Banks, Maya. Overheard. (Unbroken, #2). AudioGO, 2013. 3 hours. ISBN 978-1620648896 $19.95
I love Maya Banks, truly, but this was not one of her better books. Gracie dumps her boyfriend because the sex is terrible, and then one of her best (male) friends, Luke, overhears her telling another (female) friend about her interest in exploring sex that’s not so vanilla, and decides her and their other best friend Wes should introduce Gracie to threesomes and light bondage. Luke starts with taking her out on a date, and then invites her to go away Valentine’s Day weekend, where they have amazing sex in a little cabin in the woods and his take charge attitude and Wes showing up make her cream. But when Gracie overhears Luke confessing he eavesdropped on her fantasies, she flips out, cuts and runs, mostly because she thinks their behavior was okay if they all love each other, but if Luke isn’t in love with her, her desires, and the sex, is… humiliating? shame-worthy? embarrassing? This seems like bad messaging to me.
I love the idea–very hot!–but the deceit, not so much. I recognize this is the second book in a series, but had trouble discerning setting of the story and occupations for the characters, but I guess it didn’t really matter… except in the Sweet series, the characters relationships are clearly defined, and consent is important, and the sex scenes are super hot, with delicious descriptive writing (although, I’m pretty sure one of those books also had a woman whose lover makes her come publically on a club’s dance floor). Also, it does have a HEA, but it’s unclear what the relationship will be, going forward: was the threesome a one-time thing? So it did not feel completely wrapped up.
The brevity of the book made for a frustrating read, with little character development, a misunderstanding that results in immature behavior, and fast processing and forgiveness. Gracie’s ex crosses boundaries and shows up uninvited twice, and tries to slut shame her because she has gotten nipple rings and wants to experiment in bed. The so-called best friends NEVER discuss consent, hard lines, safer sex or previous sexual histories. I get there is a fantastical element, but it could have been addressed in a forward or author’s note, like in responsible porn where there’s a disclaimer that all actors are of age, and the scenes depict scenes that meant to be fantasy and not do as we do here.
Cover image is for the ebook, but I listened to this in audio format, and found the Southern lilt of the characters distracting. Coupled (ha!) with their immature behavior, they read as not too bright, which was a turnoff.
I listened through OverDrive via my public library.