by Maya Banks, contemporary (2008)
Heat, $15.00, ISBN 978-0-425-21943-0
Sweet Surrender is the story of Grayson Montgomery, a cop who wants to get to the bottom of the death of his partner and buddy Alex Winslow, and Faith Malone, a woman who wants to find her big O. She is also Gray's big hope in leading him to the person that may have killed Alex.
Gray, rather predictably, has done what every cop in such a situation in countless books and movies has done in the past - he decides to do his own thing. He gets himself a job at the security firm of Faith's foster father in order to keep an eye on Faith. Of course, one look at her and he knows that she is innocent. Hence, he begins to feel really conflicted by his deception of her, especially when Faith decides to seduce the cute new employee that stirs her libido like no man has done before in the past.
The mystery subplot is not strong as it feels awkwardly inserted merely as a set-up for the story and the main characters spend more time playing with each other than playing with clues. Then again, if you want a strong suspense element in your story, why are you reading a Heat book, eh?
The erotic aspect of Sweet Surrender is, on the other hand, very well done indeed. This book has elements of domination and submission, by the way, but it is not a hard-hitting BDSM story so don't expect stuff like rear end branding or you will be most disappointed indeed. I feel that Ms Banks has done a great job in portraying Faith's sexual awakening as she slowly explores her options when it comes to finding fulfillment in the bedroom. Faith's emotions and the sensations she experiences are vividly and painstakingly detailed, making this a toe-curling type of hot read.
I do wish that characterization is better in this story though. Gray is, I find, a familiar take on the tormented cop type while Faith is too much of that Special Wee Little Girl That Every Big Braw Man Loves persona for my liking. Outside the bedroom, these two characters are rather flat and uninteresting.
Ultimately - and I hate to say this since it will make me come off like a superficial sort - I like Sweet Surrender more for the love scenes than for the story.
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