Mar 22 2013 12:30pm

First Look: Maya Banks’s Fever (April 2, 2013)

Maya Banks
Berkley Trade / April 2, 2013 / $15.00 print, $9.99 digital

Jace, Ash, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Jace, it’s a woman whose allure takes him completely by surprise...

Jace Crestwell, Ash McIntyre, and Gabe Hamilton have been best friends and successful business partners for years. They’re powerful, they’re imposing, they’re irresistibly sexy, and Jace and Ash share everything—including their women.

When they meet Bethany, Jace begins to feel things he’s never experienced before: jealousy, and a powerful obsession that threatens him, overwhelms him—and excites him beyond control.

Jace isn’t sharing Bethany—with anyone. He’s determined to be the only man in her life, and it’s jeopardizing a lifelong friendship with Ash. Bethany will be his and his alone. Even if it means turning his back on his best friend.

Fever, the second book in Maya Banks’s Breathless trilogy, explores extreme class differences and themes of control and trust when intense billionaire Jace falls hard for Bethany, a woman who lives on the streets with barely a penny to her name. Used to being unattached and unencumbered, preferring to share women with his best friend and business partner, Ash, Jace doesn’t expect to feel possessive and consumed from the moment he sees Bethany, who’s serving as a cater waiter at his sister’s engagement party. Though there’s an instant connection between the two of them, Jace invites Ash to join them in a night that just confirms for Jace that this girl is different.

When Bethany disappears the morning after and Jace realizes how very different they are and how difficult it is to find one lone woman among the New York City millions, he begins to discover just how deep his feelings go. He has the world at his fingertips, and she has nothing, and this introduces not only a host of conflicts, but also a divide between the hero and heroine that isn’t typically seen in a genre that is frequently overly romanticized.  

They may occupy the same universe, but his life was so different than hers that she couldn’t even comprehend it. He had wealth and power. His life was well ordered and he had exacting standards. What on earth did he want with her? Why did he want her? It made no sense to her. It defied all logic.

“What the hell are you thinking?” he murmured.

“That I have no idea why you’re so determined to involve yourself with my problems,” she whispered back. “I don’t understand why a man like you would want someone like me. It’s crazy, Jace. I can’t fathom it. None of it. It’s like a bizarre spin on the Cinderella story – only for girls like me, there aren’t happily-ever-afters.”

Things between them move quickly, but there’s an obstacle at every turn. The only person in her life, her foster brother Jack, is bad news and constantly stirring up trouble, as Bethany struggles to reconcile her former life, one that was filled with starvation, addiction, and uncertainty, with the life of a princess that Jace now offers. Then there’s that first night Jace, Bethany, and Ash spent together, knowing they have to get past any lingering awkwardness to remain in each other’s lives and that Jace has to move beyond the jealousy that sets in.

But most of all, Jace and Bethany have to merge two very different pasts if they hope to create a future together. This is a constant issue, made believable because they have so far to come to meet in the middle. Yet there’s something about the way they are together, their inherent personalities, that works.

She lifted an eyebrow as he went to work on the fly of her jeans.

“You being sassy. You’ve got fire, Bethany. You haven’t lost that. You’re fucking perfect for me.”

“You’re crazy,” she muttered again. “Or maybe I’m crazy.”

“As long as we’re crazy together, I’m good with it.”

Within their relationship, it always comes back to trust and control. Jace is strong and dominant and cherishes the fact that he can provide for Bethany, emotionally more so than financially. With that he expects total trust between them, and this is a challenge when Bethany’s instinct is flight rather than fight. She has demons to overcome that don’t simply disappear with a little wining and dining. And Jace himself struggles at time to fully trust this enigmatic woman who has such a dark past. But this push and pull helps them grow stronger.

“You’re right. We have a hell of a lot to discuss, and believe me, we’ll get there. But my first priority is ensuring that you’re taken care of.”

She glanced down at her bedraggled appearance and decided that a hot shower would definitely be welcome. Whatever his explanation was, she’d deal with it a lot better when she was warm and dry.

“Okay,” she murmured.

His mouth twitched suspiciously. “There. That wasn’t so hard now, was it?”

She frowned. “What?”

“Giving me control. I’ll warn you now, Bethany. I’m very used to getting my way.”

Bethany’s life on the streets comes back to haunt and rear its ugly head, providing a fine dose of fear and suspense that drives the story to the end, adding another element to this billionaire BDSM saga that sets it apart from the rest.

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Maya Banks's Fever (Breathless #2) before its April 2 release:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes and NobleByy at iTunes



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.

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Vanessa Ouadi
1. Lafka
I've really liked the 1st installment of the series, but I was a bit reserved about Fever, since I expected some menage romance, which I'm not fond of. Your review makes me want to read it, thank you Tiffany! ^^ (there are so many books I'm looking for in the coming days, I just can't wait!)
2. joyofbean
It will be interesting to see how Banks deals with the class differences and trust issues that will be a part of this story. I enjoyed Rush, the 1st book in the series. Banks does know how to tell a good tale.
Tiffany Tyer
3. TiffanyTyer
@Lafka, I'm sure you've read it by now, but I was also relieved to see that the menage activity is limited to the very beginning of the novel. This was a smart decision, as it allowed Bethany and Jace the time alone they needed to really develop and come to terms with the gaps between them.

@joyofbean, my favorite aspect of this novel was the class differences, which were just fascinating. I can't think of a single other contemporary romance novel with a homeless heroine, particularly in NYC!
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