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REVIEW: Reckless Pleasures by Tori Carrington

Dear Mr & Mrs. Carrington:

It used to be that I would never read a book containing infidelity but lately it seems that I can’t get away from it. Books containing infidelity that is, not infidelity itself. When it turned out that this book was going to be a book about infidelity, I decided I wanted to finish it out. Could you save this book, I wondered? The answer is no but it wasn’t so much because the book contained a character who cheated but rather in the way in which the infidelity storyline was carried out.

Reckless Pleasures by Tori CarringtonMuch of this review will contain spoilers. To sum up: A soldier is off on deployment returns home injured with nightmares about the war to find out the love of his life and his best friend slept together.  He comes home and has to learn how to forgive them.

Megan McGowan, Darius Folsom, Jason Savage and a few other Marines that fought together formed a security company called Lazarus Security. Megan and Darius (Dari) were a couple but Megan had accepted an honorable discharge after her last tour and Darius remained a reservist.

The story begins with Dari and Megan in bed, enjoying each other’s bodies before Dari is deployed again. Dari and Jason have been best friends since the age of five and Dari asks Jason to keep an eye out for Megan while Dari is deployed. The prologue sets this unhappy triangle up and emphasizes a) that Dari is a honest and honorable man; b) that Jason sleeps with anything that moves; and c) Megan and Dari will be separated for 18 months.

She knew he wouldn’t stray. It wasn’t the way he was made. They didn’t come any truer than Darius Folsom. It was the second thing she loved about him.

We then get 6 chapters of Jason and Megan making googly eyes at each other. At the end of the book, I kept wondering at this six chapter excursion into the mind of Jason (whose POV we never see again after chapter 7) and the romance that seemed to be brewing between Jason and Megan. In fact, I was so confused as to who the hero was after reading how the electricity sizzled between the two and how when their eyes made contact, they couldn’t look away that I had to flip to the end. Darius. Okay. Really?

“Shall I ask what just happened?” she said. Jason narrowed his eyes at her; they glinted dangerously in the dim light.
“Ask all you want.”

“Mmm. Just don’t expect to get any answers: is that what you’re saying?”

His grin was slow but ultimately complete. “I always knew there was a reason I liked you.” For a moment, one, brief, irrefutable moment, Megan’s gaze fused with his and a thrill of recognition swept through her—awareness, sexual, full and strong. She caught her breath.

and

Jason suddenly realized that his gaze was glued to Megan’s ass under the khaki of her pants. Damn, but the girl had a body on her.

He swallowed thickly and got out of the truck. While it wasn’t the first time he’d appreciated her curves—sometimes even in front of Dari—for some reason, his attention seemed inappropriate now.

and

He stopped short of adding “Sweet dreams.” Truth was he was afraid his dreams tonight were
going to be too sweet. And chances were high they were going to feature her.

What was the point of Jason’s point of view? What was I supposed to glean from it? If this was a story about how deployment and separation can wreak havoc on one’s relationship, shouldn’t I be in Megan and Darius’ point of view? If Jason wasn’t going to be anything but an impediment that the two would have to overcome then what did Jason’s POV provide? It may have made sense if this was supposed to be some tragic love triangle but it wasn’t. Out of every WTF thing in this book, giving us pages of Jason’s POV up to chapter 7 was the biggest anomaly. Because who the eff cares whether Jason is fantasizing about Megan? Who cares that he is admiring her curves in an inappropriate manner? What does it matter? This is a romance, ultimately as you wrote it, about Megan and Darius and thus Jason’s thoughts, politics, desires, wants are a complete and utter waste of space.

Let’s turn to Megan. Apparently Megan is a slave to her physical desires. Not only is she such incapable of turning away from a building attraction to Jason, she knows it exists and does nothing to avert it.

To say she hadn’t known this might happen would make her a liar. She and Jason had been working too closely together over the past ten days for some attraction not to develop.

They probably should have been a little more careful, though.

Of course, she had no way of knowing her power to deny her own fundamental needs would hover somewhere around zero when the moment did occur.

