A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review at SeductiveMusings.blogspot.com.
This review may contain spoilers for Rush and Fever. You could read Burn as a stand-alone book, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Now that Gabe and Jace are both settled in committed relationships with the women who fulfill their need for dominance and control, only Ash is left as the last single man standing. The loss of Jace as his regular threesomes partner has been especially hard for Ash, as he’s never really wanted to be intimate with a woman one on one. When he sees the beautiful girl sitting at the cafe with a sketchbook in hand, he can’t help but appreciate her beauty. But when he realizes that the ill fitting choker around her neck is actually a collar, his attention is immediately focused on the possibility of making her his own submissive.
Josie is trying to live a carefree artist’s life after experiencing so much personal pain and loss in her past. She thought that a Dominant/submissive relationship with Michael would give her the caring and support she never really knew as a child. Ash helps her see that she’s been doing all the giving while getting none in return, and he convinces her to try letting him take care of her in all the ways she truly deserves.
“Burn” is the story of how Josie learns to trust and Ash learns how to love. Along the way, we see exactly why Ash has cut himself off from his dysfunctional family and the return of a threat that first appeared in “Rush”, the first book in the Breathless series. By the end of “Burn” we discover just how far Ash is willing to go to protect the ones he loves, and how his need for control has the potential to ruin all their lives if he doesn't figure out just how far is too far.
After reading the first two books in the Breathless series, I was ready to find out more about Ash, as I suspected that he was equally controlling and Dominant as his friends but was better at keeping it under wraps. The progression of the trust and love between Ash and Josie is somewhat more realistically paced when compared to the previous books, although all three do feature the combination of “insta-lust” and a compressed timeline. My feeling about it is that this works within this series, since these men are in their late thirties and finally ready for a permanent commitment once they find the women who are perfect for them.
When he begins his D/s relationship with Josie, it’s obvious that Ash is trying to learn from the mistakes both Gabe and Jace had made when they were in the same situation, yet he still manages to mess up on the one point that Josie treasured most - her sense of financial independence. Although I understood why she was angry, I was annoyed that she completely flipped out without even talking to him first, but then realized that her actions were necessary to set in motion the final confrontation with the threat to them all that had begun back in the first book. Maybe I've just been reading too many Maya Banks books lately, because it seemed like the plot gears were more obvious in “Burn” than in the previous books, and the way the threat was ultimately resolved seemed almost anti-climactic when compared to the build-up toward its end. But the sense of family between all the characters was just as enjoyable as in the previous two books and it was great to see Josie welcomed by all the people Ash considered as his real family. At the end of “Rush”, we see all the characters settled and happy, with all the loose ends tied up in a way that doesn't feel forced. and that’s part of what makes it a satisfying read.
If you’re new to the books of Maya Banks, the Breathless series is a great place to start. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all three of them and look forward to more great stories from Maya Banks in the near future.
Sensuality level: 4