From the New York Times Bestseller Beth Kery comes this sizzling contemporary romance suspense, now re-edited and re-released after former publication by a previous publisher . . .
Belle is forced to mourn in secret after her lover, U.S. Attorney Sean Ryan, is murdered in a terrorist plot. When she has an irrational, intense sexual response to the mysterious stranger Jack Caldwell, Belle wonders if it’s due to delayed grief for Sean. Sean was the only man she’d ever responded to so completely, after all.
When she finds herself submitting wholly to Jack’s dominant, demanding manner in bed Belle begins to live on the sharp edge of doubt and uncertainty, even to the point of questioning her own sanity. Because Belle can’t let go of the crazy, impossible idea that Sean Ryan and Jack Caldwell are one and the same man.
So I never read the original – apparently it was published in 2007 … and I’m kind of happy about that, because everything – the edits etc, were new to me. I love Beth Kery’s writing. I think she’s one of the best authors of erotic romance out there. Even if (and when – because usually it does happen) the characters do something way out there to/for me … it’s still sexy because it works for them. The hero and heroine are always so in tune, and Ms. Kery’s writing has such depth and layers to it. It’s not just the sex – it’s the emotion, the cerebral connection – the full package. The “prompt” of the month’s TBR challenge is PNR or RS … and I’d say this is … peripheral RS? I kept thinking “this is the aftermath – the ‘everything else’ that happens around and after a RS.” It’s the thinking part of it, which makes sense because Ms. Kery (also) has a background in psychology. It’s suspense in and of the mind, not so much in action – as there is a lot of that … but it takes place “off page, off screen.” Can we call this an erotic low key psychological thriller? Because that’s what I’m doing. Continue reading →
When it comes to the wolves of Wall Street, Ryan Hamilton is the leader of the pack. But his bravado is all bluff. The bank he works for is up to it’s assets in fraud and shady deals. And thanks to pressure from the NYPD and FBI, Ryan is working as both a trader and a whistleblower. His only respite from the tension is when he parades his latest arm candy at a fancy lingerie shop.
Simone Demarchelier owns Irresistible, crafting custom high-end lingerie. So she’s more than happy that Ryan is spending a fortune on his women. But she senses that behind the hotshot facade there is something more. Something tortured and sad. And when he flies her out to the Hamptons in the shadow of a summer thunderstorm in order to fix one of her designs, she instead finds herself stuck in the opulent home with a distraught Ryan.
Is Simone the one person who can mend Ryan’s heart and soul?
Anne Calhoun wrote one of my favorite erotic romances – Liberating Lacey, so I’m always willing to give one of her books a try. I read the previous book in this series (The List), and I liked Evening Storm [even] more. There’s something about it that keeps me from loving it, but I did find the book very sexy, and an enjoyable read. I can’t quite put my finger on what was “off” for me because the premise while potentially off putting for people, didn’t bother me. There’s a stark and rather grim undertone throughout the novel, which makes everything unique. The back cover copy is itself unique because it describes something that happens near the end of the story.
Deb’s Review of Opening Up (Ink and Chrome Book 1) by Lauren Dane Contemporary erotic romance released by Forever on June 16, 2015
The men of the Twisted Steel custom hot rod and motorcycle shop are great with their hands…and they’re not afraid to get dirty.
PJ is exactly the kind of woman Twisted Steel owner Asa Barrons doesn’t need. The last thing he wants to do is mix business with pleasure, and PJ has some of the best custom detailing he’s ever seen. But the chemistry between them won’t be denied, and soon he’s introducing her to a whole new world in the bedroom, pushing her far beyond anything she’s ever experienced. PJ finds she can’t get enough, but how far is too far before he consumes her completely?
Lauren Dane owes me a new Nook. Fine, I’ll take a Kindle but it had better be fire-proof because it’s all her fault my Nook began overheating in Chapter ONE. By Chapter Three, I was using oven mitts and I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but the darn thing eventually melted in my lap. Continue reading →
It’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. Continue reading →
I remember reading Part I: The Proposition around the time it came out. I also remember being surprised that it was a series series … because a) I tend to avoid them b) it was still relatively new for romances to not have closure at the end of the “book.” So, I knew I didn’t want to read on until it was finished and I could read the series in one go. I like Jennifer Lyon’s writing, and have since she wrote as Jennifer Apodaca. Remember those Brava anthologies? Good stuff. I know the theme for this month was “a short,” but I’d also been wanting a well written sexy story. I re-read The Proposition then immediately glommed on to The Possession, and immediately The Obsession.
