Release Date: December 1, 2015
The author of The List continues her sinfully addictive Irresistible series with a provocative new novel about a woman inspired by her most forbidden desires…
Arden MacCarren can’t afford to lose control. Her family’s investment house has failed, their professional reputation is all but destroyed, and it’s up to Arden to hold the line. The only distraction she allows herself is a weekly drawing class where she can forget everything. Then she meets Seth Miller. When he poses in her class, strong, mysterious, and unbearably sexy, she can’t resist him. The only thing she can do is keep it purely physical—no emotions, no strings, and definitely no telling.
Seth understands responsibilities, both Arden’s and his own. During his last tour as a Marine he lost his best friends to an IED. He has a duty to look after his buddies’ survivors. All he allows himself is the stolen moments with Arden. But as he’s drawn into Arden’s battle with her demons, he comes face-to-face with his own. Seth will have to choose between a duty he can’t ignore and the longing to inspire Arden’s every desire—mind, soul, and body.
Anne Calhoun is my reading equivalent to every decadent and expensive thing you can think of. It's an experience that is best felt rather than told. There's something about her writing that resonates with me. I can barely put it into words, but I think it's how ACalhoun humanizes her characters that makes Irresistible shine and stand-out from the rest.
There's a common theme in her books:
- It's always set in Manhattan.
- One half of the couple is affluent while the other is normal, if not an average citizen.
- There's some sort of illegal fiasco where one of the characters are connected to or maybe involved with.
- *And though the books are loosely connected, every novel can stand on it's own. So bonus points for you if you want to give this a go. I'm warning you though, one shot and you'll be inclined to get more.*
THE MUSE follows this formula. Arden MacCarren's an heiress of sorts, her family considered a financial titan until it was revealed that their wealth was ill gotten via a Ponzi scheme. Arden's life is in shreds so instead of vacationing in an exclusive resort spa, she's taking drawing classes. And that's how she met ex-Marine, current bike messenger, and part-time art model, Seth Miller. Curious coupling, no?
First off, I like that Seth is the muse in this scenario and not Arden. I loved how ACalhoun used drawing techniques as metaphors to emphasize how sensual the set-up is. Every line drawn, every curve that's sketched, is almost a caress, each drawing session a study in seduction, foreplay to say the least.
I can't consider this a slow-burn romance, both Arden and Seth are attracted to each other from the get-go, and it's clear that their initial agenda was to escape from their own Hells: Arden from her family's fall-out, and Seth from his demons in service. That said, ACalhoun truly drew out the emotions from these two until they've come to the proverbial fork in the road and realized that there's more to their relationship than an arranged tryst. It's more so from their actions than in words.
There's this one scene that made my eyebrows raise, but the outcome justified the means. It was an awakening that shook up Arden and Seth and changed the tone of ther relationshp completely. It wasn't this tug-of-war thing as well where Seth would use force to get Arden or act like a jackass to deny what's happening between them; Arden wasn't a spoiled bitch who got too clingy or freaked out when she realized that she's in love with Seth. The conflict-resolution is somber, mature, and felt very vulnerable.
I can't eloquently articulate how much I love THE MUSE. All I can come up with feels trivial next to how sensual and decadent this story is. How perfect ACalhoun's style is (for me anyways). And again, it's not the story per se, rather it's the characters that makes all the difference. Everyone is just so earnest, honest, and frail emotionally, but it's also that same fragility that makes them so solid and grounded. It's refreshing to read characters who'd rather face the music head-on than drum up drama, play passive-agressive, only to give us the same result. ACalhoun's romances are sexy and straightforward, there's no room for games. Some of the many reasons why I love Irresistible so much.