Temptation Island

Temptation Island
Victoria Fox
Published by: Harlequin MIRA
600 page
Available on Amazon.com UK
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
4 out of 5 cupcakes

The subtitle for this book, Sexy, Sensational, Sinfully Good, pretty much sums it up.

I don’t even know where to begin to summarize the plot, because there is a LOT going on here. The island in question actually appears in less than half of the novel. The rest of it takes place in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, London, and a private school in England, not to mention the Mediterranean Sea. The story is told primarily from three points of view (but there are more thrown in, although it never gets confusing):  Lori, a beautiful Spanish girl trapped in a Cinderella nightmare; Aurora, a spoiled, overly indulged and utterly ignored teenage daughter of two successful country singers; and Stevie, a London native who moves to New York to start over.

For all of the glamorous locations and people, the gut of the story is focused on a very seedy, dark underbelly of Hollywood, and each of the three women comes to this unsavory element through different paths. Lori, in trying to escape the evil stepmother and stepsisters, is rescued by the mysterious and attractive JB Moreau, whom we are told repeatedly is Up to No Good. Yet he seems to treat Lori extremely well, appearing as her knight in shining armor (Lori’s story is the fairy tale of the three). She becomes a top model and moves to Los Angeles. Aurora, a hot mess if ever there was, meets Pascale, a French bundle of complexities and curiosity, at boarding school; Pascale’s uncle is JB Moreau. Stevie becomes a movie star and meets Xander, an actor / director who gets very skittish anytime JB Moreau’s name comes up.

Ah, JB Moreau. He is the magnet that draws the three women – amongst other people – to Cacatra, the eponymous island, where the only rest and relaxation you will get is if you avoid all of the characters in the book. Something very nefarious is afoot on Cacatra, and our three heroines become involved in it.

The plot is convoluted – there are a LOT of characters and subplots – yet this is an edge-of-your-seat page turner of a book. Victoria Fox knows how to create characters who draw us in, and she can tell a story. She writes some decent sex scenes, too.

And then, she didn’t know how it happened, they were kissing each other, their bodies apart one second and together the next. His lips, his tongue, that scar she had noticed that felt, beneath her mouth, like danger. The smell of leather and the smell of him: his neck, his skin, the softness of his mouth and eyelashes. His hands held her face, one thumb on her chin where it was cut, the fingers behind her jaw, beneath her earlobes. She had never been kissed like that. She could kiss him forever. She could kiss him till her mouth bled. 

Another thing Victoria Fox does well is create some ambiguity with her characters. JB Moreau is a bad guy, apparently. He does very bad things and he poses a threat to everyone in his orbit. Yet … he helps Lori, and he cares about her. And he rescues another character, much later in the book. In fact, the theme of rescuing and saving is bigger than any temptation. That Stevie is stronger than she realizes does not surprise us, because she left a terrible situation in London to try to save herself. Aurora, too, must save herself, because her parents certainly aren’t interested.

Temptation Island might be better titled Deception Island, because nothing is as it appears. But whatever its name, this is a fun book that you will not want to put down, so make sure you have a few unfettered hours in which to read it.

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