Berkeley / August 6, 2013 / $15.00 print, $8.89 digital
Ash, Jace, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Ash, it’s the woman who changes everything he’s ever known about dominance and desire...
When it comes to sex, Ash McIntyre has always explored his wilder side—extreme and uncompromising. He demands control. And he prefers women who want it like that. Even the women he’s shared with his best friend, Jace.
But Jace is involved with a woman he has no intention of sharing. And now even Gabe has settled into a relationship with a woman who gives him everything he needs, leaving Ash feeling restless and unfulfilled.
Then Ash meets Josie, who seems immune to his charms and his wealth. Intrigued, he begins a relentless pursuit, determined she won’t be the one who got away. He never imagined the one woman to tell him no would be the only woman who’d ever drive him to the edge of desire.
In Burn, the conclusion to Maya Banks’s Breathless trilogy, Ash McIntyre, the billionaire playboy who never seems to take anything too seriously or give too much of himself, is the last to fall. With his friends pairing up and settling down, there’s a restless energy left in Ash, though he’s always been more comfortable with a threesome than the idea of a relationship. But when he spots artist Josie Carlysle across the park, he's drawn to her like a moth to a flame, and feels he has to know her.
By the end of the first chapter, these perfect strangers are discussing collars, and this is the element that sets the Breathless books apart. In any other world, the speed and intensity of the relationships would seem outrageous. The fact that a man can meet a woman and immediately want to care for her, protect her, and integrate her into his life so completely seems over the top—for anyone but Gabe, Jace, and Ash. This speaks to the character of these men, that they ask a lot of the women they love but never more than they require of themselves. Ash never quite understood his friends’ love lives until he meets Josie.
“I didn't want a game. But at the same time, I don't know if I want it to be real. I think... with you... that it would be very different. With a man like you, I mean.”
“It's not meaningless,” Ash growled, his face drawn into a scowl. “And hell yes it would be different with me. But you know what? It would be real. And it would mean something.”
“What would it mean?” she asked, her lips trembling as she stared back at the intensity in his eyes.
“It would mean you belong to me. Only to me. That you would submit to me. That I'd take care of you, provide for you, make love to you.”
The thought of being with Ash, of belonging to him in the sense he was talking about, scared her. He was overwhelming in every sense of the word.
“I think you know I want you, Josie. I certainly haven't made it a secret. The question is whether or not you want me and what I can give you. But you also need to think about all I would take. Because I take a lot. I give more, but I take everything.”
As the layers of Ash are revealed, so is his more dominant side, the part that demands submission and ownership. He gives it to Josie straight and makes her realize that the bad relationship she’s just come from isn’t how it should be at all. Also nice to see is Josie’s independent streak, the fact that she wants to be able to support herself, even if she chooses to lean on Ash. Her work as an artist is important to her, and like Gabe and Jace before him, Ash struggles with the inner need to fight all of Josie’s battles for her. And whether it’s an ex-boyfriend or angry former business associate, Ash and Josie do have their battles.
The question is, when a relationship flares up as quickly as Ash and Josie’s, when the obstacles begin to appear, can they handle the heat, or does the love burn brighter? This is a new take on the belief in soulmates, and it may just be the most powerful one yet.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Maya Banks's Burn before its August 6 release:
Tiffany Tyer is a writer and editor who loves reading and analyzing all things romance. She also works as a vocalist, a tutor, and a non-profit ministry assistant, and she loves it that way. Her book reviews can be found at Happy Endings Reviews, a blog she co-founded.