Second, WTF is going on with the cover? Seriously, can we talk about the cover for a second? What is that? It looks like the mysterious blue water from maxi pad and diaper ads.
Bizarre cover art aside, this was a great read. It was the sort of fun, ultra-sexy, modern romance that can eat up an entire Saturday. I have already ordered the next two books in the trilogy. Be advised, this isn’t Fifty Shades of Grey, largely because it doesn’t suck.
It’s erotica without the apology, navel gazing, or shame. If you liked Fifty, you should definitely like this book because it’s better.
This is the first book in the Breathless Trilogy, and like all good books in a contemporary series, it features three best friends, Gabe, Jace and Ash, who are also super attractive, wealthy and powerful. Seriously, do these guys all meet at a prep school for unnaturally attractive boys? Why do they not have one fat, awkward friend?
Anyway, the guys run a successful hotel and resort company, each of their unique personalities contributing to the success of the business. Gabe Hamilton is the man who takes the vision for a new hotel and makes it a reality, with meticulous attention to detail and absolute refusal to settle for anything less than perfection. Gabe is demanding, brooding, sexy, and he always gets what he wants.The problem is, Gabe wants Jace’s younger sister, Mia. Mia is strictly verboten. Engaging in sexy shenanigans with her would cause Jace to bust a nut, and also pretty much destroy their friendship and business partnership.
Mia wants Gabe too. She’s had a crush on him since she was a girl, and who can blame her for lusting after an older, handsome, mysterious man? When Gabe offers her a job as his personal assistant, she thinks, sure why not?
When he tells her that the job is more or less a cover so they can engage is some really crazy, hot sex she says, “oh hells yes.”
This is where the Fifty Shades comparison will inevitably be drawn. Gabe presents Mia with a contract outlining the parameters of their relationship. Basically he wants to dominate and control, with her available to him at all times. In the context of this story, the contract makes sense. Gabe’s ex-wife ran to media after their divorce and shared all their kinky sex secrets, painting him as some kind of monster who abuses women. Gabe is still struggling with the idea that she may not have enjoyed or felt fulfilled by the relationship he thought she was a willing participant in, and so he makes it very clear to all his lovers what he is looking for.
Gabe doesn’t get off on hurting women (although there is some bondage/spanking) or on degrading them. His need for control is just a part of his personality, the same personality that allows him to be a very successful, focused businessman.
He tells Mia,
“I want please you. It’s very important to me that I please you. I want you to be satisfied. I want you to be so spoiled, pampered and cherished that you don’t want to be anywhere but with me all the time” (Banks 56).
He is unapologetic and unashamed of his sexual preferences. He also makes it clear that he isn’t looking for anything other than a sexual relationship, and that if she wants emotional intimacy she should go elsewhere.
Mia is intrigued by his offer, mostly because she’s interested in having really great sex, and agrees to work for him under two conditions. First, Jace can never know that they’re involved sexually. Second, the job has to be real. She wants to actually get her feet wet in the business world, not just prance around his office in thigh highs and a pencil skirt.
I liked Mia; she was fun and spunky and didn’t take bullshit from Gabe even though he intimidated her. She didn’t feel like she had to fix Gabe or worry that the sex they were having was wrong or bad or abnormal. She was a willing, enthusiastic participant.
Gabe also has no hang ups about his kinks:
“Some things just are. It was—is—a need I have. I don’t have some traumatic childhood that makes me the way I am. No emotional instability. It’s a kink, but more than that, it’s who I am” (Banks 150).
Now that they’re both down with the naughty, spanky sex, things get complicated. Gabe realizes that Mia doesn’t just excite him physically; she challenges him intellectually and emotionally. She calls bullshit on him when he’s being a douche, and while she’s willing to be submissively sexually, she is not giving him the ownership over her that he thinks he wants. He finds himself increasingly comforted by her presence in his life—a moderating influence—so much so that he finds, to his horror, that he likes being the big spoon. Sweet Jesus, she makes him want to cuddle. And talk about his parents’ divorce. And sometimes have fun. Shit just got real. Gabe is all like “I’m having these feelings and I don’t know what they are and they make me all upset.” You get where this is going. Also he feels like being with Mia is the most intense sexual experience of his life. It’s like her vagina is Disney World or something—a magical place where memories are made.
Mia similarly begins to fall in love with Gabe, and dreads the day when their liaison will end.
In his efforts to prove to himself that he doesn’t have feelings, Gabe does something that some readers won’t be able to forgive him for. I felt that there was sufficient groveling, but I know others couldn’t get past it. I won’t ruin the book by stating what he does, but it was something that both parties agreed on in earlier chapters and would have worked had they not developed feelings for each other.
In fact, one of the reasons I loved this book as much as I did was that Gabe did grovel, big time. He doesn’t just say “Hey, turns out I am capable of love—let’s have babies!” Oh no, Mia tells him (spoilery bit) outright:
“If you ever wake up and decide you want me back? You’re going to have to crawl.” (Banks 313).
Both Mia and Gabe grow and change within the context of their relationship in a way that makes the ending satisfying, which really sold the book for me. There’s also a lot of hot sexing in here. If you’re not down with reading about some spanking, light bondage, and anal sex, then you don’t want to read this book. At least not past like, chapter one; it’s pretty much Cinemax after 1 a.m. beyond that.
Personally I’m looking forward to the next two books, especially smarmy, sexy Ash’s. How can you resist a guy who says, “See, this is why you should come work for me. I’d pet you and love you and be nice to you.” (Banks 175). Oh hell, yes.