Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Awaken to Pleasure by Nalini Singh

The proposal was as unexpected as her feelings for the man whose dark good looks rivaled an even darker past. Painful experience screamed that Taylor Reid should run far and fast from Jackson Santorini. But keeping custody of her brother meant becoming her former boss's bride. And giving Jackson a baby.

Despite his powerful size and presence, Jackson had been wounded…deeply… by a woman. Yet he'd protected her at a personal cost, if his restrained ardor in deference to her virginal apprehension was one indication. Suddenly, for Jackson's sake, Taylor wanted to replace pain with pleasure. Only, she'd never imagined what sensations—and secrets—she would awaken…
Remember a month or so ago, I won a book on Nalini Singh's blog? It was actually to win a copy of Bound by Marriage, but because I had already ordered it on the strength of having loved Slave to Sensation, I suggested to Nalini that she surprise me with whichever book she wanted to send me, and this was the one I got. Funny thing is that Bound by Marriage still hasn't arrived......although I think it might be in the post now...finally!

Confession time.

I haven't read a category romance for at least a couple of years. I had read some a while ago when my mother left some behind one day, and I buy the Christmas pack for her every year, but I just don't read them myself. Or perhaps I should say I didn't read them myself, because I have actually read three in the last month or so. Two were really good, including this one, and the other wasn't bad either.

Taylor Reid was Jackson Santorini's temporary secretary a couple of years before this book opens, and he knows that she was the best secretary that he ever had. He also knows that he felt a strong attraction to her, but he was married at the time and therefore never took it any further. Taylor was also attracted to Jackson, but for reasons of her own she would never take it any further either.

When they meet up again after a couple of years, things are different. Jackson is no longer married, but Taylor is still reluctant to get involved. After all, she has enough on her plate at the moment. Her father is trying to remove her brother from her custody and it is a fight that promises to be very dirty and drawn out. Over the course of a couple of days, Jackson convinces Taylor that there is one way that he can help her current situation, by giving her the security of his name. After a series of negotiation it is agreed that this is the best course of action, but due mainly to Taylor's own insecurity, there are a number of out clauses built in - including that Taylor will do nothing to stop conceiving a child. But first they need to get through sleeping with each other - not an easy thing for Taylor at least due to something in her background.

As they learn to trust each other, and yes, Awaken to Pleasure, their attraction and love gets stronger, and they fight as a united team. The relationship and concerns that Taylor felt for her younger brother were very well written, and he didn't feel like a contrived plot element despite the fact that he was offstage for a lot of the novel.

Given the post over at Dear Author recently where Nalini talked about writing for a US dominant market, I found it quite interesting to try whilst writing this review tonight to see whether or not I felt the location was intrinsic to the novel or whether or not it was a setting that could be substituted to another location easily. Whilst the story is set in New Zealand, I did feel that it was quite generic, especially seeing as Jackson was a hot shot film producer.

For another entertaining review of this book, head over and read Rosario's review.

Overall, this was an entertaining read and I am looking forward to finally getting hold of Bound by Marriage when it finally gets here!

Rating 4/5

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