Instead of trying to avoid it, Megan kisses Jason. And instead of stopping at kissing, she and Jason decide that they will just have sex, but no kissing because kissing is too intimate.  The build up for Megan to come to the point of cheating is her missing Dari, lusting after Jason, and having unsatisfying masturbation sessions.  In other words, there is very little emotional thought given to the cheating by Megan.

I stopped at this point to flip to the end of the story again. Is Darius the hero in this book? Because Megan seems to be building feelings for Jason. These feelings are not described as a need to be fulfilled because her body misses Darius because if that were the case, any man would do.  Instead, it’s a need that Megan has for Jason, a specific need that has built up over time.

Then the two of them try to justify their actions in a weird way. They are Marines, and thus capable of separating emotion from physical act:

He prided himself on being a man who called ‘em as he saw me. And now that he understood that his physical need for Megan was returned, well, there was no reason for them to pretend it didn’t.

“Jason, I…”

He could sense her withdrawing. “What, Megan? We’re both adults. Marines, even. We know the difference between real emotion and physical need. Just like a wound that requires attention, there are other…needs that have to be met.”

Her blue eyes sparkled. “Yes, but unlike a wound, this can go without treatment.”

He grinned. “Can it?”

She faltered. “Look, I know the kiss bothered you. Hell, it bothered me, too.” He grimaced, thinking her mouth had felt all too good pressed against his. “I’m not that guy. You know, the one that screws around with his best friend’s girl.”

As long as they don’t kiss, this act is nothing more than…pissing I guess.

“So,” she said. “If this is, not that, then what is it?”

“Sex. Pure and simple.” The dubious expression returned.

“Look. We don’t have to kiss,” he said. “Actually, I’d prefer it if we didn’t.”

“And how do you propose we…have sex without it?”

He couldn’t help grinning in purely carnal desire. “Simple—you turn around…”

And afterwards, Megan feels great. I wondered at this point whether the book was going to make the case that sex without an emotional attachment was nothing more than a physical act. In a later section, Jason accuses Dari of acting like a fifteen year old girl for being upset that Jason had sex with Dari’s girlfriend.   The chapters leading up to the sex (and it is an explicit sex scene between Jason and Megan) intimated more than just a physical attraction between Jason and Megan. Was the book going to explore Megan’s conflicted feelings? No.

Again, nothing that happens in the first third of the book has actual bearing on the last two thirds of the story. I’m still baffled as to its inclusion. The only thing that is of any import is the infidelity. Why it took 7 chapters to get there and why it was an explicit sex scene are baffling. It was purposeless filler designed to … what, confuse the reader as to who the hero was? Provide setup for Jason’s book? I mean, all I got from that section is that he had no trouble nailing his best friend’s girlfriend.

Would the story be one about Megan’s need for physical companionship and how unrealistic it is for even women to spend 18 months without the touch of another human in a sexual way? No, the story isn’t about Megan’s actions but it’s about whether Darius can forgive both Megan and Jason. That’s right. Darius comes home to find out he has been emotionally and physically betrayed by two people closest to him and the story doesn’t revolve around their actions but whether he is big enough to forgive them.

I kept repeating “no” throughout the latter third of the book. Like when Jason repeated his “it was just sex” argument:

“You know, never mind. Don’t answer that.” She pushed from the table and paced.

“This…you and I just talking like this feels like a betrayal.” “We didn’t betray him.”

“How can you say that? Of course we betrayed him!”

“Now you’re just talking stupid.” She’d never seen Jason so upset before. At least not with her.

“He and I are a couple,” she said. “Any relations outside that sphere is a betrayal. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t kiss. Or that we made a point of not looking at each other. It was infidelity, pure and simple.”

“It was sex. Nothing more.”

and then Megan:

“We, um, decided not to say anything. To ride it out. Treat it like the nonevent it really was.”

“Did you enjoy it?” Of all the questions he could have asked, she would never have expected that one.

