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Saturday, March 22, 2014

ARC Review: Mine To Crave by Cynthia Eden

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Cynthia Eden and her brand of dark romantic suspense and ├╝ber-alpha heroes. MINE TO CRAVE is the fourth instalment in her popular Mine series, and while it’s another trademark well-written, well-plotted, and well-paced read with a fantastic feisty heroine, the tormented possessive hero who believes himself incapable of real feelings is starting to get a bit repetitive. It’s a testament to Ms. Eden’s great talent and superb romantic suspense voice, however, that even what is fundamentally the fourth iteration of the same basic premise reads better than a lot of romantic suspense out there.

MINE TO CRAVE continues the events of the previous three entries in the series, so it is definitely best read in order. Having watched former spec ops brothers turned security specialist Trace Weston and billionaire hotelier Noah York find their HEAs, it’s now playboy casino owner Drake Archer’s turn to meet his match. And what a match it is—whereas the previous two heroines had an edge of fragility, Jasmine Bennett is 100% hold-her-own kickass, and it’s great to watch her challenge and battle Drake’s protective instincts and try to protect him herself. Jasmine has had a tough life but has the street smarts to come out on top. Her entire life is built on secrets and lies and nothing is as it seems with her—which makes her a very interesting and engaging character and Drake’s perfect foil. Drake has been lied to, betrayed, and nearly killed by the woman he thought he loved (twice, mind you) and whose blood is now on his hands, so he’s sworn to freely shag but never trust or feel for a woman again. Secrets and lies are a big no-no with him, which is kind of ironic considering his entire past and time in the military is shrouded in secrecy. So when Jasmine walks into his casino under false pretenses and the sexual chemistry explodes between them with one glance, it makes for a deliciously complicated and sexy relationship: each desperately wants but doesn’t trust the other and knows nothing good will come of them being together. Despite his resolve to never feel for a woman again, Drake falls fast and deep (perhaps a bit too much so) and feels that obsessive possessiveness that characterizes the series whilst at the same time trying to push Jasmine away and keep her safe. While that hallmark of the hero’s personality worked well for me in previous instalments, it felt a bit like more of the same with Drake and Jasmine’s story. So I really liked Jasmine as a character and thought she complemented Drake perfectly but was underwhelmed by Drake, and I wavered between really enjoying and being somewhat annoyed by the incessant push/pull of their relationship.

In typical Cynthia Eden fashion, the steam factor is off the charts without veering into straight-up erotica territory. She can definitely write a love scene (or many) that will fog up your e-reader and have you reaching for a fan! [Wow, that lift scene…] But in a departure from her usual mind-bendingly twisty suspense where you have no idea what’s coming next, the villain and his motivations are revealed fairly early on and the intrigue is more about figuring out how everyone is connected and how the hero and heroine will thwart the villain’s plans. Despite having no major plot twists, MINE TO CRAVE is still an incredibly fast-paced story that will keep you turning the pages to reach the end, which is another testament to Ms. Eden’s skill as an author.

While not my favourite entry in the series, MINE TO CRAVE is another great example of why Cynthia Eden is one of the top talents in romantic suspense—even what’s (in my opinion) not her best work still makes for a thrilling page-turner you won’t want to put down. A fifth instalment has just been announced, so I look forward to seeing whose story she will tell now that the three main players have their HEAs, and whether she will be able to put a fresh spin on the obsession-driven possessiveness that has characterized the Mine series so far.

**ARC provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |


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