A couple on the verge of divorce begrudgingly agree to an unorthodox marital retreat. Despite warnings and portents, Hilary and Jack travel to the remote Washington scablands, braving a strange religious demonstration to arrive at Balustrade, an oddly voyeuristic couples program.
Under the tutelage of Chantal, a harsh mistress, and Ludo, a brooding sex surrogate, the couple find their most intimate relations under discomfiting scrutiny. The therapy is ritualistic, sensual, wearing away their inhibitions to lush, orgiastic ends. For a while, Hilary luxuriates in a slippery, sensual descent into wickedness. But when time begins to disintegrate in dream-like fugues, sexual awakening takes a turn for the sinister.
Clandestine cabals whisper behind closed doors. Robed figures congregate in the dark cavern at the apex of the strange building's courtyard.
Nothing is quite as it seems. And a question looms....
Is it the intention of Chantal and Balustrade to help mend their failing marriage? Or are their minds and bodies being groomed for more sinister, carnal purposes? Hilary must strive to unlock the secrets behind Balustrade before it pushes her to the brink of insanity and ignites her darkest urges.
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It was impossible to listen to it and try to pause it. I had to listen start to finish and cant wait for the next segment
I liked Jack until the end then I realized he was using his wife as a pawn. That doesnt mean I suddenly preferred Hilary as a favorite character just that my loyalties flipped immediately on Jack. So I am waiting for the next segment in the trilogy before I settle on a favorite character
I had never heard her narration before and I am glad it was entirely done with a female narrator. I think if it had been a male and female each narrator male/female characters it would have taken me out of the story a bit. She did a wonderful job altering her tone for each character in the story
Extraordinary, sensual and beautifully written!
Balustrade is compelling and not a book I wanted to see end. The characters are well developed and easy to relate to. The dialog is cohesive, funny and smart. This book is wrapped around a mystery, which is not given away until the very last page. I am not one who likes to read a book which is predictable, so I was delighted to be surprised all the way to the end of the story!! There are explicit sex scenes that are actually sexy and hot! I also thought the narrator did an excellent job moving from male to female characters flawlessly!
Hilary was my favorite character because she does not know her own power as the story begins. However, by the end of the story we see a very different person.
This was such a fascinating story I had a very hard time getting out of my car and going into work.
I am not usually drawn to erotica. However, the story was very mesmerizing and the characters so human, it drew me in from the first page. Hollie Jackson has a beautiful voice, which gave life to the story! Mark Henry has done such an extraordinary job creating a world and characters who are so believable you want them as your friends.
- J. Rash