Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Be careful with them-the brothers. They’re not…they’re not good guys, okay?”
Julia Hughes decides to take life by the horns and hires on to be a traveling nurse after a failed marriage. Her first assignment is to be a caretaker for a troubled young lady. Her last night in town finds her in the arms of a sexy stranger for an amazing one night stand…only to discover he is one of her bosses. Angry and humiliated, Julia attempts to leave but is convinced to stay and take the position. She agrees as long as no mention is ever made of the incident and it is never repeated.
Lucian de Vincent, a renowned playboy, and womanizer, never meant to hurt the new nurse. He merely wanted to see her for himself and make sure she was what his sister needed. He wasn’t prepared for her beauty or the strength of his attraction to her. His grandfather always said, when a deVincent falls, they fall hard and destroy all they touch. With his father’s recent suicide and his brothers’ increasingly odd behavior, Lucian can’t afford to lose sight of what’s important. Even if that means losing who matters most.
Moonlight Sins in the first in a romantic suspense series by Jennifer Armentrout. Set in the languid heat of the Louisiana bayou with its gothic-like atmosphere and drenched in southern charm, we are introduced to the uber-wealthy de Vincent family and the three brothers who now control it all-Lucian, Devlin, and Gabe. Nicknamed Lucifer, Devil, and Demon, the de Vincent brothers are why tabloids were invented and their scandals are the stuff of legends. Plagued by tragedy from their mother’s unexpected death to the disappearance of their sister, the de Vincents isolate themselves with their wealth and protect with their power.
Choosing the ever popular jaded millionaire boss and the refreshingly earnest and stunning employee, Armentrout twists this trope from the predictable by creating two protagonists who, despite their economic and social differences, manage to create the illusion they are equals. Heavily character driven, their romance takes a center stage with a plethora of secondary characters and plot lines orbiting around them. Armentrout uses their passions and fears to help them find their way at their own pace, without resorting to the usual contrived misunderstandings or conflicts.
Julia is a nurse whose marriage to a controlling man slowly eroded her self-confidence. Even after the divorce, she is forced to change her number multiple times to stop her ex-husband’s intrusive calls and demands for her attention. Finally sick of having to hide and watch her step, she gathers her courage, sells everything off and accepts a job out of state. She finds the de Vincents intimidating in the beginning but slowly comes to understand the family’s dynamics and finds herself reluctantly charmed by Lucian’s attention.
Lucian is the youngest son of a wealthy family whose dysfunction stems from a supposed curse. Growing up with a tyrannical father, Lucian masked his pain with indifference. When their mother died suddenly, Lucian’s twin, Madeline, disappeared and just recently returned after ten years, seemingly so traumatized she is unable to interact with the world. He comes off predictable in the beginning with his posturing and strong sexual innuendos but Armentrout slowly peels back his protective shell to show us the vulnerability and insecurity that live inside him. His family’s secrets, the worry he has for his twin, and his increasing feelings for Julia seem to pull him in all directions and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t help but feel he will eventually disappoint everyone around him.
Lucian and Julia clicked like two peas in a pod from the beginning even after she discovers his duplicity. The slow-burning chemistry gains in strength as both of them try to understand the attraction that has captured them. Like fine barbed wire, the sexual tension pokes at them with each new encounter. Julia challenges Lucian in ways no woman has before and we begin to see a change in both of them as Julia gains in confidence and Lucian finds someone willing to fight for him and their love.
Armentrout sets her stage with a firm hand and engaging narrative as she feeds her readers hints and clues to the tension that boils beneath the surface while building an opposite attraction/forbidden romance that tantalizes and amuses. Though this is touted as an adult romance, there is a curious new adult feel to it despite knowing this couple is between the ages 28-30 and well out of college. A slow steady pace keeps the story moving along though Armentrout skimps on much needed background and characterization information that would help the reader to understand the motivation behind certain scenes and dialogue. Various plotlines are introduced but either disappear or fade into the background with hints that more may come in the next book(s). The faint supernatural element felt manipulative.
While Jennifer Armentrout’s fans are sure to enjoy her newest romantic suspense, some may find the lack of energy and purpose underwhelming for someone of Armentrout’s caliber.