Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “What are you willing to do to keep her? Are you willing to risk being wrecked? If you are, then that’s the answer to all your questions.”
To the outside world, Dane Connelly is the playboy heir of a media mogul, his life a series of one-night stands with no commitments. Only in the Salon does he satisfy his darker urges with willing partners. Life was perfect…until his best friend fell in love. Now Dane knows exactly what he’s been missing—and exactly who he wants.
Talia Driscoll enjoys creating perfection. She loves bright, glittery parties and fairy tale weddings. But she knows the illusion is short-lived. Nothing lasts forever and everyone lies to get what they want. After all, she lies about her true identity every day.
After an explosive night at the Salon, Dane is determined to sway the reluctant Talia to be his completely. But the secrets that keep them apart are at odds with the erotic passion that draws them together… (Amazon)
Do Not Disturb is the fourth book in Stephanie Julian’s erotic contemporary Salon Games series that is based on a hotel that caters to any and all pleasures. We first met Dane in Private Reservations. Best friends with the Golden Brothers, he joined Jared and Annabelle in their games in the infamous Salon room, exploring and indulging the delights to be had. When Jared and Annabelle decide to marry, Dane feels them slipping away and realizes he wants what they have-that special connection with another person. When he meets Talia, he sees possibilities and puts the full force of his personality towards discovering those possibilities. Dane is used to getting what he wants when he wants it but Talia isn’t all that impressed with him
We met Talia in book three-Over Exposed. She is best friends with Annabelle, Kate, and Sabrina. A quiet secretive woman with a traumatic past, she keeps to herself and indulges only in physical relationships. Though Talia is attracted to Dane, she knows how charismatic attractive men are and judges him before she even gets to know him. The more time they spend together, the more she sees he is not the spoiled man she assumed. Her attraction deepens but while she’s scared of her own secrets coming to light, it’s his secrets that may be what drives her away.
Once again Julian writes a steamy and deliciously naughty erotic romance that explodes on a visual scale but seems to miss emotionally. There was really a lot in here that seemed to follow a similar path as in Over Exposed. I felt a sense of rushing in this particular story; not allowing the characters to build a strong base on which to start an actual emotional relationship. There is more tell than show which is the result of some strong internal dialogue. Very slowly, the romance creeps along, injected with a few subplots that expand on previously seen storylines.
Sexually, these characters burn up the pages. Dane and Talia are well matched. Exquisite chemistry and thick sexual tension drowns the senses as these two begin a sexual adventure that slowly evolves into something deeper and tangible. Ms. Julian writes some incredibly graphic and lush sensual scenes that leave no doubt these two are compatible in this area.
”I’m going to tie your legs to those rings with the silk ropes so you can’t close them.”
The beat of her heart throbbed in her ears, drowning out everything but the sound of his voice and the heaviness of her breathing.
“And then I’m going to kneel between your legs and lick you until you scream. And don’t worry about the noise. The entire room is soundproofed.”
Strong sexual appetites are encouraged and celebrated in this series; no one is made to feel ashamed of their desires and fantasies. Dane is quite the dominant alpha; having no qualms with telling Talia what he wants and expects from her. Talia has a submissive side in the bedroom, happily granting him permission over her body if not her heart. He treats her gift with the respect it deserves. As with Over Exposed, I found the strong chemistry also doesn’t translate well into a deeper emotional connection. Talia blocks Dane emotionally and Dane is at a loss on how to break through. Yet, rather than verbally address this with her, we are subjected to his internal monologue of what he wants out of this relationship. He chooses instead to be there for her in any capacity she needs, which works well in relation to her secrets, but it almost seems like that by remaining silent, he is giving himself a way out if they don’t work.
The lack of communication was a sticky point I also dealt with in book three. I’m not a fan of this being used as the conflict in a relationship. In here, its secrets that keep them both quiet. Dane and his need for control cause him to overstep some boundaries and he is afraid Talia will run once she discovers what he has done. Talia refuses to speak of her past, having been burned in the past, and it is justified. They never seem to go beyond a singular level and the sex at times feels more like a crutch then an instinctive step towards love.
Old and new faces are in abundance and I enjoyed seeing where all the previous couples are at in their lives. Annabelle and Jared are getting married while Kate and Taylor are engaged. We see more of Sebastian and his possible heroine-Greg’s assistant Trudeau. That looks to be an “interesting” relationship. Kate, Annabelle, and Sabrina all have Talia’s back though as with book three, the same issue is being kept a secret and you would think they would have all learned their lesson by now. I found the excuse for keeping it a secret weak.
Hurt, she wasn’t hurt. Right now she felt nothing. Except this huge hole in her gut.
A quick ending wraps up most of the issues that plagued Dane and Talia both personally and relationship wise; finding acceptable resolutions up to a certain point but ends on a HFN then a solid HEA. I was happy to see Julian took everyone back into the Salon and made it more of a centralized feature like is was in the first two books. Though enjoyable to an extent, the similarities to book three, issues wise, casts a shadow over this installment.