Wednesday, June 24, 2015

*Favorites revisited* Review: Glutton for Pleasure

Glutton for Pleasure (Pleasure #1)

by Alisha Rai


They’re craving something sweet. She likes it spicy.
Devi Malik knows how to heat things up. She does it every night as head chef in her family’s Indian restaurant. Her love life, though, is stuck in the subzero freezer. Now, with a chance to fulfill a secret fantasy with her long-time crush and his brother, it’s time to put her desire on the front two burners.
For Marcus Callahan, a love-’em-and-leave-’em attitude isn’t only a necessary evil of their kink. It’s a protective device. Lately, though, his brother Jace has been making noises about craving something more.
Jace’s dissatisfaction with their lifestyle grows with every glimpse of sweet little Devi. Yet Marcus is too haunted by the pain of their shared past to give love a chance.
Despite their reputation for vanishing with the dawn, they discover one night with Devi isn’t nearly enough. And Devi finds herself falling in love with two very different men.
It’ll take more than explosive sex to light up the shadows surrounding the Callahan brothers’ secrets. But Devi’s never been afraid of the dark…
Themes: erotica, menage
Rating: 5 stars
Heat Rating: 5
The book that started it all for one of my favorite authors has gotten a make-over and an all new group of people to appreciate its awesomeness and unique take on love, relationships, and self-worth.  I first encountered this story several years ago when I was browsing and was immediately intrigued, mainly because my best friend is of Indian decent and I knew we would both enjoy this story of an Indian chef embracing her inner sensual goddess and having two men to call her own.  Since that fateful first encounter I have reread this story so many times I could probably recite most of it to you, but to this day it remains my #1 go to story when I need a sensual pick-me-up or I’m in between reads and need to return to an old friend for a while.  I have been dying to know if there would be a sequel and I am thrilled to know that Alisha finally got to write it!  I cannot wait to read it.  This story is one that tackles many taboos, while still having moments of fun, sensual discovery, and true heart.  I probably sound like a fangirl, but that’s ok, because in this case I am.  That being said, there are some dark moments where the past is relived, the true depths of emotion are uncovered, and the societal problems with this kind of relationship are accepted.  While this book may not be for all, I think enough people can relate to many of the issues in the story and will see its more than just erotic romance, it is really the story of a woman finding and accepting the love she deserves despite cultural, familial, and societal pressure.  This to me is what makes Rai’s work so wonderful, her heroines are kick-ass, even when they are sweet and innocent, and they all come into their own and find their inner core of steel.
The story revolves around twin brothers that have always had women fall at their feet, but because of their pasts they require a certain kind of relationship—one where they share a woman, needing that triad for emotional strength as well as the inherent physical pleasure.  Marcus, the darker of the two brothers, is perfectly happy having flings with sexy women that don’t get attached, but Jace has decided he’s found the woman that will truly complete their lives and he’s ready to claim her for both of them.  Devi has been lusting after her favorite customer Jace, since he started coming to her family’s restaurant regularly, but she never knew he had a brother, and never imagined just what the two of them would drag her into.  She reluctantly agrees to one night of passion, unable to resist the two sexy beasts that seem to really lust after her, a feeling she’s never had with another man, but once she gives in, Jace convinces her—and Marcus—to give something more a chance.  As they get to know each other and the boys bring out the sensual goddess buried inside Devi, their hearts become more and more involved, but will they be able to overcome all the landmines that litter their lives, including the secrets the men have kept all their lives and Marcus’s steadfast refusal to let his heart get involved?
To truly understand the greatness of this story you have to know a bit about each of the characters.  Devi is a mostly sheltered, but sensual woman that has been put down by men so often she actually doubts her own sex appeal, believing that her sisters are the true beauties and burying herself in the kitchen.  When faced with the depths of desire that Jace and Marcus bring out of her, and the ways they make her body burn, Devi is more than a little afraid, but she is determined to give the boys a chance to show her just how great they can be together.  I loved seeing her blossom into the woman she was always meant to be, especially as she began to take control of the needs of herself and her men and see just how much they needed her, accepting their love despite all the interference and all the obstacles in their way.  Devi’s interactions with the guys are always different, especially as she begins to push them and herself to new levels of their relationship and becoming a true triad.  Even though she begins her time with them as a shy and naïve participant of their sensual experiments, in the end she is definitely leading these men around by their bodies, hearts, and ultimately their souls.  Devi begins to accept  that love comes in many forms and for them their love is a three sided figure that is stronger than any other relationship she knows. 
Jace and Marcus are their own unique brand of messed up, but their needs lead them into Devi’s arms and there is no way they can deny the pull of the sensual Indian chef that feeds their bodies and souls.  Jace is the more outgoing of the two brothers, determined to bring his brother into the light and find them a true mate, even if he has to fight Marcus every step of the way.  He is a strong man, alpha and controlling all on his own, but his flashes of dangerous sensuality are tempered by his sweet and loving nature, especially with Devi.  Devi tugs on his heart, but the dangerous edge of his twin might just be what pulls them apart, if Jace cannot counter Marcus’s issues with their past and give them a chance at a future.  Marcus has always protected his brother and his own heart greedily, believing no woman would ever be able to accept their taboo need for a single woman for both brothers.  He has secrets he is determined to keep buried and has no desire for his darkness to come to light.  Even though he only wants to have Devi in his bed and arms long enough to sate the desire she inspires, he quickly begins to fall in love, even as he waits for the other shoe to drop and break them all apart.  His unwillingness to open up to Devi is the biggest problem they all must face, but when all three of them are faced with the decision to deal with their shit or give up on their relationship, Devi refuses to let Marcus hide, proving she really might be the ultimate woman for their mate.
Now that I have explained why I feel this story is so great, I will share some of the finer points that made me an even more invested fan.  I am a foodie at heart and with Devi being a chef there were a few scenes when the sensuality of food was explored right along with other sensual activities.   Rai is one of those artists who can make even the most boring moments in life, such as clothing shopping or arguing in a kitchen into something life-changingly sexy.  Devi is the type of woman I wish I could be, unconsciously sensual, and once the boys show her just how sensual she was through their eyes, her self-confidence multiplies exponentially.  Jace and Marcus are the perfect combination of darkly sensual alpha man and sweetly caring beta, giving them the perfect foil for Devi’s needs and desires.  It is obvious no one man could have ever made Devi as happy as having both of her men, but only once she convinces them to fully accept her love and their love for her.  Seeing these three individuals come together to form such a strong and loving relationship gives me hope for myself someday finding just the mate (or mates) I need.  If you haven’t enjoyed this story yet, I beg of you please gift it a shot and fall in love with these characters and this author just as I have. 
In fact after writing all my thoughts again, I think it might be time for another visit to my favorite Indian restaurant and the retelling of a relationship for the ages between the pages of Glutton for Pleasure.   And don’t forget to grab the long-awaited sequel to Devi, Jace, and Marcus’s Story, Serving Pleasure, coming soon. 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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