I’m not going to write a formal review because … well I don’t want to. But I do want to talk about the stor[ies]. Here’s the book blurb.
Savagely sexy billionaire Sloane Michaels ruthlessly controls his life and everything in it. Even his sex partners are carefully negotiated plus-one arrangements, including his latest, the fiery bakery owner, Kat Thayne. But Sloane’s control is challenged when his mentor becomes seriously ill, and his need for Kat, his need to possess her at all costs, rivals only his single-minded goal of vengeance for the murder of his sister.
After surviving an attack six years ago, Kat Thayne escaped her fears in the protective world of her beloved bakery. Then Sloane Michaels storms into her life, making her feel beautiful, strong and sexy. Yet as Kat pushes her boundaries and uncovers a dangerous secret in her past, Sloane’s controlling side emerges. Worried that Sloane will possess her mind, body and soul, Kat fights to keep her hard won independence. But just as Sloane demands her complete surrender, she discovers he has a dark side that could destroy them both.
Kat Thayne is a great character. I love how real she is – she’s damaged, but not broken, flawed, insecure, yet steady and certain. She’s basically the best we can all hope to be. I’d really love to be her friend, and to have a friend like that. Sloane Michaels is … as close to perfect as a guy (and hero) can get. He’s a giant teddy bear. And I mean giant. I liked how Ms. Lyons made the MMA aspect relevant, but not pedantic. The story is hot, but it’s also all about the relationship, which I find great. There was a part either in the second or third story where I got a little eye-roll-y, but the third story also made me cry. There’s this section that just … tears you up emotionally.
I don’t want to write huge spoilers, but I think Sloane’s driving force is habit, and his horrible mother. She’s what leads to the resulting conflict between Kat and Sloane, but they work it out. Usually I think the heroine is too soft for giving the hero another chance, or pursuing the relationship, but here it really worked, and I think was the best possible way for the story to be written.
Sloane’s light bulb moment is also a tiny bit deus ex machina, but I’m ok with it nonetheless. I know I sound incredibly vague, but I want you to read this trilogy! And then come back and talk to me about it!
I mean, chemist turned baker heroine, and MMA fighter turned billionaire mogul hero. They’re both damaged in different ways, yet the best they can be. Even the uber tragic past works – and usually I’m turned off by the excessively sad back story that doesn’t seem that realistic. (Thanks a lot for that, real life.)
I finished The Obsession at 3:30 AM and was practically screaming. Ms. Lyons is evil for ending Part II thus, and I was so glad I already had The Obsession on hand, so I could keep reading until I felt I reached an ok (and sufficiently happy) stopping point.
I also appreciate how Ms. Lyons gives us sufficient closure, and ends on a high note. I knew that things were good, that Kat and Sloane were going to work, and have their happy ever after, and that life would continue to happen, but they’d be ok. And isn’t that all we can ask for anyway?
So yay TBR challenge for pushing me to find and finish this series. I know I’ll be re-reading it, and looking for more of Ms. Lyon’s books. In fact, I found myself wishing for Marshall’s story, despite him already being engaged. In a way though, I hope that’s the end – always good to leave people wanting more, right? And I expect more wonderful, different stories from Jennifer Lyons.
(Incidentally, The Proposition is free right now for kindle/the kindle app, so go and get it right now!) Have you read these stories? Or anything by Jennifer Lyons/Apodaca? Any thoughts? 🙂
You guys! I cannot believe it’s already December! I can’t think about it. It’s also 2:23 AM and I kinda feel like I want to die but I have to get this done because it’s ShannonMcKenna!!! Meltdown and Out of Control are like two of my most favorite romances ever. If you’ve never read them, you must. Must. But anyway, I got Shannon to visit with us today, and she’s our special author of the month, and can you believe it – the last one of 2013!! Eep! But way to end on a high note, right? 😉 I had the chance to meet Shannon a few years ago and she is delightful.
