Release Date: April 6, 2014
Publisher: Berkley Trade
In her sensational Breathless Trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks tested the boundaries of desire. In her new trilogy, there’s only one thing left to do: cross them. Now, the story continues as one woman, haunted by the shadows of the past, explores the possibilities of a new beginning in ways she never could have imagined…
Kylie sees the way Jensen looks at her. The dark promise in his eyes. That rough edge of dominance she knows he possesses. But dominance is the one thing that frightens her above all else. She and her brother barely survived a childhood steeped in violence and abuse. She could never give up total control and submit to a man. Especially a man like Jensen. Could she?
Jensen sees the shadows in Kylie’s eyes. Knows he has to tread very carefully or risk losing any chance he has with her. All he wants is the opportunity to show her that dominance doesn’t equal pain, bondage or discipline. That emotional surrender is the most powerful of all, and that to submit fully to him will fulfill the aching void in her heart in a way nothing else ever will.
GIVING IN by Maya Banks, book two of her Surrender Trilogy is still erotic but more romantic than Letting Go. I don't know which of the two I like better, there are specific parts about GIVING IN that I liked but overall I had problems suspending disbelief throughout the novel.
Brief summary, Kylie is Joss' sister-in-law and a victim of physical abuse when she was a child thanks to her father. Jensen Tucker, Kylie's new boss, also had a rough childhood. His father didn't beat him up but he grew up watching his old man treat his mom like a punching bag. Both of them have control issues because of their traumatic pasts. On that note, I liked how these two navigated through their troubles as they build a romantic relationship. Jensen was very accommodating, attentive, and loving to Kyle, he really went out of his way to reassure and show her that his intentions are good and that he's there for Kylie and Kylie alone. Not sex or anything, just Kylie.
Kylie for her part was receptive to Jensen's love and caring ways. She was very patient with Jensen when his demons came back to haunt him. She was very gentle, kind, and understanding when Jensen finally bared his soul to her and revealed his past. In that moment, Kylie healed Jensen with love and it was a beautiful scene. There was a great give and take between these two and for a Dominant, Jensen was very submissive to Kylie.
"What it means is that you're in the driver's seat, baby. Whatever happens from here on out is up to you. It means that when or if we make love, you'll be in complete control and I will be at your mercy. It means that when it comes to you, I'm not dominant, nor do I have any desire to be. I am, in effect, at your feet." - Jensen
Now on to the part that had me scoffing and rolling my eyes a bit. First, I wouldn't necessarily tag GIVING IN as having insta-love however Kylie and Jensen's love affair was fast and sweeping. Bear in mind that Jensen is Kylie's boss and though there's an obvious attraction between the two, I would expect for at least Kylie to exercise caution especially since she's the most vulnerable between the two. Here's what happened, they were in a business dinner and Kylie thought she saw her dad which gave her a panic attack. Jensen rushed to her side and offered comfort, told her that he'll spend the night with her and Kylie can cuff him to the bed so she'd be reassured that he won't touch or hurt her.
Who does this?!
I mean under a different circumstance sure it would be akin to a one-night stand. But given Kylie's backstory and all the other pieces, I can't help but scoff at her judgment. Sure enough Kylie had nightmares that night and because Jensen was cuffed to the bed, he wasn't able to comfort her in time did he.
Now for the conflict, like in Letting Go, the conflict in GIVING IN is a little bit flimsy. I mean these two had several soul baring sessions, a touching show and tell of their wounds and scars which will surely tug anybody's heartstrings. Now after all's been said and done, Jensen realized that he's not good for Kylie. I mean are you kidding me?! You initiated this whole love is healing thing with Kylie and now that she's madly in love with you, you want to bolt because of your own demons?!
I get the flight or fight reflex, what I didn't appreciate is how little he valued Kylie and her love for him. Kylie allowed him to step into her life and scare her demons away the least Jensen can do is give Kylie a chance to do the same, right?! Of course Kylie was able to sort it out and they still had their happily ever after. I just can't help but shake my head over Jensen's immaturity at this point.
Now I may have issues with GIVING IN but it doesn't mean that this was a bad read. I may not have liked some parts but I blame some of that to PMS (ooops... TMI!) plus I'm a reader and a blogger so my views are very subjective. If I were to just look at the romantic part of GIVING IN, I loved it! Jensen is the perfect guy for Kylie and for any girl with a past, his love in unconditional and I give him A+ for effort. I just wish that the conflict was executed differently or Jensen acted more in character.
"I'm only better when I'm with you," she whispered. "You make me believe, Jensen. You make me believe I can have a normal life and a normal relationship. You make me have so much hope for the future. But only with you. I don't want those things except with you." Kylie