Series: Bound Hearts #13
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on August 18th 2015
Also in this series: Secret Pleasure
Also by this author: Bengal's Quest, Hot Alphas, Wicked Lies
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In Secret Pleasure by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh, Sebastian and Shane De Loren were born to love Alyssa Hampstead. No other woman on Earth can burn for them, ignite with passion between them, the way Alyssa does. But after three sensual months of pleasure come to a crashing halt, Sebastian and Shane are left fighting their powerful family, risking it all to have Alyssa one more time... Alyssa has closed off her heart. A senator's daughter in the political spotlight, she'd rather be quiet and safe than feel the emotional intensity Sebastian and Shane roused within her years ago. But when the sexy cousins blaze their way back into her life, Alyssa cannot help but succumb to the heady pleasures the two men can give her. And as an unknown enemy draws near, Alyssa will need Sebastian and Shane to protect her...and satisfy every forbidden craving...
Secret Pleasure had a lot of potential, in my opinion, but it also had a lot of problems. Though the book itself was well written with beautiful prose and great dialogue, I sometimes found it to be a bit on the long winded side and it neglected to ever really catch, let alone consume me. It had tons of plot holes and I wasn’t able to connect with the characters or the steam factor. And the romance fell flat for me.
I think my lack of connection was because of the major time jumps that happened all throughout the book, leaving me wanting more, and not in a good way. First, Sebastian and Shane meet Alyssa out in a gazebo at a party and all three of them are instantly consumed with each other, only to have to wait a few months before they can act on anything. Then when they meet up again, Alyssa is hesitant but excited to see where this goes. Their time at the beach house happens quickly, and in some cases, is glossed over, never really allowing the reader to connect with their story or their romance. Then something happens and it’s another time jump, this time, five months later when tragedy strikes only to enter into another time jump. Eight years later and the story really starts, but by then, I never became invested in their story because all the pivotal relationship moments were left out or glossed over.
There were times when I felt the character monologues were wordy and a bit mushy as Sebastian and Shane both waxed poetic about their little “siren” and how she had entranced and captured them and how from the moment they saw her, they were consumed by her. But again, I didn’t understand their profound connection because I didn’t see all those little nuances in their unity that creates that bond.
Also, in the beginning, Alyssa is only eighteen and as innocent and sheltered as they come. But Sebastian and Shane are twenty-five and very experienced. I don’t shy away from taboo, dark or erotic reads. I like them all, but I also like my characters to feel their age or even older. Alyssa’s age made me feel uncomfortable because she seemed much younger than her eighteen years.
I liked the plot and there seemed to be a lot going on behind the scenes but I wanted to understand it more and I wanted to get a better insight into the why’s of it all. Alyssa went through eight years of emotional turmoil thinking she was alone and forgotten but I never felt her pain because I didn’t see the suffering and I didn’t fully understand why everything happened the way it did. Important information felt left out, leaving me guessing, which can sometimes be good, but not when it comes to plot points.
I did enjoy the Sebastian and Shane’s extreme alpha male parts and I loved how both Sebastian and Shane fought for Alyssa, but we never actually “saw” it. We were “told” about it and I think I needed those scenes to really connect. The sex scenes could have been steamy, I think, but my butterflies laid dormant as they were covered with fanciful wording and a total disconnect.
Overall, this read disappointed me. There was great potential there but so much was left unsaid that it left me dispassionate about it all. I couldn’t connect to the characters or the emotion so none of their pain and suffering made sense or mattered to me. Trust me, I wanted to connect. I love books like this… just not this one.
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