I was delightfully absorbed and assaulted by admiration into Lee Winter’s novel as it contains two of my favorite subject in a lesbian romance: age gap and ice queen and the plot devoured my attention from anything else, basically rocked my world, as I helplessly fell for Elena Bartell.
As much as a cliché it may sound, it took a day & night to read it, as I couldn’t put it down.
Even after finishing the book, I am charmed and desperately in love with Elena Bartell, especially after getting to know her better, as the chapters roll on. I am not in love with the tiger shark of course, but I am in love with the fashionista, when she does what she really loves, when she opens up and lets her guard a bit down and when she is so unexpectedly hilarious.
“The Brutal Truth” by Lee Winters is an age-gap ice queen lesbian romance, involving Elena Bartell and Madeleine Grey (Maddie).
I believe the hardest part in writing an ice queen lesbian romance is not to ruin her, but to evoke her hardest choices and her most vulnerable spots.
The ice queen can be all cold and ruthless, but her vulnerability and softness need to be shown in each and every delightful aspect and thorough detail of her complex personality, because the author doesn’t want her to become the victim, but to tell the brutal truth of her heart.
Obviously, it is a great difference between the facades of the two characters, as the ice queen paradoxical tells the truth, but hides her soul behind the tiger shark mask, as for the newcomer/newbie she is daring and truthful, but hiding her sadness and loneliness of her soul, which turns to be the point where their souls met.
And, their relationship doesn’t need to go smooth, therefore boring, but abrupt, with many up’s and down’s, to be accepted as real, as it is made of a clash of personalities.
Madeleine Grey (Maddie) moved from Sydney, Australia to New York in the US, as she was following the dream and wants to become a journalist, despite her family’s efforts to be involved in the catering family business.
At 25, she works as a junior crime reporter during the midnight shift of the Hudson Metro paper and her fashion style basically lacks, she wears jeans and grudge bands t-shirts and boots that drive Elena mad. What comes forward is her kind heart, her honesty, her sunshine smile and her red hair and beautiful keen green eyes. She wants to prove her talent in New York, but she is homesick and can’t really find her place here, nor understands the undeniable attraction she feels for the exquisite, yet complex Elena Bartell, who just took over the Hudson Metro and gave the employees six weeks to prove themselves worthy continuing working with her.
Who’s Elena Bartell for real? How cold and heartless is she really? What had the fashion publications industry created? Is it just the tiger shark, or is there more behind the beautiful sparkling blue eyes, the jet dark cropped hair and the amazing body?
Elena Bartell is a powerful, twice-married, media mogul boss, who eats failing newspapers for breakfast. That’s it?
What attracts her, what makes her happy, what is her weakness or who? Can she be surprised even after her rich life experience?
Elena Bartell tells the brutal truth about business, fashion and the others. But, she is lonely and sometimes sad and she forgot to smile and joke and forgot what a real friend or more is. When she discovers that in Maddie, she feels strange, like almost not herself and she is afraid her walls so carefully constructed may fall apart and shuts in.
Maddie knows she is secretly in love with Elena since New York. She dares not to hope as Elena is a married, straight woman and everytime they are close to being friends, she fades away. Maddie is sweet, kind, tender and shows she cares in different ways, through various tokens of affection and one piece of a hard brutal truth, yet the result is the same. Zero. Minus one after the hard brutal truth served to Elena.
But, after the storyline moves to Sydney, Australia, Maddie’s evolution starts and then there is the turning point of the development of the plot in the “Truth Bet” that started as a joke between her and Elena, but when Maddie does her best to win it, she hits the jackpot: obtains the solution to Elena’s deepest wish.
Maddie impresses Elena in more than just one way. Her rocket evolution comes without warning for the incredulous media mogul. Yet, with each petal the rose bares, it yanks the brutal truth from Elena.
Maddie is the only one who really sees the compassionate and the funny side of Elena Bartell and treats her like a real human being.
How will they connect in the end? How will twice divorced and straight Elena Bartell handle her emotions that involve Maddie, a young woman who is 15 years her junior? Will Elena’s mysteries come to light? Who will win the “Truth Bet”?
How will Maddie handle Elena firing her? Will she choose the truth or the hurt?
How will Maddie prove Elena she is a real news journalist? What is Elena’s deepest wish?
Who’s the surprising character who helps Maddie’s evolution?
The writing style was amazing, the story didn’t just flow to a turning point of the plot or a climax, but there were many up’s and down’s that spiced up the characters’ lives that made it the perfect read.
There are so many unspoken truths that compose Elena Bartell’s brutal truth, which will make her even more fascinating (I am still madly in love with her).
An exquisite read.
Excerpts from the book:
“Your breasts are so distracting,” Elena said. “Beautiful. But now I wish to stay focused. Where were we?”
They watched in the mirror, as Elena slid her hands to Maddie’s waist while she nipped and kissed Maddie’s shoulder. Her fingers slid into the top of Maddie’s black panties and eased them down, baring Maddie’s patch of dark curls. A telltale glistening on them caused Elena to smile.
“Oh yes,” she breathed as Maddie reddened. “Very good. And what would I see in your eyes when I touched you, Madeleine? What would my fingers feel as they pushed inside you?”
Maddie groaned, as Elena’s hand slid down her stomach to brush across her wet curls. She trembled. “Please,” she whispered.
“Are you remembering how it felt that night when I couldn’t have you, but oh how I wanted you? Did you want me too? Did you want me to push past your lace thong and touch you then, just as I am now? I would have slipped my fingers inside you. Watching you as I did it. Did you want that?”
“Yes,” Maddie said. Her back arched into Elena’s. “God yes, I did. I do.”
Elena’s fingers pressed down, against her swollen clit, causing it to pulse. “I knew that,” she said against her ear. “That night, I felt your arousal as well as my own. Your face doesn’t hide your secrets. I wanted you very much.”
BlogSpot: Aliens of New York
By Maddie as Hell
Someone once said: “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” Surely this is the hardest advice ever offered.
We all wear masks. We’re all practiced liars, neatly curating ourselves for the benefit of others. It’s only natural, isn’t it? We don’t want strangers to know we’re secretly nervous or shy or intimidated or cowardly. That we’re not brave enough or smart enough or well-off enough or that we’re barely coping. So we fake the ease and perfection of our lives. I’m the first one to admit I’ve posted a grinning selfie of me at Times Square with #lifegoals in the caption. I’m a fraud. But writing #drowningslowly or #lostandembarrassed doesn’t have the catchiest ring.
You never truly know what’s under anyone’s mask until you take one corner and start to peel. It awes me that anyone would allow another human to do this to them. To willingly say, hey, this is me. Do you still like me?