>> Saturday, October 13, 2012
TITLE: Amorous Liaisons
AUTHOR: Sarah Mayberry
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Blaze
SETTING: Contemporary Paris
TYPE: Category romance
SERIES: Part of something called Lust in Translation
Max Laurent has always wanted Maddy Green. But he let her go once before rather than stand between her and her dreams. Now she's on his Paris doorstep, needing a place to stay. She's just as hot and he wants her just as much. How can he resist seducing her?Sarah Mayberry is one of my very few category romance autobuys. Her Blazes are my favourites, and she is, in fact, the only Blaze author I'm still reading. After reading the first couple of titles I bought her entire backlist, and I'm doing my best to make them last.
When Maddy's world falls apart, it's only natural that she turns to Max for support. But fall into his bed? Never…until one steamy night, that is. And having had a taste of him, she's hungry for more. Then she has the chance to resume her career, although it means leaving him. Can she throw away the best sex—and the best friend—she's ever had?
Amorous Liaisons is a particularly good one. Maddy Green's entire life has been consumed by her determination to become a prima ballerina. It's all she's ever cared about, and she's pushed everything else out of her life. She's finally made it, but she doesn't get much time to enjoy it. As the story starts, she is forced to accept that the knee injury she's been battling with is, indeed, bad enough that she won't be able to keep dancing at the top level she's at.
Devastated, Maddy runs to the only person she's ever felt truly close to. She and Max Laurent used to be roommates and best friends when they were starting out as dancers. Max, however, chose to leave Australia and go back to his native France to take care of his father, who'd fallen ill. He stopped dancing, and is now a successful sculptor in Paris. Over the years, his and Maddy's relationship has become pretty distant.
Max is therefore stunned when he finds Maddy waiting for him at his door. He also can't help but still feel some of the love he felt for Maddy all those years ago. Because his leaving Australia wasn't all about his father, it was also about him being madly in love with Maddy and realising she was never going to make room in her life for a romantic relationship.
Max has got a bit of the white knight in him, and he takes Maddy in, and helps her heal. Their closeness is still there, but now, suddenly, Maddy is noticing (and feeling) the romantic tension. But, as Maddy explores new options, will she again close her eyes to anything but her determination to dance?
This was a really yummy, sexy and romantic book. Maddy and Max are fully realised, and their relationship feels real. There's a lot of pain and yearning there, which made reaching their HEA very satisfying.
The relationship felt a bit unbalanced at the beginning, with Maddy in the position of needing comfort and emotional support from Max and not giving anything back. Meanwhile, Max helplessly gives and gives, no matter how much pain it causes him. But that was only the position from which they started. Mayberry obviously realises this is an issue, and it's something they have to work through. Both characters grow, and by the end of the book, their relationship has become a mature, mutually supportive one.
In addition to the relationship, there's a lot about ballet here (and about Max's sculpture, but mostly about the ballet), which I found fascinating. I gather there are a number of issues with some of it (there's a 1-star review in amazon with a detailed critique of this element, by someone who clearly knows a lot about ballet, including Australian ballet), but I don't really know much about the subject, and so was perfectly satisfied by what I got.
Loved it, one of my favourites by Mayberry.
MY GRADE: A B+.