Review: Madame X (#1, Madame X) by Jasinda Wilder

Edgy and provocative, suspenseful with irresistible tension.
It’s a twisted, modern-day fairytale with secrets so deep,
you won’t want to stop reading.
5stars

Synopsis

My name is Madame X.
I’m the best at what I do…

Hired to transform the uncultured, inept sons of the wealthy and powerful into decisive, confident men, Madame X wields culture and wit like a knife. But behind her sophisticated facade X is a woman adrift, trapped between a dangerous past she can’t remember and the protection of a seductive man who claims her body—and her soul.

Undone time and again by his exquisite dominance, X craves and fears his desire in equal measure. And while she longs for the safety of her tower penthouse, she also yearns to escape. But X has never known anything or anyone else—until he came along…

My Review

“You’re mine, and only mine.”

Jasinda Wilder spins her most provocative, most suspenseful tale yet with Madame X. A modern-day mystery, with notes of inspiration from Rapunzel and Cinderella, the story draws you in from the very beginning. The combination of Jasinda’s sharp, sensually atmospheric writing and a multi-layered story steeped in secrets, makes this a compelling page turner.

The tale begins with Madame X. A beautiful woman who sees the world rushing by from the window of her penthouse, locked away by a man who strips her freedom yet keeps her safe. In her luxurious fortress, however, she is in control as she tames scions of wealthy businessmen, teaching them the nuances of power.

But while she wields the power in her penthouse, her own buckles under the dominance of Caleb Indigo. Her employer. Her savior. Her lover. Her captor.

“I belong to one man and one man alone, and he does not share.”

Madame X barely survived her past—one she cannot recall. Caleb pulled her from the throes of death and made her his, body, life and soul. Over the course of six years, however, as clients shuffle in and out her unmarked door, questions compound and her life begins to lose its clarity, especially when she meets Logan Ryan on a rare assignment outside her apartment.

“There is something there, some spark of need. You incite doubt in me. Make me wonder at my own life, at my ordered existence.”

Logan too is a man of mystery. Light, where Caleb is dark, Logan oozes seduction, but in a way altogether different than what she’s known. As temptation beckons and an unmistakable pull tautens, the stakes intensify. Caleb is always watching, consequences are unavoidable.

And as her carefully controlled life wildly unravels, secrets are revealed that could change everything. But would they? Could they? Could Madame X leave the safety of all she’s ever known? Could she leave the arms, however tight and controlling, of the man who saved her life? Or could she embrace the unfamiliar and redefine who she is and perhaps even uncover who she was?

Rife with tightly wound secrets and sensuality, Madame X’s story shifts and twists continuously as the story progresses (expertly written in second person). We realize how she longs for a place, a person to belong to, but by her own choice. By the story’s end, it’s exactly that—choice—that redefines her tale and changes the outlook of her life. Readers will be clamoring for more, as was I, by the flip of the final page.

“I am Madame X, and I am yours.”

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Excerpt

(Please make sure to read Part 1 here)

Logan produces a key—Len’s, I assume—from his pocket. Inserts and twists it to activate the elevator, which takes a moment to arrive, and then the doors open.

Logan nudges me on. “That won’t hold him for long. We gotta move, if we want to pull this off.”

He brings us to my floor, his arm around my waist, holding me up, helping me walk, swiftly, but carefully.

At my door, he reaches behind himself, withdraws the gun, a black piece of metal that looks small in his hand, held naturally, as if an extension of his arm. He throws my door open, an arm around me, his body in front of mine. The barrel sweeps the opening, quickly and professionally. He sits me on the couch, waves at me in a gesture to stay, and then disappears into my bedroom.

Moments later he’s back, a stack of clothing in his hands, shoved at me. “You have literally no practical clothes, X. You don’t even have practical underwear.”

He’s chosen a set of black Agent Provocateur lingerie, shelf bra, boy short panties. A pale blue sundress, sleeveless knee-length, red flowers printed around the hem. Strappy silver sandals, the smallest heel in my closet.

I shrug, take the clothes. “I don’t purchase my clothing.”

Logan’s eyes narrow, but he doesn’t remark on that comment. “Get dressed,” he says, brusque but with a note of kindness. “We don’t have a lot of time.” He turns away, shoves his hands in his back pockets, the gun barrel stuffed diagonally in his waistband at his back.

I dress quickly. It’s strange how having clothes on can change one’s mind-set.

Logan turns, peeks at me to make sure I’m decent, and then turns around completely. He takes my arms in his hands, eyes sincere, warm. “All right, X. I’m only going ask you this one time, and you need to think hard about your answer.” His hand goes to my cheek, brushes a lock of damp hair off my cheekbone. “I can take you away from here, if that’s what you want. But I’m not going to carry you out of here over my shoulder like some barbarian. You can come with me, or not. It’s your choice.”

I swallow hard.

This is all I know. Caleb, Len, this condo. I glance to the left: my library, the door open, all my books waiting. My window, my view.

But upstairs, that scene. Bent over, a hard hand on my throat. The sorcery of Caleb’s touch, as if my will is somehow subject to such easy manipulation. So easily left alone, no explanation, just an expectation that I’d be there, waiting, ready to do as Caleb instructs.

I don’t know what I want.

I don’t know Logan. The unknown is scary, and when you have no past, no identity, when you’ve but rarely ventured out of the small realm of the familiar, everything is unknown and scary.

But Logan is giving me a choice.

That, in itself, is enough to sway me.

The unknown is terrifying.

An eternity of the same few things I do know . . . that’s scarier yet.

“Take me with you, Logan.” I strive to sound confident, when I am anything but.

A very small smile cross his lips. “I hoped you’d say that.” His palm lifts, cups my cheek.

That touch, so gentle, so kind, hinting at strength held at bay; I nuzzle my cheek into his palm, and my eyes flutter, close. A moment, only, but it quiets the turmoil in my soul, if only for one fleeting moment.

As my eyes are closed, I feel his breath, his lips touching mine. Sweetly, softly,

He kisses me,

and kisses me,

and kisses me.

All in a moment.

I gasp as his lips leave mine, and then his hand tangles in mine, fingers twined, and he tugs me into motion. “Come on, honey. Time to go.”

And he takes me away from everything I know.

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