by Jaime Clevenger
Fresh out of a ten-year relationship, Emily Brookstone wants to let loose. But she’s not exactly the let-loose type. When she gets invited to spend a no-strings-attached weekend in Aspen with eight other women, the words “good for you” come to mind. Maybe a fling with a charming stranger is just what she needs.
Alex Murphy travels the world for her job. She has no trouble getting dates wherever she lands and life is full of short-term escapades and fantasy weekends. Yet finding someone to share life with feels impossible. Until she meets Emily.
What happens on one snowy weekend in Aspen could change everything. But is a gamble on love worth all the risk?
FROM THE AUTHOR
"This past year has been an adventure in staying home, or at least staying close to home, for nearly all of us. Fortunately, I didn’t have to travel far to set the stage for One Weekend in Aspen. The view out my back door is of snow-covered mountains, blue skies, and pine trees. Sounds nice, right? It is, but it took me a while to appreciate it since I’m a Californian at heart and a devoted ocean lover. But living in Colorado has taught me a lot—including how nice it can be to spend a cozy night in by a warm fire with a cup of hot cocoa and how peaceful it is when the snow starts to fall. I wanted to write a romance that touched on all of that, but I wanted to spice the scene up a little. And what better way to add spice than to have a sex party?
One Weekend in Aspen is about more than a sex party, however. It’s about finding love in an unlikely place, learning to trust yourself, and appreciating what lands in your lap. If this book lands in your lap, I hope you like your cocoa hot, and if you’ve never been to Aspen, I hope you can visit one day. The Rocky Mountains aren’t a tropical vacation spot, but it really is lovely here."
Who’d have thought a book about a sex party would be full of suspense? I couldn’t put One Weekend in Aspen down, I had to know what would happen next. With this book, Jaime Clevenger did something that I didn’t think was possible, not to that level: she wrote an incredibly hot story that will, at the same time, give you all the feels.
What makes this book remarkable isn’t beautiful literary writing–it’s very well-written but I don’t think any sentence will make the reader pause in wonder. It’s an accumulation of little things. The very sex-positive stance is glorious. Sex is wonderful, and there’s no shame in enjoying it, in whichever–consensual–way it comes, contrary to what we, especially girls and women, are often thoughtlessly taught. That’s something Emily has forgotten over the course of her marriage. The pace is excellent, there’s humour and banter (flirtatious and not), tension and passion. All characters are complex and multilayered, and the two mains are enchanting. Quite a few of the secondary characters deserve their own story. Just saying.
Jessen R. - The premise of this book just stands out from all the other romance books I've read. And the story totally meets the expectation I had if not beyond.
I love how the women in this book went on a journey to explore their sexuality in the best way possible. Besides that, this book is also filled with emotions and very romantic. The characters in this book are mature, sophisticated and independent thinkers. We definitely need more of these type of characters in the romance world.
Natalie T. - I really enjoyed reading this novel and to be honest, cannot fault it. Although the storyline is centered around a weekend of sexual escapades between a group of 8 women, this book also features a great love story between Emily and Alex. There was the perfect amount of drama, not only from these two mains but the large array of secondary characters as well that kept me engaged in this book from start to finish. I really liked both main characters and thought the author did a great job of humanizing them both so they felt realistic.
One Weekend in Aspen is my first read from Jaime Clevenger and I am now on a mission to read all of her other works. A great novel that I've already decided to buy in audio format, as I think it'll be a great book to listen to as well. Highly recommended.
Bonnie A. - Wow. I mean, this was not what I expected, and I must admit I totally enjoyed it. This is not your average romance. The premise of the story line is centered around nine confident, successful, hot lesbians who meet up in Aspen for a weekend of sex. The main characters Emily and Alex had phenomenal chemistry and knew exactly what they wanted. I enjoyed their journey and appreciated that Emily took her time getting herself together. I highly recommend 4.5. stars
Jill S. The storyline is very much strangers meet who have friends in common. What appears to be a random weekend is actually a regular occurrence, and when the two main characters Emily and Alex meet, their weekend away in Aspen soon has new meaning.
The setting is great in that it allows all the characters to peel off layers (not just clothing!) and the mutual understanding and acceptance of each other and exploration of their own needs and desires.
I love the different threads and the different characters who literally feed off each other and explore their sexual preferences in a safely constructed environment. What makes this work so well is that the novel is more about the characters discovering themselves and having the courage to go after what they really want. Yes, it’s a hot sizzling novel, but it is so much more than being just about sex. A very enjoyable 5* read.
Betty H. - This is a tale about two women who meet when they’re both invited to a weekend in Aspen for a “no-strings-attached” consensual sex party. While this is a brand new experience for Emily Brookstone, it is definitely not Alex Murphy’s first party. The attraction between these two is immediate, but is a meeting like this a place to start a possible relationship?
