C.J. and Erin have a complicated relationship. They do three things very well together. Argue, have sex, and keep secrets from each other. However, when C.J.'s past comes to tear him away, it not only threatens to destroy the new life he has built, but the relationship with the only woman who has ever been his match. Will the heavy weight they are both carrying be lifted? Or will everything they've experienced mean nothing, leaving them both Callous?
(Possible spoilers and 18+ ONLY)
Being a huge fan of Neal's "Senses series", I was more than a little intimidated by approaching C.J. and Erin's story. While a spin-off will immediately draw the attention of previous readers, there is always the chance of biased emotions interfering with the new story.
Obviously, I had a bad case of amnesia and forgot who wrote the book! Expect all of the characters we love to love and love to laugh over to be present enough to Fan-girl over, but not so much that it dominates the attention away from Erin and C.J.'s love to hate you and love you to love me relationship.
I was more than a little intrigued from the very start of the book. Each turn of the page did not satiate my growing obsession. As the story continued I knew it would be no more quenched than it was with Maxx and Logan's story. That would be never. There will never, ever be enough of these characters in my life. They're not only loveable and realistic. Their dialogue and life stories embed themselves into your heart. They are home.
First, the anticipation surrounding C.J.'s unfortunate circumstances held me teetering in fierce denial. Once someone has joined the family, I'd rather see them held captive than walking away. C.J's confessions to Erin kept me swooning long after the book ended. It left an ache for everything a woman needs, not wants, needs in a man. Swooning doesn't justify this level of perfection.
Though I may have, sort of, wanted to pound Erin's obstinance from her, where would the tension be? A character straying from her key character "traits" wouldn't fair well or be of much use for the story-line. As a reader, I'm allowed to wanna slap and hug her at the same time. I wouldn't change her quick-witted quips or snarky attitude at all. She's hysterical, confident, determined, and underneath it all she has a heart of Gold. Erin's vulnerabilities introduced me to a new side of her to adore.
Moving on, we have the sexual attraction between the two and that alone was enough to drive me insane. Discovering the sentimental side of CJ, via his point of view, melted my heart. Understanding the complex, internal impact surrounding Erin's life was heart breaking. The execution of unknown revelations pertaining to the death of her parents added a broader element of intrigue to the picture. I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of issues in the plot and the execution is written flawlessly.
The sexual content of Callous is delicious and utterly intoxicating. The scenes are steamy and explicit, but Neal also threw in such an intense level of passion it reinvigorate's desires that make her former novels appear amateur. I am nuts over Max and Logan, but Neal showed so much progress as a writer that I was left riding a blissful high.
Callous is beyond extraordinary and the emotional effects have left me speechless. It's perfect. I could search a thesaurus looking for synonyms to amp up the review, but perfect says it all. The story can speak for itself justifiably.