Title: Sweet Charity
Author: Lauren Dane
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: December 23, 2008
Genre: Erotic Romance
Reviewer: Sonya Harrison
For years Charity Harris has wanted one man, Gabriel Bettencourt. Tall, handsome, and incredibly sexy…Charity can’t stop thinking about the man. The sexual tension started when they were teenagers and culminated one night years ago when they gave in to their desires. Charity avoided Gabriel for a time after that disastrous night of mechanical sex. Eventually they got past the awkwardness of that moment. They patched up their friendship, but the sexual attraction still remains, as evidenced in the furtive glances and playful flirting. Gabriel is the man for her, but he’s holding back for some reason. Charity plans to find out the reason why….and this time she won’t stop until he gives her an answer.
Gabriel wants Charity more than he cares to admit, but a girl like that deserves a gentle loving kind of guy and he’s not him. Gabriel’s kinky sex practices would likely offend Charity and her friendship means the world to him. Denying those dark urges had led to an embarrassing performance years ago that he has no wish to repeat, so avoiding the subject is his way of dealing with it. Gabriel doesn’t want to hurt Charity, yet he has convinced himself it’s for the best. Charity is a strong, beautiful, and independent woman; the last thing she needs is guy who wants her to be his sexual submissive.
Charity finally confronts Gabriel catching him completely off-guard. He quickly learns that when Charity asserts herself, she means business and he can no longer resist. A dinner date turns into an explosive night of passion and Charity not only responds to Gabriel’s sexual games, but seems to enjoy them. Gabriel, shocked and charmed by Charity’s trust is still not quite convinced that he’s the right guy for her. Charity embodies everything Gabriel could possibly want and the realization has him running scared. Charity isn’t afraid to play his wicked games, but she wants to win his heart…and this time she’s playing for keeps.
SWEET CHARITY is a contemporary erotic romance with the Christmas holidays serving as the backdrop. Charity and Gabriel’s angst-filled affair takes place during a time when relatives have gathered together to honor family and religious traditions. It was heartwarming to watch the couple connect through their shared ethnicity (Portuguese) and deep love of family. That aside, Gabriel’s constant brooding over his dark proclivities got repetitious and I found myself getting impatient with him constantly going on about the kind of man Charity should have while totally dismissing what she knew she wanted. Gabriel seems to view himself as somehow too tainted for Charity because of his enjoyment of BDSM which led me to wonder…if he thinks it’s so awful, why continue to do it? This contradiction chilled much of the hot factor for me. Charity for her part is direct and to the point. She knows what she wants and has no problem telling Gabriel what that is in plain terms. It’s refreshing to see the heroine in a role as the aggressor who refuses to sit around and sulk while her guy “gets his head right.” Charity’s boldness of character makes this story enjoyable though the heat level barely climbs above a slow simmer. Readers who enjoy sassy heroines and “BDSM-light” romances may want to give SWEET CHARITY a try.