Updated: Jan 22
by Tiffany Reisz
Published by Mira
Book #1 in The Original Sinners Series
Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last.
But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she's sure it'll be her breakout book... if it ever sees the light of day.
Zachary Easton holds Nora's fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards—in six weeks—or it's no deal.
Nora's grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining... and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous—staying away from him... or returning to his bed?
Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Erotica Exciting
The Siren by Tiffany Reisz is the first book in the Original Sinners: The Red Years Series, and is centered on two characters that are both struggling after leaving the people they love more than anyone, Nora Sutherlin, a popular erotica author and famous Dominatrix, and Zachary Easton, an editor at a well-respected publisher called Royal.
Let me start off my saying, this is not a romance. It's not even strictly erotica. While there is a lot of sex, with different people, it's not overly filthy, or even that descriptive, compared to other books I have read. There is love there. Many different kinds of love. But there is no romance whatsoever. Tiffany Reisz does an amazing job interweaving all these different relationships, all with different levels of love and respect, into a very compelling book, that despite it's genre, doesn't focus on the sex, but on the many complicated emotions these characters experience on each other, sex, and BDSM. It's one of the most unique books I have read in the genre, the story flows beautifully between Nora and Zach's stories, and I found myself fully engaged from beginning to end.
That doesn't mean it's perfect. It's not meant to be, after all. Just like in real life, these characters have many layers, and are complicated. Take Nora for instance. She has this weird, soulmates type love with Søren, but she left him, because she wanted a more loving relationship with him, and in a way, to keep him from losing his position. But the way she talks about him is almost worship, which made it hard for me to like her in those moments. Her moments with Zach, I enjoyed her, as she was being open with her attraction to him, but also pursuing her desire to be a better writer. When she was with Wes, I really liked her, but at the same time, hated her for what she was doing to him. Zach was an interesting read. His inner demons, guilt, and heartbreak made me ache for him. I really enjoyed how Nora made him open himself up in their time working together and how she helped him in the end. Wesley's character is just all kinds of sweet, and I couldn't help but fall for him. Out of all the characters, he was my favorite. I don't understand the allure of Søren, to be honest. Is it his position? The forbidden aspect of it? I hope it's explained in later books.
When I first started this book, I wasn't sure if I would like it. I tend to like happy romances. This isn't a happy ending story, much like the book she was writing through out. It's dark and complicated. It's all these interesting, troubled characters coming together, and just like in life, they either help each other, or destroy one another. Despite that, I really liked it. Tiffany Reisz shines a different light on BDSM, a more thoroughly researched light, and doesn't romanticize it like other books. It's rather refreshing, and I am excited to continue on with the series, and hopefully get some answers to those nagging questions I am left with from this book.
Top 3 Favorite Moments
1. Zach's first meeting with Nora
2. Nora helping Wesley take his insulin shot
3. Truth or Drink
4. (bonus) Nora bringing Zach to the eighth circle
5. (bonus) Nora giving Wesley a hand in bed
6. (bonus) Wesley bathing Nora
7. (bonus) Søren and Nora's conversation on their "anniversary"
8. (bonus) Nora helping Zach face his failures with his marriage
9. (bonus) Grace finding Zach and wanting to fix their marriage, and Nora helping them do so.
Where to Buy
J.P.: "You know, you're still young, Easton, and too handsome for your own good. You should try it sometime."
Zach: "What? Madness?"
J.P.: "No. Happiness."
Zach: "Happiness? I'm afraid my memory's too good for that."
Nora: "I've got a crisp new Benjamin for the first person who can give me a good synonym for thrust, noun form. Go."
Zach: "Push, lunge, shove, attack, force, jab."
Nora: "His slow, relentless jabs sent her reeling ..." Sounds like commentary on a boxing match. Goddammit, why are there no good synonyms for thrust? Bane of my existence. Although ... I do love a man with a big vocabulary."
Nora: "Oh ... I like him already."
Wesley: "God help us all."
Nora: "So what's the verdict? J.P. said he's giving you total control over the book and me. It's been a long time since I've let a man boss me around. I kind of miss it."
Zach: "The verdict is undecided."
Nora: "A well-hung jury then. Better give me a retrial."
Zach: "You're very clever."
Nora: "You're very handsome."
Zach: "That wasn't a compliment. Cleverness is the last recourse of an amateur. I look for depth in my books, passion, substance."
Nora: "Passion I have."
Zach: "Passion is not synonymous with sex. I'll admit your book was interesting and not entirely without merit. At one point I even detected a heart inside all that flesh."