She had no answer for him. She couldn’t tell him that, yes, she had enjoyed it. Needed it. On a strictly physical level that had nothing to do with her heart.

If the argument that you were trying to make with your characters is that sex is just a physical act, no different than dining out with a friend or going jogging, then it doesn’t make sense that the character arc is about forgiveness. In order to make the argument convincing, then you would have had all the characters come to the conclusion and acceptance that sex is not an intimate act. Instead you have Darius learning forgiveness, Megan wracked with guilt, and Jason drinking away his sorrows.

Perhaps I was supposed to see Megan and Jason weak, weaker than Darius. But if that is true, then shouldn’t Megan’s character arc involved some challenge to the weakness that she then overcomes? Because there wasn’t anything in the story for Megan to do but wait for Darius to forgive her. There wasn’t anything that was done to try to convince the reader that Megan wouldn’t be rushing off to grab some other friend of Darius’s to fuck the next time he was deployed or gone.

There wasn’t any internal consistency to your argument and thus your story didn’t seem innovative and courageous but instead it was weak.  If you were going to make the argument, through the characters, that sex was a physical act, then you wimped out.  Megan’s character arc should have been about convincing Darius of the rightness of her actions and Darius’ character arc should have been about acceptance, not forgiveness.

Finally, Megan and Dari and Jason are searching for a lost girl down in Florida. This storyline, again, had nothing to do with the emotional drama and was so detached from the overarching plot that it could have been removed completely and not changed the feel of the story one iota. Again, it was pure filler and not very interesting filler at that. There was nothing about the search for the lost girl that dealt with the issues of infidelity, trust, companionship or loss. It was completely non essential. At first, I wasn’t going to give this book an F because I wondered if I was giving it a poor grade simply because it was a book about infidelity but no, I am giving it an F because it failed on every level, particularly the romance one.

Best regards,

Jane

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

36 Comments

  1. Rei
    May 17, 2011 @ 10:42:01

    While this book doesn’t look like it was well-executed in any way, shape or form, why is a book so often presented as a bad romance purely on the grounds of the fact that it contains infidelity? I’m curious; it seems to be something of a taboo in the romance genre, but I’ve never been able to understand why. What’s unromantic about a couple reconnecting after an infidelity, or a story that explores it in other ways?

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  2. dm
    May 17, 2011 @ 11:21:30

    @Rei

    I wouldn’t call it a taboo. There are infidelity books out there and some of them are much loved classics. I think the reason romance readers approach infidelity books warily is that reconciliation stories are the rocket science of the genre. Do it well (I want to avoid spoilers here but there are MJP and Sherry Thomas titles that are superb) and you will have written a desert island keeper. Do it poorly, and you have written a very, very distasteful book. In my mind they are part of a larger genre of “betrayal by the hero/heroine” (see anything Anne Stuart ever) in which the book succeeds or fails based on two components: how well the writer constructs the reconciliation, and whether or not the reader finds the betrayal forgivable (Gaffney’s To Have and To Hold might be the most polarizing title of this kind).

    But there is another kind of infidelity book that isn’t about reconciliation. It’s the sex fantasy infidelity book. Bertrice Small wrote a bunch of these, in which the heroine is married to the hero, he is her one true love, but because she is kidnapped/thinks he is dead/has to save someone or something she gets to sleep with other characters. These books aren’t about forgiveness or growing to understand the other character better because usually the hero says: no prob you had your reasons. It turns up in a lot of old skools. The worst infidelity books are the ones that are a mash up of this fantasy, with some reconciliation pasted hastily on to the end. Yuck.

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  3. Annette
    May 17, 2011 @ 11:22:57

    @Rei:

    I’m going to say this with respect, Rei, because I assume you’re asking a sincere question here — but I also assume infidelity has never happened to you or you wouldn’t have asked it in the first place.

