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Tuesday, February 23, 2010:
Release by Beth Kery (2010)
From the author of "Paradise Rules" comes a story about an alluring woman-who learns that to understand desire, you have to let it run wild.

Genny loved her husband Max, but he lacked the sexual charge that was instead ignited by his business partner, Sean. Ruggedly handsome, Sean had a heart-stopping smile that made Genny weak. The more time they spent together, the stronger the attraction between them became. Then her husband offered to share her with Sean for one intoxicating night...

That night in the company penthouse, Max and Sean showed Genny the heights of ecstasy. But it was Sean who touched her very spirit, and one-on-one, they were red hot. But as Genny learns, there's a price to pay for such impulsive pleasure. What began as a night of forbidden desire spirals into a whirlpool of murder, sensual submission, secrets, and a scorching passion that threatens to consume everyone it touches.

Sean and Genny haven't seen each other in three years, not since Max was murdered, but they've never been able to forget their incredibly passionate night together. Now the mansion Genny shared with Max has been burned down in a horrible accident, and she needs somewhere to stay. So where does she go? To the company penthouse which she now owns, of course, never figuring anyone, much less Sean, would be there. And he's not alone.

Of course Sean never expected to see Genny Bujold, the one woman who ties him up in knots, to show up during a private evening, so when he locks eyes with her, all those familiar old feelings resurface with a vengeance. He regrets that she's found him like this, yet at the same time, the scene brings back heated memories of the last time they were together. Sean has never forgotten that explosive night, the only time he was able to have Genny in his arms, even if he had to share her with her husband, his business partner. He had wanted her too badly to refuse. But now all he has are those haunting moments of passion.

Sean manages to convince Genny to stay the night as she's in shock and has experienced enough upheaval for the time being. She reluctantly agrees, though she cannot make herself sleep in either bedroom. When they wake up the next morning, it's to find a heavy blizzard has struck, and they are essentially snowed in. That isn't enough to stop Genny from leaving however. She's determined to make it to her office. And when she does, with Sean hot on her heels, she discovers that someone has broken in. All of a sudden recent events don't seem so accidental after all. Sean refuses to let Genny be alone, and while they spend the next few days together in closed, intimate quarters, they finally give in to the overwhelming attraction that has always sizzled between them, and Sean hopes he can convince her that they could have so much more. But how can she trust him when she knows he's the one who killed her husband?

My thoughts:

Once again Beth Kery has written an incredibly erotic romance about two people irresistibly drawn to each other, despite the obstacles between them. When Genny and Sean first meet, she is already married to his business partner Max, and though they are both aware of the intense attraction between them, neither act on it out of their respect and love for Max. It isn't until one New Year's Eve night that Max decides to share his wife with Sean, and the two can no longer deny their long-buried feelings for one another. Yet soon after, Max is killed, and the events separate Sean and Genny for years.

I have to say that Beth's writing is strong enough not to have required the suspense angle in this story. I understand the reason she used it here, as it created drama and the perfect excuse to keep Sean and Genny away from each other. So from that perspective, it makes perfect sense. Without that, she couldn't have told this particular story. But as a reader, I wasn't all that interested in why or how Max died, or even in who did it. My focus was concentrated completely on Sean and Genny, and how strongly these two people cared about each other. It was like there was some force bringing them together, and that they were meant to be that way.

I liked that despite the fact Genny married a powerful man with plenty of money, she forged her own career path. She was not a trophy wife, but had a creative mind that needed expressing, and she did that through her fashion designs. She genuinely loved Max, at least the side of himself he let her see. But even he knew that it wasn't enough to prevent the inevitable collision course with Sean. Their feelings were just too strong. And he was very manipulative. He had plans for them all, and the majority of them, not so nice.

Sean was the quintessential alpha hero. Strong, protective, and very possessive. Yet he was also gentle. He loved his girl almost from that first moment they met, and enough that he didn't try to take her away from Max. Who knows what might have happened if Max lived, however.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the incendiary attraction between Genny and Sean. When these two get together, it is like a fire raging out of control. Seriously, if you like your romances SCORCHING hot, this is one book you have to read. In the past I used to wonder what someone meant when they said that the love scenes drove the story forward. What did that mean? When you read a story like Beth's you "get" it. They are not gratuitous nor are they filler. These moments (hours?) between Sean and Genny are incredibly explicit and earthy, yet there's subtext there. They communicate with their bodies when they can't express themselves with words. It's in the way they move, how they look at each other, the complete and utter focus on the other person. Their physical intimacy leads to them becoming closer in other ways. They open up their hearts to each other, and learn to trust the other person. That's what an effective love scene does. And really, it's just damn hot!

This is probably my 2nd favorite story by Beth. I couldn't put the book down and kept looking at it when I was at work, wanting to know what happend next. There was one itty bitty little scene that irked me, but not enough to detract from the rest of the story. Overall I truly liked Genny and Sean and hated that they were manipulated by someone they both cared for, but at the same time, those machinations brought them together. In a way, that's rather romantic, to watch them finally find happiness when neither thought it was possible. I love when that happens.

Once again I loved that extra character she throws in: the city of Chicago. I feel like I'm walking down those streets and feeling the chill of the winter wind on my face right there in the heart of the city because she makes it so real. One day I hope to go on a tour of the city like she's done and experience for myself what she sees and draws from when she writes her stories. For someone who lives right outside the city, it makes the book that much more fun to read. And anxious for Beth's next book :)

Rating: ****1/2 out of *****

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  1. I'm reading this one right now. I'll say this, I'll never look at chocolate covered cherries the same way again. :wink:

  2. Oh, oh, do they go naughty with chocolate covered cherries, my imagination is doing overtime here!!

    I really need to add this author to my TBB list, I'm hearing good stuff about her! Can somebody sponsor my book shelves or CC??? Anyone?

  3. I'm going to have to add this author to my list as well! Her books sound like ones that I will really like. Loved your review!

  4. Lovely review!

    I haven't read Beth Kery yet darn it. This one looks pretty awesome though.

  5. adds Beth Kery to TBR pile. Love your review.

  6. Thanks for the review. I downloaded this one a couple of weeks ago but I haven't read it yet. I read Wicked Burn and really enjoyed it so I'm looking forward to reading Release when I finish my current historical glom.

  7. I actually recently bought this book. Can't wait to read it. Stacy, what's your favorite story by Beth Kery?


  8. I'm looking forward to this one! Great review, as always, Stacy!

  9. Oh, thank you Stacy. I still have to read Beth Kerry's first book, but this sounds good. Out of interest, do you feel that the suspense angle detracted from the emotional story?

    I'll say this, I'll never look at chocolate covered cherries the same way again.


  10. I hadn't planned on getting this one - but now you've made me change my mind!!

  11. Thanks Stacy, for reading and reviewing Release! Any time you want to tour Chicago with me, you let me know.
    I was wondering what you thought of me still calling the big ol' building the Sears Tower. lol. I just couldn't call it Willis Tower in the book.

  12. Isn't it fun when you recognize the places that are in the story? I'm reading a Kat Richardson right now that does that for me. So fun.

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