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Friday, January 13, 2012

Sex, Lies and Midnight by Tawny Weber

Sex, Lies and Midnight by Tawny Weber
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (218 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Born into a con artist family, Maya Nicholas abandoned the grifting life to live on the straight and narrow (and somewhat dull) years ago. But when her family is threatened—and the swindlers are on the verge of becoming the swindled— Maya swings into action. All she needs is a stand-in boyfriend, and the charming, tasty-as-sin Simon Barton will do quite nicely, thanks.

But Simon has a little lie of his own. He's FBI, and Maya is his inside track to her less-savory relations. It's a mutual using, which quickly turns into a scorching mutual attraction.

In fact, their naughty little sexcapades are the only things they aren't faking!

I’ve been hoodwinked in the most delightful manner. Ms. Weber turned a new page in her ability to grab a reader’s attention by doing the unexpected. I’m used to seeing a certain technique to engage my interest and she didn’t use it! I’m not sure if it’s because this is the second book in the series and having such a terrific start in the first book, Sex, Lies and Mistletoe, she decided to see where her heroine led her in Sex, Lies and Midnight. Turns out, it’s an emotional path paved with the hopes of a young girl, led down the road of an awakening that crushed her perceptions of what life really was in her family, and the determination of a fully grown woman to be the very antithesis of how she grew up. Thing is, there’s someone out there that refuses to believe that Maya Nicholas is anything but the nice, law-abiding and vanilla-bland woman she presents. And they’d be right.

Maya is a powerhouse of contradictions. She has bottled and corked her passion and energetic nature to fit in, to be normal and to have the perfect life, and she’s bored out of her mind. She’s learned to control every aspect that she can and despite her best intentions, Simon, Mr. delicious FBI man, unravels her bit by bit. Throw in a phone call from her brother and the boulder really picks up speed down that slippery slope and it sends Maya straight back to where she ran from, with a hunky complication in tow.

I realize that this story is all about Maya and her reconnecting to her family but Simon was the best one to watch. Ms. Webber presented a man who is focused single-mindedly on one goal, to take down Maya’s father, the infamous Tobias Black. He’ll do anything, say anything, to get what he wants and no dire and mysterious warnings from Hunter, another cloak and dagger alpha hottie, will stop him. It’s that whole journey of Simon’s that intrigued me. Maya was the catalyst who taught him that there really were more important things in life, like love, happiness and the pursuit of well tossed sheets.

Ms. Weber’s classic sense of humor is alive and well. Plenty of times I giggled but this time it had a warmness to it and a deeper romantic feel. I’m not sure if it’s because the focus of the story was about a woman’s bruised love for her father or what, but it was very satisfying on a different level than the first book.

What has not changed is the potent writing that the author has when it comes to physical bonding and expressions of love. My expectations there were solidly met. I enjoyed the teasing build up and how Simon and Maya felt by what they saw in each others’ eyes. Pure romance. That means that the story is told in each their point of views, which I really enjoyed seeing as things get really complicated when the external conflict hits the fan. It was nice to know where each stood even if they didn’t know it about the other.

Even though this is the second book in a mini-series, it stands by itself. The author used some of the secondary characters to fill a reader in on the background but this story is definitely about Maya and Simon and is thoroughly enjoyable. If anything, it might make a first time reader want to read about Maya’s brother, Caleb. I loved the dialogue and was entertained by the light drama.

Sex, Lies and Midnight is sheer fun with a delightful mix of love, humor and drama. Maya and Simon made a great couple and I like how they were written. There’s one more lamb to bring back into the Black fold and I am eagerly looking forward to figure out if he’s as bad as everyone is making him out to be. Ms. Webber has created a fascinating dysfunctional family and I love how she’s orchestrating their reunions with that mysterious criminal story arc. Sex, Lies and Midnight is pure entertainment that ends with a smile.

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