By the time I closed this book I looked at the cover of INSATIABLE and all I wanted to say was; It’s me, not you, in why I struggled with your story. The fact remains though that I did struggle with this story and the main irritation for me was Carina. The story begins with the separate introduction of Daniel Haws and Carina Fardelle, and at that moment I had no problems. Daniel came through as a skill-honed Phantom Corp warrior who was preparing himself for a dangerous mission and Carina, in her initial situation, showed resilience. A prim and proper royal woman of her Verse but inside she was screaming for what the rules of her Verse were forcing her in to. The beginning promised a story that I could revel in…that was until Daniel and Carina met and I gradually started to dislike Carina more and more.
It wasn’t the body chemistry but the personalities that didn’t mesh for me. Carina’s actions or thoughts were emotive at times to reel me back in but then as fast as she got on my good side she would do or say something that would completely aggravate me. Like telling Daniel he has fluff for brains, or that he is silly, or that he has to stop pouting or shushing him in an argument. Carina probably meant it in a different tone but I just didn’t pick it up that way. Or the moment she was thinking of his butt - and how she had her hands on that butt while he fucked her - in the middle of a dangerous fight. In such a situation I would think your mind would be else wise occupied. She just rubbed me the wrong way but then I thought; Okay Daniel she gives you attitude, show her your ‘in-charge’ attitude and give her something to chew on! I mean, a skill honed and high ranked warrior doesn’t seem like the man who would pout. Instead I got a man who was endeared by her, almost overpowering, persona and that’s where they lost me.
If I would look at Carina through Daniels eyes she is bossy, regal, sassy, hard, smart, serious and innocence wrapped up in a curvaceous package to savor. What he found sexy or sweet I just found plain annoying and I just never gained his perspective. I felt Daniel was a man who had two sides to him. One who is commanding and a deft warrior, and the other side is caring and sexy, but pliable. He is a likable hero but most of the times he couldn’t push my buttons.
So here I was, drawn in and pushed out of the story in rapid succession because yes, there were also good things. It was my struggles however with the main couple that created a domino effect to the romance. I read them falling for each other but I wasn’t feeling the love or drawn in their romance that made my heart beat a bit faster. The kind of romance I know Lauren Dane can deliver for me! This is also an erotic romance and the sexual desires were more naughty of tone then anything else which included some voyeurism, self masturbation and M/F bed play.
The plot was embedded in a chase where their adversary was an evil man doing diabolical deeds who send his Skorpios men for the chase, but these Skorpios were faceless and very much in the background. The enemies’ actions were mentioned more than actually shown and I didn’t get the chills and thrills of; will they make it, or won’t they? It does have some tension filled moments where they find resistance and the only way through it is via a fight. With the last third of the novel focused on the more political aspect of the plot.
Romance and plot might not have blown me away but Lauren Dane has the writing skills that make the Federation/Imperial world come to life. She effortlessly provides information how this culture lives, rules, and how their world works. Not only does the main couple matter, the supportive cast of family, friends a fellow Phantom Corp member’s breath their essence in to this story. I loved the quiet, rock steady Andrei, Wilhelm Ellis mysterious persona who got under my skin since the moment I met him in UNDERCOVER and I was so glad Roman and Abbie got to play a significant role. They flesh out this story, allow the overall plot to become a critical part of the story too, and each of them have their part to play.
With INSATIABLE, Lauren Dane ups the ante with the troubles in the Verses and to add the Phantom Corp to it as a focal point is an intriguing move. It allows many new characters to come in to the picture, joining the strong characters I already met in the previous novels; UNDERCOVER and RELENTLESS. I may have my issues with Daniel and Carina but they still added their own perspective and flavor to the already colorful cast. Daniel loved Carina, and Carina loved Daniel, of that much I was convinced by the end of the story… I’m only bummed I was irked by their personalities rather then excited and couldn’t get swept up in their romance enough to be touched by it.