Thursday, February 20, 2014

Laid Bare (Brown Siblings #1) by Lauren Dane

It's been ten years since clean-cut, sexy-as-hell police officer Todd Keenan had a white-hot fling with Erin Brown, the provocative, wild rocker chick next door. Their power exchange in the bedroom got under his skin. But love wasn't in the cards just yet...

Now, life has thrown the pair back together. But picking up where they left off is tough, in light of a painful event from Erin's past. As Todd struggles to earn her trust, their relationship takes an unexpected and exciting turn when Todd's best friend, Ben, ends up in their bed--and all three are quite satisfied in this relationship without a name. As the passion they share transforms Erin, will it be enough to help her face the evil she thought she had left behind?

Type: Erotica
Heat: 4 out of 5 (light male/male, menage, D/s)
Rating: 3 out of 5

Amazon | All Romance | Book Depository | Goodreads

Alright so my second attempt with Lauren Dane went way better than the first. I had a decent time with Laid Bare. It's a nice sexy menage with heaps of steamy sex, interesting characters in a unique relationship, a little emotional upheaval that'll tear at your heart and, well, lots more sex. So, not bad, but still, overall I'm not sure if Dane is really the author for me for a couple reasons.

Now, what I did like.

I really enjoyed all of the main characters--Erin, Todd and Ben. They're likable, have some nice depth to them, they're gorgeous and completely into each other. Erin's bold as anything when it comes to her sexuality and I loved that. But she's also very damaged and wounded because of a tragedy in her past. And the guys. I loved how much they cherished Erin, each in their own way. Not only her but they really loved each other too. They've been best friends for pretty much their whole lives and it was kinda sweet seeing them breach some walls and take their friendship into a new direction. Seeing Erin and Todd really welcome Ben into their relationship and how they all cared for each other. All good stuff.

And the sex scenes were oh-so-very-hot but not as kinky or quite as steamy as I was hoping. They were good. Make you fan yourself good. But with two gorgeous cocks--and the dominate men they were attached to--coupled with a heroine that is all about getting her freak on they turned out a little tame other than some very slight male on male action (kissing, hand jobs) and light bondage/flogging. I enjoyed them though. Quite a bit. Just was expecting...more.

Alright, so  my problems. They're mainly with the writing style which is why I just don't think I'm the target audience for Dane. My first problem was that the book took place over a large period of time. Now, I loved that in a way but how the book was laid out there were just so many missed opportunities with it. Scenes that were set up and you expect to turn the page and see what happens next--like them getting ready for a big group night out or the guys telling their families about being in a menage, etc-- but instead you turn the page and they've been completely skipped over and you're 2 months in the future. Hrm. I totally get that not everything could be on page since it was such a large time frame but I would have really liked to see some of those times. It just felt abrupt and took me out of the story. And also, just emotionally, some of the scenes that were skipped over could have been absolutely incredible.

And some things just happened too suddenly or timing felt forced.  (I'll hide this since it's a bit spoilery) Ex--Ben (the third in the menage) has been feeling a little insecure but really things are going okay and everyone's going to work towards making him feel more secure, etc and then you turn the page and hello! Surprise wedding! Uh, okay? Really totally surprise wedding where it's announced to the heroine that they're loading up for a trip and she and Todd are getting married tomorrow! With absolutely no hints or clues previously. And then Ben's left completely out of the ceremony. I really felt like I'd missed some chapters there for a while and flipped back it was so out of place. Or just huge reveals done to move the storyline in a direction that instead of making me feel sympathetic  felt forced and just annoyed me in the way they were done. Like the cop who handled the death of Erin's daughter calling on Thanksgiving to tell her that the killer was having a parole hearing...a month away. Now. It's not life or death. It could wait until the day after Thanksgiving. Yeah, the whole family was together but the timing didn't work for me. If it had been an unplanned gathering like a birthday..sure. I could have totally bought that. But this just left me frustrated with the book and, well, in a ranting mood.

Overall, though, even with my rant, I did enjoy Laid Bare. I just didn't love it. It didn't blow me completely out of the water like it has so many others. It was an enjoyable and sexy read that kept me entertained for a few hours and it went miles better than my first attempt with Dane (Lush) so I'd maybe even consider reading another but just not in a huge rush to do so. If you're looking for an easy read with some hot and heavy sexy bits and that will tug at your emotions just a bit it's one you might look into.

**I read this for two different bookclubs and results were interesting. In one club everyone basically but me LOVED it. They rave about Dane and have it as one of their top books/authors. In the other club, eh, not so much. They were pretty underwhelmed as well. Weird, right? So you never know. Maybe my issues won't be your issues and it'll rock your reader world. I very much hope so.

Have you read Dane? What did you think? 
Have you ever read one where everyone else LOVED it and you're left wondering what you missed? 

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