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I have eight golden rules when it comes to men:
1. No dating or going out on dates.
2. Never let them know where I live. Lie if I must.
3. Never pick up a guy in a particular social setting that I may frequently attend. Or, never sleep with a man whom I have the chance of running into on a regular basis.
4. Never have a guy over to my apartment for any reason. My gay best friends are the only exceptions.
5. Always end things before a guy starts to want more.
6. Always use protection.
7. Never sleep over at their place after sex. Once we've finished, or in most cases, they've finished, dress and leave.
8. Always have more than one exit strategy.
Orphaned at age sixteen, Emma, now twenty-four, has complete control of her life. She is a private, successful business woman who owns two companies and uses men for sex. When Emma's sexual itch arises, and there are no possible male suitors to fill her need, she finds alternative means. Emma keeps most people at a distance, especially the men she has sex with, except her two best friends, Maggie and Jared. She adheres to her eight golden rules that keep her in complete control - rules that she started after having sex with the first man. Rules that keep her guarded, safe and free - but then, along came Joe Covelli.
characters subtleties and depth to unfold very naturally
This review will have an extremely bias opinion simply because Martha Sweeney is my wife, best friend, lover, business partner and confidant. We share our lives, dreams and fantasies together and her happiness makes me complete.
Reading "Breathe In" began more as an assignment than entertainment. Martha recruited me to assist with editing her first novel to hit her release deadline. I was more than happy to help since she helped with my book, The Harem, and to discover in detail how she had developed the story she’d been sharing with me from the moment she felt inspired to begin writing. However, after finally reading "Breathe In" from start to finish, I’ve come to feel deeply attached to the characters and invested in their journeys thanks to skillful writing and eloquent plot development.
The story of Emma comes from a place of trauma, loss, and fear, but quickly grows into a tale of individual triumph and empowerment. Breathe In introduces the main character, Emma, with the vision of a recurring nightmare depicting the tragic death of her parents in a car accident that continues to replay itself every night Emma tries to rest. This horrific vision compels her to seek control in every aspect of her life and inspires her to excel in personal and professional endeavors. The reader quickly understands that Emma is very successful, has built a new “family” of her own that she protects dearly, and struggles internally to allow them and herself the freedom to grow and experience more of life.
Then, along comes Joe Covelli.
An obvious expression of Emma’s controlling personality and fear is her eight rules for personal relationships, or lack thereof, with any man she decides to engage physically. For her, men are simply a tool or resource to fulfill a temporary physical need. While Emma comes from a place of power in her life, her fears and nightmares indicate a deep seated desire for more emotionally. That desire manifests in the form of Joe Covelli, Emma’s best friend’s boyfriend’s colleague and close friend. When Joe sets his sights on Emma, everything that gave her any sense of stability and safety is suddenly called into question. Despite Emma’s best attempts to avoid her obsessive desire and subconscious needs with logical rationalizations, her heart will not be stopped.
The result is extraordinary!
I’ve always been impressed with Martha’s abilities, but "Breathe In" by far is her most impressive accomplishment to date. The writing style flows easily and is enjoyable, allowing for the story to develop without distraction and characters subtleties and depth to unfold very naturally. There’s nothing typical about Martha’s approach. The plot twists and surprises are thoroughly entertaining and unexpected without ever feeling unbelievable. Each character is given plenty of opportunity to speak and share their own complexities through Emma’s eyes. Martha shares only enough to keep the pages turning frantically in the excitement of what’s next. From an insider’s point of view, I can tell you with certainty that there’s much more to come too.
"Breathe In" is an extraordinary, unique and riveting story with depth, subtlety and substance, providing a breath of fresh air to story telling. I couldn’t be more proud of Martha and this brilliant creation. It’s my honor and privilege to share Emma’s story with you!