Monday, January 16, 2017

Too Much Temptation - Lori Foster (Brava - Mar 2002)

Series: Brava Brothers (Book 1)

Grace Jenkins has had little experience with men--feeling too awkward and insecure to free the passionate woman inside her. But that hasn't stopped her from dreaming about Noah Harper. Gorgeous, strong and darkly sexy, his rough edge beneath the polish promises no mercy in the bedroom. When Grace learns Noah's engagement has ended in scandal, she shyly offers him her support and her friendship. But Noah's looking for something extra...

Noah wants Grace--badly. He wants to possess those curves that go on forever, to savor her sweet innocence, to take her to the limits of white-hot desire...again and again. What he doesn't want is anything more complicated than that, and he knows Grace is a woman who deserves better. Grace, however, knows exactly what she wants--the kind of ecstasy only Noah can give her. Brazenly, she accepts, and Noah promises to make all her secret fantasies come true...

Good book, with some great humor, emotion tugging, and a good bit of heat. Noah is the grandson of Agatha Harper, a local society dame, restaurant owner, and bit of a snob. Noah was a street rat before she found him at the age of sixteen, the illegitimate son of her son. While she has accepted him, she doesn't seem to have that high of an opinion of him. He feels like he owes her, and has been engaged to the daughter of her good friends for the past two years. That all changes when he finds her in bed with someone else. Naturally, he breaks off the engagement, but being a good guy at heart, he doesn't tell anyone why. Agatha is furious, disowns him, and tries to figure out how to fix the problem. Noah isn't about to change his mind and stands up to Agatha, only confessing the truth to his half brother Ben during an evening of drinking.

Grace is Agatha's personal secretary, who has kept Agatha's life on track for the last three years. She's pretty enough, very curvy (she calls it fat), sweet, innocent, and has had a crush on Noah since the beginning. When she finds out what has happened, she is worried about Noah and goes to see him. Caught in a rainstorm, she arrives soaking wet, but determined to make sure he's okay.

I loved her arrival and her combination of worry and amusement. Noah is surprised by her immediate declaration of support, since everyone has made it plain it must be his fault. Suddenly he's looking at her with different eyes and seeing a woman who looks like a "goddess". He's somewhat the worse for drink, which lowers his self control, and he gives in to the urge to kiss her. His desire shoots up, but he knows he's in no shape to do anything about it, but convinces her to stay with him anyway. A slightly awkward next morning gets worse when she arrives late to work and gets fired by Agatha for being with Noah. It's a scene that is both funny and emotional, as Grace tries to protect Noah from his grandmother's anger.

Because Grace has had the hots for Noah for years, when he makes it plain he wants her, she's all for it. She doesn't have any experience, but she's happy to learn whatever he wants to share. Noah feels a bit guilty because he has no intention of any more relationships for a while, and he sees Grace as the settling down type. But she insists she fine with it, and off they go.

I absolutely loved the protectiveness they had for each other. Grace was quite familiar with Noah's reputation and had no illusions about him. But she also saw beneath the "street rat" persona he wore for public consumption. She thought that he was a lot more sensitive than anyone, including himself, gave him credit for. I loved the looks she got when she would put herself between him and whoever was mad at him. Though Noah started out looking at Grace as just a bed partner, he quickly became very protective of her. I loved the way that he worked so hard to show her what a sexy woman she really was. It was also really funny to see him watching over her when she went to work at Ben's bar.

The development of their relationship was pretty sweet. Besides their compatibility in the bedroom, they actually had a lot more in common which helped draw them closer. As the days went on and they were together so much, Noah began to realize that he wanted more than just the fling he had first insisted on. This freaked him out a little bit because it was so unexpected. Grace, while she dreamed of him falling in love with her, believed that she wasn't anything like the kind of woman he would really want. There were no big misunderstandings to drive them apart, but it took a crisis with Agatha to bring them fully together in a really fun hospital bedside scene.

The supporting characters were really wonderful too. The ex-fiancee, Kara, really wasn't the bad guy that she could have been. She was a bit spoiled and selfish, and could be really silly, but at heart she was a good person. I enjoyed seeing the progress of her relationship with the "other man". Noah's brother Ben was terrific. Though they are half brothers and hadn't known each other until they were teens, they are always there to support each other. The scenes that they had together were always fun, but I especially liked the morning after scene at the beginning of the book. Ben also has a much more contentious relationship with Agatha, whose attitude toward him gives him ample reason for his behavior. I really enjoyed seeing how he stood up to her at the end of the book, and how their relationship changes. Agatha was a real piece of work. She snobby, snotty attitude toward Noah's breaking of the engagement made me really mad, and I loved seeing him stand up to her. Her fixation on how she thought he "needed" Kara to make him acceptable was horrible, and I loved seeing him thwart her. Seeing the changes in her at the end was terrific, and I can't wait to see more of her in Ben's book.

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