"Hot" Scale: 3 out of 5 Flames - HOT
Recommended For: Fans of the Maya Banks' contemporary works, especially the BREATHLESS trilogy, fans of Contemporary/Erotic Romance with a Mystery Twist
Genres: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
(From Goodreads book blurb) 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.
Last in the Breathless trilogy by Maya Banks, I enjoyed this book almost as much as the 1st book Rush and much more than the 2nd book Fever.
Ash is the last of the trio of Gabe, Jace, and Ash (HCM) to fall in love. He's feeling adrift now that both Gabe & Jace have serious relationships. Mostly because his best friend, Jace, is the one he shared everything with, especially women and short-term relationships, until Jace fell for Bethany. Ash's family is a mess - a bunch of rich snobs much more interested in their so-called money, power, and society rather than feelings or actually human connection.
Is it that Ash is feeling apart and out-of-synch or just the timing that has him noticing Josie in Central Park? Because Ash, like his buddy Jace in book 2, has that INSTANT ATTRACTION - the kind where he can't let it go until he meets her. Ash notices what looks like a potential collar around her throat - the HER being Josie, which intrigues him even more.
Josie is an artist who paints and makes jewelry. She's on her own, without family or many friends; Josie is currently in a sort-of D/s relationship with Michael C, and it's his "collar" she's wearing. But after her meeting with Ash, it's obvious that neither Michael nor Josie really understands a true D/s relationship. Ash finds a way to get Josie to dinner with him - a bit high-handed, but Ash is used to getting what he wants. Josie is intrigued, enough to consider entering a D/s relationship with Ash.
But days go by, and Ash hasn't heard. Until the guy that he sent to watch Josie (wow, huh?) reports that she's sporting a split lip and bruises. Ash goes ballistic and rushes to Josie, finding out that Michael took issue with her ending their relationship and accused her of cheating before he smacked her around.
We see that the so-called charming, laid-back Ash is anything but when it comes to his idea of "protection"... and it gets him into a few situations in this book. Situations that seem to say that it's OK to seek your own justice if you're rich enough. BAD MESSAGE. Especially since a situation that Gabe and Mia got into in the 1st book with a former contractor for HCM heats up and affects Josie directly.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. It was a good ending to the trilogy, even though I didn't quite want it to end. I hope for a Brittany-Kai book and more about these couples in future.
What I liked:
1. Ash's honesty: I really liked how, for the most part, Ash was completely honest with Josie. He made a big deal about telling her how he was, what he liked, and so on... communicating with her. He listened, too, and acknowledged when he could understand how she felt or realized that he was wrong.
2. The Girl Power: I really liked that Mia and Bethany became REAL FRIENDS to Josie. I liked their questions and just the overall girly-ness about how their friendships developed.
3. Brittany: I kept wondering if she had ulterior motives. And I do wish we'd gotten to know her better. I wonder if she and Kai won't feature in an upcoming novel? But I liked her when she was present, and I really enjoyed her as part of the GNO.
What bothered me:
1. Ash's attitudes, especially about protection: I have a really tough time with putting up with a guy who takes vengeance into his own hands, literally, whenever his woman is threatened. I understand the IMPULSE and the DESIRE; I hate the execution of it - beatings and more. It makes Ash dangerous and untrustworthy. And I don't like Josie's acceptance of it; again, I can see how she would appreciate Ash's protectiveness, but it would really bother ME, especially at such an early stage in the game. I don't think I could trust that this violence wouldn't touch me at some point, whether or not Ash raises his hand to me.
And just his overall high-handedness. I see that's part of an alpha-male, and it's not as though we didn't see glimpses in Gabe and Jace. But Ash seemed to be more about "my way or the highway"... He had this idea of what was "right" and that was it. Yes, he could be persuaded, but his first reaction often seemed like over-reactions.
2. The BIG MISUNDERSTANDING: Of course, it was easy to see what would likely come between them. And while I appreciated Josie's reasoning and knew that Ash was wrong, the situation really did seem like making a mountain out of a molehill. I did appreciate how Mia and Bethany commiserated and allowed Josie to come to her own conclusions.
3. Josie's lack of connections: I have a tough time believing that Josie had No Other Friends or real connections after 2 years in NYC. She's a nice person - the kind that would automatically draw others to her. So it seemed unrealistic that she didn't have any other gal pals at all. It was convenient, but not realistic.
4. Shortchanged in other couples: OK, so we see the other couples, Gabe & Mia, Jace & Bethany... but sometimes, these people seemed other than who we know from their books. Obviously, time has gone by, and people have grown and changed. But... there seemed to be something missing when we saw the couples together - something missing within the COUPLE. We saw them as individuals in relation to both Ash and Josie, but not too much about the inner dynamics and real growth/changes of the couple's relationship. I'd like to have seen more of this woven into the story. I know this is Ash's story, but it's also the last book in the series. While I appreciate how Ms. Banks brought in something from the 1st book that affected the entire trio of guys and their gals, I wanted MORE resolution for the other 2 couples. Maybe it's just me, since Gabe & Mia returned from their honeymoon, and we know that Bethany & Jace are engaged and will get married.
Published August 6th 2013 by Penguin Publishing