    I think it’s taboo in romance because nothing is further from the romantic than an unfaithful partner. And if anyone has had the experience of having an unfaithful partner, he/she understands the level of pain and betrayal and aloneness. These things are not pleasant to revisit. Attempting to ‘reconnect’ after such an experience is hard, hard, hard, painful, scary, and filled with resentment, insecurity and other negative feelings. That, to me, seems the opposite of why most people read romance. The taboo seems well-deserved to me. Remember, we’re talking ROMANCE, not Women’s Fiction or some other genre.

    Regarding the review: it is definitely a pet-peeve of mine to read (or attempt to read, because I usually don’t finish) a book where the emotional/psychological interplay misses the boat entirely. This one certainly seems like it did.

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  4. Noelle (Chloe Harris)
    May 17, 2011 @ 11:31:40

    From this review I think I would be very uncomfortable with this storyline. I think it was a really interesting idea and I hate it didn’t seem to work.
    And yet I just read Madeline Hunter’s Provocative in Pearls and the hero’s infidelities during the years his bride (the wedding was never consummated.) went missing were a complete non-issue with me.
    And on still another level when we wrote Secrets of Sin I knew some people would never accept Reinier as a hero because of his infidelity but I believe a hero can grow to see the error of his ways and change.

    I guess my point is what this review has pointed out to me is that I don’t have a general opinion on the subject of infidelity. It’s definitely not an instant turn off for me in a romance but certain treatments of it do not work for me. I tend to look at it on a book by book basis and seem to be more tolerant of certain archetypes and historical settings.

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  5. KB/KT Grant
    May 17, 2011 @ 13:14:53

    I’m the type of romance reader who the moment the hero and heroine meet and are intimate, that’s it. They’re committed and nothing, not even a long separation from each other will make them turn to another person. If the hero or heroine cheats on each other, I can’t believe their HEA. And if I can’t believe the HEA, that book has failed for me as a romance.

    There’s so much infidelity in real life that I don’t want it in the romances I read. Maybe some readers don’t mind, but infidelity doesn’t belong in romance novels. I want that fantasy of soul mates and one true love and forever commitment that transcends death.

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  6. Stephanie Draven
    May 17, 2011 @ 13:22:47

    I don’t think that infidelity is off-limits in romance, or at least it shouldn’t be, and I often miss that old school Bertrice Small fantasy-scape in theory, if not execution.

    It just sounds like this wasn’t pulled together in any reasonable way–as if the infidelity could have been a flashback and the story could have started when our hero finds out.

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  7. KMont
    May 17, 2011 @ 13:29:03

    Hmmm. How to respond to the idea of this book. Hmmmm…

    Well, first of all, it sounds depressing as hell. The premise that he has to forgive her is kind of odd given all the points made re things that made no sense.

    I tend to agree with those that don’t feel infidelity or the forgiveness of it makes for a good romance read, but that’s just me – but I do think experience with the unfortunate reality of it will play into it for some readers. Then again, maybe someone out there wants their romance reading to be *that* realistic. I will definitely pass, though.

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  8. Gail Hart
    May 17, 2011 @ 13:34:26

    Interesting. I thought h/h infidelity to each other was a place Harlequin wouldn’t go in its category lines.

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  9. MarnieColetteW
    May 17, 2011 @ 13:35:03

    I agree with KB /KT Grant. I read romance for the HEA – once the hero and heroine meet that’s it for me. You can throw anything you want at either one but ultimately they can’t break that bond that is leading them to the HEA I expect in a romance novel.

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  10. Isabel C.
    May 17, 2011 @ 13:54:40

    I don’t mind infidelity, myself, but this is a place where I prefer the old-skool treatment–”I had to sleep with him to save your life, darling”–or the uber-modern version–”As long as I’m out of town, honey”–to the emotionally wrenching forgiveness-and-reconciliation thing. The latter’s just a little darker and grittier than I like my reading.

    Personal taste aside, it sounds like this book, as Jane mentioned, was trying to combine the two deals, which…fleh. I won’t say it can *never* be done well, because almost anything can–I’m sure someone could write a good book about someone who’s inclined toward monogamy and someone who isn’t trying to make a relationship work–but two such disparate methods of handling infidelity aren’t exactly chocolate and peanut butter.

