Synopses & Reviews
From the USA TODAY
bestselling author of Unteachable
and Black Iris
comes a sexy, romantic suspense novel about two best friends who are torn apart by a life-shattering accident, and the secrets it left behind.
Vada and Ellis’s friendship is so intense and consuming, it’s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. Yet they couldn’t be more different: Ellis is nerdy, shy, and rich; Vada is an ambitious artist struggling to make ends meet. When Vada gets into an elite New England art college, Ellis comes along for the ride. Like always. They can face anything in the world as long as they’re together…
Until a horrifying accident tears them apart.
Life goes on, and Ellis handles it just fine on her own, but Vada is deeply scarred—emotionally and physically. Her once-promising career as an artist is cut short by her injuries. Broke and severed from doing what she loves, she meets the wrong guy at the right time: Dane, a smooth-talking lothario, who offers her a new career as a cam girl. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night taking off her clothes in front of a webcam, and the “tips” come pouring in.
Things get complicated when a client who calls himself “Blue” gets possessive. Through the safety of the cam, they open up to each other intimately. Vada finally talks about the accident. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. He’s a mystery, and she might be falling for him, so Vada demands something in return: to meet in real life.
Blue agrees, on one condition: she has to bring Ellis. The girl who wants nothing to do with her anymore. Now Vada is forced to confront the past she’s been running from. A past full of devastating secrets—those of others, and those she’s been keeping from herself…
"Risky, brave, bold. Heart-breaking, captivating, and sensual. There arent enough words to describe this suspenseful powerhouse of a novel. Raeders gorgeous prose and raw characters will keep you flipping to the very end. Black Iris is one of the best books Ive read this year." Karina Halle
"Raeder masterfully weaves a dark, twisted, dangerously sexy quest for revenge with a raw, honest search for kinship and self-acceptance. Black Iris demands your attention, your heart, and an immediate reread."
Praise for Unteachable:
"Lyrical, vivid, and poignant, Unteachable is one of best forbidden romances I've ever read."
"Unteachable infuses the complicated dynamics of forbidden sexual tension and untamed passion, all while managing to break your heart. Easily one of my favorite reads."
"With lush, haunting prose, deft storytelling and scorching sensuality, Leah Raeder weaves a love story that obliterates convention. The best book I’ve read this year."
"Leah Raeder's writing is skillful and stunning. Unteachable is one of the most beautifully powerful stories of forbidden love that I have ever read."
Praise for Black Iris:
"Like an afternoon special on bullying gone impossibly dark, Raeder's dizzyingly intense, drug-addicted queer teenage revenge fantasy takes its reader on a sexy, bloody journey of pure emotion that's by turns expressed, denied, and turned back in on itself. Delaney Keating, viciously mistreated in high school for her attraction to girls and damaged by her unstable mother's suicide, falls into a love triangle with two of the dramatic inhabitants of underground dance club Umbra: DJ and patient medical student Armin, and impulsive, fierce, deliciously sensual Blythe. She pulls them into her scheme of violence against her abusers in a heady mélange of lust and bloodlust, while the triad pulls against itself with internal jealousies. A twisting timeline dancing over a year's events makes every moment seem both immediate and angrily steeped in memory. Major themes include depression, mania, and the ways that the use and abuse of drugs affect access to the reality of self and the world's essential nature; but the soul-searching always comes in the context of action, everyone around hit by the shrapnel of exploding feelings. This is an exhilarating ride for our inner underdog, craving a taste of what it would feel like to just get back at everyone if we were reckless enough not to care about the consequences." Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Intense and visceral, Black Iris is as sharp as a knife and beats with a heart that is double-edged and dangerous." New York Times bestselling author
"Provocative, seductive, and skillfully written, Black Iris is a story that stands out from the crowd."
Praise for Cam Girl:
"Cam Girl is a beautiful exploration of gender and sexuality that begs readers to question how well we know those closest to us,including ourselves. Raeder's trademark sensual lyricism is in full effect here, but it's the fraught yet tender relationship between Vada and Ellis that will have you glued to the pages until the oh-so-perfect ending." Dahlia Adler, author of UNDER THE LIGHTS
“Raeders best book yet. It has the grit, language, and heat youd expect, but theres more. Raeder has clearly dug down and bled and studied the mirror to reveal the ugliest and most beautiful parts of herself, and human nature. CAM GIRL is a rich and unflinching narrative.” Emery Lord, author of Open Road Summer
Darkly erotic a must read (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Unteachable and Black Iris comes a new, sexy romantic suspense novel about two best friends who are torn apart by a life-shattering accident and the secrets left behind.
Vada Bergen is broke, the black sheep of her family, and moving a thousand miles away from home for grad school, but she s got the two things she loves most: her art and her best friend and sometimes more Ellis Carraway. Ellis and Vada have a friendship so consuming it s hard to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. It s intense. It s a little codependent. And nothing can tear them apart.
Until an accident on an icy winter road changes everything.
Vada is left deeply scarred, both emotionally and physically. Her once-promising art career is cut short. And Ellis pulls away, unwilling to talk about that night. Everything Vada loved is gone.
She s got nothing left to lose.
So when she meets some smooth-talking entrepreneurs who offer to set her up as a cam girl, she can t say no. All Vada has to do is spend a couple hours each night stripping on webcam, and the tips come pouring in.
It s just a kinky escape from reality until a client gets serious. Blue is mysterious, alluring, and more interested in Vada s life than her body. Online, they chat intimately. Blue helps her heal. And he pays well, but he wants her all to himself. No more cam shows. It s an easy decision: she s starting to fall for him. But the steamier it gets, the more she craves the real man behind the keyboard. So Vada pops the question:
Can we meet IRL?
Blue agrees, on one condition. A condition that will bring back a ghost from her past.
Now Vada must confront what she s been running from. A past full of devastating secrets those of others and those she s been keeping from herself "
About the Author
Leah Raeder is the author of Unteachable, Black Iris, and the forthcoming Cam Girl. Aside from reading her brains out, she enjoys graphic design, video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives with her very own manic pixie dream boy in Chicago. Visit her at LeahRaeder.com.