My first statement before I get into my love of this series is that it falls under the category of “erotic romance”. There is BDSM (although I would not call it extreme), there is a romantic triad, and there is male/male loving. If this offends you, then this series is not for you. All of these facets are illustrated in an adoring and respectful manner; it is not done for titillation, but rather in an expression of love and affection. But I understand that it is not for everyone. If you’re still interested, then read on!
I came across this author, Lauren Dane from a review blog; they were talking about how great her werewolf series is (Cascadia Wolves). I’m sure I will get to a review of that series later. If you are looking for steamy sex scenes with raw honesty between partners and watch how their relationships come into fruition, then this is the series for you.
The World: This is a contemporary romance, so no werewolves or vampires. It surrounds the siblings of the Brown family: Erin, Brody, and Adrian, but there are others in this “family” that have their separate books. We begin with Erin’s story and we are introduced to this cadre. Note that at this point, all books of this series have been written.
While there is action in the sense of drama, this is a relationship-based series. There are no attackers that jump out and scare us. Ms. Dane is a master, in my opinion, at drawing the reader into the dialogue and character development. Her understanding of the human spirit is quite honestly, breathtaking and I am staggered by her insight.
I love the writing style of Ms. Dane, the witty comments have had me digging her and grinning like a fool. I can relate to the smart-ass characters like Erin. I highlight a much of her books with her one-liners. I also love how she incorporates her obvious love of music into the books, so that by recognizing music you are drawn into the scene.
She does a good job of describing and talking about sensitive issues in a frank manner. You don’t get the impression that she is glorifying any of the topics, but she doesn’t shy away from the kink or difficult issues just to play it safe.
Summary: This is an emotional series that forces you to reflect on human connections and how resilient the heart is. The sex count is higher in erotica, so expect some juicy scenes. But for me, they did not seem gratuitous, like some erotica, but rather each passage helped demonstrate the building love and trust between the protagonists. Another strength of this series is how these friends care about each other and they are their family, whether by blood or not. So often in life our blood family abandons us; Ms. Dane demonstrates that friendships can be more devoted than those who happened to give birth to you. But don’t get boggled down by all of these subjects, at the core of this series is love, pure and humble.
All the books are excellent. I will say that the last book, Adrian’s is the most intense and a little more emotional to get through. Although, as with everything in this blog, these things are only my perspective: your mileage may vary.
The Books: I advise reading these in order, while there is not an overarching plotline you truly do miss something if you don’t read them in order.
- Laid Bare (2009) Main Characters: Erin, Todd, and Ben
- Coming Undone (2010) Main Characters: Brody and Elise
- Inside Out (2010) Main Characters: Andrew (AKA) Cope and Ella
- Never Enough (2011) Main Characters: Adrian and Gillian