Review: Sweet Temptation by Maya Banks

Tuesday, April 6

Author:  Maya Banks
Series: Sweet series book #4 (Sweet Surrender, Sweet Persuasion, Sweet Seduction)
Genre:  Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: Berkley Heat
Format:  Trade size paperback (and probably ebook)
Date/Year:  April 2010

*This book was provided to me by the author for review

Summary from the publisher:

He was a by-the-book cop who broke the rules in the bedroom…

Micah Hudson has painful secrets he’s run hard from. He has new friends, a new life, but he’s about to be confronted with the one person who reminds him of all he’s tried to forget—Angelina, the sister of his oldest friend David. She knows everything about his past, including how he and David fell in love with the same woman, and how they decided the best way to prevent her from tearing them apart was to share her between them. But then a terrible accident left Micah alone…

She was willing to do anything to make him see the woman she’d become…

Micah lost the two people who meant the most in the world to him. Angelina lost her only family. And she kept her deepest secret close to her heart. Her love for Micah. No longer willing to wait, she decides it’s time to go after him and bring him to his knees. She knows his secrets, his desires, his kinks and fetishes, and she’ll use whatever it takes to reel him in. Behind the easy going, loves women exterior lies a man with dark needs and passions. She can give him what he wants. But will he decide she’s what he needs?

My Musings:

Micah lost his wife as well as his best friend in a tragic accident that left him unable to cope with the painful memories of his loss, so he moves to a different city and creates a new life for himself in hopes to be able to forget the agony of all that he has lost with their deaths.  Each year he makes a pilgrimage to their graves, then secretly visits a club to submit to inflicted pain as a physical manifestation and release from his grief and anguish that he suppresses and hides in his replacement life.

Angel is a determined, strong, and resilient woman who knows what she wants…and she wants Micah.  She will stop at virtually nothing to prove to Micah that she is the one woman who understands him and can fulfill both of their needs.  Running from a stalker she feels the timing is perfect to pursue Micah; to let him know how she feels about him and hopefully gain his love while hiding from the dangerous admirer who is pursuing her.

I’ve loved the Sweet series, and Sweet Temptation is no exception.  One of the things that I think Maya Banks does so well is create a world of friends that readers crave to know more about again and again.   Readers of this series will not be disappointed as they get a glimpse into the lives of the characters they have grown to love. I think her dialogue between friends whether they be male or female is close to genius.  When reading these passages it feels exactly like you could be there taking part in the fun.

That being said, I had some serious doubts about Micah as a hero about half way through the book.  I questioned whether I even liked Micah because of how he treated and reacted to Angel…in more than one scene.  But Micah is a very complex Alpha hero.  He feels guilt, rage, desire, fear, lust....and finally love.  Those are a lot of emotions to have to deal with, and all of these emotions translate in their sexual encounters.  

At first, Angel feels that she needs to prove to Micah that she can handle all of his dark and demanding sexual needs.  Their relationship is illustrated through many love scenes, some of which I initially thought were a bit excessive (even for an erotic romance), but the more I reflected on the story the more I realized that the sex scenes were a very carefully orchestrated series of escalating events that progressively intensified with Micah's growing need to prove and test not only himself, but also Angel.  The more he pushes her, and the more it seemed like the sex scenes were deliberately unemotional on Micah’s part, the more it showed his growing obsession and craving for her acceptance and love.  He continuously tries to prove to himself that his feelings for Angel are nothing more than lust.  Micah is an overwhelming alpha and Dominant hero.

Angel continuously tries to demonstrate to Micah that she can take anything he can dish out,  and tries to reveal her love for him by being submissive and accepting of his wants, needs, and desires….including accepting that she may never have the kind of love that he had for Hannah, his deceased wife.  At times I wanted to shake Angel and have her realize that she was worthy of his love, not just his acceptance…to not solely focus on Micah’s needs, but to discover her own worthiness of love.  And in the end she does.  She realizes that she is worthy of the kind of love he had for his first wife and is not satisfied to settle for a relationship where her love is not returned in full measure.

Maya Banks pulled the story together beautifully. I loved the way the book ended with an intimate scene between Angel and Micah, not of a sex scene as an expression of their love for each other.  Instead it was with a heartfelt declaration that honestly showed what  he was willing to do to earn the love that Angel gave so freely.  It was much more meaningful, and I felt that it really showed the progression of their relationship that began with sex, but ended with words of love.  

Sweet Temptation is intensely sexual, just like its hero Micah.   It is also endearing because of the friendships, emotional and heartrending because of all that Angel and Micah go through, as well as suspenseful with just the right amount of danger to declare that in the end, love is triumphant.  It is totally and completely engrossing.  I think you will feel a wide range of emotions when reading this story, one which is definitely a sweet temptation for romance lovers. Read and enjoy all of the books in this series.  I know I have!  I've found that I've developed a "sweet tooth" for Maya Banks and anxiously await each novel.

My favorite scene:
(a few sentences have been deleted because it gave away too much of the story, however it doesn’t diminish it’s meaningfulness IMO)
     He stared back down at her face, her lashes resting delicately against her cheeks, the dark smudges beneath her eyes, like bruises.

     This….this was what loved looked like.  Vulnerable yet strong.  Constant, unwavering…He was absolutely, completely unworthy of her loyalty.  The magnitude of injustice he’d heaped on her was enough to make him sick.  He’d treated her like some sexual conquest, a toy to slake his lust while he kept his heart guarded and safe…
     He bent and whispered against her soft skin, “I never want you to know another day without my love, Angel girl.”  P 337-338

Ratings: 4.75 stars (this one is hot, even for an erotic romance...some BDSM, menage with 4 men, and many sex scenes with just the H/h)

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Cecile April 6, 2010 at 10:38 PM  

Great review! I am trying to collect the sweet series for my own viewing pleasure, lol. I have heard great things about this series and Ms. Banks writing voice.. And your review just up it one more level!
Hope you had a great day!

Scorpio M. April 6, 2010 at 10:47 PM  

4 men?!? OMG. I have to ask myself: Am I ready to read something like that? I'm usually a mainstream romance gal...*blushing*

Great, thorough, review as always :-)

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