s known as Natasha or Nataleigh Dallas. A girl who once had everything going for her, she’s now a jaded stripper with only room for her son in her life, and has erected impenetrable barriers around her heart. The strength of those walls is challenged the night a man she has known since childhood steamrolls his way back into her life, flashing those smoky-gray eyes that have always melted her.

A man she has loved from afar since she was a young girl, one who lights fire to her walls, burning deeper, setting everything ablaze––smoldering her.

Asher and Natalie, two people who are equally tormented by their own demons, set out to rescue each other as part-time lovers in a torrid, desperate workplace affair. Thinking they can remain friends while keeping their hearts at a safe distance, they find themselves at odds when their situation morphs into a messy, tangled mess.

Ripping free of each other proves impossible as they learn that the very web that connects them goes much deeper than they ever expected.

TeriLyn's thoughts: **Smoldered generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.**

You know those books that you’re excited to read because you met the main character in a previous book and something about that person tied you up in knots making you believe he or she would be an awesome main with a riveting story to tell? Smoldered is that book and Asher Peterson is that man.

I read book one of the Electric Tunnel series and really enjoyed it. Asher caught my eye from first time he was introduced in book one thanks to his bad boy exterior and soft affection for Sienna. With a strong feeling his story would hold the ability to knock my socks off; I went to into Smoldered with socks on. Rachel Blaufeld – I commend and thank you for indeed knocking them off and opening my heart to Asher Peterson.

To fully enjoy Smoldered I would most definitely read Electrified first even though it features two different main characters, the back story is important as questions are answered. Unlike its predecessor, though, this story wasn’t as light and optimistic; no, this story is much darker and better because of it.

Smoldered is an edgy, hard traveled journey with not only an anti-hero but an anti-heroine as well. Two people hailing from the underbelly of Vegas nightlife, two people who saw big things for themselves outside of Vegas but who instead made something of themselves in the place they thought they could escape. Smoldered is the story of beautiful wings flying from decaying, misguided roots.

Asher and Natalie literally embody the exact opposite of traditional romance yet their story, riddled with mistakes and tragic character flaws, encompasses the deepest seeds of the best kind of romance. These heart-wrenching mistakes and half-truths plaguing both characters build an unbreakable connection between them and the reader. Things left unsaid emotes feeling neither know how to handle creating a malevolent storm of angst and conflict within themselves, outwardly to each other and the motley crew of family at the Electric Tunnel they all call home, and for the reader. There were times I wanted to throw my Kindle, to choke Asher or slap Natalie, but those feelings, those emotions perfectly represent the astounding writing and story building structure of this gifted author. These characters are who they are, no apologies and the reader feels every part of that.

There’s so much I want to say about Asher and Natalie, so much to rave about regarding the structure of the plot, the roller coaster ride of twists and turns lurking in the pages. So much about the knowledge we get from the dual points of view plus an added bonus of an additional character point of view. Mix these elements with the development of the sordid relationship between Asher and Natalie balanced with the relationships between them and the secondary characters making us remember the glory in families we create with people we love because of forgiveness and acceptance. I can’t go into immense detail; I’d spoil a phenomenal love story. Just know, it’s tough to read the hardships of these two but author takes you there with great delicacy in the hardships. Smoldered proves to be raw and hard, self-deprecating and dirty. But as in all great romances, sometimes out of our greatest weaknesses come our greatest strengths. Dark becomes light and lies become beautiful, gripping truths.

This incredible journey provides a true testament to the gift Rachel Blaufeld owns in telling an extraordinary story of two characters entangled in their present, tormented by their past, snaring them for their future. Rachel Blaufeld has a voice I’m excited about hearing more from with stories that aren’t all hearts flowers but instead real nuanced with darkness and depth. Smoldered gives the reader a hard journey worth taking, one you’re on the edge of your seat craving what’s next in this web of half-truths all the while hope simmering beneath words of despair. And as an end note, Blaufeld provides the most satisfying and joyful epilogue that suits both characters perfectly.

Let Rachel Blaufeld introduce you to the gripping world of The Electric Tunnel. Asher and Natalie will hold you captive.







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Lori L. Clark

She Reads New Adult Admin: Lori L. Clark

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