*** UPDATE TO REVIEW ***
What a great revision and expansion to the original story, “[b:Liaison|16070393|Liaison|Natasha Knight|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1349540344s/16070393.jpg|21863700]”. Really enjoyed (re-)reading this to see how the author changed the storyline without affecting its basic premise or lessening the emotional impact. New rating = unqualified ★★★★. Of course, still highly recommend this novelette.
Alas, Gabrielle and Julian don’t get their stay extended at the Tuscan B&B. But certain aspects of the storyline are revised slightly and fleshed out more, with hotter BDSM scenes. And unlike with the original version, I was better able to accept the “punishment to wash away the guilt” plot device.
I hope that Ms. Knight considers a possible Act II of Gabrielle and Julian in future.* My thanks to the author for kindly offering a copy of the revised edition. And for taking note of my little reading quirk in the original review.
^ᴗ^*** ORIGINAL REVIEW ***
MEMORABLE QUOTE: "...guilt left unpunished is like an open wound. It will fester and infect everything else around it. ..."
(★★★½) LIAISON was a great introduction to Natasha Knight, a NTM author, and completely exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a quick and well-written BDSM/erotica read.
LIAISON had an unexpected level of emotional depth and character development for its short length, enough to understand why Gabrielle and Julian act the way they do when they meet at a Tuscan B&B. Both have regrets over how their respective marriages ended but unlike Julian, Gabrielle hasn't let go of her guilt. Having experienced something similar, Julian quickly recognizes her burden, as well as the fact that she's a natural submissive. Somewhat self-serving but he proposes a possible therapy for Gabrielle—yep, you guessed it, a very hands-on speed course in D/s 101.
Time is limited (as are the pages) because both are at the B&B only for the weekend, so they transition very rapidly from strangers to lovers. The sex/BDSM scenes were erotic as hell and realistically written.
Personally, I had some tiny issues. For example, I couldn't fully buy into the "punishment can relieve your guilt" but it worked as a plot device and got Gabrielle and Julian to where they needed to be—in the bedroom. Also, there was no mention of why Julian (from Denver) was at a B&B in Tuscany for only a weekend. (Gabrielle's reason was explained toward the end.) My biggest complaint, however, is that LIAISON was just too damn short! Gabrielle and Julian should've been staying at the B&B for at least a week. ^_^
I really enjoyed LIAISON and given that it ended with somewhat of a loose HFN, I hope that Ms. Knight quickly releases Act II of Gabrielle and Julian.