TBR Challenge Review/Thoughts: Rush by Maya Banks

This isn’t so much a review strictly as my thoughts on the book. I couldn’t not add them, and you’ll see why.

Rush by Maya Banks
Erotic romance released by Berkley on February 5, 2013

Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking…

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

I love friends to lovers stories. And who doesn’t enjoy a good erotic romance? I admit I’m behind on Maya Banks’s books, but a few of the newer ones I had read were more miss than hit for me, but I knew I wanted to give this new one a try. I’m glad I did. After all, I’m a huge sucker for best friend’s little sister romances. That whole forbidden thing.

Mia is an excellent character, and I were there were more like her out there in romance-world. She has a strong sense of self, and a great network set up. Beyond the family/parental support from her brother, she has friends who she can count on. Real friends who aren’t afraid to smack some sense into her. I liked that she was willing to take a stand and knew her own worth. For all that she’s young and a bit wishy washy in the “real world” sense, she’s allowed to be. She’s only twenty four, and has the good fortune of not having to worry about finances or security. I think this aspect actually allowed Ms. Banks to focus even more on the relationship.

Gabe is a guy any girl would have a hard time turning down. He’s damaged, but otherwise is unusual as your “bad boy billionaire hero” because he has great friends and family. Sure, not everything is coming up roses, but that’s just reality. He’s almost a regular guy in that in business he knows what he wants and more importantly, he gets it. But with interpersonal relationships, especially with Mia, he has to work for it. I liked the human quality to him. And that he knew when he was wrong and acted to make it right.

I’m not really into BDSM, and beyond that, with the sheer volume of such books, I’m over it. But, I enjoyed it here not on principle, but because it fit. That’s who Gabe and Mia are, and it’s how their relationship works. I think that was the biggest part for me. It wasn’t about how sexy or kinky the story could be, it was exploring their physical relationship.

I have to say, I read this book when it came out, and I’ve thought about it a lot. There were some major parts to it that bothered me, but then I argued with myself as to whether they are major or not. Mia and Gabe’s relationship begins with a contract. For employment, and for Mia to be Gabe’s lover. His actions and thrusting the contract upon her is where the journey begins. In the sense that it’s the start, that’s minor. The fact that it’s the basis of the relationship …

Gabe is supposed to be this major player in the business world. The fact that he uses a sex contract as legally binding makes part of my brain melt. And then his lawyer checks it? (Let’s not even talk about professional responsibility and disciplinary actions…) Hint: I’m not talking about a sex contract being scandalous. I’m talking about such a character assuming it’s legally binding. Or even to have that clause in Mia’s employment contract that she is to be constantly sexually available to him. Employment contract.

So you see, things like that really bothered me. But if I ignored it, the romance, writing, characterizations, were all great. I then thought – should I have to ignore such things to enjoy a romance?

And there you see my dilemma. If I stop getting into “those details” (which really should get hashed out in its own blog post), it’s great. The characters are well developed and genuine. I even liked Mia’s roommate Caroline enough to hope that she gets her own little HEA. (I’m starting to hate series so that’s a major concession from me.)

Of course there are great sex scenes, and what I liked was how realistic the progression of the relationship is depicted. While, of course, almost all the sex was amazing and the best ever, there were some situations that were uncomfortable. There’s a time when Gabe pushes Mia and it doesn’t turn out well. That’s something that is unusual for many erotic romances, and even detours from Ms. Banks’s other works. I believed it, and not having everything be sparkles pollyanna only made the story better.

One last thing – Gabe screws up. Hard. (What romance hero doesn’t?) Before I read this book I saw a lot of clamor about the awesome groveling Gabe does. (I admit, that was a part of why I picked up Rush as well. I adore a good grovel.) Maybe I’m too much of a hardass, but I wasn’t that impressed with it. Alas.

I’ve read the excerpt for the next book, Jace’s, and I’m already anticipating it. A lot. For those of you who like hot reads, I definitely recommend you read Rush. (And then I’d be curious to hear if you even notice those things that bothered me.) Because, as I said, if I take out those issues, I really liked it.

Grade: B

You can read an excerpt here or buy a copy here.

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