Ms. McKenna opted for an “Author Interview” so … here we go! (I hope you enjoy – one of them made me cackle snort. :X)
Hi, Lime! Thanks so much for inviting me to be on your delightful blog! I’m so pleased to be here! And hello to all of you reading!
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done for research? what’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while doing research? In general, or for this book?
Well, gee. I have been playing around with this mind control trope for several books now, because it fascinates me, and it’s a metaphor for the way I fear we are already being controlled, in subtle and not so subtle ways, by the media, by our addiction to our devices and our social media, etc. I have been unnerved by the ways we are expanding our mental function with devices, and I doubt it will stop there. My fantasies about neuroscience allowing people ever deeper into each other’s heads, challenging the very basic premise of what it is to be a human being, are becoming more possible every day. A couple months ago, I found this article.
I was so horrified! We as humans are just not ready to go where this research will inevitably take us (if it hasn’t already gone there, long ago!) No matter how many innocent applications this research might have, I am sure that greedy, opportunistic people are rubbing their hands together and thinking “ka-ching.” I call myself a “lazy conspiracy theorist,” which is to say, plenty paranoid, but I don’t really have the time to do the research to be a proper conspiracy theorist, having book deadlines and small children. So mostly, I’m left with just the sense of creeping menace, but no hard facts to back it up. So what do I do? I make up crazy stories about my worst nightmares, and then create heroes and heroines to defeat them utterly and rescue us all. Works for me.
Hostile alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse? Which one do you think is more likely to happen? Which one is scarier?
Alien invasion, no contest! I do not stay awake nights worrying about either one, because I believe we are doing an admirable job of destroying our world and ourselves without any help at all from zombies or aliens, but I think that it is almost a certainty that there are other beings out there. The only reason I don’t say “an absolute certainty” is because I have not seen them with my own eyes. But the universe is so huge. It makes no sense, that we would be the only ones—but they must be so different from us, their agenda so unfathomable and unknowable. And they would probably also have the same personality ranges, from saintly good to twisted evil that we have here on Earth—why wouldn’t they? I believe there is always roughly the same percentages of people in any given place who are either doing their best to be kind and decent, or else just looking out for number one. With a handful on the far ends of the spectrum, a few noble righteous heroes, a sprinkling of hideous monsters. Can you tell I love sci fi? Heh.
A twisted fairy offers you perfect health. You’ll never be sick or get a migraine again. The catch is you’ll break a bone every three years until your 70th birthday. Nothing crippling, but still a break. (Anything from a femur to your pinky toe.) Do you take the offer?
Hell, no! I’ll take my chances with colds and flu and whatever else happens! And what about after I’m seventy? I hope to live to be a hundred! That’s a long time that I wouldn’t be covered! A whole generation! (I had a great aunt that lived to be 104. My great grandmother died at the age of ninety-four after having eighteen children. Who knows if I inherited their tough Ukrainian sinews or not? Only time will tell.
What five dead authors would you invite to a dinner party if you could?
Charlotte Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Dorothy Parker, Louisa May Alcott and Sappho. Big hen party. Wow, what a mix.
Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions? Either for before you begin a book, while you’re writing it, or around the time the book is released?
Not a lot of them, but I am very nervous about talking about a book to anyone before I have at least finished a first draft, as if the energy of another person’s attention could derail that delicate point of contact between my subconscious mind and the blank page. It’s so important to be able to write bad, stupid horrible shit without being judged for it—the minute someone looks at the writing, they start to have opinions that need to be fended off. It’s a mysterious thing.
Assume reincarnation. You have the power to bring Hitler back as any animal/creature you want for his next ten lives. What do you pick? (Or would you switch it up? And if so, what?)
Wow, that’s tough! Ten lives? That would hardly be enough to work out the karma that guy took onto himself! But it’s a complicated question, because he was totally insane. My first thought is that he should definitely be reborn into lives in which he has to experience just what he dished out, but that is problematic, since it requires envisioning more concentrated cruelty. My mind boggles at the task. Maybe I’d just take him back to animal form. Let him be an ox, pulling a heavy plow for a hundred lives or so, and then a sheep chewing on the grass a few hundred more. Just let him take a big, loooonnnggg time out, and chill the hell out before he tries again with human form.
What is one question you always wish as an author people would ask but nobody ever does?
