*sigh* Can I find a way to un-read this book? Because I would kill to be able to read it and discover the magic of it all over again. It was perfect. *sigh* Perfect.
Last September I was minding my own business when a GoodReads friend urged me to read a book she had loved. I looked and realized that I had put that very same book on my wishlist a while ago but had never bought it. So I took the plunge and grabbed myself a copy. That book was Seven Secrets of Seduction (the first book in this series) and it opened a whole new world to me. I loved it so much that I immediately bought Mallory’s backlist. I have slowly been working my way through them—forcing myself not to rush and read them all in one big gulp.
I have enjoyed her backlist (some more than others), but nothing came quite close to my love of Seven Secrets of Seduction. I was almost starting to think that nothing would be able to top it in my eyes. How amazing to find out that not only did I love the first book in this series enough to make it one of my favorite books of 2010, but I loved the second book just as much!
So, let’s talk about this book… This book had absolutely killer sexual tension. I am a total sucker for it, and oh, Anne Mallory is awesome at writing it. The tension and the emotion breathed off the pages and sucked me in. I was absolutely dying for them to be able to find a way to touch each other at one point. “Soon” was such torture for me. I loved it!
I also loved the heroine, Charlotte. She was thrust in a situation at the beginning of the book that was just horrible, but she didn’t break. She had her moment of despair when she was alone and then she stood up and did what had to be done. I loved that she walked into that situation with no illusions and took victory away from everyone who had been attempting to manipulate her. She made the choice, not them. I cannot resist a strong heroine.
Roman was another fabulous character. He had a mix of St. Vincent and Derek Craven in him, but was totally unique. He was bold, sexy, and confident and was always plotting. Roman never did anything without thinking many steps ahead. The world was almost like a giant chess game to him.
And when they were together—ah, magic. They were both such strong characters, but we got to see their fears and weaknesses. That vulnerability and the way they couldn’t stay away from each other, even though it would have made the future easier, made their characters have a lot of depth.
This was a very character driven romance. It was all about Roman and Charlotte without too much focus put on outside influences–other than how they affected them and their relationship. It was great because we got to know them so well. Once the characters started falling for each other there was very little angsting over their feelings. They may not have admitted them to each other yet, but they were aware of their own feelings and didn’t waste time irritating me by denying them.
I got to a certain point in the book and realized that Roman was playing a very deep game. I wasn’t sure what exactly he was doing in the background, so that layer of mystery really added a nice feature to the book. I wasn’t sure what his ultimate goal was and the stray little comments he made here and there when talking to his friends had me very unsure of how things were going to end up by the end of the book. And when I found out at the end what his plot had been the whole time—well, I was surprised, but it really made sense when I thought about what he told her in the beginning.
While the emotions between Charlotte and Roman were beautiful, this book wasn’t just excellent because of that. There was some great humor and dialogue between side characters as well. At one point Roman invited Charlotte to a game with his brother. The resulting humor and teasing between certain characters was hilarious.
Speaking of Roman’s brother… Man, Andreas was a jerk. By the end of the book I understood where he was coming from and did like him, but it was touch and go there for a while. He is a very dark, angry man at times and I am intensely curious to see how his romance will develop later this year.
So, in closing…I loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it. If you read Seven Secrets of Seduction and hated it, well…this one probably won’t work for you that well either. But if you enjoyed it or are curious about this book and this author, then I urge you to go pick up this book. And then come back and talk to me about it.
There it was again, that hitch in her voice after he touched her.
The sound made him want to do things to her. Dirty, animalistic things. To bruise her lips with his, muss her perfectly coiffed hair while scraping her on the sheets, blotch her skin with feral color as she lost track of her own name–head tilted back, eyes glazed, unintelligible sounds emerging.