RUSH (Breathless#1): Maya Banks

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Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all.

For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking...

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected

She was his drug. His addiction that he was helpless to break. Moreover he had no desire to ever break it. 

Gabe, Ash, and Jace are best friends, millionaire hotel owners and each has their own set of "kinks". This book is Gabe's story

Gabe started out with so much potential. He was sexy, charismatic, a Hot Dom and control freak. He oozed sexuality and had a commanding presence. The object of his obsession was his best friend's little sister, Mia....the forbidden fruit. 

"The only thing I am sure of is that I've waited entirely too damn long to have you."

Mia was sweet, smart, and accepting. She has had a crush on Gabe since her teens so is shocked when he shows an interest and makes an interesting proposal. 

"I'll own you, " he said bluntly. "Body, Soul. You'll belong to me."

"My tastes are extreme, Mia."

It took awhile for their relationship to get going. There was lots of verbal foreplay and sexual tension. I kept waiting for it to get moving. And once it did, I had high expectations of their chemistry and connection growing and being really hot. But I started to get disappointed in Gabe at this point. He was not gentle, he did not bring her into his lifestyle with tenderness. And even though it is described as raw, fierce, explosive, earth -shattering, he seemed selfish and brutal with his need at times. Because his feelings were so confusing and he was in such denial, it was hard to feel their connection. He had inner monologues saying how much she was affecting him and I think they way he showed it by losing control and taking what he wanted was supposed to illustrate that...the controlled man had no control around her. But it was hard to believe the underlying feelings when his actions towards her did not demonstrate that. And after awhile, it just made me not like him as much. Although he did tend to take care of her and could be sweet when not in the bedroom. And she was more than a willing participant, craved it, and seemed to be fine with her choices. 

"My need for you consumes me and it's not going away."

He was a bastard. He knew it. Suffered some regret. But he knew he wouldn't stop. He'd broken every promise he'd made to her so far, and yet he knew he'd continue to break them. There was no easy her into his lifestyle. No gentleness. No patience. She made him crazy. She unhinged him. 

This was where she was supposed to be This was where she belonged. Right here, in Gabe Hamilton's bed. At his  command and mercy. This is what she craved. And it was hers.

Was he demanding? Hell yes, but he wasn't selfish. He took. He was ruthless in his demands. But he gave her back so much. Not just materially but emotionally, though he'd likely deny he did any such thing.

He just kept disappointing me until there came a point where he totally did something that literally made my jaw drop and made me furious. While trying to deny his true feelings even to himself, he did the stupidest, most demeaning thing he could and it had lasting repercussions. 

After the major screw up, I have to say that he stopped acting so much like a Dom Robot and began to show a little more feeling. He was not done making poor choices, but at least started to show a little more promise. He had such serious trust issues and held himself back so much that it took a long time for him to show some cracks in his armor.

Slowly, he was learning that it was okay to let down his barriers with her and allow her to see a part of him no one ever saw.  Just as she trusted him, he also trusted Mia with his most protected asset. His heart. 

I felt Mia needed more back bone. She had glimpses of feistiness and strength, but at other times just let him treat her however he wanted. I understand he was supposed to be in control of the relationship, but  I still would have liked Mia stand up for herself more. She was so trusting and so supportive of him even when he did not deserve it. But I liked that she did have personal growth and came into her own some as the book went on.

It was a long twisty road but Gabe finally weasled his way back into my good graces and it was not easy. I finally forgave him when I was not sure it was going to be possible. 

She was tattooed on every part of his body, Deeper in his heart, his very soul. A permanent brand that would never wear off.

I have to say that I am a HUGE fan of Maya Banks. I love her writing style, her characters, the intensity and emotions, and have enjoyed every book I have read of hers even when the subject matter is a bit out of my comfort zone as in her Colters' Legacy series. I have not read her Sweet series yet that involves similar subject matter to this series, but I have heard they are amazing reads. With that being said, I had really high hopes for this one and was a bit disappointed.  I just think this book could have been better with more character development of both Gabe and Mia. And if Gabe had been more likeable, vulnerable, and his feelings matched his actions more. 

I am actually looking forward to the next 2 books in the series FEVER and BURN about Mia's brother Jace and the 3rd friend Ash. I loved Jace and Ash in RUSH. Jace is hot, brooding, protective and and loyal. Ash is the handsome, flirty, good natured, playboy type. And they like to share...everything...So I will definitely read those as I look forward to their stories as well as seeing more of Gabe and Mia. 

I was provided with an ARC by the Sullivan and Partners in exchange for an honest review

"He had the look of the sinful bad boy all the women went wild for. He had a total "don't give a fuck" attitude,” and what Gabe wanted, Gabe always got."

