Book Review: Devoted to Pleasure by Shayla Black

Devoted to Pleasure

Author: Shayla Black
Series: Devoted Lovers, book 1
Publisher: Berkley (July 3, 2018)
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Summary
The first in an all-new sexy contemporary romance series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shayla Black.

Bodyguard and former military man Cutter Bryant has always done his duty–no matter what the personal cost. Now he’s taking one last high-octane, high-dollar assignment before settling down in a new role that means sacrificing his chance at love. But he never expects to share an irresistible chemistry with his beautiful new client.

Fame claimed Shealyn West suddenly and with a vengeance after starring in a steamy television drama, but it has come at the expense of her heart. Though she’s pretending to date a co-star for her image, a past mistake has come back to haunt her. With a blackmailer watching her every move and the threat of career-ending exposure looming, Shealyn hires Cutter to shore up her security, never imagining their attraction will be too powerful to contain.

As Shealyn and Cutter navigate the scintillating line between business and pleasure, they unravel a web of secrets that threaten their relationship and their lives. When danger strikes, Cutter must decide whether to follow his heart for the first time, or risk losing Shealyn forever.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review
I have to start off with the disclaimer that romantic suspense isn’t really my jam. If it were, this would probably have been a 4 or 4.5 star read for me; however, I mostly read romantic comedies and this book was a little too much dramaaaa and not enough sass for me. Again, part of that is because this is a genre outside of my norm, so if romantic suspense is your jam, this book will probably be right up your alley. 

I love that Cutter and Shealyn are both from small southern towns. They both have an air of southern charm about them that I just fell immediately in love with. I was also really intrigued by the show that Shealyn was starring on, and kept picturing her character as Scarlett O’Connor from Nashville. Shealyn is this great mix between strong and vulnerable – which, actually, so it Cutter, and Shayla Black does a wonderful job of creating fully-fleshed out and very real characters with depths and shallows and foibles that make you forget you’re reading a book about fictional people in a fictional world and actually care about these very real people. Also, the sex scenes are super hot. 

What I didn’t love so much was the way they have their secrets they’re keeping from each other exposed and are really upset but manage to move past it with a promise of honesty, and yet they both continue to keep secrets. Um, what? And then you don’t expect this to come back and bite you in the butt later? Dumb move, friends. Really dumb move. I just don’t have much patience for characters who don’t learn from their mistakes. But THEN, both Cutter and Shealyn have crap in their pasts their dealing with (Cutter’s drunk and deadbeat dad, and Shealyn’s drunk and absent mother) and they both manage to deal with their pasts and go through an enormous amount of personal growth throughout the book (even though it takes them longer than I think it should have…) So they can learn! And I do appreciate a romance novel where the MC’s manage to grow as individuals as well as together as a couple, so HOORAY!

This is the first book in the Devoted Lovers series, and can be read as a stand alone. There’s a note in the series description that it picks up where Wicked Lovers, another series by Shayla Black, ended, which makes sense because there are a LOT of references to other couples in this book, and now I realize they’re from this earlier, linked series. I am DYING for One-Mile and Brea’s story, which I’m really hoping the next book in the series, Devoted to Love is about – the blurb doesn’t have names so IT MIGHT BE!

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review.

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