Published by Forever on August 8th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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A new story of dangerous temptations from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the This Man trilogy.
Annie has never experienced the 'spark' with a guy-that instant chemistry that renders you weak in the knees. That is, until a night out brings her face to face with the dangerously sexy and mysterious Jack. It's not just a spark that ignites between them. It's an explosion. Jack promises to consume Annie, and he fully delivers on that promise.
Overwhelmed by the intensity of their one night together, Annie slips out of their hotel room. She is certain that a man who's had such a powerful impact on her must be dangerous. She has no idea that he belongs to another. That he's forbidden.
Fair warning – this book will not be for everyone. It involves a love triangle and full-on cheating. Jack and Stephanie aren’t separated, they’re not on a break, they’re not living apart. They’re married when he and Annie meet and start their affair. Annie doesn’t know he’s married when they meet or the first time they have sex, but she finds out quickly after and the affair continues. I know cheating is a hard line for a lot of readers, so there’s your warning.
Cheating is not a hard line for me, so I went on. Jack and Annie meet at a bar one night, and their connection is instant and intense. They spend the night together, and by all accounts it’s wonderful, but when Annie wakes up, she’s horrified by the fact that she spent the night with a stranger and she sneaks out of the hotel room, so it’s not until he randomly shows up at a party with his wife that she finds out that not only is he married, but they’re going to be working closely together for the foreseeable future.
There was… a lot of drama in this book. A lot of angst. Stephanie (Jack’s wife) is portrayed as an almost cartoonish villain, one-note in her craziness. Which isn’t great. A marriage can be wrong for a lot of reasons, not just because the woman is a screeching harpy who sucks down champagne like it’s electrolyte-charged water. It was a cliche, unnecessary portrayal. And while you expect some angst in a story that involves cheating and love triangles, there was so much more than I was expecting. So. Much. Drama. So. Much. Angst. Malpas really wanted to make sure that while Jack and Annie were going to get their happily-ever-after, they were going to suffer for it. I don’t know… It seemed like too much. I get that he was cheating on Stephanie, but it went over the top for me.
I did have some sympathy for Jack and Annie and what they were going through, but the drama became a little much for me. Considering the fact that one of the reasons Jack didn’t want to be married to Stephanie any more was her drama, he seemed to land himself right into another situation filled with it. I don’t have a lot of faith that Jack and Annie will be able to settle into a regular, angst-free existence, I sort of think they thrive on it. As an example, Jack and Stephanie don’t have any kids. There’s no reason he can’t leave her if he’s really that miserable. He tells Annie that the one time he tried to leave her, Stephanie tried to kill herself, so he can’t ever leave again. Well, no. That’s not really the case at all. You make staying with her conditional on her going to therapy. You get her family, who she’s allegedly close to, involved in the situation. You help her. But you don’t have to just shrug your shoulders and say “Cool. I’ll just sentence myself to a life of misery.” Whether you’re trying to leave or not, someone who’s threatening or attempting suicide needs help. That’s another aspect of the portrayal of Stephanie that bugged me. The suicide attempt is presented as faked, an attention-grab, but if that’s the case, then go ahead and leave. There’s no reason to stay because someone else is fake-threatening to hurt themselves. Again, get them therapy, but you don’t have to stay. At that point, I just don’t think Jack knew what to do without the drama, until he met Annie and could get a whole new influx.
Bottom line – this book was well-written, but the cartoonish portrayal of Stephanie wasn’t great, and the drama was over-the-top. If you don’t mind a little cheating, and that’s your thing, you’ll like this one. I do recommend Malpas overall, but really look at this one before you move on with it.