Tag Archives: Contemporary Erotic Romance

Guest Review: Coming Back by Lauren Dane

Ki’s Review of Coming Back by Lauren Dane
Contemporary erotic romance released by Hachette on December 8, 2015

Coming BackMick Roberts, the newest partner at Twisted Steel’s custom hotrod and motorcycle shop, looks like a man with everything. But secretly he still craves the connection he lost when his best friend Adam and the love of his life Jessilynn walked out. Then, he wasn’t ready for the pleasure they promised. Now, things have changed.

Rich, powerful, and insatiable, Adam Gulati is used to getting what he wants. And there’s nothing he wants more than Mick and Jessi. He hasn’t seen either in over a year, but the second he sets eyes on them again his memories-and his desires-can’t be denied.

After trying to live without them, Jessi Franklin realized no one else can satisfy her like Adam and Mick. The three of them need one another-in more ways than one. It’s time to stop pretending and submit to the hunger they all share. But once they go down this road, there’s no turning back. As deeply devoted as they are, no one knows what great bliss their forbidden fantasy will find-or the price they may pay . . .

This was my first book by Lauren Dane and I would never have picked this up myself but the blurb hooked me in a way I never would have thought. I still don’t know why it caught my interest because I don’t really like ménage à trois reads, but this just did. Maybe it was the characters or how I wanted to know what’ll happen next, or maybe it’s because I’ve been reading some good ménage à trois lately. Who knows.

The heroine, Jessi, I found really likable and had lots of sass. She has a huge heart that is full of love and understanding. She’s very independent and  has this “I don’t give an F attitude” especially when it comes down to both her men and towards those who hurt them. She speaks her mind and is a surprising little chit who says it as it is. Jessi is stubborn and very protective and doesn’t like to be bossed around, except in the bedroom by her Dom. She’s the keystone in the relationship which kept the trio together and brought them back together. She also never gave up on them even if they were the ones who left her. I’m still not sure how to place her because of her love for both men but I do feel like she loves Mick much more because of their long history and Adam is there because she needed the Dom for both her and Mick.

As for the first hero, Adam, I first thought he was the Beta in this trio because of his emotional awareness and how he wears his emotions on his sleeves, but as it turned out he’s the Dom in the bedroom and is very possessive. This means he’s also bossy and will do anything to get it his way, even irritating people to it. On the other side he’s very neat and clean and can be vulnerable when he thinks about he past wrongs to the people he loves. He definitely has the Alpha attitude if you look at it closely, he just hides it very well. He’s more on the needy side of the relationship and more open in sharing  his feelings with Jessi and Mick. His love is more on the sex side – the physical – and I see that he loves Mick more because they were best friends.

Mick on the other hand has tattoos and has this bad boy look which I initially thought made him the Alpha male with his strength and muscled bode, but he’s more on the Beta side. He’s a Sub and less controlling than Adam and very vulnerable. He had trouble accepting his bisexuality and dealing with his family on this taboo which lead him to leave in the first place but he has grown to realize that he couldn’t live without Jessi and Adam in his life. He’s the referee in the relationship but also the dependant. He’s known Jessi the longest, since childhood, and has a much deeper bond with her than Adam does so his love is more on the friends side of love, that turned into love-love, if you understand it. But with Jessi, I saw it as more of the true m/f love relationship.

What I liked was there was no overarching drama and huge misunderstanding. It was plain and simple and love all around. The main characters and secondary characters were great. Jessi’s parents were the most lovable parents around. Duke and Asa (from the previous books) were very intriguing and I’ll likely be reading their stories. I liked that we got POVs of all three characters within the chapters and got to understand each of their history and feelings towards each other. I also liked that we got to know how Jessi, Adam, and Mick changed from the past to the present and how they felt during those times they were separated. Their progress was a bit quick but I loved that they each had to reconnect with each other again, and what almost felt like a re-introduction.

What I had problems with was the pacing. How the book started, how fast they all seemed to accept what happened in the past, and just how quickly they just got back together. Like there was some tension and uncomfortable moments but I felt like there should have been some time to work things through and ease their way back together than just jumping right onto the wagon no matter how much they desired being together. Yes it’s going back to the there’s no drama bit, but I felt issues weren’t addressed, and it was just a bit unrealistic without more difficulties. It also felt like I was just thrown into the story right in the middle of things. It as as if I started off from a cliffhanger and I had to read the previous stories to get it.

