A blend of sympathetic characters, the heroine’s emotional journey and hot fantasy sex overcome the far-fetched plot in Maya Banks’ latest erotic romance.
The drama between Nathan Tucker and Julie Stanford stems from a Big Misunderstanding: he’s so in awe of her that he can barely get 2 words out in her presence and instead comes off as uninterested. Julie is a drama queen and doesn’t accept his apparent disinterest with good grace. Oh, no, this brassy chick makes a final attempt to get Nathan’s attention by throwing in a free blow job with his back massage before telling him that she is no longer offering him her services (those of a legitimate nature, at least) and avoiding him for a week out of sheer vindictiveness and petulance. After all, why shouldn’t he know what he’s missed and keep her from being the only frustrated one?
She doesn’t feel bad about violating her professional ethics or deliberately stirring Nathan up knowing she has no intention of letting things go further and decides to exorcise her Nathan demon with an anonymous threesome at The House (the private sex club run by Damon Roche, hero of the previous book in the series, Sweet Persuasion). But her sexual equivalent of a hissy fit works because when mutual friend Micah Hudson tells Nathan about Julie’s fantasy, he’s dying to get involved. For her own good, of course. After all, no other man is good enough. Except maybe, much to Nathan’s dismay, Micah, who knows his way around a ménage.
Put this way, the plot sounds pretty bloody ridiculous, but when I was reading, I found it easy to go along with the conflict created by Julie’s need for emotional and sexual release from her perceived unrequited lust for Nathan versus his superior male drive to save her from herself and get the upper hand or at least regain his equilibrium. I wanted to see them both get their comeuppance from the other because when they had sex, sparks flew, and I enjoy a romance with a bit of a combative edge and banter between the hero and heroine.
Another reason to accept the plot is that Julie was acting out from a sense of hurt pride, and over the course of her relationship with Nathan, she learns more about herself and her needs and grows up into someone ready for an intimate relationship rather than just a good time. Nathan needed a kick in the arse to see he was going to miss out on the woman he was attracted to, but I think Julie’s strategy of making a move on someone she believes isn’t interested and walking away before he can even say, ‘WTF?!’ was overkill. Sometimes I wasn’t convinced he would be strong enough to handle her shenanigans, but he proved to be the more mature of the two by wanting to talk about what’s going on instead of flying off the handle and plotting crazy schemes.
Although Nathan and Julie are very much the focus of this book, we’re also reunited with Faith and Gray as well as Serena and Damon. Without spoiling their stories too much, although their main issues were resolved in their books, neither couple had married by their books’ conclusions and there were a few things that needed to be settled before this could happen, which Banks accomplishes without stealing too much attention from her main characters.
Sweet Seduction also sees Micah progress from his origins as the man on the outside, who gets this close to the heroines, but never ends up with them, to a haunted hero. We learn more about his past and how much we never knew about him in an interesting enough way that I want to read his book and not just to see the odd man out find his HEA. We also see who his heroine will be and what they will have to overcome in the next book, but this was covered in a single chapter.
The vacuum left by Micah as a sidelined almost-hero is being filled by Cole, an attendant at The House who Julie says has the worst job because he prepares women for sex and is barely allowed a small taste of them. No doubt we’ll see more of him as The House features in all of the books so far.
Yay or nay?
You’ll enjoy the book if you don’t look too closely at the premise, which only seemed ridiculous to me after I’d finished the book. Banks whips up a light and frothy blend of sympathetic characters, the heroine’s emotional journey and hot fantasy sex that made a nice departure from my steady diet of paranormals and urban fantasy. I devoured Sweet Seduction in two nights.
Sweet Seduction was released in October and is published by Berkley Heat. The next book in the series, Sweet Temptation, is due for release in April 2010.
Where you can buy this book
AUSTRALIA: Booktopia | Dymocks | Ever After | Fishpond | Intrigue | Nile | Rendezvous | Romance Direct | Romantic Reflections | Siren | More
EBOOKS: Books On Board | Diesel | Dymocks | eBooks.com | Fictionwise | Kindle
WORLDWIDE: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository
Books in the Sweet series