Honestly, this novel blew me away. It has everything you need for a great romance. The premise is unique and definitely interesting. The setting is absolutely gorgeous. The people are what really makes this novel special though. Both main and secondary characters are so well-developed they seem real. They all have their own quirks, insecurities, and distinct personalities. Emily and Alex are easy to fall in love with…especially Alex. I really connected with her. Of course, with the premise of attending a sex party, there are bound to be some steamy sex scenes, but what happens between Emily and Alex goes far beyond mere physical release. The chemistry between these two is off the charts, and this shows with every touch and every kiss. This is what makes the story one of the most beautiful romances I’ve read this year.
Melina B. - This book was the best thing I've read all year and will no doubt find itself in my to-reread-multiple-times category. I love Jaime Clevenger's books so I had high expectations going in, and she's managed to surpass them many times over with this book. The two main characters had so much chemistry it jumped off the pages from their first meeting, they were so well written I found myself crushing on Alex and wanting to shake some sense into Emily. The romantic storyline was super steamy yet sweet at the same time, and the amount of angst was just right. Balancing erotica and romance so well is a rare skill, and I hope the author gives us more in this genre.
Emily Brookstone read the invitation again, then carefully folded the embossed paper and slid it back in the envelope. Of course Katherine had used expensive cardstock. The woman had class, that was for sure. It also came as no surprise that she’d included plane tickets. She’d taken care of all the details. All Emily had to do was say yes.
“You do realize you can’t say no,” Gianna said. “These Aspen weekends are legendary. You basically have to win the lesbian lottery to get an invite.” The invitation had been delivered by courier that afternoon, and Gianna had paced around the apartment until Emily had finally opened it. She’d leaned over Emily’s shoulder and read every word aloud with little shrieks of excitement. “God, I wish I worked for Katherine.”
“No, you don’t.” Emily flipped the envelope facedown. “She’s a tyrant. I do my best to stay out of her way.”
“But she’s a sexy tyrant. Who hosts sex parties.” Gianna pursed her lips. “Are you honestly thinking of turning her down?”
Of course she’d decline. Right? “Going on that dinner cruise with her and her friends was one thing. But a trip to Aspen? And this isn’t an offer to go skiing.”
“No, this is an opportunity to have your fantasies fulfilled. Did you read that part? Come on, Em, you know this would be good for you. Eight women, one weekend, and all you need to do is come up with a little fantasy.”
“Yeah, that’s not intimidating at all.”
“You have to go. Please?” Gianna gave Emily a pleading look. “I need minute-by-minute tweets on the whole thing.”
“You haven’t even considered it. Okay, forget about how much I want the scoop on this. You know it would be good for you.”
Would it be good for her? Technically there was nothing to stop her from going. She had the time off—Katherine had made sure of that by booking her in advance for that particular weekend, then canceling but promising to pay in full. Logistics, however, were beside the point. She was not someone who went to sex parties. Just thinking about it made her lightheaded. And a little shaky. The fact that her client was the host made it even more absurd to consider, especially considering Katherine wasn’t simply another client.
While she might be difficult to work for, Katherine had done wonders for Emily’s business. She was ridiculously rich and well connected, and her lucrative referrals were the reason Emily could keep a limited client list. Besides that, she was beautiful and charismatic. Katherine had countless admirers, and Emily had been drawn to her, too, the first time they’d met. But she’d carefully kept things professional. The dinner cruise invite had caught her off guard. And now this.
“Katherine’s never come on to me, but do you think…” Emily’s voice trailed as she wondered if she wanted to finish the sentence.
“Emily, she’s not inviting you to try and seduce you. This is about having sex with a bunch of other people. Ooh, I bet there’s an orgy.”
“An orgy?” How had she been invited to a party where an orgy was even a possibility? “Maybe you could go instead of me.”
“Sure. Katherine won’t notice the difference.” Gianna stuck out her tongue. After a moment, she took a breath and her tone softened. “Em, you need this. I mean, I need it too—let’s be real—but you need it more. This is a chance for you to put yourself out there and meet people.”
“Maybe I could join a hiking club.”
Gianna’s eyebrows bunched together. “Since when do you hike?”
“My point is, I’m still getting used to thinking of myself as single. I haven’t even kissed someone since Cass.”
“Which is why you need to go to Aspen.”
Emily shook her head. “I need to start slow. It’s only been two months.”
“Two months since you moved out, yeah, but how long has it been since you got lucky?”
“Too long.” Emily didn’t want to admit exactly how long. The lack of sex in her marriage hadn’t been a secret, but seven years was flat-out embarrassing. “I can’t jump back in the saddle at a sex party.”