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  11. joanne
    May 17, 2011 @ 14:27:24

    So much for the Marine motto of Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful). Hoo-raah!

    Run Darius, run.

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  12. Fionn Jameson
    May 17, 2011 @ 14:31:11

    Annette, very well said. Infidelity is horrible, and just reading about the subject, no matter how much the author pontificates about the hero’s redemption, there is no way in hell I could accept that the heroine would take him back. Because I sure as hell wouldn’t.

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  13. Las
    May 17, 2011 @ 14:56:33

    “What was the point of Jason’s point of view? What was I supposed to glean from it?”

    Series bait.

    Oh, was that a rhetorical question? Never mind, then.

    Theoretically, I don’t have a problem with infidelity in romances, especially if it’s the woman who’s cheating (cuz, hey, I see enough men being forgiven for infidelity IRL so fuck that noise). The problem is that unless we’re talking about “I thought you were dead,” or “I had to have sex with him/her to save you,” very, very few authors can pull that off. There’s Sherry Thomas, and…that’s about it.

    And I really hate it when an author spins it so the victim is seen as in the wrong for not being able to forgive. It sounds like this book could have been good, but the authors lost their focus.

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  14. Maddie
    May 17, 2011 @ 15:27:58

    I think the problem with this book is that both Megan and Jason with their weak boundaries will not guarantee a good partner for any one..

    Throwing away a childhood friendship to what amounts as a booty call is shallow and stupid.

    Throwing away your relationship with your boyfriend who is fighting a war in another country because your horny, really?? you can’t go out and buy BoB for your bedside table?

    So what happens when Darius gets a job where he has to travel a lot will Megan call Jason to come over for a night cap.

    People who compartmentalize their lives do not make good partners, because to them sex and making love will always be a separate place for them to lie their heads on.

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  15. Lori
    May 17, 2011 @ 15:58:25

    So a kiss is more intimate to these yahoos than getting naked together and conjoining body parts? Is this the same husband/wife team who wrote the booty book that SB Sarah reviewed?

    Methinks they should just publish smut and get away from romance.

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  16. Sunita
    May 17, 2011 @ 16:09:08

    I don’t have any rules against reading about infidelity in romance novels. But this just sounds terrible. As you said, it’s not about the infidelity per se, it the way it’s handled. If Gaffney or Thomas are the textbook examples of how to make a don’t-go-there trope work in a romance novel, this is the corresponding negative case.

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  17. Carolyn
    May 17, 2011 @ 16:51:03

    It goes against everything I believe Romance to be. I’m not sure what genre to call it, but it’s NOT Romance.

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  18. Jaclyn
    May 17, 2011 @ 17:03:30

    I read the description of this book on Harlequin’s site and couldn’t figure out who the “hero” and HEA-destined couple was, so I didn’t buy it. After the review I’m glad a passed on this book.

    Infidelity isn’t a theme in romance that I prefer because these stories often come with way to much heart-ache for me. Of all the types of emotional trauma that characters go through, betrayal by their partner is one of two that I have a really tough time reading (the other is rape by a partner).

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  19. Tamara Hogan
    May 17, 2011 @ 17:50:36

    I also couldn’t quite figure out who the hero was supposed to be. I decided the hero was Darius based on the cover model’s dog tags.

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  20. Lisa
    May 17, 2011 @ 18:13:02

    First, let me say, I write for Blaze, and I am shocked they allowed this, but on the other hand, I salute them for it. Why? Not because I like infidelity as a storyline but because I love that Blaze stories are stories you can believe might be real life. I like that the characters face insecurities and struggles, and come out happy on the other end.

    It’s one of the things that made me love reading when I started reading and what I love about writing these stories. I haven’t read the story but I am a huge Tori Carrington fan and no I don’t know them personally.