It was also very difficult, for me personally, because with Coming Back at points I would just want Jessi and Mick together, or Jessi and Adam, or Mick and Adam! For this book I just wanted one story with two people! Three makes it hard! A third wheel! When there’s romances with two people and I’m got invested and then the third came in….the fire died for me. I had to change gears and prepare for the other character’s thoughts and introspection of the relationship. It just messes with my romance. Just something personal.

So, my overall impression is that I might have to read the previous stories to understand Mick in those books to really have a full on feel and comprehension of his story in this book. Although I wasn’t very connected to any of the characters I really did enjoy the story and definitely enjoyed the sex. It isn’t that I don’t like ménage à trois romances, I just haven’t read that many, and for Coming Back I think I would have liked to see a couple instead of the trio.

Grade: C+

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

TBR Challenge Review: Holding My Breath by A. M. Hartnett

Holding My Breath by A.M. Harnett
Contemporary erotic romance released by HarperCollins Mischief on August 28, 2014

Holding My BreathIt’s a skill not every man possesses, and it can’t be taught. That’s why I’m good at what I do.

For half his life Quinn has been making his living as a professional Casanova. Challenged by Molly to take his business elsewhere, he strikes a bargain with her: give him until New Year’s Eve and she’ll never see him again, and in the meantime he’ll make it worth her while.

As their arrangement becomes a passionate affair, there’s no denying that Molly’s been waiting for him to come into her life for a very long time. She never imagined that a man like Quinn would be the one.

​This book was one of those serendipitous reads that delight a reader. I have a number of other books I’d been meaning to review … but Holding My Breath is just the most standout book I’ve read lately. I’m not even sure how I found it – perhaps seeing it in my library’s digital collection? And some late night I clicked and read it pretty much in one go. I’ve already started reading another book by A.M. Hartnett. (Actually, book one. I accidentally read them out of order, but for me personally, I think it worked out better that way.) Also a draw was Ms. Hartnett’s last name – I’ve got major positive association because of Hayden-Harnett (a delicious Brooklyn based Handbags & Accessories company).

I’m not even following usual ALBTALBS format because this book is so unique. There isn’t much to say but there’s everything to say. So. Onward.

Molly is your regular broken person. I liked that she’s so very normal. She’s thirty, going through a divorce, and dealing with significant emotional baggage. Molly also falls quickly and deeply into a relationship with Quinn, and I liked that as well.

This book is hot. I mean, you expect that, what with Quinn being a male prostitute. (He doesn’t like the word gigolo.) Ms. Hartnett’s writing is really engaging, and a book that you might think is really stark and more like erotica works as a romance. Really well. There are tender moments between Molly and Quinn and it’s clear there’s more than sex between them. Although there is a lot of sex. In fact, so much that even my erotic romance loving self was all “ok tell me what happens — enough with the fucking!”

Holding My Breath also packs an emotional punch. At a moment you aren’t expecting it you get a fist to the gut and it just floors you as a reader. For me, that’s what took the book to the next level – when Quinn “comes clean” to Molly about his plans. I don’t want to spoil it, because I hope you’ll read the book.

There’s the juxtaposition of the characters being so very normal… but not. Also the ~unusual aspect of Quinn being the more romantic one in the relationship. While it takes them a while to define it, it’s clear Molly and Quinn are in it for the long haul. And that Quinn pushes for more. He gets his way a lot because frankly, he’s a sex bomb. So for Molly, it’s win-win. I liked that Molly is a self actualized sexual woman. There’s none of this slut shaming going on, which is nice. Molly is a grown ass woman who is going to have sex if she wants to, and have a damn good time while doing it. And why not do it with the best?

In a way Holding My Breath is a grand sexual romp with two broken people that find their new selves in each other. The sex is a major benefit, but it’s a side one. Quinn and Molly are able to be genuine with each other because “their worst” is laid out from the start. Quinn is a prostitute Molly is supposed to shoo away from her hotel, but instead she indulges one night with him. And then more. They click sexually first, but quickly emotionally as well. Kudos also to Ms. Harnett for the characters. Quinn is thirty-six, and Molly thirty. Both are established in their lives and mature enough to know what they want, and don’t want.

Quinn has a dry sense of humor, and is so matter of fact about his profession. He has his scars too – so it’s not all hunky dory. Basically Holding My Breath brings it all together for me. Great characters and characterization, really engaging prose, humor, substance, and more emotional depth than you expected. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes erotic romances.

Grade: B+

You can buy a copy here.