Need (Finding Anna #2) by Sherri Hayes (Goodreads Author)
Summary via Goodreads: As Brianna comes to terms with the realization that she is no longer a slave, she must figure out what she wants for her life. Forgetting her past isn’t an option. It is an integral part of who she is now, and it will forever shape her view of life. The one thing she knows is that she cannot imagine her life without the man who saved her, but can she be what he needs?Stephan never imagined falling in love with the woman he rescued, but the thought of her no longer being part of his life is physically painful. The scars from her past continue to haunt her, and he is helpless to stop them. All he can do is try to help her work through the traumas of her past. Can he be everything she needs and help her move on?
The two must figure out how to navigate not only their relationship with each other, but also the outside world. A friend from Brianna’s past shows up where she least expects them, and Uncle Richard continues to enforce his well-meaning agenda to get Brianna more traditional help. As forces, both friend and foe, threaten to tear them apart, Stephan and Brianna have to navigate the turbulent waters and find what they need in each other.
My Thoughts: If you've read my freakout review of book one, you know that Slave made me an emotional, confused, crazy wreck. Need didn't have quite the same effect on me, because I'm a little more familiar with this genre now. However, that's not to say that Need didn't deliver, because Need delivered in a huge --yet-- different way.
The highlight of this book was two things: 1) seeing Stephen and Brianna push slowly towards growing their relationship, 2) and seeing Brianna adjust and embrace her freedom.
Stephen is one of the most patient and gentle characters that I've ever read, especially when dealing with Brianna and her fears. And though Brianna has improved a lot, she is still deeply broken and scared. He works hard to help her readjust to society, pushing her some, but also knowing her limits. More than that, seeing him introduce her to a 'real' loving relationships was moving. Like make my heartmelt in a puddle sweet. He makes her talk through her fears and builds her trust. This book steps up the sexual moments from the first, but it wasn't anything over the top. Instead, Stephen goes at the perfect pace with Brianna and it just made me love him all the more.
Brianna still has a ways to go, but she does grow a lot throughout Need. She becomes more comfortable with herself and with Stephen. It warmed my heart when she would go to him, or approach him with questions/concerns -- she was pushing past her fears into trust. We get more references to Brianna's past, which aren't overly detailed -- thank God, I don't think I could handle that -- but still show some harsh abuse. It makes my heart hurt to read about the details. And I feel very protective over her as a character. Which of course, makes her triumphs and growths all the better.
The only thing that didn't set right with me was one punishment scene. It wasn't necessarily harsh, but it mad me extremely angry with Stephen's character. Minor Spoiler ---> The texting him every hour didn't really bother me. However, the making her sleep on the floor just didn't seem beneficial. It felt overbearing, and like she was "below" him. It just didnt set well me.<---End Spoiler But Brianna becoming more comfortable with Stephen and with being around him as a result made me quickly move past my irritation with Stephen.
Need is a quick, emotional read. Like the first book, it does end on a cliffy, but I felt overall happy with the general outcome of this book. It stirs up some deep emotions and represents the genre with great characters, twist, and a lovely plot build. Besides Stephen is one of he sweetest doms (but still has his alpha moments) that I've ever read, you don't wanna miss out on that :)
*This copy was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.