Released: July 19, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Reviewed by Sarah
On the flap: "I'm not sure what you have been told about me, but I'm not nearly as bad as they make me out to be." His deliciously deep voice carried a little bit of ego.
I'm sure you are exactly as bad as they make you out to be….
Brad De Luca is used to getting whatever and whomever he wants. The premier divorce attorney in town, he's a playboy who's bedded half the city—including his own clients. And when the newest intern at his firm poses a challenge, his seductive prowess goes into overdrive.
Pre-law student Julia Campbell is fresh off a failed engagement and happy with her new independence. Even if she weren't warned away from Brad at every turn, she'd know he was bad news. The last thing she needs is a man who could destroy her job prospects, not to mention her innocence. But before she knows it, the incorrigible charmer has her under his spell. His deviant tastes plunge her deep into a forbidden world of sexual exploration…but her heart may not survive the fall.
As a divorce attorney and partner, Brad De Luca is steadfastly of the mindset “work hard, play harder”. He is a known womanizer, sleeping with clients, interns, and anyone else he likes. He definitely fulfills the alpha male role with tenacity and a propensity to want to control everything. For the first half of the book, it feels as if he’s striving for the forbidden fruit that is Julia. Really once they hit Vegas I view him more as a complete douchebag.
Fair warning: the next paragraph contains some minor spoilers.
Let’s start with my issues with this story. First there is a theme of swinging. I don’t have any inclination of this until chapter six when I had a moment of “why did I pick this? I feel duped.” While this is not a kink I would enjoy for a variety of reasons, I do know of many people that enjoy this aspect of lifestyle. That alone makes some of the situations a bit hard for me to swallow but I took a deep breath and tried to continue with an open mind. My primary issue is when the characters are represented on way throughout the first half of the book and then abruptly does a 180 degree turn on their viewpoint. Case in point, Julia doesn’t is offended when Brad is checking out another woman’s ass and verbalizes she finds that to be disrespectful. Then she is not offended when in the middle of their time together he leaves her to go have sex with another woman. This one left me quite perplexed how she can accept one and not the other. A second concern is Brad’s intentionally misleading Julia. In Vegas, he talks up the strip club as a great place to hang out because it’s a completely clean establishment but then fails to mention he is a proprietor. Perhaps the goal is to show is wily lawyerly skills, however, if you want someone to be a swinger with you I’m fairly confident honesty is a keystone to that type of relationship.
Now, the positive aspects of the narrative. I love the way the book is set up with snippets of The Rules and how the Prologue is picked up again at the end of this installment. This story is definitely a page turner. I literally could not put it down. I’d liken it to rubbernecking at a wreck when you know you shouldn’t slow down to watch but you just can’t help yourself. The chemistry is quantifiable between the two characters with the chase and foreplay being more sweltering than the actual sex scenes themselves. I think the M/F/M passage was surprisingly tame considering all the insinuations leading up to it. In fact, Brad somewhat redeems himself with his deferential protectiveness.
I really had to go back and forth on the overall rating. Vegas had me that pissed. Regardless of whether or not I agree with everything in the plot, the author was more than successful at grabbing my attention and keeping my mind spinning. Not even going to lie, I would love to pick Alessandra Torre’s brain on this series. I’m a glutton for punishment and am more than ready to see where the second book takes Julia and Brad although I might need a martini to make it through.
Rating: 4 Stars
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I have a large appetite for books with pensive alpha males. I tend to lean towards erotica and contemporary romance. I am completely addicted to my Kindle and feel naked when it’s not with me. If you have any recommendations, feel free to email them. I’m a single-ish woman with two crazy dogs. I also love football and basketball. Living in Oklahoma City, my teams are the Thunder and Sooners.