A childhood accident left Emmaline vulnerable to disturbing fugue states that last only minutes, but feel like an eternity. The blackouts are unsettling but manageable…until she meets Johnny Dellasandro.
The reclusive painter gained notoriety in the '70s for his debauched lifestyle and raunchy art films. His naked body has achieved cult status, especially in Emm's mind—she's obsessed with the man, who's grown even sexier with age. Today Johnny shuns the spotlight and Emm in particular…until she falls into a fugue on his doorstep.
In that moment she's transported back thirty years, crashing a party at Johnny's place in his wild-man heyday— the night is a blur of flesh and heat that lingers on her skin long after she's woken to the present.
It happens again and again, each time-slip another mind-blowing orgy, and soon Emm can't stop, though every episode leaves her weaker and weaker. She's frightened by what's happening to her, but she's even more terrified of losing this portal to the Johnny she wants so badly. The one who wants her, too, and takes her—every chance he gets.
--Collide by Megan Hart, Copyright ©2011 by Megan Hart, published by Spice/Harlequin Books
I tried to write a summary of the story (like I always do) but found myself unable to summarize without retelling the entire story. And I couldn’t improve upon the book blurb summary provided above, so I figured, “why try?”
I seriously had a hard time putting this book down. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it which, to me, is the hallmark of an excellently written story. This is my second Megan Hart novel and she is quickly becoming a favorite.
The story is sexually explicit (WARNING, WARNING), but I think even if those scenes were tamed down, or even if some of them were removed, it would still be an excellent story. Hart doesn’t rely on sex to carry the plot, it’s merely the seasoning to a superb meal. (I felt the same about another one of her novels, Naked.)
Imagine obsessing about someone because of what they did and how they looked in their past, and at the same time, falling in love with their present self. It’s no wonder Emm was conflicted with her growing feelings for Johnny…she couldn’t separate what she was experiencing with him in the past with what’s growing between them in the present.
Even though there’s a huge generation gap between them, it doesn’t show in the way they talk to each other or in the way they treat each other. Johnny’s young enough at heart to reach Megan’s level and she’s more mature because of her illness to reach Johnny’s level, so it’s a good match.
Too often I read stories where there’s this “instant, magnetic attraction” between the male and female leads, “full of a passion and fire that must be quenched before it burns out of control.” The romance between Johnny and Emm develops slowly and that slow development is very satisfying. I really enjoyed that these two spent time dodging each other before coming together. Love and passion can flare up between two people, but it can also develop slowly and I think it’s more satisfying when it’s slow.
I did wonder about the scientific aspects of the story. How could Emm, in her fugue state, be physically present in the now, and yet at the same time, be physically present in the past? In the beginning she thinks she’s hallucinating, but it becomes evident that it’s not hallucination, that she really is slipping back to the 70’s. So how is she doing it? I admit, I won’t lose any sleep wondering about this—I’ll simply accept it and move on—but it is curious. I also felt that there was more to the character of Ed D’Onofrio that probably didn’t make the final edits. Was Ed attracted to Emm but couldn’t approach her because she was so wrapped up with Johnny? I thought that might be it, but that was never explored. I would also have loved it if Johnny (in the present) brought Emm to meet Candy at his restaurant. That scene as I pictured it happening, had the potential to be hilarious but that was never written. I am glad, though, that Emm got to meet Sandy again at the very end. That loose end was nicely tied off.
There is a strong similarity between this story and another popular novel/movie, The Time Traveler’s Wife and perhaps that story, in part, inspired Collide. Hart skillfully gets around this comparison by freely acknowledging it when Emm finally tells Jen what’s been going on with her in her fugue states.
In short, Collide is a great story that I thoroughly enjoyed and will enjoy again.
This is another of my NetGalley reads.
I give this story FIVE STARS.