I don’t believe in having expectations, insofar as it is humanly possible. (This is my ideal, zen-calm self! I realized, as soon as I wrote that, that I have all kinds of expectations; about toilet seats being put down, and undies getting into the laundry, and homework getting done on time, and violins getting practiced, and people obeying traffic signals, but hey. I try) Longing for validation from people is just setting myself up for suffering and pissiness, and dissatisfaction in general. I’m just happy that people read my books. They don’t need to have any curiosity about me or my process at all, as long as they enjoy the end result!
If you were a serial killer, who would be your target? And what would be your modus operandi? [What would be your “calling card,” and what memento from each victim would you take?] (Is your target = old men, young men, school children, college aged women, etc.)
Um. Blinking, stupidly. I just can’t go there! I tried to watch Dexter, because I think that actor is brillaint, but I just couldn’t bond with a guy that would do that. And I do plenty of blood and guts in my stories, too! This is a tough one, because I have really internalized the concept that curses come home to roost tenfold, so you better watch out what you put out there into the universe. I’m such a wuss! I don’t want to take any chances!
Another issue is, if I create a character, I have to be able to love him or her, probably because s/he is just another facet of myself. I can’t imagine an instance in which I could love a serial killer. My imagination just won’t stretch that far! It thwacks right back in my face, like a rubber band! (ouch!)
Tell us two truths and a lie. (The catch is you’ll have to tell us what the truth is eventually in the comments. :D)
Let’s see . . . My favorite kid’s book is Anne of Green Gables. I love sexy high-heeled shoes. And I grew up in a in a hippie enclave, in a fragrant cloud of smoke.
Who/what is your favorite cartoon character of all time? Why?
Letterman, from The Electric Company! Who’s faster than a rolling O, more powerful than silent E, and able to leap capital T in a single bound? God, I loved that show when I was little. It taught me to read early, which influenced my destiny!
You have to listen to only one genre of music for the rest of your life. What do you pick?
Classic sixties and seventies rock. I just love the stuff. Gimme that old time rock and roll—that kinda music just soothes the soul!
You have the opportunity to be part of any TV show for one episode. (One that is on or off the air.) Which one do you pick, and what is your role?
I want to be in Prison Break . . . I want to be rescued by dreamboat Michael, mmmmm, and then break him out of prison with my intrepid brilliance, and go live with him on a desert island forever. Hell with Sarah. She was such a sad sack, always moping around. Kick her to the curb. Recast it, with me, me, me! Ahem. (cough)
What’s the most unique/strange silly skill your possess?
I can make a seriously awesome pancake man with chocolate chip eyes for my kids. Or a pancake teddy bear, too, when put to it. I have even been known to make pancake aliens, to return to the alien theme. I guess I have an affinity for aliens.
What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you at school? What about at a conference?
I haven’t been to enough conferences to have embarrassments to recount, sadly, but how about the time I was caught reading a very erotic spoof of the Lord Of The Rings that I’d picked up from home, on my playground during recess, in the second grade. I believe the playground monitor caught me reading a very spicy interlude between Dildo Baggins and the seductive Queen of the Elves. They called my parents. Very bad scene. It was pretty embarrassing for my mother, but I think I weathered it all right. And just look how I turned out in the end! (cackling)
Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? least? Why? Which character would you want to be?
I’m really fascinated these days by the tale of the Frog Prince. I recently read this essay about zen meditation that talked about the trope of “finding the golden ball,” which requires the collaboration of some unattractive or scary or icky creature from the watery depths, like the frog, or the scary witch, or whatever; it depends on the culture, and the version of the tale. The essay asserts that around the age of eight or so, we lose that “golden ball” which represents the wonder and innocence of our childhood, and then we spend the rest of our adulthood trying to recuperate the mature version of that marvel and wonder. But in order to do so, we must make peace with the deep, scary, wild, unattractive aspects of ourselves which come from the barren wilderness or the cold watery depths. We have to kiss the frog, so to speak. So I’m just here to state, to everyone concerned, that I’m fully ready to kiss any and all frogs who come along. I want that golden ball. I really, really want it. It’s why I’m a writer. It’s why I love this crazy stuff so much. Not only do I want my own golden ball—I want my stories to help everyone else find their golden balls, too. Golden balls for everyone!
Thanks for the wacky and wonderful questions, Lime! I wish everyone many wonderful books and magical golden balls charged with wonder and mystery (Christmas balls, too!) for the holiday season to come!
