Tuesday, May 3, 2016

ARC Review: Big Easy Temptation by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake

Series:  Perfect Gentlemen #3
Pub. Date:  May 3, 2016
Publisher:  Berkley Publising
Pages:  384
Format:  Print ARC
Source:  Berkley

*This review will contain spoilers for prior books in the series so read at your own risk!*

The Perfect Gentlemen have turned me into a heroine hater. With each successive book, I think I have found my favorite member of the group... but that's a lie. I want them all. I'm being a selfish catty bitchface because no female heroine is going to be good enough for one of these men... unless she is me, of course.  First we had Gabriel Bond, the corporate mogul. Then came Conner Sparks, secret agggeent man. Now we get the story of Dax Spencer, the handsome Naval Captain. Up next is Roman Calder, protector of POTUS. And then, we certainly can't forget Zach Hayes, leader of the free world!  But there is one Perfect Gentlemen missing - Maddox.  Mad cannot be dead! I mean, come on, his penis has its own Twitter account! There is just too much awesomeness and hilarity for him to be gone. I don't think Lexi and Shayla are cruel enough for him to really be dead, but they are being very close-mouthed about it.  What say you? Do you think he's at work behind the scenes? Is he Deep Throat? Much like Freddy, I have my own theories (as you can see from all my note tabs)!

So I am actually enjoying the suspense/mystery/conspiracy of this series as much as (maybe even a little more) than the romance.  Gasp! I can't believe I said that... but it's because I've been a heroine hater from the beginning, so I'm just inserting myself into the role and the heroines can go play somewhere else. In the last book, we uncovered much more about the conspiracy against Zach by the Russian Bratva. We found (and lost) Natalia Kulikov. And now we have this key piece of evidence - a deadpool. A hit list so to speak that has some very important names on it... namely, Constance Hayes, Joy Hayes and Admiral Spencer (Dax's father).

Dax never believed his father committed suicide, so he is taking off to New Orleans (my city- yay!) with this new information to confront the woman who broke his heart, and briefly looked into his Dad's death. Dax was another yummy hero, worthy of the Perfect Gentlemen. Handsome and brawny, he fills out his Naval officer uniform quite nicely. While he was portrayed as a manwhore in Seduction in Session, he did not come across that way in this book. He came off a little more tragic, dealing with the death of his dad, a huge scandal, and then a horrible betrayal by the woman he loved. He's one of those heroes that you want to get your hands on and fix... and fill up that hole in his heart.

Holland Kirk is a special agent with Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in New Orleans. She was also friends with Joy Hayes, Zach's deceased wife, which is how she met Dax and the rest of the Perfect Gentlemen. While Holland has always had an attraction to Dax, she is wary of the reputation of the PGs. But not only that, she doesn't want to end up like her mother, who was a military wife always pining away for her husband. I kept looking for a reason not to like Holland because well, we already talked about me being a heroine hater. In all honesty, she was not an annoying heroine. She was fairly kickass in her role as NCIS agent and, when she wasn't betraying Dax, she was pretty even-keeled. Of course I hated her betrayal and the things she says to Dax... but I could not totally hate her even when that was happening.

I am usually not a big fan of the second chance romance because, well, the DRAMA.  But Shayla and Lexi did it right in this story... they split into two parts - past and present.  So we actually get the buildup of the first relationship when Dax and Bambi Holland fell in love. This always helps me get invested in the story and relationship because I like to start at the beginning. That way, when the couple does reconnect, I can deal better with the drama. That being said, Shayla and Lexi did not drag out the drama here, which made me very happy. So I enjoyed the relationship ups and downs, even knowing that I would be a much better match for Dax than Holland. I may even let her have him as long as I can keep Conner.

Because half of the story takes place in the past, we also get to see a little more of Maddox Crawford, playboy extraordinaire. Man, I love Mad. I really hope he isn't dead.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkley Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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