Bared to You
by Sylvia Day
(Berkley, $15, NC-17)  ISBN:  978-0-425-26390-7
I have a feeling that there aren't words for how much better than the Fifty Shades trilogy is Sylvia Day's Bared to You, the first in her Crossfire trilogy, but I'm going to make an attempt. Crossfire is certainly just what is called for as a recommendation for those of you going through Christian Grey withdrawals. It is also, for any who share my extremely poor opinion of E. L. James' contribution to the literary world, a much more readable book. Let me count the ways:

1. Ana Steele is a ninny. Eva Tramell is smart, forward, and continues to cope with a real-life trauma that has not made a victim out of her, but a survivor. Also, she is in no way a virgin sacrifice to the gods of sex, which is how one often felt about Ana.

2. Editing, editing, editing.

3. Gideon Cross, our tortured hero, is my kind of alpha male: aggressive but not domineering. Well, at least he recognizes being put in his place, even if he has trouble staying there.

4. Cary Taylor. Holy crap, Eva's bisexual roommate is a laugh and half, the best guy to have at your back whether it be girl troubles, fashion questions, or physical altercations, and he's even more messed up than Eva and Gideon.

5. Dialogue. Day's dialogue feels like a conversation, not like reading script in a poorly-written play.

6. For those of you who enjoy a sex scene or twenty: sex scenes. I didn't count 'em, but I would have run out of digits doing it.

7. Lack of page after page of stupid e-mails.

Now, it cannot be said that there aren't just as many similarities between Bared to You and Fifty Shades. The romance itself is all but identical: girl meets uber-rich powerful man at an office and finds him irresistible. He singles her out, intent upon a sexual relationship. Roller coaster ride ensues, ending in true love if not necessarily a happily-ever-after. But, with the added benefits of a decent writing style, a sense of humor, and the ability to transition, Bared to You eclipses Fifty Shades of Grey, and I have no doubt that the remaining two books in this trilogy will follow the trend.

--Sarrah Knight

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