By Jean Marie Brown
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (MCT)

The first two installments of Maya Banks’ “Breathless” trilogy were such an enjoyable read I’m disappointed that the final book in the series won’t be out until August.

“Rush,” the first title in the series, came out Feb. 5, and “Fever” follows April 2. The trilogy revolves around three men — Gabe Hamilton, Jace Crestwell and Ash McIntyre — friends since college who find themselves falling in love.

Banks said the books are a hybrid of the highly erotic books she is known for and the stories she pens for Harlequin’s Desire line. “Rush” fits into this slot nicely. It’s the story of Gabe, who manages to fall in love with Jace’s sister, Mia. The twist here is that Mia was an “oops baby” and, when their parents were killed when she was 6, she was left in the care of her then-20-year-old brother. He raised her with the help of Gabe and Ash.

Ash has always looked at Mia as a little sister, but at some point Gabe started looking at her as his next conquest. All three of the men are into BDSM. They, of course, take the dominant role. (Note: These books are for mature readers who won’t be offended by explicit descriptions of sex and numerous sex scenes.)

Banks loves writing secondary characters, and “Rush” is filled with interesting friends and family members. In addition to struggling with his own love life, Gabe is torn between his recently divorced parents. His mom can’t get over the fact that her husband wanted a divorce after 39 years and, once you meet her ex-husband, it’s clear Gabe’s stupidity is inherited.

In “Fever,” Banks steps way out of the romance mold with the story of Jace and Bethany Willis. The result is a compelling and gritty read that doesn’t take the normal route to the happy ending.
Banks said she will start on Ash’s story this month. She has laid the groundwork for another strong tale — Ash is at loose ends now that his friends have found bliss and the rattlesnakes who raised him are trying to pull him back into the pit.
“Burn” is due out Aug. 6.