Reviewed: December 17, 2011
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Series: Be-Wished, Book 1
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 96 Pages
Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided to me by the author for an honest review.
This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
Chocolatier Mariah Hughes barely remembers the night of drunken revelry that led to her and her two best friends making wishes as they tied on wish bracelets during their vacation cruise a year ago, let alone what she'd wished for. Fortunately for her, the United Wish Federation keeps exceptional video records, and when her UWF agent shows up to grant her wish, a disbelieving Mariah is given proof even she can't deny.
That still doesn't mean she remembers her wish.
It's only with her friend's help that her memory is jogged. And when it is, it's hard to believe she'd ever wish for anything else. Six years ago she'd had a magical night with a young guy named I.C. Tucker. It was the best night of her life and Tucker had fueled her hottest fantasies ever since. She would love another chance with the now famous professional poker player.
When her newest client turns out to be the soon-to-be-married bride of Tucker's best friend, and Mariah comes face to face with Tucker again after six long years, Mariah realizes two things. One, the man still draws her on every level, and two...her wish has been granted. And Mariah has no intention of letting the opportunity go to waste.
Problem is, their connection is so intense and her emotions so quickly involved, that having their entire relationship based on nothing but some silly wish - something with a definitive expiration date - no longer appeals. Mariah wants a happily ever after with the man of her dreams...and hottest fantasies. To get that, though, she'll have to do the one thing that may push Tucker away from her forever.
So this is what you get when you take a little magic and a little chocolate, add a dash of humor and a bunch of hot sex, and stir with a surprising depth of emotional connection. Wow! All In is an erotic PNR novella that thoroughly satisfies.
Lately the most consistent issue I've had with the romances I've been reading is that too many are plenty heavy on the lust but not so big on the deeper interpersonal relationships and downright light on love, with entire relationships based solely on the horizontal...or vertical....or upside down, for the kinksters out there...mambo. And I'm not talking about the erotic romances, either. So to actually read an erotic romance that manages to blend the hot sex with a solid romance between two likable characters quite obviously made for each other was a special treat that I won't soon forget.
There's plenty of hot sex, sure, but I adored how Willoughby had a plausible backstory for her characters that laid the groundwork for the romance that developed, so it didn't feel unrealistically fast when the relationship start getting emotionally significant for the characters. Mariah and Tucker were wonderfully into each other for more than just physical pleasure, and that romance is as sweet as the chocolate delicacies Mariah sells. It's a great balance.
The paranormal elements were fun. Davina was a hoot and she stole every scene she was in. I didn't buy how quickly Mariah wrapped her mind around the whole wish granting thing, though, even with the proof she got (which was awesome in its own right), and I found Tucker's reactions later in the book to be even more of a stretch. Those were minor grievances, however, when compared to the strength of the rest of the story and my appreciation for an erotic romance that gave as much attention to the "romance" as it did the "erotic." I liked this one a lot.
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