Introvert, Worrier, Owner of the blog "Caught in a FAB Romance", and resident Romance Guru on Parajunkee's View. I've been blogging about books for four years - if it's got romance in it, I'll read it! You can also find me on twitter, tweeting about books, my family, and sometimes, The Saints: @TheLoveJunkee Find me on Instagram:
4 1/2 stars - loved this.
PJV Quickie: There are several reasons Lauren Dane is an auto-buy author for me and she validates all those reasons with LUSH: Superior writing, exceptional characters, and deliciously erotic sex scenes.
Mary Whaley is a professional chef who runs a successful supper club and catering business. She’s at a good place in her life and is pretty happy with things like they are. She’s doing catering for her friends Gillian and Adrien’s engagement party (their story is told in Never Enough) where she meets one of Adrien’s musician friends, Damien. Sparks fly and they chat, each looking forward to seeing the other at the wedding the following month.
Damien Hurley has been the drummer in his band since high school. He and his brothers started their band and kept at it until they finally took off; now they play packed arenas and have a large fan base. Damien has a well-deserved reputation as a playboy/party animal, but seeing the happiness Gillian and Adrien have, surrounded by family, has him thinking that there might be more to life than fame and flings.
Things between Mary and Damien start off hot-n-heavy, and they both know this is just a fling, no strings, no one gets hurt. But it seems there’s more to it than that, and Mary and Damien need to figure out how to make things work or stop things now, or someone will get hurt.
I’ve read several erotic romances over the last few weeks and I’ve been disappointed to the point that I was starting to wonder if I was the problem – had my reading tastes changed? Well, after reading LUSH, I can say it’s definitely not me – LUSH was fantastic!There are so many things I want to say about LUSH; I don’t know where to begin!
I think I should start with Family. ”Family” is a theme that imbues all of Ms. Dane’s novels: Not just the family you’re born with but the family you build for yourself. I liked that both the hero and heroine have good relationships with their families and had loving parental relationships to build on. I loved the scene where their mothers met – their fierce loyalty to their children was impressive.
Mary’s family and friends were so worried about her getting hurt by Damien’s bad-boy ways that they sometimes crossed the line trying to protect her, which was sweet, but she didn’t let them get away with it. Which brings me to another thing I really liked about LUSH: The strong female friendships. These ladies are there for each other – even when they disagree with each other. When Mary and her friend Jules had an argument, you know it’s not the end of their friendship – they’re not going to make snarky posts on facebook or avoid each other. They own that their hearts are in the right place, agree to do the right thing, and move on.
So, what else is going on in LUSH? Well, lots of the sexy times, let me tell you. Damien is a man of many talents, and loves honing said talents with Mary. Mary is a character who has a real lust for life – be it food, friends, or sex, and she throws herself into whatever she’s doing wholeheartedly and without shame. While occasionally her bluntness was off-putting, for the most part I really enjoyed her straight-talking attitude and refusal to accept less than she felt like she deserved.
As far as Damien, when he realizes he might be in it for the long haul, he respects Mary’s career and her feelings and doesn’t try to push her to change. He knows he’s got to work to earn her trust and prove his party-boy past is actually that – in the past. His family is awesome and I’d love to read more about his brothers (hint, hint).
My only real issue was that the conflict was a little forced – without going into spoilers, it was kind of a stretch as far as motive and Mary’s reaction was not consistent with her personality as seen previously in the book. That being said, I was able to roll with it and still enjoyed the story immensely.I would be remiss if I did not mention all the glorious food porn: so descriptive and delicious… LUSH should come with a cookbook. Or at least a warning to have plenty of snacks handy. DO NOT read LUSH and then go shopping at Whole Foods (or your local equivalent); your wallet will cry – trust me on this.
The Delicious series is closely tied to the Brown Family series, so we get to see some of the same spectacular characters. Reading LUSH is like running into familiar friends you haven’t seen in awhile; it’s great to catch up and see how everyone is doing. Ms. Dane just released the cover for the next book in the Brown Family series: Drawn Together, which will be Raven’s book, and I can’t wait!
If you’re looking for a fabulous erotic romance that doesn’t involve ANY ‘Shades of Gray’, I definitely recommend LUSH. It can be read as a stand-alone, but you might want to consider reading her Brown Family Series and the Delicious series. Trust me, after reading LUSH, you’ll want to know everything about the secondary characters and their back stories: prepare to settle in and enjoy the ride.