Who would have anticipated that all three of them would connect on such an intimate level? The trio's scalding liaisons take them places they've never dreamed. But such an intensely passionate and unusual relationship comes with equally as complicated emotions, and when Jules must suddenly leave town, she wonders if she'll have a choice to make when she returns
Earlier this year, Lauren Dane released a shorter story that introduced her new Delicious series. That story, “Sway,” was part of the “Cherished” duology which featured a second story by Maya Banks. This new series is connected to Dane’s wonderful Brown Siblings series – in fact, the wedding of Adrian Brown and Gillian features prominently in “Tart.” The women friends who star in the Delicious books all congregate at the heroine’s (Jules) bakery. So, don’t read any of these books hungry. As it is, “Tart” will make readers crave both baked goods and two very sexy men of their own. This one is about as Delicious as an erotic romance can be.
Juliet Lamprey is a successful businesswoman who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants (well, except for one thing. More on this later). She is secure in her own sexuality, even if that aspect of her life has been quiet of late. When Gideon Carter returns home to help his grandfather, he takes one look at Jules and cannot deny how much he wants her. Jules doesn’t hesitate, and the two start seeing each other. The sex is steamy, but their connection quickly becomes emotional too.
It is at this point that Cal Whaley enters the picture. Cal and Gideon were once best friends. But whereas Gideon left the town where they all grew up together, Cal did not, developing a strong friendship with Jules. Cal and Jules have always had an attraction, but Jules was never willing to push the issue. After all, Cal was a serial dater of both men and women, and he didn’t seem to make the best dating choices. This serial dating did make Julies wary, especially as she was confused about what Cal’s bisexuality might mean in relation to their attraction.
Cal loves Jules, however, and decides that he has to tell her before her relationship with Gideon solidifies. Cal and Jules share a passionate kiss, but Jules is horrified as she has already committed herself to Gideon. Gideon is the one who changes the rules when he invites Cal into the relationship and calmly reveals that “As it happens, I like cock too.” (p.112). Gideon isn’t just talking about sharing Jules, but is proposing a relationship among all three.
I still chuckle about Gideon and his cock pronouncement. He casually throws it out during an already volatile discussion. He sees the attraction between Jules and Cal and believes that Julies would regret never exploring where said attraction might lead. And he does find Cal sexy. I admit that Gideon seemed to arrive at this solution with extreme ease – and I vacillated between thinking it too spontaneous and thinking it demonstrated how much Jules meant to him.
I lean towards the latter now as I look at the entirety of the story. Gideon definitely has a more open view of sexuality that allows me to accept his unorthodox solution. Additionally, it is easy to see that Gideon and Jules love each other; easy to see that Cal and Jules love each other; but maybe not as easy to see the same feeling between Cal and Gideon. The sexual connection I saw, but I did worry a little that the same depth of emotion didn’t exist between the two men. And this was the only part of the book where I wished for more – more of Cal and Gideon together and falling in love.
Otherwise, “Tart” has all the hallmarks of a great erotic romance: a strong romantic relationship, scorching sex that compliments the story and the romantic relationship, fabulous and strong supporting relationships and a satisfying happily ever after. I am already as hooked on the Delicious series as I was on Dane’s Brown Siblings one. If only I can make it through this one without giving into the craving for all of “Tart’s” delicious treats.
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Book Disclosure: A book was provided by the publisher.