Thanks so much for being such a good sport, Shannon! Now, I want to know – have any of you read Shannon McKenna’s books before? Do you like romantic suspense? And books with a lot of heat? (Sexytimes of omg yes.)
Lara Kirk lives in a shadowy world where reality and fantasy are one. Her captors have poisoned her body with concoctions that enhance psychic abilities – and they seem to be working. To escape, Lara has formed a deep attachment with a man whose virile, sensual presence in her mind is her only comfort. She’s not even sure if he’s real – until the six-foot-five-inch powerhouse bursts in to rescue her…Once freed, Lara has no choice but to trust Miles with her life as they run from enemies too twisted to imagine. But they’re also fighting a dangerous attraction that could kill – or save – them both. Either way, it’s going to be a hell of a ride…
And pssst One Wrong Move is on sale right now for just $1.99! Amazon tells me that’s 75% off! Come on – I saw you ogling that cover. Admit it. 😛
You know the drill – ask Shannon any question you like. Be it about her books, writing, or you know, try to top one of the crazy ones I asked her. 😉 I like being entertained. And someone will win a copy of Fatal Strike! Yay! And so you know what you might be getting…
Hello my darlings! I apologize for the late post. I’ve had this – but … well, you know how it’s been. Everyone has been staying on level 15+ evil lately. I was still doing laundry at 2 AM and thought “complete the post, or triage my health?” And decided to go with the latter. I figured since you’re all wonderful you’d be ok with that.
I can’t believe we’re so far into November – the second Tuesday in fact, so it’s time for an exclusive excerpt. Today we have the lovely and talented Beth Kery sharing with us. Because We Belong is a book I’ve read, and can wholeheartedly recommend. In fact, it’s one of my favorites of 2013. You have to read this series (I think it helps) – although I guess you could read this one to stand alone … but why would you?!
Erm – and fair warning, this is definitely an erotic romance. So if that’s not your thing … come back later >.>
In Because We Belong Ian and Francesca return to reignite the exquisite passions that drew them together, and to finally face the intimate secrets that threatened to separate them forever. The secrets of an inescapable past that was one man’s darkest mystery—a darkness that seduced one woman and forever held her spellbound with forbidden desire. For both of them, the next step is total abandon.
Francesca spun around when she heard Ian shut the door with a thud. Blood roared in her ears when she heard the snick of the lock.
“What are you doing?” she asked when he came toward her.
“You asked me this morning if I’d been with another since we’d been apart and I told you no. Can you say the same to me?” he demanded coldly.
“I don’t owe you any explanations for my behavior for the last six months, Ian,” she grated out, infuriated by his manner, but inexplicably excited as well.
“Are you sleeping with my cousin?” he shot out, stepping closer.
She backed up until her bottom ran into the edge of the washer.
“No. But even if I was, it wouldn’t be any of your business.”
“Do you want to fuck him?” he asked crudely. “Because he obviously wants it. Rumor has it he’s a good lover. Do you figure he’d do the trick for you?”
She slapped his cheek. Hard. She’d never hit anybody before. It felt fantastic . . . and yet she’d never hated her loss of control more.
Her flash of aggression barely seemed to penetrate Ian’s consciousness.
He opened his hand along her jaw and tilted up her face. “Francesca?” His voice was quieter this time, but it was still an order for her to respond. He pressed nearer still, until their fronts were plastered together, her breasts heaving against his jacket-covered ribs, the fullness behind his fly becoming increasingly more obvious against her belly. It felt so good, so elementally right, that for a moment she couldn’t focus on what he was asking her.
“No I don’t want to fuck Gerard, damn it,” she spat, so angry that it was true, furious that she couldn’t find some way to sever this throbbing cord of connection she felt to Ian. His gaze ran over her face hungrily. She found herself straining toward him, her teeth bared.
Her feelings were so confused in that volatile moment, she honestly couldn’t say if she wanted to kiss him or bite at him like an animal and draw blood. His eyelids narrowed. He frightened her a little bit at that moment. She wasn’t the only one about to loose control.
“Go on,” he said.
She blinked at his low taunt and felt his erection swell against her. Her heartbeat roared in her ears.
“Take a bite, Francesca.”
