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Monday, April 23, 2012

Pure Bliss by Sophie Oak

Pure Bliss by Sophie Oak
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (275 pgs)
Other: mild BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Bliss, Colorado, gave Hope McLean a second chance at life, but she's hiding a dark secret.
Raised as brothers, James Glen and Noah Bennett always dreamed of finding a woman to share their lives on the Circle G ranch. James would run the ranch, while Noah served the town of Bliss as the resident vet. But when a woman came between the brothers, Noah fled for New York City and James was left to struggle for the ranch's survival alone.
Now that Noah has returned, he will do anything to repay his debt to James. When he sees Hope, he knows she is the woman they both have been waiting for. But just as their love begins to bloom, a nightmare from Hope's past returns to claim her.
To save Hope, and themselves, they will have to reclaim the brotherhood that was shattered and fight for their future.

Nothin’ says lovin’ like having the psycho ex-husband Hope thought was dead and buried show up to claim his mate. This slice of crazy has no idea who he’s dealing with when he decided to take on the residents of Bliss. I think Hope put it best when she said Sherriff “Nate just expects everyone is carrying concealed”. One of the key dynamics about a Bliss book is the chance of someone dying at some point is almost 100% guaranteed, but that isn’t “the story”. Homecoming, Healing, Forgiveness, Love and Passion are the true themes of this novel. I couldn’t put it down!

Noah left Bliss several years ago feeling like he knew where his destiny was leading him. A farce of a marriage and ten million dollars blown later he’s returned to a home that barely resembles the place he remembered. Fear of rejection and no small amount of pride stand between him and the opportunity to reclaim his remaining family and a woman who inspires him to believe in love (or at the very least lust) at first sight.

Noah doesn’t hold a candle to Hope in the “fear of the past catching up" department. A naïve girl with aspirations of being a supportive preacher’s wife quickly spiraled into nightmare fuel when she witnessed the evil in his heart. Hope has little to no trust in herself but dreams (fantasizes, really) of being safe, secure and snug between two original Bliss brothers. Noah and James have an uphill battle to convince her that what they offer is what they all need. Oh well, if talking won’t work there’s always spanking…and ropes…and toys. Sometimes it’s good to be bad. Hope may have doubts and fears but she’s no shrinking violet. She has an inner strength when it’s most needed and, if Rachel gets them printed, the t-shirt to prove it.

Local playboy, James Glen, is the third piece to this triad. Noah had it pretty rough when he left Bliss but he honestly doesn’t have a clue what his leaving did to James. Little by little Ms. Oak pealed back the layers of this complicated hero. The James that most of the single female population of Bliss County knows is a façade. The man underneath is barely holding it all together. If not for the help of his friends in Bliss he would have lost everything, including his legacy, a long time ago. I had to smile when James started making up reasons to spend time with Hope. He’s convinced himself it’s his “duty”, his “responsibility”, and his vow to Logan that keeps him near Hope. He just wants to be sure she’s safe. Right.

Ms. Oak knits the lives of her heroes and their woman into such a close tapestry over the length of a book it’s not unlike watching a weaver sit at a loom to create a masterpiece. The threads are loose initially as she slowly draws them together, tighter and tighter, with colorful descriptions, intricate details, fantastic tension and clever dialogue. The end result is a family, nontraditional except in Bliss, with a bond that can’t be broken even in death. I like how Henry puts it “They don’t simply share a woman. They share a life.” Smart man. Speaking of Henry, don’t underestimate this young man when it comes to those he loves, particularly Nell. After all, everyone in Bliss has a story and he wasn’t always a pacifist.

If you’ve ever read a Sophie Oak book prior to Pure Bliss you know to expect lots of kinky hot sex. Pure Bliss is no exception but I honestly think if Ms. Oak chose to write the book with closed doors it would be just as entertaining and worth the read. With some books I’ve read, the focus is more on how often and how many ways the lead characters can hook up than creating memorable characters and telling their story. Ms. Oak makes James, Noah and Hope fight for their HEA but the growth and bond they experience was actually tangible to me. I was connected, vested, to the story from the moment Hope is brought to the Circle G.

As an aside, I challenge Bliss fans to pick out the potential heroes and/or heroines for future stories. I can’t be sure of course but I met a couple of hunky new mechanics, a sexy waitress at Trio, a hot ski instructor was mentioned and we know Michael and Logan will surely be front and center before too long. I can’t wait!! Ms. Oak has a clever way of entwining not only her other two series into a story but I also spotted a couple of subtle shout-outs to fellow Siren authors.

There are so many fantastic stories centered in Bliss, CO and more to come. Stop wasting time and pack your bags for one more unforgettable trip to Pure Bliss.

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