Over the course of the five books in Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, a veritable Shakespearean tragedy has unfolded between Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell, with everything from murder, betrayal, disastrous misunderstandings and, of course, near-fatal passion woven into each installment. In One with You, the final book in this whirlwind romance (the books take place over three-ish months, while readers have been clamoring for new Crossfire novels since 2012!) Eva and Gideon must put the demons of their pasts to rest once and for all, or else the next time one of them pushes the other away, it could be the final straw for their relationship.
At the start of the book, Gideon and Eva are in a dark place: after Gideon demanded that Eva leave her job by luring her boss to his company, Eva left him, and the state of their marriage is unclear. In an effort to win Eva back, Gideon has done the unthinkable (well, he already did that when he went after Eva’s former stepbrother and rapist, but semantics). He confessed the childhood abuse he suffered at the hands of a trusted therapist to his current therapist—something that Eva had insisted he must try to do, if they are ever going to be able to put their pasts aside. Over the course of the novel, both Gideon and Eva make compromises for one another that signal their days of knock-down-drag-out fights, makeup-sex and miscommunications are coming to an end; to be truly one with each other, they need to learn to communicate without using sex as a crutch.
I loved reading Gideon’s journey from shame to acceptance over the course of these books, but especially in One with You. Gideon’s first step—talking about his rape—leads to a series of events that force him to confront his triggers and not, as he had in previous books, push Eva away as a result. One particular scene stands out as a game-changer for Gideon’s character: when he finally talks to his mother about how she refused to believe him when he claimed he was being abused. Male rape survivors are still taboo not only in society, but in the romance world as well, so I applaud Day’s ability to write a romantic hero with both vulnerability and sex appeal in spades.
I was also excited to see Eva suggest that they remain celibate until the wedding. In the Crossfire series, there’s a sexual encounter on every other page, which, while steamy, doesn’t do much to advance the plot or Gideon and Eva’s character development. I was looking forward to the anticipation and delayed gratification of watching these two people who rely on sex to express their love having to use their words and deeds for a change—though they don’t wait for long. Romance is all about torturing characters before finally giving them their happy ending, and seeing Gideon Cross tempted at length by the wife he couldn’t have might have actually have set my book on fire.
While watching Eva leave her job to appease Gideon’s protective nature made me a little uneasy, I enjoyed watching her bloom in confidence when confronted by numerous obstacles—including a tabloid scandal and a tell-all book—that would previously have made her question Gideon’s loyalty. Day has chosen to finally allow Eva to transcend petty jealousy and insecurity, giving her and Gideon the chance for a happily ever after that has all too often seemed out of reach.
The most enjoyable parts of One with You were, unsurprisingly, on theme with the title. Where Gideon and Eva felt most in-sync with one another, both in the bedroom and in their daily lives, I allowed myself to be one with these characters as they finally achieved their long-sought-after happiness. One with You does not end on a perfectly happy note, though, something I appreciate about Day’s approach to writing trauma; Gideon and Eva will still need to battle the insecurities and scars left to them by their childhoods, but they know now that when they do so together, they are stronger than when they suffer alone.
One with You is on shelves April 5.