Review: Cherished by Maya Banks, Lauren Dane

Cherished Maya Banks Lauren DaneExiled by Maya Banks

Enticed to the island paradise where an enigmatic prince is living in exile, beautiful, virginal Talia is introduced to a world of forbidden pleasure where the prince’s every whim is fulfilled and her fantasies are rendered in exquisite detail. But when the prince is summoned back to fulfill his duty to his struggling country, reality is thrust upon Talia all too soon. She returns home, heartbroken, convinced she was a passing fancy for an idle ruler and his most trusted men. Until the day they arrive on her doorstep, determined to have her back where she belongs.

Prince Alexander (Xander) Carrera’s country, Christofino, is in turmoil and he is exiled to a remote island until the raging rebellion ends.  Xander first met Talia Montforte four years ago when she was only eighteen, but her innocence and beauty rooted an attraction that he could not deny. Talia’s dream was to attend university in Paris and travel the world until she returned to personally contribute to their mutual country. Her dreams, or so she thought, came abruptly to an end when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.  Upon learning of Talia’s mother’s illness, Xander took charge of Talia’s life providing treatment for her mother so that Talia could attend university in Paris. He further provided her living expenses and a monthly allowance all under the condition that when the day arrived that he would call for her, she would come to him.

Four years later Talia has been summoned by Xander.  Now a young woman of twenty-two, she thought she was prepared for what to expect believing that her pride, her body and her soul were worth the sacrifice for her mother.  Still a virgin, Talia has no illusions to the fact that her agreement with Xander would involve a sexual relationship for a period of six months.  What she was not prepared for is not only is she to submit completely to Xander but also to his three closest and trusted friends, Sebastien, Garon and Nico.

I’ve discovered if an author writes a sexual relationship with more than three people (ménage), I have a hard time believing that intimacy and satisfaction can be had by all.  With that being said, after reading the sex scene in which Talia takes all four males, I had déjà vu of Ms. Bank’s novel, Sweet Temptation and the 30+ page sexfest that took place in that book. Truthfully, I feel no sensuality or sexiness when I read a detailed description of a woman taking four men or more in all three of her orifices.  It becomes cold, methodical and the farthest thing from sexy in my mind.

“Back and forth, from man to man, hands on her face, in her hair, holding her, pushing against her.  It all blended together until she was only aware of the cocks pushing in and out of her mouth.”

The heroine states that she has never felt more cherished after the sex acts she participates in with multiple partners and I just had to shake my head at the absurdity after reading about the body fluids of three different men running down her thighs.

“Then Nico pulled out.  She found herself pitching forward, her knees digging into a pillow on the floor.  Xander mounted her from behind, slid deep into her ass and began fucking her in earnest as cum slid down the insides of her thighs.  Semen from three different men.”

Ultimately, Talia belongs to Xander and once he has claimed and shared her with his friends, he is determined for their relationship to be permanent.  In the end after Xander sends Talia away for her protection and then returns for her, this is what both desire and agree to.  Overall, the story lacked the emotion, warmth and sensuality that I desire in erotic romance reading.  The sex scenes came across as passionless, systematic and lacked the erotic connection that I know Ms. Banks can deliver.

Rating: D

Sway by Lauren Dane (Delicious)

Levi Warner is an established, older man—wealthy, powerful, and above all, respectable. Then Levi meets Daisy, an uninhibited 24-year-old dance instructor and artist, not exactly the kind of woman Levi is accustomed to. But the young, free spirit, brings out something in him he only experienced in fantasies. When their scorching affair turns into something unexpectedly deeper, Levi finds himself torn between preserving his reputation, and exploring a wilder and much more satisfying kind of life.

Ten years ago attorney, Levi Warner had a wife and a marriage that appeared to be perfect to society and his upper class family, but in reality Levi was miserable.  He was considering divorce until the fateful night his alcoholic wife was in a head on collision that killed herself and her unborn child.  Since then, Levi has dated and had his share of women in bed with the goal of having a good time and not opening himself up to any future emotional hurt. What Levi didn’t count on was meeting artist and dancer, Daisy Huerta while attending dance lessons for his brother’s upcoming wedding or the instant attraction he would feel for this young, vibrant, willful woman.

