Monday, July 12, 2010
'Colters' Lady' by Maya BANKS
From the BLURB:
When police officer Seth Colter sees the delicate, shabbily dressed beauty in line at the soup kitchen where he's serving, he's gut shot over the idea of her being on the streets cold and alone. More baffling is the dark, possessive instinct that tells him she belongs to him.
For Lily Weston, home is a secluded nook in a back alley—until Seth offers her a place to stay. She's wary of his offer, but even one night out of the cold is too much temptation to resist.
Seth is convinced Lily is his. The problem is, when his brothers lay eyes on her, the same primitive instinct comes roaring to the surface. The Colters never imagined they'd follow the unconventional path of their fathers, but they can't ignore their mutual need to offer Lily their protection—and their love. But before Lily and the brothers can forge a future together, they must heal the deep wounds of her past.
Maya Bank’s ‘Colter’s Woman’ was the first erotica story I ever read, so I have a bit of a soft spot for it.
In that first book Maya Banks introduced three very unusual brothers. Adam, Ethan and Ryan Colter were three men who grew up in a family with three dads and one mother – and that family dynamic stayed with them into adulthood and became their ideal family unit. Then Holly stepped into their lives to fill the role of wife for the three Colter’s.
This sequel, ‘Colter’s Lady’ is set a few years down the track. Holly, Adam, Ethan and Ryan have four grown children – Callie, Seth, Dillon and Michael. The sequel focuses on the three Colter male children – when we meet them Seth is a policeman, Michael a veterinarian and Dillon owns a bar. The three men do not want the same ménage lifestyle their parents have, but that all changes when they meet Lily.
Lily is a homeless woman whom Seth discovers in line at a soup drive. He falls instantly in love and offers to bring her home to the Colter ranch and make a life with her. Seth intends to keep Lily for himself, but when Dillon and Michael lay eyes on her the Colter impulse kicks in and all three of them want her.
Lily is cautious at first, but eventually accepts the love of all three men. What the Colter men really have to contend with is Lily’s past and the haunting of old wounds.
I am a big fan of the first book ‘Colter’s Woman’. I know lots of people read and were disquieted by the storyline – not so much the ménage aspect, but the *familial* ménage. Fair enough, I can completely understand some reader’s unease – but I wasn’t overly concerned. To be honest I was probably too awe-struck by the novelty of my first erotica novel to pay too much attention to the finer, disturbing plot points.
However, reading this sequel (minus the rose-coloured glasses) I had a lot less patience for the storyline. Everything I seemed able to ignore in ‘Colter’s Woman’ (like the awkwardness of brothers having sex with the same woman, at the same time) I was unable to ignore in ‘Colter’s Lady’.
The storyline is a carbon-copy of ‘Colter’s Woman’, with few plot tweaks – it is again about a woman ‘on the run’ (from her past instead of an ex-husband this time, but still) and three brothers who decide to be her saviour.
The biggest difference in this second book is the fact that the Colter brothers in ‘Lady’ are uneasy about sharing a woman, whereas in ‘Woman’ they were actively looking for a wife to share. That just makes the storyline glaringly awkward and a lot seedy. Where I could live in the fantasy of ‘Colter’s Woman’ and accept that three brothers would want to devote their life and lust to pleasing one woman, it was harder to believe in this sequel when the brothers all air their grievances and concerns, but decide to share Lily regardless.
Every concern and complaint I've read about ‘Colter’s Woman’ was ten-fold in this sequel, to the point that I couldn’t ignore the incest storyline and the general discomfiture of the plot. No matter how many times Lily talked through her concerns or spoke to Holly and her husband’s about their perfect ménage life, I remained unconvinced;
“My heart tells me I love them, but my mind asks how it’s possible to love three very different people at the same time.”
“The heart has an endless capacity for love,” Holly said. “As a woman you love your family, your children – especially your children – your friends, and you love your husband or lover. Who’s to say you can’t love three men with all your heart and soul? I mean, really, who makes the rules?”
It also didn’t help that Lily was as dull as a houseplant. The most interesting (if completely unfathomable) thing about Lily was her homelessness. But the reason for her living on the streets is a ridiculously contrite plot point, designed to make readers and the Colter men feel sorry for her. But it just turned her into even more of a Mary-Sue and all the more unbearable.
The Colter men; Dillon, Seth and Michael, were unremarkable and dull. I didn’t envy Lily her situation one bit. The sex scenes felt awkward and clunky – where they were inventive and sexy in ‘Colter’s Woman’, in ‘Lady’ the focus seemed to be on Lily’s back-story and her growing love for the men – so the sex took a backseat. But that was okay – since I was feeling icky about the brotherly ménage anyway, I didn’t particularly relish the idea of reading smoking hot smut.
I was actually looking forward to this sequel. Even in light of the awkward feelings ‘Colter’s Lady’ illicits concerning family threesomes, I still hold ‘Colter’s Woman’ in esteem. I only wish Maya Banks had come up with a more inventive storyline, instead of a recycled off-cut of ‘Woman’ that seemed designed to quell nay-sayers and further explain the benefits of brotherly love. I would have preferred it if ‘Lady’ had been about Holly, Adam, Ethan and Ryan – maybe following them after their ‘happy ending’ and observing how their threesome coped with the inclusion of babies and town curiosity? As it was, ‘Colter’s Lady’ is a weakened version of ‘Colter’s Woman’ with none of the endearments that made that book a truly naughty joy to read.