Nora: "I hear a 'but' in there."
Zach: "But the heartbeat was very faint. The patient might be terminal."
Zach: "Why my personal life is of such fascination to you, I cannot fathom."
Nora: "I'm a cat. You're a shiny object."
Zach: "You're insufferable."
Nora: "I am, aren't I? Somebody should spank me. So you're kind of an asshole. No offense."
Zach: "And you appear to be two or three words I don't feel quite comfortable saying aloud."
Nora: "I'd tell you to say them anyway, but I promised Wesley I wouldn't let you flirt with me."
Nora: "J.P. also said they call you the London Fog around the office. Is that because of the long coat, the accent or your gift for putting a cold, wet damper on everyone's good time?"
Zach: "I'll leave you to decide that."
Nora: "I assure you, Mr. Easton, my tricks are anything but cheap."
Zach: "Prove it then. You've got twenty-four hours."
Nora: "Fuck your twenty-four hours. You'll have it tonight."
Nora: "Writing erotica is like fucking someone for the first time. You aren't sure exactly what he wants yet so you try to give him everything he could possibly want. Everything and anything ... You hit every nerve and eventually you'll hit the nerve. Have I hit any nerves yet?"
Zach: "Not any of them you were aiming for."
Nora: "You don't know what I was aiming for. So what do you think of the writing?"
Zach: "Could be better. You use 'was' too much."
Nora: "Rough draft."
Zach: "The last line's the strongest - 'the equally potent presence of his absence.' It's good."
Nora: "It's you."
Zach only stared at her a moment before pulling the folded page back out.
Zach: "This is me?"
Nora: "It is. Every last long, lean inch of you. I wrote it right after you left this morning. I was, needless to say, inspired by your visit."
Zach: "Excuse me, but didn't I repeatedly insult you this morning?"
Nora: "Your kvetching was very fetching. I like men who are mean to me. I trust them more."
Zach: "Forgive me. I might be speechless right now."
Zach: "Your orders. You told me to stop writing what I knew and start writing what I wanted to know. I want to know ... you."
Zach: "I'm a brutal editor."
Nora: "I like brutal."
Zach: "I'll make you rewrite the whole book."
Nora: "Now you're trying to turn me on, aren't you?"
He'd been her editor for all of three days and so far he'd already called her a "gutternipe writer" whose books were "melodramatic," "maniacal" and "unhygienic." Unhygienic had been her personal favorite.
Nora: "I'll trade you my book for your body."
Wesley: "I'm your intern. This counts as sexual harassment."
Nora: "Being sexually harassed is in your job description, remember?"
J.P.: "Anyway, Sutherlin requested you."
Zach: "She did?"
J.P.: "Well, not by name. She told me to give her to whichever editor would flog her the hardest. Yours was the first and quite honestly the only name that came to mind."
Zach: "I'm hardly flogging her."
J.P.: "What would you call it?"
Zach: "I don't believe I will justify that insinuating tone in your voice with a response."
Zach: "If she did, she could set the world on fire, and she wouldn't even need a candle. And don't you dare tell her anything I just said. I've got to keep her afraid of me if I'm going to keep her writing."
J.P. laughed to himself, and Zach stared at him.
J.P. took the newspaper out from under his arm and unfolded it. It was a copy of the New Amsterdam Noteworthy, a biweekly New York trade publication that carried the most recent news in publishing. J.P. threw the paper on Zach's desk. On the bottom front page was a small photo of him and Nora on the staircase at Rose Evely's party. Zach hadn't remembered a camera flash. Apparently the photographer had been far enough away he'd missed it. In the photo Nora leaned toward Zach with her mouth near his ear. It looked as if she was about to kiss him on the neck. Zack knew exactly what moment that was. It was when he'd said he couldn't believe he was doing this and she'd responded with a seductive "I can." The caption under the photograph read, "Nora Sutherlin - the only writer who could make Anais Nin blush."
J.P.: "She doesn't look scared to me. You look a little petrified, however."
Zach: "Are you sure he doesn't have feelings for you?"
Nora: "He does have feelings for me. Namely irritation, frustration and disgust mingled with amusement. But that's not surprising since he's not in the game."
Zach: "You said he was a virgin. How do you know he isn't like you?"
Nora: "K-dar. Kinksters can smell it on each other. And my Wesley smells like warm vanilla."
Zach: "Wonder what I smell like."
Zach cursed himself for accidentally speaking the words out-loud.
