I love Amanda Bonilla’s Shaede Assassin series, so I was very excited when I discovered there was more from her that I had not read yet. These Sweetest Shorts are very different. Instead of UF, they are PNR and they are very short: about 45 pages a piece. I flew through them pretty fast, so rather than review them in three separate posts, let me break them all down here.
The Sweetest Torture – I’ll give Bonilla this: she can definitely do sexual tension and hot bedroom action. (Not that any of the sex happens in the bedroom, but I digress.) This story features Cait, a cougar shifter who is being forced to mate with the man who broke her heart 30 years ago. Back then, she caught him in bed with another woman. And though he swore he had no idea how he ended up naked with a stranger, she couldn’t forgive him and walked out. Now, her father has offered her up to make peace with his fellow Alpha, and she has no choice but to do as instructed.
The thing is, as angry and as hurt as she is, she can’t ignore that she still wants Logan. And despite his anger over how she left and her subsequent attempts to have him ruined, he still wants her too.
I got invested in Cait and Logan very quickly. As with all of her work, Bonilla does a great job with characterization. I understood them and you could cut the tension between them with a knife. I enjoyed their sparring and the heat between them.
I only had two gripes. One, it confused me that she used the words cougar and lion interchangeably. True, a cougar is a mountain lion, but that is not the same thing and I actually had to wikipedia it. I don’t like to Google during a romance novel. And two, due to the length of the story, the external conflict felt abrupt and like it came out of nowhere, spinning into a rushed resolution. True, it was only 43 pages, but I think the front half was better fleshed out than the back half.
The Sweetest Temptation – OMG. This one was hotter than the last one! But then, what would you expect when the heroine is a nymph? Someone has kidnapped Erica’s sister and tipped off police that Andrew is the man who snatched her. But Erica knows she can use her nymph abilities to get more information than the cops can –so she takes matters into her own hands and kidnaps him from police custody. It doesn’t take long, though, before the pull of the moon awakens her sexual hunger, and she focuses her desires on Drew. She quickly figures out that he is innocent and that gives her the green light to act on the attraction.
The sexual dynamic between Andrew and Erica is off the charts. Their supernatural quirks made the speed of their physical pairing acceptable for me. (I thought her throwing around the prospect of a relationship came around rather quickly, but at least they weren’t spouting the L-word.)
I liked that the story tied in with The Sweetest Torture, with Andrew being Logan’s brother and some other references. I think this would hold up as a stand-alone, but I the ending would resonate a little better for folks who have already read the first story.
The Sweetest Mercy – Another really hot read. I think this one was my favorite. It focuses on the rescue effort for Erica’s sister, Kiera. Carter is Logan and Andrew’s best tracker and he sets off, not only to find the missing nymph, but also to bring her kidnapper back to the Pride for justice.
Carter has been celibate for decades, since the death of his mate. But when he makes it to Kiera, her nymph mojo and her glaring need are too much to ignore. What starts as a quickie to take the edge off, turns into something much more between these two people who had lost hope of ever finding an HEA. Yes, it’s an uber fast connection, but the sex was super hot and I really felt for the characters. Carter, especially, was so wounded (both physically and emotionally.) A satisfying end to the trilogy. I am glad I read them all back-to-back.
Overall Rating: B
*ARCs provided by author for review
The Sweetest TortureThe Sweetest TemptationThe Sweetest Mercyby Amanda Bonilla