I know just what I'm letting myself in for when I read a Maya Banks tale, and I've read the others in this particular series, so I know in advance that there are going to be menage scenes that don't end in a permanent menage relationship and that the female leads are feisty. I'm fine with all of that - if it fits into the context of the tale OR if, like Lora Leigh's books, the tale needs it. This series seems to have fleeting menages that are not truly integral to the tale.
Yes, the sex is very very hot and very descriptive, but what gets me is that all of the characters are friends and it seems to almost be a game of 'share-and-share-alike' as at some point, most of the guys in the group have shared the girls (with permission from their permanent guys) and it does kind of seem a touch like a meat market rather than something erotic and arousing. In this one, Julie, the female lead comments that the guys she is having a menage with made her feel cared for, not like a piece of meat, but reading the book, this is just what she was to the guy that she did not end up with permanently. I know already from reviews of the next book (out this month, Sweet Temptation) that their relationship has moved on, but having gone back and read some of the other tales, it is too much a case of the female leads having to prove to their guys that they love them by being willing to submit to their desires for them to have sex with others.
Me, I like a HEA for all involved and menage is great as long as it's permanent, but when fleeting and without any real need or explanation for it other than A) to fulfil the male lead's desire for his female to 'submit and be controlled to prove her love and trust for him' or B) to fulfil the female lead's fantasy a couple of times, then it's a touch boring and emotionless. Yes, Lora Leigh has many such scenes, but she sets the tales so well, with angsty, tortured Alpha males and females who want to help their lovers, females who want to explore their sexuality, that those tales work. This for me, didn't. It reminded me a touch of Opal Carew's SIX, which IMO was utterly loveless and degrading, but extremely erotic - if you can take unemotional, detached sex.
I think that in future I will pick more carefully with MB books - at least with this one, I only had to pay to reserve it at my library; had I bought it, I'd have been pretty unhappy.
Maya Banks used to be SO good with the emotional side of things, but now she's churning books out purely out of money-making greed IMO, not out of love of writing - which shows in her books.