He barely got out her name before she put her hand on the back of his head and pushed him to her, her mouth molding his roughly, her teeth scraping his lower lip as she sucked the captive flesh, her tongue licking and plunging and seeking. It was an angry consumption more than a kiss, and one he didn’t allow to be one-sided for long. Within seconds he leaned down over her, forcing her back to arch, the barrier of their clothing feeling both insubstantial against their mingling heat and pressing bodies, and also unbearably intrusive.
God, she needed to feel his naked body against hers, needed to be filled by him . . . absolutely required him to prove he was there with her in that moment in the most primal way possible.
So what’d you think?!?! Good, yes? 😀 Go get a copy!!! I’ll wait. [Then we can discuss it. :D] I actually did a First Look on it over at H&H too! If you didn’t get enough, here’s an additional excerpt you can read on Beth’s site.
Afterburn by Sylvia Day Contemporary erotic romance novella released by Cosmo Red Hot Reads from Harlequin on August 15, 2013
The realization that Jax still affected me so strongly was a jagged pill to swallow. He’d only been part of my life for five short weeks two years ago. But now he was back. Walking into a deal I’d worked hard to close. And God, he was magnificent. His eyes were a brown so dark they were nearly black. Thickly lashed, they were relentless in their intensity. Had I really thought they were soft and warm? There was nothing soft about Jackson Rutledge. He was a hard and jaded man, cut from a ruthless cloth.
In that moment I understood how badly I wanted to unravel the mystery of Jax. Bad enough that I didn’t mind how much it was going to cost me…
I know – we’re all shocked I’m writing a review. If my life stops being a death factory, we can expect more. (And what a contradictory phrase right?) That’s actually kind of how I feel about Afterburn. Meaning, I don’t know what I feel about it precisely. I think I liked it overall, but I can’t say that with confidence, and I’ve been waffling about the grade since I read it.
Gianna Rossi is a kickass heroine. She’s twenty-five, which I appreciate. (I’m so not into NA.) But also, because it makes sense for someone who has been working to put herself through school. Beyond that, she knows what she wants, and goes for it. Even if she isn’t fearless internally, she puts that face forward, which is what I think all of us would like to do. I love that Ms. Day gave her a large, and very supportive family. She’s determined and I really liked her… until midway through then I didn’t really get her. You’ll see why.
Jackson Rutledge is a really interesting hero. In fact, I don’t know (yet) that he really is the hero. By which I mean, I question if he is “heroic” or “proper hero material.” He’s in love with Gia, but he broke up with her by dropping off the face of the earth without a word to her. Also, he’s a self acknowledged asshole. Which, kudos for being self aware. That isn’t something many romance heroes are, but I haven’t seen him as a good guy. He appears to be protecting Gianna by making decisions for her, so in a way he’s an alphahole hero. He’s twenty-nine, and of course in the vein of erotic romances these days, wildly successful. In this case, I find it more believable because it’s family money. And politics. That’s where nepotism breeds.
As you see, I’m conflicted about this book. I like the writing, and I got into it, even though it’s first person. I really think Sylvia Day does a great job with this tense, despite my generally avoiding it. (I really liked her historicals, which is why I read and read her contemporaries.) My issue here is, I had thought this was an awesome story, and basically the Crossfire books made good… but then something changed, and I felt that maybe Gia and Jax were really meant to be apart, despite having loved (or even loving) each other. There’s something not entirely healthy about the relationship that made me uncomfortable.
I think I’m not convinced as to why Gia wants to get back together with Jax. She’s decided he’s bad for her and she’s moving on, and she’ll have some revenge/goodbye sex… but then she decides she wants a relationship. I felt I missed a step there. For Jax, Gia is the one who got away, and his family machinations have put her in his path. I think the fact that both don’t think this relationship can last is what bothers me. I don’t see that as a romance.
I believe Aftershock will conclude this story arc (and I really hope so). I expect I’ll re-read Afterburn at that point. I re-read when Gia and Jax meet again and hook up in Afterburn for this review, but I think that’s enough for me until I know there will be closure.