 

“I’m not afraid of your age.  I want to fuck you.  I also want to eat four cupcakes at once but I restrain myself to two.  I have self-control.”  She looked at him again.  Sometimes.

 

After their second unexpected run in at the grocery store, Levi can’t resist asking Daisy her age to which she agrees to answering on the condition he asks her to dinner or drinks.  Daisy felt an immediate chemistry upon their first encounter as well as Levi’s dominant nature and she wants to explore the sexually charged vibe that is obvious between them both.  Daisy quickly learns that Levi’s intensity is unlike any man she has ever been with and he unleashes a truthfulness and intimacy she has never experienced in a relationship. Levi knows he should not pursue anything with this much younger woman but she stirs an attraction and sensuality within him that he cannot ignore or walk away from.  Although their connection is sizzling in the bedroom, Levi is still not completely open about his family or his developing feelings for Daisy of which she is all two aware. He makes her feel special and precious behind closed doors but then he hides her like a dirty secret to the other people in his life. Daisy knows the only way they can have a meaningful relationship is for Levi to own what they have in public and to his family.  The question is, will he?

 

“She knew her worth as a woman.  She’d been raised by not only a kick-ass mother, but her grandmother and sister were also strong, smart women.  Whatever her concerns about her talent and her art, she’d never beg a man for his attention.”

“He wanted her or he didn’t.  So she sat back a little and let him work through it.”

 

Sway is a nice introduction to the new Delicious series by Lauren Dane.  I am a fan of Ms. Dane’s Brown Siblings series so I was excited to see that there is a crossover of characters including Adrian and Gillian as well as mentions of others.  What I love about Ms. Dane’s writing is she always develops a strong, loving connection of family and friends that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Her characters are likable, relatable and you find yourself engrossed in their lives and anticipating their happiness.  Beyond that, all of her heroines have a refreshing balance of independence and self-assurance and Daisy was no exception.  She had no problem owning her wants and needs both in the bedroom and in a relationship.  In the end I felt like Daisy had more on the ball in maturity and how she valued commitment than Levi.  We learn the root of Daisy’s confidence is not only from her family but also the bond she shares with close friends Jules and Mary.  All are strong, confident women who encourage and love each other.  Their friendship sets the stage for the books to come and I am even more excited about where Ms. Dane will lead these characters in this new and enticing series.

Favorite Quote:

“Tell you what.  I have a raspberry honey tart.  Well, three-quarters of one.  I’m only human.  Bring some wine.  I’m working now, but I can be finished in an hour or so, if you want to come over.  Bring your pajamas.”

“I don’t sleep in pajamas.”

“Well then, bring your cock.”  She hung up.

Rating: B


Cherished: Maya Banks & Lauren Dane
August 7th 2012 by Berkley
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Comments

  1. says

    Ha, love that last quote. Dane is so consistent in everything that she writes. Based upon your most excellent review, I think I will have to check that part of the book out.

    • says

      It was an awesome quote. Loved the heroine, Daisy, more than I loved the hero. Dane creates great heroines.

  2. says

    I adored the Dane story, but yeah… with the last few erotic romances from Banks, I’ve realized she is NOT an author I enjoy. At all…

  3. says

    I keep hearing that the Banks story is not so good and the Dane is excellent. I’d happily read the latter but I don’t want to pay $9.99 for a novella and I don’t think I’d enjoy the Banks. Fingers crossed it will be released separately one day.

  4. says

    I don’t read erotica myself, but I have recently met Maya Banks, and so I am a bit sad that the story is not good enough to like it. I do question why authors want to use virgins in erotica books. You learn to walk before you can run, so try “normal” sex first before you get to the more exciting or dangerous stuf.