    It’s a tough subject though, and a painful one. I’m really curious to get a copy and see how its executed.
    Lisa

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  21. Laura
    May 17, 2011 @ 20:17:43

    I read this review earlier today and had to walk away for a bit. While my then 20 year old nephew was serving in Iraq, his fiance’ had an affair with one of my nephew’s best friends from high school. When Allen came home, it was to an apartment stripped of anything of value, a credit card in his name she’d racked up debt on, and a group of “friends” who’d lied to him while he was overseas.

    So, EPIC FAIL on the cheating with HEA storyline, sorry.

    At least Allen didn’t marry supertramp; several years later he and his wife of one year are happy. I love my nephew, he is a truly good man.

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  22. Kaetrin
    May 17, 2011 @ 21:05:54

    I agree with Sunita. I think infidelity in a storyline is hard to pull off well and I don’t love it but I did enjoy Sherry Thomas’ books and the Gaffney so it’s not like it can’t be a great read in the right author’s hands.

    The storyline of this book just sounds awful. Both Megan and Jason totally deserve to live miserably with each other and Darius should go find someone else who will treat him right.

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  23. SH
    May 17, 2011 @ 21:46:52

    This book sounds like a mess. How it got past all those folks at the publishing house I do not understand.

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  24. SH
    May 17, 2011 @ 21:55:18

    Oh and Laura, I completely agree. There’s no HEA in these situations – cheating is my absolute deal-breaker.
    I had a friend in the Special Forces and his wife was doing it with anything that moved while he was away. There was – thankfully – absolutely no HEA for them. In fact she had a kid with another guy, and that was the end of that.

    In a romance, the reader should like the hero and the heroine. I don’t like people who cheat. If she was that desperate for sex she could have bought a vibrator – the ‘physical needs’ excuse it beyond stupid.

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  25. Ammarylis
    May 18, 2011 @ 01:09:15

    Usually, cheating is not only no but HELL no for me in romances. I’ve seen too many friends & family members lives wrecked over a lover cheating. I’ve also seen them take said lovers back, which I totally don’t understand. If a man ever cheated on me, he better have enjoyed it because that’ll be the last time he ever cheats on ANYONE. *clip clip*

    That being said, a few romances with infidelity have bulldozed their way into my heart. Mainly because, as many of you have stated, the execution of the reconciliation. A Kat Martin (won’t name it so as not to spoil) novel that I read years ago comes to mind. The hero cheated on the heroine & he cheated on her bad. At the worst time possible, if there is such a thing as a right time to cheat. Even so, I understood his pain. I understood why circumstances drove him to step out on the woman he loved. And he groveled so well that I couldn’t help but care for him even after he did such a horrible thing. Would I take XXX hero back in real life? Hell no. But I wanted the heroine to in the book & I think that’s because I got to experience his feelings & thoughts on it. In RL, a guy might say he’s sorry but the fucker is probably only sorry he got caught. But in romancelandia, you get both sides of the story.

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  26. Anon76
    May 18, 2011 @ 02:14:41

    Two thoughts:

    Not an exact quote but “No, I did not have sexual realtions with that woman.” Bad paraphrase but I hope most know who I am talking about.

    “Pretty Woman”, much? If we don’t kiss on the mouth then it’s not “intimate.”

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  27. Anon76
    May 18, 2011 @ 02:15:07

    Two thoughts:

    Not an exact quote but “No, I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Bad paraphrase but I hope most know who I am talking about.

    “Pretty Woman”, much? If we don’t kiss on the mouth then it’s not “intimate.”

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  28. Sabrina
    May 18, 2011 @ 10:27:40

    I probably could have handled the book if the infidelity was due to the spouse being an abuser or something along those lines but a deployment? Oh FFS!! Yes it happens, waaaayyyyy to much(I’m a Vet, and a military wife). I find those men/women lacking in class, morales, and all around just a piss poor excuse for a human being so no I wouldn’t read this book. From reading the review about this book it just screams “Hey honey, welcome home, thanks for your service, I screwed your best friend because I was lonely and it was nothing, what do you want for dinner?!”