“You never told me you had a thing for cowgirls.” Gianna’s brown eyes sparkled mischievously. She picked up the envelope and rubbed it like a magic lamp. “One fantasy fulfilled. What should I wish for?”
“Don’t look at me. With my luck, I’d wish for a cowgirl and end up with a pony.”
Gianna laughed, playfully swatting Emily with the envelope. “So you do have a thing for cowgirls!”
“At this point I wouldn’t turn one down. Leather chaps are hot.”
“Mmm…So are nice tight jeans and a cowboy hat.”
“Don’t forget the rope,” Emily added.
“How could I?” Gianna held the envelope up to her lips and kissed it. “I’ll take a cowgirl, too, Genie. And make sure she’s kinky.” She looked back at Emily. “Now if only you could sneak me along in your luggage. Do you think this is at a lodge? Or is Katherine renting a house?”
“I’m not sure. She’s mentioned she owns a ski cabin in Aspen—and a villa in Nice.”
“Must be hard. San Francisco, Aspen, Nice. How do you pick? I think I’ll take my sex weekend in Nice. Croissants and sex? Oui, oui.”
Emily smiled. Despite their joking, her anxiety about the whole idea of a sex weekend hadn’t gone away. “I still don’t get why she invited me. I’m not like her—or any of her friends. I’m not some socialite. I don’t have any connections. And at the moment, my life is such a mess that I’m sleeping on my best friend’s couch.”
Gianna tilted her head. “And loving every minute of it.”
“Every minute. I really am grateful. And I promise I’ll be out of your hair as soon as I can afford my own place.”
“I’m only teasing. I like you here. Besides, you pay your share.” Gianna paused. “I do worry about you, though. Cass did a number on your head, and even if you don’t want to talk about it, we both know you’re not over that mess. Aspen could be exactly what you need.”
“Or it could be a total disaster.”
“But think of the stories you’ll be able to tell me after. All those sexy women. Bow-chicka-bow-wow.”
Gianna jiggled her chest and Emily couldn’t help laughing. She eyed the envelope again. “This is ridiculous…a sex fantasy weekend. Who does that?”
“Katherine.” Gianna pushed the envelope closer to Emily. “It might be ridiculous, but I wasn’t joking when I said it’d be good for you.”
Emily slid the letter out and scanned the first paragraph again. The flutter of excitement she’d felt when she’d first read the invite zipped through her once more. But when she got to the second paragraph where it spelled out requirements for STD testing prior to the weekend as well as a statement on consent, she wondered who she was kidding.
“It’s been seven years since I’ve had sex, Gi. What if I’ve forgotten how? And Katherine’s friends are always these perfect women—beautiful, rich, confident. There’s no chance they’ll be bad at sex. Meanwhile, I’m…well…I’m me.”
“You’re beautiful too, and you know it.” Gianna nudged Emily’s chin up. “Maybe you’re not like Katherine’s other friends, but maybe that’s the point. You’re like the girl next door.”
“I’m not just the girl next door. I’m the broke-ass girl next door. Which means, basically, I’m a charity case. Hey, at least I’ve got that going for me.”
“What I meant, Miss Sarcasm, was that you’re sweet. Sometimes you’re even funny. And you’re real. But I doubt any of that’s why Katherine invited you.”
“Why’d she do it then?”
“Are you kidding? You’re gorgeous. Katherine probably looks at you and drools.”
“That’s gross.” And Katherine definitely didn’t drool. In fact, she was often so cool and distant it was hard to tell if she even liked her at all. “You really don’t think this is charity?”
“But she knows I’ve been down since Cass and I broke up.”
“Do you honestly think Katherine has sympathy sex? No. Way. In. Hell.” Gianna punctuated each word with a jab at the letter. “This, sweetheart, isn’t charity. This is the lesbian lottery. And the Emily I knew ten years ago would have taken one look at that invitation and circled yes. Then gone shopping for lingerie.”
“You’re right. Ten years ago I’d have jumped at any excuse to wear lingerie. But now—”
“You’d still look hot in lingerie. Probably more so. You’ve got bigger boobs.” Gianna smirked, then added, “Want to talk about what happened to the only woman I know who could rock a lacy corset?”
Emily knew Gianna wasn’t simply joking about lingerie. She’d changed after Cass, and maybe not for the better. But she didn’t want to rehash all the ways she’d screwed up the past decade. Sure, Cass had been the one who didn’t want sex after their first couple of years together, but she’d been the one who’d stayed long after it was clear the relationship was only platonic. “Can we say I got older and wiser? Lacy lingerie isn’t that comfortable.”
“Comfort isn’t the reason we wear it. And you’re not that much wiser.”
“Thanks, Gi. I love you too.”
“If you really loved me, you’d say yes. And then you’d tell Katherine to invite me next year.” Gianna picked up the reply card and held it out. “You know you want to go.”