Blog Tour, Review & #Giveaway: ☆Within Temptation☆ by Tanya Holmes

Title: Within Temptation (Sons of Temptation #1)
Author: Tanya Holmes
Release Date: May 12, 2014
Category: Romantic Mystery/Romantic Suspense. This is not erotica or romantica. This is a romance centered around a murder mystery.
Heat Factor: 3 out of 5 — The sexual tension is high, and the burn is slow. Sex is character-driven, rather than plot-driven.

Love, betrayal and murder in a small town….
Twelve years after her mother’s murder, Shannon Bradford fears she may have helped convict an innocent man. Even worse, her prominent family may have had something to do with it. Desperate for answers, she seeks help from the one person least likely to give it. Her best friend and childhood crush, Trace Dawson. The man she sent to prison.
Serving hard time for murder has left Trace angry and bitter. As far as he’s concerned, digging into the past won’t replace the years he’s lost or erase the hell he’s lived. Now that he’s free, Shannon Bradford tops his list of bad memories. But he never counted on falling in love.
Set in a sleepy little town during the dead of winter, this award-winning romance novel is a tale of one woman’s quest for truth and a man’s struggle to forgive.
 “MEMORIES flooded my mind, of the quiet riot he was, of the secret crush I’d had on him, and the extraordinary friendship we’d shared so many years ago. As fast as those images came, others replaced them. I was thrust back to the crime scene, back to Mother’s corpse and the shirtless eighteen-year-old roaring obscenities while Sheriff Gray and a deputy dragged him away in handcuffs.”Within Temptation

I may be on parole, but you’re still the warden of your own penitentiary. So, between the two of us, who’s the real prisoner, darlin’?”

Wow. As far as debut novels goes, this was superb. I couldn’t believe this was Tanya Holmes’ first novel. I’m not even sure how to best describe what I read just now. Think soap opera (or Dallas) on steroids, with a murder mystery thrown in, and a romance expertly interwoven into the suspense. Makes sense? Well it did in my head.

This is not erotica or romantica. This is a romance centered around a murder mystery.

Heat Factor: 3 out of 5 — The sexual tension is high, and the burn is slow. Sex is character-driven, rather than plot-driven.

That sums it up perfectly actually. The romance is not the front and center of this book, but it is perfectly weaved around the story. Tanya did a perfect job of creating a slow burning romance between 2 characters without it taking away from the overall plot and mystery. This was not action packed, edge of your seat suspense. What it was, was a nail biting mystery that kept you guessing until the very last page. I enjoyed it thoroughly and can’t wait for more from this author.

Trace Dawson has spent 12 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. What’s worse is it was the testimony of a little girl that he cared for immensely that sent him there. To say he’s bitter and resentful would be putting it mildly. He’s out now and doesn’t want anything to do with digging up the past, or dealing with the woman that swore in court that he was the one responsible for the murder of her mother.

He’s concentrating on his present and attempting to live in a town that will forever see him as the “butcher boy” of Temptation. He’s ostracized and forced to deal with the constant gossip and pointed fingers of the small townspeople. So when Shannon attempts to right her wrong and tell him that she may have made a mistake all those years ago, he’s not exactly receptive to the idea.

Shannon is guilt-ridden over possibly sending an innocent man to jail, and the thought that her prominent and rich family may have also had a hand in it doesn’t help matters. She wants to right that wrong…if only Trace will give her the time of day.

Beneath the hate, guilt, and resentment there is a strong undercurrent of lust that flows between them…even if both Trace and Shannon do their best of fighting their feelings

You’re too full of yourself.”
A slow, wicked grin eased across his lips.
“Maybe so. But I’d bet the farm you wouldn’t mind being full of me too.”

I loved the slow burn here. The author does an excellent job of building the sexual tension and really making you understand the connection between these characters. The romance, although not predominant, was still incredibly satisfying.

I’m about to take you someplace you’ve never been, and when you come back, you’ll always remember it was me who took you there.

I think I loved this book as much as I did because of Trace. He was such a great character. My heart broke for him and everything that he has endured and continues to endure. Shannon…well Shannon was probably the one thing that kept this from a 5 star read for me.

(Highlight to view spoilers)

There’s an element present here that is usually a turn off for me in most books (view spoiler)a somewhat love triangle. (/spoiler)It could have worked, if not for a few minor things.

(view spoiler)Shannon is engaged to the prosecuting attorney that is responsible for sending Trace to jail. Fine. Shannon isn’t really in love with him but can’t bring herself to end the relationship because of the comfort. OK. Things begin to happen with Trace that further proof her feeling for him and her lack of feelings for her fiance. Yet she still doesn’t end the relationship. I could have understood all that…maybe. But the fact that the fiance had to be made the bad guy and be cheating on her the whole time in order to be the catalyst that finally makes her leave him? I could have done without that. I really wish that Shannon could have had the strength to leave him for her lack of feelings alone.(/spoiler)[Shannon is engaged to the prosecuting attorney that is responsible for sending Trace to jail. Fine. Shannon isn’t really in love with him but can’t bring herself to end the relationship because of the comfort. OK. Things begin to happen with Trace that further proof her feeling for him and her lack of feelings for her fiance. Yet she still doesn’t end the relationship. I could have understood all that…maybe. But the fact that the fiance had to be made the bad guy and be cheating on her the whole time in order to be the catalyst that finally makes her leave him? I could have done without that. I really wish that Shannon could have had the strength to leave him for her lack of feelings alone. (hide spoiler)]

All that aside, this was an amazing debut novel that I would strongly recommend for anyone that loves a mystery and romance.

Told in alternating 1st person POV

And I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book with Trace’s brother, Cole. That one sounds like it’s going to pack a hell of punch.

***ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an hones review***

Tanya Holmes is a former Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist, a recipient of the Maggie Award, the MICA Award, as well as Overall Winner of the Sandy Haddad Award and a two-time finalist and one-time winner of The Emily (Best of the Best). She’s happily married with children and loves reading, writing and a good cup of coffee—but not necessarily in that order. Her debut novel, Within Temptation is due out on May 12, 2014. 

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Comments

  1. Great review and spot-on!

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