Cherished by Maya Banks & Lauren Dane
Erotic Contemporary BDSM
August 7, 2012
Reviewed by Helyce
Exiled by Maya Banks
Prince Alexander “Xander” Carrera has waited four long years for Talia Monforte to grow up. From the moment he’d first seen her, he knew she would be his, but she was much too young at that time. After learning about Talia’s mom’s illness, he sent them to France so that Talia’s mom could receive treatment and Talia could go to school, all compliments of Prince Xander. He’d told Talia that he would send for her one day, and that day has finally arrived.
When Talia Monforte is summoned to the island where Xander is exiled, she has no choice but to go. Her mom is doing well and she feels indebted to the Prince for everything he’s done for her. The documents she receives prior to leaving are explicit and list in great detail Xander’s expectations of her once she arrives. She thinks she knows exactly what he wants and though she’s nervous about her role, the obligation she feels outweighs her trepidation.
When Talia arrives on the beautiful island where Xander has been living, she is pulled in immediately to the life Xander has created for himself there. The beauty of her surroundings, the exquisite pampering she receives, all help to lower her reservations and take away her worry of why she has been brought to the island. All she sees is Xander and she’s going to hold up her end of the agreement no matter what.
This story started out okay. I was drawn in by the promise of seduction and the allure of the Prince on the private island premise. Though it’s obvious what Xander wants and why he’s sent for Talia, even after he spelled out the whole “sharing” her thing, I was still willing to give this book a chance.
Unfortunately, as I read on and the scenes played out I was more than turned off by the sex scenes. The back blurb in no way prepared me for the fact that this was an m/m/m/m/f erotic. Additionally, it made me think of a previous book of Ms. Banks and once that got in my head, I couldn’t let it go.
All that aside, I really could not buy into the fact that Talia, a virgin, so easily fell into not only being with four men at the same time, but her taking on the role of their submissive. Here is a young woman who has had to stand on her own, taking what life has thrown at her because of her mom’s illness, working to take care of them both, until Xander steps in and takes over allowing her to focus on school. I don’t care how obligated she felt, having a dick in every one of her orifices repeatedly till she was nearly comatose on the floor does not say “thank you” in my book.
Sway by Lauren Dane
Levi Warner’s younger brother is getting married and his fiance has requested (read demanded) that Levi take some dance classes so as not to embarrass himself or her at the wedding. He agrees of course, to keep peace in the family. When he arrives, he happens to catch a class in progress and is in awe of the woman he sees dancing. When she then joins his class and offers to be his partner, Levi is suddenly thrilled to be in dance class.
Not only is Daisy a fabulous dancer, she’s also a very talented artist. There to help out her friend and the owner of the studio, she joins Levi’s class and is immediately drawn to the older, very handsome man who clearly does not need any dance lessons. They share some witty banter, and then he leaves.
When Levi and Daisy run into each other by chance again, Levi bites the bullet and asks her to dinner. Levi isn’t looking for a relationship, but there is something about Daisy that speaks to him and while he feels she’s way too young for him, he really can’t ignore the attraction they seem to have for each other. But that’s not all, every dominant hint that Levi throws at Daisy is answered by her with enthusiasm. This is something Levi can’t ignore, and he decides to take a chance and explore this attraction.
I am a fan of Ms. Dane’s Brown Siblings series, so I was thrilled to see a little bit of crossover between the characters from Adrian and Gillian’s book in here. Daisy Huerta is adorable, a real spitfire. At only 24, she’s slowly making a name for herself in the art world and she has a real head for business. When she’s not working on her art, she’s helping her friends with their individual businesses. They all look out for each other, and I really liked the strong bond of friendship that comes through with these characters. It is clear that they mean a lot to each other and it provides a really nice set up for Ms. Dane’s upcoming series.
Levi comes from a well established upper class, very wealthy family. He’s carrying around some baggage and his past has colored his idea of relationships so much so that he has no interest in pursuing anything long term. He’s also pretty dominant and he’s not sure Daisy can handle that aspect of him. She surprises him there, though and he very quickly realizes that Daisy could mean more to him than just a friends with benefits situation.
I really liked Daisy and Levi together. It really comes through how they fit together and complement each other; both personality wise and sexually. While we get a bit of background on Levi’s past and why he’s so cynical toward relationships, I think the author introduces us a bit more to Daisy, her family and the friends who clearly will be featured in future books.
The only thing that didn’t sit well with me was how certain members of Levi’s family looked down on Daisy as though her Hispanic heritage somehow made her an unacceptable match for Levi. I really disliked where the author went with this, and especially how Levi handled it, but I could see why by the time we got to the end. Not my favorite form of relationship conflict, but in here, Daisy shows maturity and strength and it was a great “you go girl!” moment. I am definitely looking forward to seeing more of these characters in future books.