Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sexual Persuasion by Maryn Sinclair

TITLE: Sexual Persuasion
AUTHOR: Maryn Sinclair
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 62k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $6.99

When Charlotte Stone first spotted Alex Andros, she didn’t know he was the lawyer for one of the most dangerous men in Boston or rumored to be his lover. She only knew the reaction she had to him – instant, chemical, dangerous. She’s prepared to take her friend’s advice and avoid him, but when her ex corners outside of the party, Alex is the one who rides in for the rescue. He wants her to come to her own conclusion about him, outside of what she’d heard, but Charlotte is reluctant, at least until her ex decides to try blackmailing her into coming back to him…

I had such high expectations for this book after the first sizzling chapter. But this is one example of things going steadily downhill.

Charlotte owns an upscale furnishing store and attends an auction with hopes of winning some art work to sell. There, she runs into her ex, a man who did various BDSM things to her while she slept the last night they were together. She tries to get away, but ends up getting rescued by the gorgeous stranger who’d been watching her since her arrival. His name is Alex Andros, and he’s the attorney to one of Boston’s top racketeers. He’s also rumored to be the man’s lover, but Charlotte finds it very hard to believe he’s gay after the way he looks at her. She brushes him off, but when her friend has to leave her to get a ride home by herself, Alex comes to the rescue again. They spend a pleasant evening having drinks, only to have Charlotte come face to face with her ex again once Alex drops her off. Charlotte barely escapes being raped, and calls Alex for help. Drawn to Charlotte already, Alex knows he has to do whatever he can to get the ex off her back.

The sexual tension in this story crackles from the very start. My first reaction was that it was too intense too soon, and I almost gave up on it, but I got too sucked in by Alex’s charisma and the chemistry between the pair to stop. I read avidly, drinking it all in even through the near-rape. It all started to fall apart for me, however, once Alex and Charlotte consummated their attraction. The sex scenes didn’t work for me nearly as well as the tension and plottier scenes, and gradually, my interest dwindled. I grew tired of hearing just how terrific Charlotte’s breasts are (they’re very large, very natural, and apparently worshiped by all men who see them), as well as the over the top dialogue and certain terminology (the author has a propensity for using the word “hole” too much during sex scenes). It would ebb when they’d return to their tense, non-sexual scenes, but not for long.

It’s also not helped at all that the big conflict in this is Alex’s absolute refusal to share anything personal about himself. Well, that’s not entirely true. I can understand that kind of reaction if what he’s refusing to share is so truly awful. But he’s ultimately hiding an affair that he had in college with a man. He already neither confirms nor denies his bisexuality to the public or Charlotte. I just never understood why it was such a big deal that this one relationship remain such a mystery except to create artificial drama.

This spiral downwards accelerates at the end, with an added twist (that wasn’t really a twist) that came out of nowhere to give Charlotte something to misunderstand and both of them something to hash out. It turned the entire last scene into something completely unbelievable, and there, the chemistry that had saved much of the story for me already, was gone completely. The last few paragraphs are unexpectedly abrupt and crass considering what’s been going on (I mean, really, she calls it making love to Alex’s face but then turns around and in the big romantic moment tells her employees she’s going upstairs to fuck?!? Um, no.), and I’m left with a sour taste in my mouth. It’s such a shame, too, because there was such genuine heat and allure in the first third of the book. It just fizzled when they actually came together.


7/10 – I had a much easier time with the tension than the sex scenes or later dialogue


6/10 – The longer it took for him to discuss what happened, the less I liked him


5/10 – Other than her physical attributes, I never understood what the appeal was

Entertainment value

5/10 – The tension that crackled at the beginning wasn’t followed through in the sex scenes or overplayed ending

World building

6/10 – More was needed to give the villain any kind of depth or believe Alex’s reputation



1 comment:

Maryn Sinclair said...

Thank you for your thoughtful review. If I wrote SP today, I would write it differently and address many of the things you found not to your liking.