Art student-slash-bike messenger Wren Davis pursues what she wants. And what she wants now is Gregori Ivanov, rock star of the Seattle art scene. With his tattoos, piercings and sensual sneer, Gregori is the ultimate bad boy. Wren’s gotten to know the man beneath the body art, too—and it only makes her crave him more.
But Gregori loves women like he loves cake and champagne—intensely, but only for the moment. And after Wren experiences just how scorching sex with Gregori is, she’s determined to show him that just one taste won’t be enough…
Cake is one of the September releases in the new Cosmo Red Hot Reads imprint from Harlequin, alongside Tawny Weber’s Fearless (which I will be reviewing in the next few weeks).
These Red Hot Reads are certainly living up to their name, if Cake is any indication. This is a sexy, passionate read, typical of Lauren Dane (whose Chase Brothers series ranks in my favourites list).
Wren, a budding graphic artist, sure does know what she wants and is more than willing to reach out and grab it. What I really enjoyed about Wren is that despite the major case of hotpants she had for Gregori, she wasn’t willing to sacrifice herself to have him or to trick him into being with her. Gregori is a balls-out rock star of the art world. Dark and brooding, the tattoo-covered Russian gives off a real bad-boy vibe, which Wren sees right through – she sees the other side of him, the one he keeps hidden from most people.
It’s really wonderful to see a heroine who is ballsy and upfront about her needs and wants, and who doesn’t come across as a raging bitch. I also really like that Gregori’s attitude (and he does have a fair bit) doesn’t manifest itself as arrogance. It would be so easy to slip into that with a character such as him.
I can definitely see there would be aspects of Wren and Gregori that other readers might find hard to agree with – each character’s overt sexuality and almost aggressive manner in bed might not be to everyone’s taste, and that’s fine. However, this story would not have worked so well with Wren and/or Gregori being soft & compliant.
Lauren Dane does do the sexy very well. The love scenes between Wren and Gregori are very hot, however what is really well executed is the foreplay – the build-up of sexual tension between the two prior to them even before they’ve kissed is hot enough to melt concrete.
Thankyou to Ms Dane for establishing Gregori’s ethnicity and then leaving it to the reader’s imagination to visualize it. Yes, there is a Russian endearment used, but we’re not subjected to endless faux-Russian dialect to fill the scene.
For a novella-length story, Cake certainly packs in a fair amount of action. Your focus is never dragged away from the hero and heroine by dominating secondary characters. The supporting characters are great and certainly add what they need to, but Wren and Gregori are always at the forefront of the story.
My rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: 15 September 2013
Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by Harlequin via NetGalley in return for an honest review.