02 January 2009

REVIEW: LAUREN DANE - UNDERCOVER

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (December 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425224643
ISBN-13: 978-0425224649


Summary:s a lieutenant of the Federation military, Sera Ayers is accustomed to giving orders, not taking them. Now she must obey the one man she can’t stand—and can’t stop thinking about.

With the enemy Imperialists gaining ground, a covert team is assembled by Ash Walker. Ten years before, Sera had lovingly submitted to Ash’s dominance in the bedroom. But when he was forced into a political marriage, she refused to play mistress. His marriage now over, Ash wants Sera on his team—and back in his bed.

The third team member, Brandt Pela, has an elegance to match Ash’s savage sexuality. And when their undercover plan requires Sera to pose as Brandt’s lover, it ignites a passion among the three of them more dangerous than their mission.

Review:

At one moment in time Lieutenant Sera Ayers has submitted herself to a man who claimed her mind, body and soul to betray her in the worst of ways. After this she lost herself for a while, searching for another dominant but always shying away from completely trusting and surrendering herself again. She found solace in the Federation United Forces, using every one of her skills she climbed their ranks, honing her body into a perfect working machine. Until Ash, her once dominant lover, walks into her life again with Brandt, and emotions flood back into her heart with an avenging force…

Undercover is my first taste of what Lauren Dane has to offer as an Erotica author and all I can say is: “Wow, she knows how to make a statement!” To blend romance with a three-way relationship is a hard thing to accomplish, or it is at least in my book. To make such a theme work and also make it believable for the reader is not an easy feat. While I am exploring the Erotica genre in all earnest now Lauren Dane has given me something new, the male on male subject within a male/female/male three-way.

Ash Walker, Brandt Pela and Sera Ayers are very different from each other making their dialogues lively and simmering with sensual tension as emotions increase. Ash owns his sensuality in a raw, dark way that is almost savage. He can be very caring but he’s also feral in his actions against those who hurt the one he cares about. Brandt is almost the opposite of Ash, which of course works very well in both the developing relationship as in the bedroom. He emits elegance and charm but in a very commanding way. While Sera is strong and holds her ground in both her professional and privet life, she still hungers for Dominance in the bedroom and you can tell that she has experience as a submissive.

The foundation of the action entails that in the Known Universes the Federation is good with its Ranking Families and that the Imperialists are de evil doers, hungry for power. Sera, Brandt and Ash form a triad, investigating a case of treachery from the Ranking Families. The Futuristic backdrop in this story is functional and not disturbing in any way. Sometimes the futuristic world-building or action takes away the attention from the actual romance but the author makes sure that - though it is intertwined within the story - it is all about the three-way relationship.

Lauren Dane beautifully illustrates the workings of a triangular love affair. Not only is it between Sera, Ash and Brandt as a whole but it is also about the individual ties that bind them separately. Brandt and Sera are falling in love while Ash and Sera already have a past. And then there’s Ash and Brandt together, my first taste of male on male sensuality and it heightened the Erotica feel of Undercover. The attention focuses on the M/F/M relationship and yet Dane teasingly flirts with the male on male aspect. As this is fairly new to me, especially in how this author gives voice to it, it amazed me how natural it all felt.

Furthermore, it forged a stronger bond, deepening the connection between the two men and woman from chapter to chapter! I was enthralled by the earthly eroticism in this novel that both emanates desire as it equals in romantic emotions. But also the fears that comes natural with such a relationship is illustrated with in-depth comprehension. It all blends together in to a powerful read. It speaks about a three-way of the heart and to make it for a long-lasting relationship isn’t easy. Thankfully Lauren Dane doesn’t hide from this fact because if all parties are willing to do their best it can result in more than a fulfilling relationship. This message is something that makes Undercover more realistic and believable for me as the reader.

There might be minor details that I perceived with less enthusiasm but they are just that, minor. The cameo of supporting characters came down to family members of both Ash and Brandt, the brother of Sera and of course the concubines at Nondal that provide the necessary interaction with the key characters. I can’t help but be completely swept away with the erotic-romance aspect in this tale. Brandt and Ash will give many female readers a taste of their personal liking and will empathize with Sera at the same time. The level of carnality is exquisite and given individuality and emotions from the characters.

Undercover is set ablaze with emotion as it is brimming with awe-commanding characters and provocative erotic scenes that had me reacting with the pulls-pounding need to keep on reading. Lauren Dane has concocted a story with the finest elements of what the Erotica genre has to offer. My first novel has definitely not been my last of this author! My complements.

 
Quote Ash:
The moment was so intimate in its normalcy. Ash felt a tightening in his gut, touched beyond measure by both of them. What he had with her wasn’t conventional, but it was right. And it just made sense to have Brandt there as well. Not between them but with them.


Quote Ash about him and Brandt:“I wouldn’t say we’re lovers. Not the way we are with you. We’ve given each other pleasure; he lets me use the cat on his ass and back. I like to make him come. He likes to make me come. It works out.”

Quote Sera:
She loved them both achingly, deeply, and totally. The wondrous part was that she loved them both in completely different ways, and yet between them, they occupied the space inside her mind, inside her heart and soul.



4 stars

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