Maya Banks writes with a style and flair that I adore and which ensure I will be returning for more of her tales. With Seducing Simon, Ms Banks has turned me into a devoted fan, but doubtless I am only one of many. I guarantee I will reread this book many times over, and will derive as much pleasure as I did in the first reading each and every subsequent time. I believe it would be a sure bet to say you would, too.
Toni, Matt, Simon and AJ have been best friends for many years. The four of them are extremely close, and each considers the others their family, though only Matt and Toni are blood relatives. They all live together in the house Toni and Matt's parents left them when they died, and none of them can imagine their lives separating and going their own way. They don't keep secrets from each other and support one another, no matter what. Except Toni has a secret she has been keeping for years. She is in love with Simon, and has never even so much as looked at another guy.
At twenty-five Toni is still a virgin, and this situation doesn't look as though it is going to change any time soon, especially with Simon in love with and about to propose to another woman. Then the unexpected happens. Simon comes home drunk after catching his almost fiancée in bed with another man. They start with a kiss and wind up in bed. The experience is everything Toni had ever dreamed – up to the part where Simon called her by his ex-girlfriend's name as she snuggled into him in bliss. Mortified, Toni escapes as soon as she can and agonizes over the effect their sleeping together will have on the friendship of the house mates, coupled with her own hurt feelings at being a substitute sex partner.
It's a relief when Simon doesn't remember what happened the next morning, and Toni thinks she can just carry on as though nothing had happened. But then she finds out she is pregnant, and cannot confide in any of the three people she would normally turn to. She believes her only course is to leave the house, and keep her secret to herself for now. Eventually, Simon will have to be told, she knows, but she cannot reveal the truth to him yet.
The decision to move is postponed when her three friends find out about her condition and convince her it is better for her to remain in her childhood home, for now at least. Toni also decides that she needs to gain Simon's interest if she is ever to be sure that he is interested in her only for her and not just out of an obligation to the baby. Toni sets out to seduce Simon, all the while keeping her secret. Will she work up the courage to confess to him? Do her fears and anxieties come to pass? Is her seduction successful?
Simon is bewildered. For much of his life he has been friends with Toni, her brother Matt and their mutual friend AJ. He has always looked upon Toni as a little sister. He doesn't understand why he is now seeing Toni as an attractive woman, one he would like to see in a man-woman way. Unbeknownst to him, the revealing shirts she has taken to wearing and the casual touches she bestows upon him are all a part of Toni's seduction plan, but they are definitely working. Simon is getting more worked up by the day, but is sure it is just him feeling this attraction. When they kiss for what is, to Simon's knowledge, the first time, he pulls away believing he is taking advantage of her. Confused, conflicted yet compelled, he knows not what to do. Yet his growing attraction to Toni cannot be ignored and he comes to accept that he wants her, he wants a them.
He worries over whether she still has feelings for her baby's father, the man she refuses to talk about to anyone. He worries the mystery man will turn up and ruin their budding relationship. He wishes the baby were his. He wants no secrets between them, but at the moment developing a relationship with Toni is his main focus. What will his reaction be when he finds out the truth? Can he forgive and forget, or does it take more for him to see past his own feelings to the future they could have together – him, Toni and their baby?
Seducing Simon is a thoroughly enjoyable contemporary romance that I loved reading and look forward to reading again. Yes, it is slightly unoriginal, a tad clichéd and somewhat predictable, but in its reading you will have so much fun that you will not care about any of these. Besides, the author has taken this often-used plot and truly made it her own. One of the things I adore most about this book is the friendship the four main characters share. It makes me sigh in longing for a close group of friends of my own, just like them.
Yet another faucet of this tale that makes it different from the others is the profession of the characters. Firefighters. I love books with men in uniform, and firefighters definitely make my top three. Oh, you say you're exactly the same? Then you need to rush over and buy this book ASAP, and devour it even sooner. You'll love it, as I have. You'll want more, as I do (please Ms Banks, please write AJ's story? Maybe even Matt's, too?). The characters are all brilliantly well developed, the town (and it's busybodies) are well penned and you can picture them in your mind. The chemistry between the characters is electric, though sex is not the focus of this tale.
Seducing Simon is undoubtedly first and foremost a romance. When the characters make love – and they do make love, not simply engage in sex – their emotions are involved, and their actions are described in a soft and gentle manner. No graphic language or coarse words are used in this tale, and neither do the characters stray beyond the boundaries of traditional intercourse. If you love a romance, a man in uniform or if you simply enjoy a fun and hope-filled story, then Seducing Simon is definitely a book for you. Well, what are you still waiting for? Get, get, get!!!
Reviewed By Elizabeth
© April 2006