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  29. Marumae
    May 21, 2011 @ 21:41:06

    In someways I’m like you, not interested in infidelity story lines AT ALL. However now that I think about it, I believe I could deal with it if there was some kind of serious redemption arc for the cheaters themselves, if they realized they were weak, made a huge mistake and learned to overcome it, or perhaps there were extenuating circumstances, for example, one character thought another was dead, etc…there has to be some kind of growth with it. Some kind of purpose to it in the book, however in here it sounds like the story goes in a weird logical round about, meandering in a circle end end up no where which drives me nuts too. It’s like the author wasn’t sure what He/She/It wanted to say with it, realized they was getting up with their word count and hastily finished it. Honestly this book likely would have me throwing it across the room, no offense to the author, just not my taste.

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  30. Jane
    May 21, 2011 @ 22:09:56

    I’ve been thinking about infidelity a lot and will be posting a piece on it in two weeks. There are several old HPs that had infidelity in them and the stories were about marriages that had to recover from the infidelity of one partner (most often the hero but sometimes the heroine as well). Those stories never fully worked for me but they are provocative and interesting because they really explored the cause and effect. I could see the reason for having the infidelity in the storyline.

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  31. Barbara
    May 24, 2011 @ 00:59:00

    Dragging back an old topic…

    I read a Bertrice Small just a couple of days ago, or at least tried to. The H was a Saudi prince or something and had to have a traditional harem of five women. Of course the heroine was his favorite and he chose to bed her first and only be with her until she got pregnant, then he had to pick one of the other wives and be with her until she got pregnant..and so on. The whole time he’s professing his love for wife #1, making her set of rooms especially beautiful, even though he’s also apparently really enjoying the nights with his other wives.

    I couldn’t even finish it. The heroine happily accepted his sleeping with the other wives as a cultural necessity but it just gagged me that infidelity on that scale didn’t mean anything in a romance novel. I really feared what kind of ending was coming with this doormat and her creepy husband who thinks having sex with anyone with a pulse is his right.

    Blech.

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  32. Jane
    May 24, 2011 @ 08:45:49

    @Barbara – Oh Bertrice! Is this a new book? I know she is still writing but I haven’t read her in forever.

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  33. Ruthie
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 15:35:23

    Thanks for the honest review. This book utterly infuriated me, to the point that I went looking to find out whether it utterly infuriated others. I’m relieved that you had the same readerly experience that I did. I think, for me, the WTF? boils down to (a) irritation that I spent 75 percent of the book being unsure who the hero was and (b) the delinking of passionate sex and romantic feelings, which is perhaps realistic, but is not what I expect from Harlequin. If Megan was going to cheat, the sex should not have been incredible. If the sex was going to be incredible, it should have meant something. For her to have had incredible, completely meaningless sex seems to me to break the Harlequin promise.

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  34. Ruthie
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 16:55:14

    Also, allow me to be picky and point out that nearly every scene in this book ended with ellipses. WHY?

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  35. Ruthie
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 19:48:27

    Okay, one more thing and then I’ll shut up. In the early chapters especially, Carrington give us no reason to believe in the Dari and Megan’s deep love except Megan’s assertion of it and their hot sex. So when Megan has hot sex with Jason, it also throws the reality of her love for Dari into doubt. If Megan and Dari had had longer conversations or some scenes where you could *see* that they loved each other rather than simply being told it (plus the hot sex), it would be easier for the reader to retain certainty that Dari was actually the hero of the book. As it is, he leaves her to Jason to take care of, and Jason’s the one who’s making sure she eats and noticing when she’s dropped too much weight. He’s the one who’s talking to her late at night. So this (plus having scenes in his POV) makes it seem like he might be the hero, and then they have amazing sex and the book becomes very confusing. If hot sex w/the hero = True Love, then hot sex w/the hero’s best friend is just deeply confusing.

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  36. Jane
    Jun 23, 2011 @ 07:47:56

    @Ruthie The time that Megan spends lusting after Jason and the time spent in Jason’s mind (which takes up the first third of an already short book) really starts the novel off on the wrong foot. Along with all of the other things you mention.

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