Why I read it: This is the free “novella” released last week by Harlequin. I enjoy all things Mayberry so I not only downloaded it the same day – I read it too. I say “novella” because it’s 180 pages so it’s a long-ass novella. Bonus!
It’s free until the end of August but after that, it’s likely to go up to $2.99 or so. It’s well worth the money but free is better so get downloading.
Australian readers please note that the title is spelled Her Favourite Temptation over here.
What it’s about: (from Goodreads) Leah Mathews has always been the good sister, the favored one who could do no wrong. But as her thirtieth birthday looms, she’s ready to step out of her parents’ shadow and make changes in her life. Shes even more inspired by the sexy musician who moves in next door and his seize-the-day attitude. And tempted to take comfort in his arms…
Will Jones is facing the prospect of losing the career he loves–and possibly his life–to a sudden illness. When he meets Leah, he feels a powerful connection to her, and flirting with a smart, beautiful woman seems like the perfect way to spend the weeks before his risky operation.
But as their relationship heats up, Leah still doesn’t know the truth about Will’s situation. Will their bond be strong enough to face the challenges yet to come.
What worked for me (and what didn’t): Leah Mathews is a doctor training to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. Unlike Christina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy however, she doesn’t have passion for the role and is jumping off that train to get on board with Clinical Immunology. While she is very happy with her decision it also marks the first time that she has stepped away from her parents’ wishes/hopes/plans for her and they don’t take it well. I was pleased that Leah stuck to her guns even though it brought her into conflict with her family and I liked the way that being on the receiving end of her parents’ disapproval opened her eyes in a new way to how her older sister Audrey has been treated nearly her whole life. This spurs Leah to reconnect with Audrey and attempt to establish a closer relationship and I really liked how Leah actually does something here. She doesn’t just lament, she makes a move and by the end, she and Audrey are forging a new bond. I hope this will be explored a little more in the next full length book due out in early September – Her Favourite Rival (Her Favorite Rival for US people).
One of the things that helps her maintain her courage and take these steps is her developing relationship with Will Jones – the gorgeous musician who has moved in temporarily to the apartment next door. Because Leah has had her head stuck in textbooks or human bodies for the past forever years, she’s not really up on pop culture and therefore (believably) doesn’t recognise Will as one half of the Grammy award winning musical duo of Galahad Jones. For his part, Will is very pleased to meet someone who wants to know him for him and not because of his fame. He is also very pleased to meet someone who doesn’t know he has a brain tumor for which he is about to undergo surgery. He doesn’t know if he will survive and if he does, he doesn’t know what level of function will remain to him. His own fears are bad enough, but he feels the extra burden of the hopes and fears of his family and friends. He has decided to be basically alone in Melbourne prior to the surgery so that he doesn’t have to face the constant sympathy and worry his condition inspires in those closest to him.
The first part of the book is where Will and Leah become friends (and later, more) and Will helps Leah gain courage to stand strong against her parents and reconnect with her sister. The latter part of the book is more focused on Will post surgery and how he and Leah negotiate their HEA. I thought the structure was clever because it gave equal time to both main characters and equal opportunity for growth.
Even though the book has its share of angst, it has moments of humour too to lighten things up.
She’d never been that close to such a sexy guy before. Certainly none of the men she’d slept with had been built like that. Nick had been lean and skinny, Jonathan a little fleshy around the middle, while Tom had sat somewhere in between. None of them had had hard bellies or defined pec muscles or sexy tattoos.
You need to get out more.
She did. She totally did. She needed to find the place where they produced men like Will and set up camp outside the entrance.
Leah and Will have a definite connection and chemistry and it is not just apparent between the sheets – although it is there as well. And I loved that Leah doesn’t apologise for her desires.
“If one night is all that’s on offer, I’ll take it,” she said boldly. “I’ll even promise to respect you in the morning.”
There were things I would have liked to know more about. I was curious about Leah’s career change and what she would be doing and how long it would take and where she saw herself in the future (career-wise). This played into where the pair saw themselves down the track once Will rejoined the music scene more fully. While I believed in the HEA and that they belonged together, I couldn’t help but wonder how a busy medical career would pair with the life of a touring musician.
What else? Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that my stepdad is in hospital at present, having suffered his third stroke in 8 months. At the time this book was released, I really needed an escape with a guaranteed happy ending. You’d think that reading a book about hospitals and brain injury would be distressing wouldn’t you? Actually, strangely enough, it was not. I trusted Ms. Mayberry to bring me through to a happy ending and the situation was different enough to make it okay while being similar enough – except with a guaranteed happy ending instead of the current real life uncertainty – to be soothing and for me to gain extra appreciation for the sensitivity with which Ms. Mayberry writes. I could well relate to the hopes and fears of Will, his family and Leah in this one. Very well done.
“I want to taste every part of you. I want to make you come so many times you can’t walk. I want to know everything there is to know about you,” Will whispered in her ear.
Her sex tightened in anticipation, a deep, wet pulse as she thrilled to his words.
“Okay,” she said breathlessly. “Let’s do that.”