Double Review: Burn by Maya Banks

Tuesday, August 6

Title: Burn*
Author: Maya Banks
Series: Breathless #3
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Berkley
Format: ebook, print & audio book
Date/Year: August 6, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele & Elainereads

*This book was provided to reviewers by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

Ash, Jace, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Ash, it’s the woman who changes everything he’s ever known about dominance and desire...

When it comes to sex, Ash McIntyre has always explored his wilder side—extreme and uncompromising. He demands control. And he prefers women who want it like that. Even the women he’s shared with his best friend, Jace.

But Jace is involved with a woman he has no intention of sharing. And now even Gabe has settled into a relationship with a woman who gives him everything he needs, leaving Ash feeling restless and unfulfilled.

Then Ash meets Josie, who seems immune to his charms and his wealth. Intrigued, he begins a relentless pursuit, determined she won’t be the one who got away. He never imagined the one woman to tell him no would be the only woman who’d ever drive him to the edge of desire.

Michele's Musings:

This review may contain spoilers for RUSH and FEVER. You could read BURN as a stand-alone book, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Now that Gabe and Jace are both settled in committed relationships with the women who fulfill their need for dominance and control, only Ash is left as the last single man standing. The loss of Jace as his regular threesomes partner has been especially hard for Ash, as he’s never really wanted to be intimate with a woman one on one. When he sees the beautiful girl sitting at the cafe with a sketchbook in hand, he can’t help but appreciate her beauty. But when he realizes that the ill fitting choker around her neck is actually a collar, his attention is immediately focused on the possibility of making her his own submissive.

Josie is trying to live a carefree artist’s life after experiencing so much personal pain and loss in her past. She thought that a Dominant/submissive relationship with Michael would give her the caring and support she never really knew as a child. Ash helps her see that she’s been doing all the giving while getting none in return, and he convinces her to try letting him take care of her in all the ways she truly deserves.

BURN is the story of how Josie learns to trust and Ash learns how to love. Along the way, we see exactly why Ash has cut himself off from his dysfunctional family and the return of a threat that first appeared in RUSH, the first book in the Breathless series. By the end of BURN we discover just how far Ash is willing to go to protect the ones he loves, and how his need for control has the potential to ruin all their lives if he doesn’t figure out just how far is too far.

After reading the first two books in the Breathless series, I was ready to find out more about Ash, as I suspected that he was equally controlling and Dominant as his friends but was better at keeping it under wraps. The progression of the trust and love between Ash and Josie is somewhat more realistically paced when compared to the previous books, although all three do feature the combination of “insta-lust” and a compressed timeline. My feeling about it is that this works within this series, since these men are in their late thirties and finally ready for a permanent commitment once they find the women who are perfect for them.

When he begins his D/s relationship with Josie, it’s obvious that Ash is trying to learn from the mistakes both Gabe and Jace had made when they were in the same situation, yet he still manages to mess up on the one point that Josie treasured most - her sense of financial independence. Although I understood why she was angry, I was annoyed that she completely flipped out without even talking to him first, but then realized that her actions were necessary to set in motion the final confrontation with the threat to them all that had begun back in the first book. Maybe I’ve just been reading too many Maya Banks books lately, because it seemed like the plot gears were more obvious in BURN than in the previous books, and the way the threat was ultimately resolved seemed almost anti-climactic when compared to the build-up toward its end. But the sense of family between all the characters was just as enjoyable as in the previous two books and it was great to see Josie welcomed by all the people Ash considered as his real family. At the end of RUSH, we see all the characters settled and happy, with all the loose ends tied up in a way that doesn’t feel forced. and that’s part of what makes it a satisfying read.

If you’re new to the books of Maya Banks, the Breathless series is a great place to start. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all three of them and look forward to more great stories from Maya Banks in the near future.


Overall: 4.5 stars
Sensuality level:4

Elaine's Musings:

BURN is the third book in Maya Banks’ Breathless trilogy.  I waited intentionally for all three books to be published before reading any of them and I am so glad I did.  It was wonderful to be able to flow from one book to another.

Gabe, Jace, and Ash are best friends and extremely successful business partners.  All three men are Dominants and their sexual relationships reflect this desire.  In the first two books, RUSH and FEVER, Gabe and Jace find their women and Ash feels a little left out.  It has always been just the three of them and any women they were involved with were strictly short term. Although they will always be close, Gabe and Jace have other priorities now which is exactly as it should be. Ash understands this and loves the two women as sisters, but he still feels like the third wheel.

Fortunately, it is not long before Ash meets Josie.  Josie is an artist who has played at being a submissive, but has never been in a true dom/sub relationship.  Ash is more than willing to show her the difference.

I did not expect to like BURN as much as I did the previous two books.  Ash came across as a light weight in the earlier books.  However, his real personality is revealed in BURN.  If anything, he is more of a Dom than Gabe or Jace.

I have to say BURN is my favorite of the three books.  From the moment Ash meets Josie, he is focused on her.  Of course he makes mistakes, but he never does anything to intentionally hurt Josie.

There is a major twist to the plot about three-fourths of the way through which really amped up the tension.  I did not see it coming at all.  It tied up the storyline of all three books very satisfactorily.

Although this is the last book in the trilogy, another couple is introduced who I think need their own book.  I can’t say much because I don’t want to spoil anything, but you will know who I mean after reading the book.  Besides, I always want another book by Maya Banks.  She has been an auto-buy for me for years.

The only reason this book did not receive five stars has nothing to do with the plot.  Ash apparently has a problem with pronouns.  Far too many of his sentences start without them.  For example, “Told you before, I’m not your father.” Then there was “Can’t force you to make decisions you want to make. Don’t want to make you do that.”  This affectation was so prevalent, it became distracting to the story.

Don’t, whatever you do, let this keep you from reading this series.  They are well worth your time and I am sure they will be on my re-read shelf.

One last thing: make sure you have the air conditioning on high.  This book is hot!

Overall: 4.5
Sensuality level: 5

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