Author: Maya Banks
Genre: Contemp Erotic Romance
Series: 3rd in the Sweet Series (ongoing)
Reason for Reading: Maya Banks is my crack
Ramblings: If you have read the previous 2 books in this series, then you know that Julie, our mouthy zaftig heroine (that is so NOT her body on the cover), has the hots for bald & goateed Nathan. She’s been trying to peak his interest by pushing her Double D’s in his face whenever he comes to her parlor for a massage. To no avail. This is their story.
When the book begins, things comes to a head. Literally. Julie is tired of chasing that lunkhead Nathan anymore so she is gonna blow him and then blow him off. Then she arranges (through Damon, the hero of Sweet Persuasion, who is some sort of Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island there to fulfill one’s desires) to have anonymous sex with two strangers while she is blindfolded on consecutive weekends.
Guess who turns out to be one of the two men Julie has her menage with? I was surprised that Damon wasnt held more accountable for letting Nathan find out about Julie’s confidential request and becoming one of the two “strangers” when he knows that Julie wants to move on from Nathan. One of the many small details that dampened my reading experience a little, although I thought this was a good novel for the most part.
A lot of the trends that showed up in the series so far is continued here. The Sex in the City-type funny banter between the three heroines of the first 3 books is more consistent throughout, making this the most humorous book MB has ever written. There is also some good verbal sparring between the men and MB shows continuing improvement in writing from a male POV, altho Nathan calling Julie a “heifer” kinda pissed me off. As in:
Nathan’s eyes narrowed. “So you knew what she was going to do?”
Faith raised one eyebrow. “I knew she was planning something. Just not what
“Vengeful heifer,” Nathan muttered. (Page 19)
Fuck if his face didn’t light on fire, and the heifer [Julie] knew it. (Page 113)
It was just as well the independent heifer learn to have him around because he
didn’t plan to go anywhere, despite her repeated attempts to shake him. (Page 232)
Um, I thought it was understood that women can call each other “heifer” or “whore” or “bitch” in mock affection but if a man tries that with a woman, he is liable to get his face kicked in. It’s a similar principle as black people calling each other “nigger”. They may do that to each other with no foul, but a non-black person would be crazy to ever let that word pass their lips.
Also started in the first two bks and continuing here is the fact that neither of the H/Hs of the first 2 are married yet. The H/H (Gray & Faith) of Sweet Surrender have a misunderstanding that is reminiscent of the Marcus & Lillian misunderstanding in A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas. In another words, it was stupid, annoying, unnecessary and took space away from the main H/H where it belonged. (I will say tho that the scene with the pregnancy test was fresh and very well-written but since I am from the “Kill all your darlings” school, it doesnt matter.)
There was a bit of an uproar over the nature and presentation of the BDSM when the second book, Sweet Persuasion, in the series came out. Perhaps in response to it, MB writes what can be seen as a coda to Damon & Serena’s story here. The majority of the Damon & Serena scenes are the source for the BDSM elements in this book. In fact, the scene where Damon & Serena display their love in a public and BDSM manner is probably the most pivotal scene in the whole bk because Julie has her major ephipany while watching them. (I have a lot of thoughts on this scene but it would be too spoilery and would be long enough for another post. If someone has their own theories and want to discuss this scene, email me.)
And when the focus is away from Gray & Faith or Damon & Serena or, um, who were the main H/Hs again? . . . um, Julie & Nathan, there is always Micah, the future hero of Book #4 and setting up HIS story (which should be doozy and pretty hardcore BDSM from all indications). And then there are two other characters who will probably get their own stories in the future. I would guesstimate that about 35% of Sweet Seduction is devoted to following Julie & Nathan’s friends. When a romance author spend so much space on other storylines, it’s usually a signal that the principal H/H aren’t very interesting.
As Julie & Nathan have danced around throughout the series, so they do in this book. They never sit down and have any meaningful conversation until the last twenty pages. In the meantime, most of their connection consists of “I like your breasts” “I like your cock” “You’re so sexy” and of course, the hot anonymous menage sex at Damon’s place. The latter counts for a lot, of course. I must not lose sight that this IS an erotic romance, after all, and MB writes someof the hottest sex scenes in da biz.
Content warnings: Use of handcuffs, Whipping, Public sex, Anal sex, Double penetration, Menage