While those are my issues, and they seem numerous, I will say I really enjoy Sylvia Day’s writing style, and her characters. They’re so dynamic, and the story is so engaging. I wish more authors wrote like this, and wrote characters like this. It’s the story – as in the content that rubs me the wrong way, specifically the romantic relationships. The interpersonal ones between characters is great. I love that the hero and heroine have friends and family. (Although her heroes are generally loners.) It’s the question of whether or not the hero and heroine are good together and should be together that make the questions start swirling in my head.
For this novella, if you like Sylvia Day, I recommend you read it. In fact, I expect many of you already have. However, if you like contemporary erotic romances generally… I’d probably suggest waiting if you can until the second (and final?) part is out. I do look forward to that eagerly.
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.
Hey kids (please don’t be offended – I call everyone “kids” – including my parents)! We’ve got Eden Connor visiting with us today! She’s a new to me author, so this is fun. 🙂 Eden emailed me a while back to be a guest, and I immediately found a date for her, because you all know how I like meeting new people and hearing about books! So you know the drill, a warm welcome and please share your thoughts!
Thank you for the opportunity to drop by and share some background about my new contemporary erotic romance series, Those Devilish De Marco Men. These love stories are set in a southern town so small that when people ask, “How’s your mama and them?” they already know the answer. Down south, if by chance you meet a stranger, they’ll ask, “Are you any relation to…” and they’ll keep going until they figure out how you’re connected. These stories are tinted with laughter and pain, big trucks, blue collars, and enduring love, set around the De Marco family’s neglected peach farm and the garage where they currently make their living.
Any small town in Dixie is a place where the past can seem more important than the present, clinging to your shoes as tenaciously as the red clay. We’ll sweep you off your feet with our saucer-sized magnolias, cool good manners, and honeysuckle-scented moonlight, but never forget passions here run deep.
While this town’s eligible ladies may lust after three brothers with the dark good looks of their Italian forefathers, it’s well known Daniel, Eric, and Colton each have commitment issues regarding the fairer sex. Some local belles might fear they’ve inherited whatever hard-hearted trait of their father’s drove their mother Cammie to run away, only to be followed later by their sister Sarah. Yet once these hardworking men begin to tumble into love like tall, dark dominoes, you can bet the burning question asked all over town is, “Why did he pick her, of all people?”
What could lead Colton, the youngest brother, to fall for Lila, who’s more than a decade older? Some might say the quietest of the three fell for the widow because he was seeking a replacement for his mother and needed someone to help raise his nephew Jonah. Before Lila can return his love, she’s going to have to slay some demons of her own and back off more than one town gossip in Soft Sounds of Pleasure.
I’m a southern gal, born and bred, living my entire adult life in such a town. We like our tea sweet and our men well-mannered and hard-working. Nothing here is more sacred than family, meaning I had to answer the question raised in Colton’s story, why Cammie De Marco would walk away from Rafe, a husband everyone knows loved her more’n life itself, not to mention abandoning her four little children.
The answer became the trellis upon which Wildly Inappropriate, the second story in the series, was built. The unconventional love between his parents and the influence of his domineering father makes Dan the kind of caveman you can’t wait to see brought to his knees by love. This straight-laced chip off the old block will have to withstand his share of scorn when he falls for Cynda. In a place where interracial relationships are still looked at askance and black women are known for being strong, what’s the bigger scandal, the fact that Dan’s in love with a black woman, or that Cynda secretly needs to be spanked, for both foreplay and discipline?
Rafael De Marco’s descent into the bottle is the astringent back story for Incidental Contact, due out early next year. Growing up watching his father pine for their mother has made Eric believe he has to be the first one out the door to keep from being hurt. Without a woman to temper him, Rafe’s harsh reactions to some of his middle son’s shenanigans make Eric secretly fear he’s not worth loving. Because a southern gentleman cannot refuse a lady, Eric has no choice but to take in Amy, a young tomboy who referees all kinds of sports. Amy’s what the town gossips would call ‘pleasantly plump, bless her heart’, whenever they give talking about Lila and Cynda a rest. How does a plain, overweight, tomboyish science teacher land the hottest man in town?
Come fall in love with the De Marco brothers. You won’t even have to shave your legs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I use my B.A. in Psychology to write contemporary erotic romances filled with characters you can love, making decisions you can respect. Most of my stories are set where I live, in South Carolina, so expect the handsome stranger to come equipped with a slow southern drawl.
You can find Eden at her Blog, Twitter, or Facebook