I love Fridays, don't you?
It dates back to ABC programming with Full House and Family Matters, but even though those shows are sadly playing on Nick at Night, making me feel extremely old, I still get excited when I hear TGIF.
The beginning of a new weekend, potential date night with the hubs, and a chance to dish about my Guilty Pleasures with you here. Today's Guilty Pleasure is a book that I loved, inhaled, and want to read again. Maya Banks is one of my favorite adult authors, but I honestly didn't know if anything she wrote could compare or compete with her Sweet series. I was wrong. I'm so glad I found this gem and can't wait to go back and play catch up with the rest. So hang with me, see why Ashley made it onto my all time favorite heroines list, and then leave me a comment telling me what YOU are reading this weekend.....Or your favorite 80's sitcom theme song (Whatever happened to predictability? The milk man, the paper boy, evening TV). Your choice :)
Maya Banks, Harlequin, March 1st, 2012
No Man’s Bargaining Chip
Devon Carter was her first; now newly wed Ashley wants their passion to last. But her dreams of true love are crushed by the discovery that their marriage is another of Daddy’s business deals. Her strategy: act the part of perfect wife and make Devon love her.
But Devon misses the bubbly, no-holdsbarred woman his wife used to be. Who is this Ashley with the steely demeanor of a society wife? And will he find a way to rekindle the fire in her eyes...especially now that she’s pregnant?
I absolutely LOVE this book. It is a quick read, easy completed in one sitting, but still packs a powerful punch. Banks lead me on an emotional journey, making me laugh out loud and grin at many of Ashley’s adorable quirks (her flightiness reminded me a lot of myself, ha!), swoon over Devon’s smooth lines and even smoother moves, and completely tear up and sniffle at the roller coaster to self-acceptance Ashley embarks on. By the end, after all the ups and downs, and twists and turns, Ashley emerges as one of my all-time favorite heroines.
Ashley is affectionate. She is boisterous, enthusiastic, transparent, and wears her heart on her sleeve. She genuinely cares for others and never tries to be anything she isn’t….until she believes it’s the only way to make her husband, the man she thought loved her as much as she loved him, truly fall for her. Devon is a shrewd businessman, full of ambition and drive. He is in this relationship not because he followed his heart so much as his bottom line. But what makes Maya Banks so wonderful is that even with a set up like this, where the reader goes in knowing he won’t be completely honest, you still end up caring about him. He may not have initially appreciated all the wonderful things about Ashley that we as the readers do, but he is kind to her, he does care for her, he does try to protect her. He is gentle and passionate and hurting in his own way. I love that no one in this story is one hundred percent right or wrong, good or bad—just like real life. Devon and Ashley both make mistakes, and they both go through a tremendous amount of growth.
TEMPTED BY HER INNOCENT KISS begins right in the middle of the action, completely sucking you in. I never once felt lost or confused, but eager to discover all I could about the characters, their shared history, and where I thought they should go in the future…not that my opinion would’ve changed squat. Luckily, where they end up is everything I could’ve asked for and more.
Devon and Ashley’s story is book 3 in this series, and I am excited to now go back and catch up. I recommend TEMPTED BY HER INNOCENT KISS for all fans of romance, for readers who enjoy fresh and authentic characters coming into their own skin, and for anyone looking for some steamy scenes between the sheets. Then join me in checking out book one, ENTICED BY HIS FORGOTTEN LOVER, book two, WANTED BY HER LOST LOVE, and book four, UNDONE BY HER TENDER TOUCH coming May 1st, featuring two of my favorite characters from this novel.
Maya Banks’s Sweet series will always hold a special place in my heart and on my Kindle, but I may’ve just found a new series of hers to be my favorite.
What is YOUR Friday read? OR, Tell me your favorite 80's sitcom theme song, and I dare you to leave me some lyrics while you're at it :)