Book Review: Sinful by Jennifer Dawson

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Title: Sinful (Undone#2)
Author: Jennifer Dawson @JenDawsonAuthor
Reviewer: Ivy @PoisonIvy70
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: 276 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis
I’ve wanted my brother’s best friend, Leo Santoro, for too many years to count. No matter what I do, he won’t confront the attraction that burns between us. It’s time to put him behind me once and for all. I have no choice but to call his bluff. And then I will walk away. The last woman I should want is my best friend’s baby sister, Jillian Banks. No matter what I do, she won’t ignore the attraction that burns between us. It’s time she learns the real me. The only promise I can make is that her fantasies are no match for reality. And then I’ll watch her walk away.

Ivy

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Two for two: This is the second Jennifer Dawson book I’ve tried in the past couple of months and the second one I’ve really liked.  I went into this story blind, as I didn’t realize it was part of a series, but I was not lost or in need of reading the first one to enjoy this book. Note: Of this trio of friends (Leo, Michael and Brandon) I found myself desperately intrigued with Brandon and I want his story soon. Pretty please?

Back to this story – I love that Ms. Dawson can work a well established trope (best friend’s sister romance) and do it well. This talent is sorely underrated, because it’s not easy to take something that’s been done before and that’s due to her way with character development. There’s a solid supporting cast of family and friends rounding out the ‘verse, along with excellent sexual chemistry between Jillian and Leo.

D/s dynamic is smokin’ hot: From reading the blurb, I didn’t guess that the D/s in BDSM was in this. I was pleasantly surprised at the way it was done. This is much more about domination and submission than bondage but there’s just enough spice here to kick things up a notch. The scenes between Leo and Jillian are pretty intense and their attraction for one another really worked, but that is because there is time taken to demonstrate their history and connection with each other. The Firsts (meet, kiss, love scene) were firing on all cylinders and there’s just enough jealousy that brings out the possessiveness in Leo, which I love to read.

Jillian’s a good heroine: Beyond my surprise at the D/s, I was also intrigued with Jillian and her emotional journey. Jillian has wanted Leo since the moment she met him at her brother Michael’s graduation from the police academy. She is on her last ditch effort to get him to see her as more than just Michael’s baby sister or she’s walking away. When she realizes that Leo’s into domination and control, she doesn’t run, she’s intrigued and she asks legitimate questions that I would ask if I were in her shoes. I loved that she’s known to be a bit flighty by her friends and family but really, she’s the most determined one in this relationship. I thought her actions during their big obstacle was fantastic and I found myself really liking her, even in her slightly dramatic moments.

Leo’s issues: Leo is harder to get a bead on at first. He’s been irrevocably traumatized by the loss of his twin brother through violence. It drove him to become a policeman, and he’s built up some impressive emotional walls. Usually a hero who’s all domineering but emotionally closed off drives me batty, yet here, I think Ms. Dawson spent a good amount of time giving a basis for his emotional problems and the fact that this is done in dual POV gives the reader a good amount of time in his head. When he feels that he has to do something that he hates just to please Jillian, I wanted to yell at him, but to his credit, he messes up but he gives good grovel and he finishes strong, just the way I wanted.

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I really enjoyed this. If you’re into D/s in your romance, I’d say check this out. Ms. Dawson, if you can give Brandon his HEA soon, I’d love to read it.

– Ivy

*An ARC was received via NetGalley for an honest review.

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Click on the image below to purchase book 1 in the series:

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