I admit, I stretched my comfort zone to read Counsellor. I love dark and suspenseful reads, but I knew before I started that this one was going to be very different. It’s beyond dark at times, and from the beginning elicits conflicting emotions that will make you love it, or hate it. I loved it – even though it’s hard to admit that because I’m not sure what it says about my state of mind — I’m really pushing my own buttons these days.
This is a raw, gritty story that pulls no punches. The main characters are strong – stunningly intense – and all are very well-developed. Their personalities leave far more questions than answers; answers you crave, but won’t necessarily find in this first installment of the Acquisition series.
The anti-hero, Sinclair, is exactly that – he’s primal, dark, dangerous, cunningly devious, arrogant – a real bastard, let me assure you. You want to hate him, and some of you might. I wouldn’t necessarily blame you, because it’s hard to find anything to care about. But I couldn’t hate him, because there are forces, also in play, that have a choke-hold over him; apparently it’s a hold so strong that he cannot risk turning away without forsaking his family and tarnishing their powerful legacy among members of a secret society in the wealthy suburbs of New Orleans. As you read further, you can see and feel the intensity of his inner conflict, as well as his steely resolve to do what must be done. But wow — he needs a powerful redemption, and at this point – because this is a trilogy that must be read in order – I can only hope he proves himself worthy of it before his story ends.
The heroine, Stella is an unwitting pawn in a dark and dangerous game. To save her father’s life, she enters into a contract to spend a year, no questions asked, as the virtual slave of Sinclair. What she doesn’t realize is how depraved those who hold the strings to the ultimate prize – the winning ‘Acquisition’ – truly are. Even as she realizes it, she will not allow herself to give up, or give in. She might be unwitting, but she is anything but weak – she is as resilient, determined, and feisty as a heroine can get, and her strength is probably the only quality that can save her. It mystifies her captor – it elicits feelings in him he can’t allow himself to acknowledge. Any show of weakness exposes him – and his entire family – to a darker, more depraved underground society that would love to see them fall. Stella senses this, and despite everything she’s going through, she feels a deep connection to him – slowly, over time – that earns her grudging loyalty. Her punisher is also her protector – a conflict that plays out in every major scene, and ratchets up the suspense to extremes.
Counsellor is a stunning, riveting story that is completely addictive in a dark way. There were times when I needed to put it down, because my emotions were on edge to the point that even breathing was painful. But I was compelled to continue, even as I feared what might happen when I turned the page. It is a very powerful read, with strong, well developed characters that keep you hooked from beginning to end – whether you want to or not. It is not for the feint of heart. But, for serious readers who are willing to give themselves over to a story that will stay with you for a very long time, it’s well worth the read and highly recommended, with a word of caution.
I’m reading the sequel now … and it’s every bit as powerful, as heart-pounding as the first. The action is even more intense as the stakes go up in the Acquisition trials. I have to admit that I will be SO relieved to get to the end of this trilogy – I am thoroughly loving this deep, dark journey and will certainly rush to read more from Celia Aaron.
More About Counsellor
Series: Acquisition #1
Publication date: September 28th 2015
Genres: Erotica, Romance
BDSM themes and strongly erotic content for readers 18+ only
In the heart of Louisiana, the most powerful people in the South live behind elegant gates, mossy trees, and pleasant masks. Once every ten years, the pretense falls away and a tournament is held to determine who will rule them. The Acquisition is a crucible for the Southern nobility, a love letter written to a time when barbarism was enshrined as law.
Now, Sinclair Vinemont is in the running to claim the prize. There is only one way to win, and he has the key to do it — Stella Rousseau, his Acquisition. To save her father, Stella has agreed to become Sinclair’s slave for one year. Though she is at the mercy of the cold, treacherous Vinemont, Stella will not go willingly into darkness.
As Sinclair and Stella battle against each other and the clock, only one thing is certain: The Acquisition always ends in blood.
About Celia Aaron
Hi, I’m Celia. Nice to meet you. Can you keep a secret?
