This book was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review at SeductiveMusings.blogspot.com.
Note: This review contains spoilers for Rush. You could read Fever as a stand-alone but I wouldn't recommend it.
Fever is the second book in Maya Banks’ new Breathless trilogy and picks up almost immediately where the first book Rush left off. It begins with Gabe and Mia’s big blowout engagement party at the Bentley, the newest luxury hotel in the best friends and business partners’ international chain. While the happy couple have eyes only for each other, Jace and Ash are already scanning the crowd for their next shared bed-mate. They both acknowledge that Gabe has never been happier than he is with Mia, but scoff at the idea that either of them would ever be inclined to make such a permanent commitment with a single woman.
Bethany is a woman in dire straits, happy to have the temporary server job with the company catering the engagement party, hoping for at least something hot to eat and perhaps even a warm place to sleep for the night. She’s lived a hard life for someone barely in her twenties, and life on the street has kept her wary of anyone or anything who might make promises that they can’t possibly keep. Her only trusted friend is Jack, although she thinks of him more as a brother than just a friend. Up until recently Jack has protected Bethany from the worst of the streets, but his inability to stay out of trouble has placed her own precarious safety in jeopardy.
When Jace and Ash each first spot Bethany, they both have the same reaction, or so they think. But Jace’s thoughts are more possessive and permanent, and the decisions he makes from that first moment resonate throughout the rest of the story as he moves more deliberately to make Bethany his - and only his - forever.
In Rush, Gabe wanted to possess Mia both inside the bedroom and out, but Jace’s dominance of Bethany extends to all aspects of her life, bordering on a total power exchange. Jace even puts his collar on Bethany without bothering to tell her its actual significance. She just thinks it’s a lovely leather choker, not realizing Jace considered it a mark of his ownership. Meanwhile, Jack is still on the streets, getting into even deeper trouble and ultimately bringing that trouble right back to Bethany’s doorstep. The conflict between what Jace and Jack each want for Bethany will not only endanger her love for Jace but her life itself.
Fever can be read as a modern Cinderella story, except in this version Prince Charming is a billionaire Dominant who rescues Cinderella from a homeless shelter because he believes she is his perfect submissive. The actions Jace takes regarding Bethany seem completely reasonable to him even as they worry Mia and shake the foundation of his friendship with both Gabe and Ash. Bethany just can’t believe that Jace’s love and protection will last, and when his jealousy flares, her self-protection instincts threaten to keep them apart permanently. Both of them slowly learn to trust the other over time, but it takes Jack’s last big screw-up to get them to the ending they need and deserve.
Once again, Maya Banks pushes all those buttons in my head that make me love her books so much, with the tough but tender alpha male, and the shy but strong woman he intends to claim as his. Both Jace and Bethany make mistakes in their road to the happy ending, but they learn that trust must be earned on both sides and that sometimes love really can heal all wounds. I loved every minute of their story and can’t wait until we find out what awaits Ash in Burn later this year.
Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level: 4