Nora cocked her head at him; Zach's heart started to race. She rose up out of her chair and slid onto the top of the kitchen table. She stretched across it and put her nose at his neck. Slowly, she inhaled. A slight rush of air whispered over Zach's skin and he immediately knew what every muscle in his body was doing.
Nora: "Not kink. But not vanilla, either. Smells like ... curiosity. It killed the car, you know."
Zach: "You look like hell."
Nora: "I've spent the last twelve hours in hell. Sorry, I forgot to bring you a souvenir."
Zach: "I have all the souvenirs I need from my own trips there. What are you doing here, Nora?"
Nora: "Apologizing for going off on you last night."
Zach: "Apology accepted. Now you can go. J.P. is going to find another editor for you to work with. Probably Thomas Finley. He's an asshole. You'll like him."
Nora: "There are good assholes and bad assholes. You're the good kind. I only want to work with you."
Nora: "If God himself had called me and started telling me the secrets of the universe, I would have told Him to go fuck Himself, too. You can't take me personally, Zach. Can I make it up to you? Coffee? Tea? Me?"
Zach laughed. Even exhausted she was still shameless.
J.P.: "So the contract?"
Zach: "I think I might keep it a little while longer."
J.P.: "And her?"
Zach reached under his desk and pulled Nora's manuscript out of the paper-recycling bin.
Zach: "I think I might keep her, too."
Nora: "You know, I've fooled around in a hospital before but never in the pediatric ward."
Wesley: "Nora, you're disgusting. Go to sleep."
Nora gave Zach her hand and he let her pull him up. But she didn't stop with up. She pulled him straight to her. Face-to-face, their bodies were only separated by a hairbreadth. Nora looked down and back up again.
Nora: "Oh, dear. No room for the Holy Ghost."
Zach: "You are incorrigible, Ms. Sutherlin."
Nora: "You know, I got an IUD so I would never have to do the 'is junior still breathing?' thing. This is very unfair."
Zach: "IUD - you are a bad Catholic, aren't you?"
Wesley: "It's the most exciting two minutes in sports."
Nora: "Two minutes? I better get a dozen roses and a big apology if all I get is two minutes."
Zach: "I've come to apologize if she'll let me."
Wesley: "She'll let you. Maybe she shouldn't, but she'll let you."
Wesley: "Yeah, I'm supposed to help chaperone the middle school retreat this weekend. But I'm not going to leave you alone after today -"
Nora: "Yes you are. You just go an keep those kids from making out in the coat closet. Sexual repression must begin as early as possible."
Nora: "We're okay. I could have told you all this over the phone, you know."
Zach: "I know. But you pegged me as a Scouser the day we met. So I thought I'd say 'I'm sorry' the way a Scouser does."
Nora: "And how's that?"
Zach reached inside his trench coat and brought out a brown paper bag. From it he pulled a bottle of Irish whiskey and set it in front of her on her desk.
Zach: "What is?"
Nora opened the bottom drawer of her desk and brought out two shot glasses and placed them next to the bottle.
Nora: "How much Catholics and Scousers have in common."
Zach: "Truth or drink? You will recall I'm in my forties."
Nora: "There's no age limit on alcohol-induced stupidity."
Zach: "You will be the death of me. You realize that, don't you?"
Nora: "You act like you're afraid of me, Zach. But you're not afraid of me at all, are you?"
Zach: "I'm terrified of you."
Nora: "No, you're not. I know guys like you. You worship women, put them on pedestals, think they're fragile and perfect. That's why even though it was you on your back in the handcuffs Saturday night, you're the one doing the apologizing. Zach ... you're afraid of yourself."
Excerpt from her book:
Caroline: "Every day you battle an enemy I cannot fight with you or for you. But if there is ever a chance for a reprieve, then I will bear you across th world on my back to see you finally at peace."
Although he liked where she was taking it, Zach was back in attack mode and she couldn't stop grinning as she read some of his more sarcastic comments.
"Nora - Forgive me for copy-editing, but it must be said - you have raped the semicolon yet again. Stop it. It wasn't asking for it no matter how it was dressed. If you don't know how to use punctuation, write like Faulkner and we'll pretend it's on purpose."
Bite me, Easton, Nora said to herself as she corrected her sexually compromised semicolon in chapter eighteen. Seriously, bite me.
"Nora - Aristotle said character is plot. Aristotle is dead and can't hurt you. I'm alive and I can. Plot is plot. Find on and keep it."
Zach: "I know why he calls you his Siren."
Nora grinned at him.