I write smut. Gritty, dirty, delicious smut. This is a secret we can share. I’ll do the writing. You do the reading. We have to keep our relationship quiet because I have a highly respectable day job. At night, I become markedly less respectable, as you will see.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy my stories. And remember, it’s our secret.
Sign up for my newsletter at aaronerotica.com to get information on new releases. (I would never spam you or sell your info, just send you book news and goodies sometimes). 😉
You can find me here:
PR: What inspired you to set Counsellor in the bayou country of Louisiana? Does this setting have any special significance to you? If not, what made it the perfect setting for this darkly erotic story?
CA: I’ve driven through the area and have had a grand old time in New Orleans. Otherwise, I just think that it holds a lot of mystery and is a great spot to set suspense in a Southern vein. In the South, we have so many quirks, that the whole storyline isn’t as implausible to me as it is some. We just do weird shit sometimes down here.
PR: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever read or received? How has it helped you?
CA: Kill your darlings — Stephen King. Sometimes, I get too big for my britches and write a line that I think hung the moon. My editor reads it and says “I don’t think this fits.” I want to argue and try to show him my brilliance, but on re-read, I realize he’s completely right. Thankfully, I’ve gotten to the point in my writing career where I’ve realized cutting things usually makes my writing better, even if I’m killing one of my most darling lines.
PR: Is there something personal about yourself that people might be surprised to know?
CA: I chose my last name — Aaron — from the Key and Peele Skit “Substitute Teacher” and pronounce it A-Aron because of it.
PR: What’s your worst writing habit – or biggest fear?
CA: My worst writing habit is not outlining. I really want to have my story all prettily outlined so I have a roadmap of where I’m going plot-wise, but I don’t. I just write.
PR: Just for fun – do you have a “dream cast” for the Acquisition series? Any particular muse(s) that inspired your description of the character(s) in Book #1, Counsellor?
Sinclair Vinemont — Henry Cavill (because SWOON)
Stella — Jessica Chastain (she’s so gorgeous)
Lucius — Alex Pettyfer
PR: Wow – I can’t argue with those choices. Having read the story — it’s perfect. But I digress…
PR: What’s one item on your bucket list, and why is it there?
CA: I’ve never been to New York. I want to go there and act like I’m a New Yorker. Pretend that tourists are annoying even though I’m a tourist. I don’t know why; I’m just perverse like that.
Thanks so much to Celia Aaron for taking the time to answer a few questions — please follow her on social media and check back for updates on the sequel, Magnate – and the finale, Sovereign – to complete the Acquisition Trilogy.
More from the Acquisition Series
Publication date: January 19th 2016
Genres: Erotica, Romance
Lucius Vinemont has spirited me away to a world of sugar cane and sun. There is nothing he cannot give me on his lavish Cuban plantation. Each gift seduces me, each touch seals my fate. There is no more talk of depraved competitions or his older brother – the one who’d stolen me, claimed me, and made me feel things I never should have. Even as Lucius works to make me forget Sinclair, my thoughts stray back to him, to the dark blue eyes that haunt my sweetest dreams and bitterest nightmares. Just like every dream, this one must end. Christmas will soon be here, and with it, the second trial of the Acquisition.
“Off.” He growled and gripped one side, yanking the shirt apart, buttons bouncing off the hardwood floors as he pulled the shirt roughly down my arms and tossed it.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” His body was hot, alive, and hard at my back. I couldn’t stay here. Not with him. Not in this bed like we were lovers, like we were two people who could seek solace from each other. We weren’t. We never could be those people. “Stop!”
He caged me, my struggles nothing to him even in his weakened state. “You aren’t leaving this bed. Get used to it. Don’t fucking try anything.”
I stopped fighting. There was no point. I would just have to wait until he fell asleep.
“You’re mine, Stella.” He tightened his grip with each word. “I don’t care where you run, who you choose, what you say, or what you fucking do. You, all of you, belongs to me.”
“I’m not a thing you can own,” I hissed.
He laughed, the sound low and full of heat. “You can hop countries like a skipping stone for all I care. I’ll find you, and you’ll wind up right where you are now.”