Review: No Reservations by Stephanie Julian

Thursday, September 5

Title:  No Reservations*
Author: Stephanie Julian
Series: Salon Games #2
Genre: Contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Berkley
Format: ebook and print
Date/Year: September 3, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele

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

Summary from the publisher:

Play by the rules and you’ll never get what you deserve.

Tyler Golden is all about control. It’s an attitude that helped him and his brother build Haven, a boutique hotel in Philadelphia. The only thing Tyler couldn’t control was his fiancée’s death. It left him emotionally guarded, and willing to go only so far with women: satisfying his sexual needs.

Kate Song knows the feeling. Her sole focus is her dream to be a lingerie designer. She’s not about to be distracted by any man. No matter who he is. Or how demanding. Or forceful. Or captivatingly sexy. Or so she thought.

Tyler has the power to make her dream come true. Who can say no to such a dominating personality? Who would want to? Not Kate. Offering her body for submission is one thing. But giving her heart and soul is another. Now Tyler may discover that the one woman who taught him to love again is the one woman he might not be able to keep.

My Musings:

This review will contain spoilers for BY PRIVATE INVITATION, the first book in the Salon Games series. You could read NO RESERVATIONS as a stand-alone book, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Stephanie Julian has become one of my favorite authors over the past year, due in no small part to BY PRIVATE INVITATION, the first book in her Salon Games series. In that book, we met the handsome successful Golden brothers, born to inherit an international hotel chain but choosing to go it alone so they could create Haven, their dream hotel in Philadelphia. Haven doesn’t cater to the very rich in the usual ways, as BY PRIVATE INVITATION showed us in intimate detail. There is a special salon in the most private area of "Haven", and it’s in the Salon where sexual fantasies of all kinds can be fulfilled among those fortunate enough to be invited there.

In the first book, we got to see Annabelle Elder and Jared Golden fall in love after meeting at a Haven’s New Year’s Eve party. This second book opens during that same event, just after Annabelle has left the table to dance with Jared. Still sitting at that table is her best friend, Kate Song, who had insisted on getting Annabelle out to celebrate the New Year while leaving her own fiancé back at home. When Jared’s brother, Tyler, spots the beautiful Kate sitting alone, he can’t resist going over to find out why she’s not having a good time at his party. Their mutual attraction is immediate, but Kate is engaged to Arnie, and she tries to make it clear that she’s not available. It’s only months later, after Kate has broken off her engagement and she sees Tyler again at Annabelle’s gallery premiere, that they renew their acquaintance and begin the complicated dance that will either end with them together in love or alone and broken-hearted.

Although NO RESERVATIONS doesn’t have the same sense of intrigue as BY PRIVATE INVITATION, especially with regard to the secrets of the Salon, the relationship between Tyler and Kate is  just as riveting and the emotional payoffs just as satisfying. We get more background on why the Golden brothers have broken away from their family’s inherited expectations and how the Salon fits into how they express themselves sexually. Both Kate and Tyler are ambitious in their own career paths, even if it doesn’t always appear so to the casual observer. The ways they have to work to balance their budding relationship with their personal goals are what drives the bulk of the story as we wait to see how they can have each other without betraying their individual dreams of success. It’s a wonderful give and take, and the love between them makes all the setbacks and misunderstandings worth suffering through to the gratifying happy ending.

NO RESERVATIONS is an enjoyable follow-up to BY PRIVATE INVITATION and I strongly recommend both books in the series. I don’t know if there will be another Salon Games book, but I do know that if there is, I will be reading it. (edited to add:  According to Ms. Julian's website there will be a third book in the series, tentatively titled OVER EXPOSED- Greg and Sabrina's story, in 2014).


Overall:  4.5 stars
Sensuality level: 
4 (BDSM, MFM ménage)

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