I can usually sit to write a review just moments after completing a book. Not the case with Megan Hart's TEMPTED. I'm still not certain how to accurately describe this book since I truly believe the message may sound different to every reader. It certainly gave me pause, leaving me raw, so compelling was the storyline. So much for believing that all romances have happy endings. This book doesn't have the "happily ever after" of a traditional erotica or romance which took me by surprise. Actually, TEMPTED is far from a traditional erotica in so many ways.
The character development was more advanced and the storyline deeper than a traditional erotica. Written as Anne in the first-person narrative, the author carefully paints a picture of an adoring couple. Anne has a good marriage with James. When Alex, James childhood best friend, comes to visit, Anne easily forges a friendship with Alex which progresses into flirtation until one night, the three give in to the sexual tension that has been swirling around them. James believes it will be simple - a summer of indulgence – but it becomes more for Anne as her heart opens to Alex. However, a mystery behind an argument James and Alex had as young men haunts their relationship and leaves Anne with doubts.
I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of emotions this book covered. Alongside the primary storyline is the complicated family dynamics in both James and Anne's families. Anne's sisters are a sustaining factor in the book as they allow the reader to glimpse the imperfections of any human being; an alcoholic father, adultery, gambling addiction, miscarriage, and an unwanted pregnancy. And then there's the meddling in-laws tossed in to make this a family to relate to. All of this is going on while the relationship develops between Anne, James and Alex.
Megan Hart uses emotion to draw pictures with her words, often highly erotic pictures. When Anne, James and Alex have sex, they worship each other's bodies without pretence. The writing is explicit, sensual, and quite graphic, but never making it seem dirty. The story is believable – the most believable polyamorous ménage story I have ever read – so that I immersed myself in the book and found my heart aching for Anne. What an amazing author to use her words and create such a connection between a character and a reader.
I loved every page of this book, and none for the reason I thought when I chose the book to read. TEMPTED is a vivid, well-written book that goes beyond the traditional erotica. The author includes characters with depth and heart, realistic storylines and connections. Despite being classified in the erotica genre, it's not just another book about sex. Megan Hart steps it up and brings erotica to the mainstream audience.
I give this book five tempting chocolate dipped strawberries.