by Maya Banks, contemporary (2007)
Heat, $15.00, ISBN 978-0-425-21749-8
For Her Pleasure is Maya Banks' Berkley's Heat imprint debut and it is actually a collection of three stories. Actually, the first two stories are linked so they could easily be considered one long story split into two chapters. The common theme in all three - or two, depending on how you look at things - stories is a damsel-in-distress heroine.
What She Wants and What She Needs are the stories of Kit Townsend, Travis "Mac" McKenzie, and Ryder Sinclair. Mac and Ryder are good friends who had a threesome with Kit some time before What She Wants opens. Mac is the protective and take-charge cop while Ryder is the happy-go-lucky type. When the two men realize that Kit is being harassed by mysterious phone calls, they come to the rescue. What She Needs deals with how, after getting together, Mac and Kit have to deal with the fact that Ryder doesn't just want to play third wheel in an occasional threesome - he realizes that he's in love with Kit just like Mac. He could do the right thing and stay away as his best friend and the woman he loves attempt to lead a happy life, of course, but as any fan of this author can tell you, sometimes happiness comes in three rather than two.
Mac is a pretty attractive hero in that he is a take-charge and reliable fellow both inside and outside the bedroom. Poor Ryder does come off as he is put together using traits that are opposite to Mac's, kinda like an afterthought to Mac. He gets fleshed out a little bit more in What She Needs but I still feel that he pales compared to Mac, the poor thing. But the weakest link of them all is Kit, a lifeless and uninteresting heroine who is constantly needing help, emotional support, and what not from the two men.
Likewise, the last story, What She Craves, is ruined by a similarly weak heroine. We have Mia Malone, the quintessential damsel in distress. She is Ryder's friend, which means that this story has a tenuous link to the previous two stories. Jack Kincaid left her after one night of apparently red hot perfect sex because he feels that he is too much for her. Alas, it turns out that this man is merely flattering himself because he certainly isn't too much for Mia. If anything, the poor woman just can't seem to function without a man in her life as she finds herself plunged deep into smelly stuff that she ends up being coerced into being a stripper in a club. Can Jack save her and protect her from the big scary world out there? Of course.
Jack is a decent hero even if he's rather interchangeable with Mac but Mia is pretty embarrassing, especially when she's crying to Jack and wailing about everything that is wrong in her life.
For Her Pleasure is readable, but I don't particularly find this one a memorable read. The whole "damsel in distress" motive feels contrived, since the heroines in the stories come off more like walking magnets for all kinds of woes and troubles rather than characters in their own right. The heroes are fine, but the weak and watery heroines could have been better.
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