If I must be honest I am struggling with reviewing this book. I am a HUGE Maya fan and I was wicked excited the minute I got this book in my hands to read. There are parts I really like and parts I didn't. One of the main things I adored about this book was the theme/plot. Also I always love a book that showcases characters with a past and strong family/friend connections. Makes it easier to slip in to them as a couple. I think it was really hard for me though to see Gabe in his own light. I could only view him in comparison to Damon and Micah. Maya's other Doms. Unfortunately, compared to those two bad boys and her writing in that series he fell kind of flat. Gabe lacked substance compared to them. His words and inner monologue did not always mesh with his actions. He would talk sweetly and think about how he cherished her but then would be rough or selfish causing him to be hot and cold not just with his attitude but also in his behavior. I really wanted to love Gabe and I started out with love for our hero. I thought I had found my new book boyfriend. Especially since I know Maya can write her ass off when it comes to D/s relationships. To say I couldn't wait to open his story and immerse myself was an understatement. 

"I'm sure the contract seems...extreme...to you. Even cold. Heartless. Domineering. It probably makes me a huge asshole."

Here was my first issue with this story. I loved Gabe as I said at first. My first thought was, hey an alpha Dom who is used to getting what he wants, but is willing to slow down and introduce Mia into the D/s relationship at a slow pace; allowing her time to adjust. Sounds promising. Gabe was willing to give her the time she needed to feel loved and cherished while also acclimating her to his lifestyle and demands. Um yeah, once that damn contract was signed, that Gabe disappeared. In addition, the new extremely controlling Gabe appeared with no real care to Mia. His reasoning was she made him lose control. Our bad boy wanted her too much to take things slow and he seemed to take on the roll of a selfish partner. 

Now, I get that the D/s relationship works a special way. One of the reasons I really enjoy reading about this type of partnership. It is erotic and it is a huge turn on. To be able to give up total control to another person and know that you are safe in their hands while they have complete control and see to your ever need. So freaking HOT! I had never read a book like this until I stumbled upon Maya's Sweet Series (happens to be one of my all time favorite series). Damon and then Micah hooked me while Maya drew me and kept me there with her writing. They both commanded total trust and control, they didn't just ask for it without first earning it. And earn it they did.

"The contract is a little misleading in that it states I'm given all power and complete and utter control over you. To a point that's accurate. But I can assure you that I'm never going to do something that I feel you are absolutely uncomfortable with.  My job is to be in tune with your wants needs, and desires. I'm not worth much as a man if I can't do that for the woman in my care. The ultimate power rests with you."

This was my second issue with Gabe, he didn't earn it. He just expected it without really giving much in return. I know Mia gushes through the whole book about how much Gabe gives her, but I just didn't see it or feel it. He even has inner dialogue with himself and the fact that he fails her over and over again. On one occasion he messed up majorly as a Dom, just so he could prove to himself he has no real feelings for our heroine. Of course he does but felt the need to deny them due to experiences with his ex-wife and his parents’ divorce. This is one billionaire bad boy that failed in the ultimate way. He didn't provide a safe haven for Mia. Gabe didn't keep her safe while she was at her most vulnerable and there were consequences. One of those consequences for me was that, there was no coming back for Gabe in my eyes. Not with any amount of groveling/apologizing that he did or how sweet and romantic Maya made the end.
I will be honest and say Gabe did have his good moments. Our resident bad boy had a way with words. I did like that when he messed up he was sincere in his apologies.  I felt his guilt and his eagerness to make it up to Mia. Also he redeemed himself to an extent with such a sweet ending. I saw glimpses of a Gabe I could totally love.  Glimpses that made me sigh and I would think if he just stayed like this he would make the ultimate book boyfriend. I am hoping we will see more of that Gabe in Jace and Ash’s books.

While our hero left me feeling a little let down I liked our heroine, Mia. She was fun and sassy. I thought she handled her initiation in to Gabe's world fantastic. I don't know if I would of been as forgiving, understanding and as patient as she was. For me she was what Gabe needed. Not too mention that these two had been attracted to each other for quite a long time so while it felt like they had instant love, it really wasn't. I adored that they had a past and was able to find the love they both needed in different ways with each other. 

Although I was not a huge fan of Gabe himself I absolutely adore Maya's writing and characters and I can't wait to delve in to Jace and Ash. Those two men held my complete and total attention when they appeared on a page. I want to see more of them and their antics. So I will be right there buying them when they are available. Jace's love for his sister was so sweet, and I loved Ash's easy going sweet flirty attention to her. I could feel his love for her just as much as I could feel Jace's. Their intensity should make for some really interesting stories.

I definitely wouldn't discourage anyone from reading this. Especially if you are a fan of Maya's. What didn't work for me may very well work for you. 

Thank you to Sullivan and Partners for providing me with the opportunity to read Maya and Gabe's ARC for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. I love Maya Banks book, she can make any weird relationship sounds so good, but I'm a little disappointed with the hero in this book. I haven't read it (& I will), but I keep hearing about him being a total jerk, and committing the unspeakable at the end, which I'm really eager to find out what it was. I read the synopsis for the entire series, and I'll definitely read this book to continue the series.


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