After originally giving four stars to Bared to You, I decided to change it to five stars after much thought. Why? I had to put aside the negative thoughts & feelings I associated with what I considered the crudeness & vulgarity of the book & instead focus on my emotional connection to the characters & their story. I'm not a fan of crude or vulgar use of language (go ahead, call me a prude if you must, but be assured I do love my smut anyway!) & I was not yet in love with Gideon but more along the lines of "in like" with this powerful, demanding, & controlling man.
That being said, if I could I would give 10 stars to Reflected in You. I'm now no doubt about it fully & whole-heartedly in love with Gideon aka "Dark & Dangerous." Yes, the relationship between Gideon & Eva is full of gut-wrenching emotion, a rawness that fills you to your bones, & enough emotional upheaval & co-dependency that makes you ask, is this really worth it? Well, yes, it was more than worth it because Sylvia Day's writing had the ability to have me experience their train wreck of a romance as if it were happening to me. And that is what distinguishes a phenomenal writer from an okay writer in my book. The writing in this story was superb ("...how the passion of his tortured soul cut into me like the sharpest blade." "The beach was beautiful in a moody, untamed way that reminded me a lot of the man whose hand I held."), the dialogue nearly poetic ("I'm obsessed with you, angel. Addicted to you. You're everything I've ever wanted or needed, everything I've ever dreamed of. You're everything. I live & breathe you. For you."), & the storyline just as addicting as Gideon & Eva's overwhelming desire & need for each other ("I loved him insanely, needed him like I needed to breathe..."). There were moments when my heart physically hurt for Eva, yet I was so very proud of the strength that she didn't even know she had ("I had to keep moving forward, even if I was heading in a direction I couldn't bear to go."). There were moments when I had to keep reminding myself to trust Gideon, just trust that he was doing the right thing ("I just...It has to be this way."). And mind you, it wasn't easy! I had as many doubts as Eva did at times but I kept telling myself that he wouldn't dare derail me or Eva. And Eva's relationship with her father was so very tender & sweet, I was actually jealous!
The storyline picks up the following day after Bared to You ends so we miss out on nothing. There is no time lapse. Gideon is still as crude & demanding as ever ("Okay. Fine. Have it your way." "You're learning, angel," he said with a smile.") but his desire & raw need for Eva ("I'd kill for you, give up everything I own for you...but I won't give you up.") as well as his possessive drive to keep her safe contributes to his irresistible hotness factor. The plot is chock-full of hot & intense, steamy romance, maddening separations, controlling possessiveness, jealous rages, & secrets galore ("Our relationship was swiftly becoming a minefield of words left unsaid & secrets not shared.") with bouts of humor interspersed to lighten up the tension for a brief moment in time ("Watching you drive makes me want you," I told him, noting how his easy grip on the wheel tightened. "Christ." He glanced at me. "You have a transportation fetish.").
Gideon & Eva are both severely damaged, each dealing with a history of sexual abuse that they try so hard to overcome in order to make their relationship work. It's no easy task & trust is a critical issue for them both. You will be put through the wringer many times over while rooting for them as you journey along on their treacherous path. The ending was super satisfying although I am longing for more Gideon & Eva as I eagerly await the release of the third book in this trilogy. Is it December yet?