Review: Satisfaction

sarah mayberry
Small Cow Publishing
Contemporary ROMANCE
february 28, 2014

Maggie Hendricks loves her life. Great job, amazing friends. Everything just how she likes it. There’s just one small problem. When it comes to sex, Maggie can’t quite get there. No fireworks, no screaming orgasms. And while she tells herself she’s fine with that, she can’t help wanting more.

When her friend shares the intimate details of a one night only fling with an extremely talented lover, Maggie makes a desperate pact with herself. She will seduce this man and if he can’t get her there…well, then she’ll hand herself over to medical science. A simple enough plan. What could possibly go wrong?

Within minutes of meeting Rafel Oliveira, Maggie knows the answer to that one: plenty. Rafel turns out to be far more than simply talented in the bedroom. As he takes her on a journey toward the ultimate pleasure, Maggie finds herself craving a lot more than his beautiful body. But can she win the one thing that will leave her truly satisfied…his heart?

Well, to say the least, the title is apt. In more ways than one, too! I received my copy via the author (there’s your full disclosure), who said the book was, and I quote, “dirrrrty”. Ha! Indeed. Love it. Given that I’m already a huge fan of Sarah Mayberry romances, I was really just beyond excited to be reading another one, let alone the promise of good ‘ole romance dirty times. What really gets me about her books are the characters, and when they mesh as well as Mayberry characters typically do, well, the more intimate parts of her books just work all the better. Satisfaction was no less so. At all. Ahem.

This is Mayberry’s second self-published title, and while her experience gained by publishing several titles with Harlequin shows, she lets go a bit more in her self-published work. So far it’s a combination that’s worked well for me as a reader. In fact I’d say her self-published titles are amongst my favorite of her works, and she has quite the nice backlist to boot. Mayberry continues to write exceptionally well-balanced character-driven romances that are witty, incredibly romantic and – thanks to that freedom of self-publishing – now with even more steamy-good times.

Still, even knowing this work was self-published, I was surprised to first dive into the heroine’s issues with intimacy. And I was, in all honesty, a little dismayed that her issue is not being able to orgasm. Ever. (I immediately flipped like an uber fan at the offer to read one of her books without any prior knowledge of the book, cuz, hello, it’s a MAYBERRY.) I really can’t explain why, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the heroine’s problem was going to gel with me or not. All I can say is it’s obviously an embarrassing situation for the heroine (amongst many other obvious and heart-breaking emotions), and I tend to also feel acute embarrassment when I run across such scenarios, almost kind of on the heroine’s behalf. It’s the same whenever I watch embarrassing scenarios on TV or movies – sometimes I find them difficult to get past because I know in reality it would be so for me as well. Empathy, we’ll say I had a huge amount of squeamish empathy. Thankfully, the initial encounter between the hero and heroine indeed results in, insert eyebrow waggle, plenty of good times.

I would say Satisfaction is focused a bit more on the heroine’s intimacy issue and the resulting emotions it and her relationship with the sexy Brazilian Rafel engender. Not that Mayberry romance books don’t already do this, it’s just that there seemed to be a little less focus on everything else this time. For example, the conflict, the situation that allows the reader to have doubt that the her and heroine will have that all-important HEA. It just wasn’t very strong to me. Frankly, it felt a little forced due to its stereotypical state. The “other woman” who tries to make a comeback isn’t anything new, and it felt a little like an afterthought in this book’s case. Thankfully, the emotions it brings forth from Maggie and Rafel were no less heartening and not a little tissue and tear-inducing. I’ve mentioned it before, but I don’t think anyone makes me cry like Sarah Mayberry does with her books. And that is a compliment! She really wrangles the emotions from readers as well. I hear you, book, take ’em! Take all my tears!

I did wish that Rafel had been a little more fleshed out character development-wise; after all his only real issue in the book is his ex-girlfriend. Otherwise he’s a tattooed, successful businessman with all the right moves and all the right moves in all the right places. The perfect package, really. His character development was another aspect that felt kind of glossed over in favor of, instead, ramping up the heat this go around. On the other hand, I enjoyed the heated aspects of the book very much, so that’s not a complaint, either, just an observation. Mayberry romances can be just as heavy on the character-development, so, again, noticeable, but not a deal breaker. Oh no, not with Rafel. Now that I think of it, have a fan ready along with those tissues. Set it on high. Cuz….yowsers.

Mayberry continues to utterly delight me as a reader in her latest self-published title. I hope she’ll be able to continue along these lines more in the future and am happy that she’s managing to do so in addition to her traditionally published work. Satisfaction is a quick, steamy read that fills out nicely in all the right places. Highly recommended.

Rating: Four and a Half Scoops

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  1. As soon as I heard there was a new Mayberry I bought it and read it that day! And loved it, of course. I love what she does with her self published books too and can’t wait to see where she goes with them next.

    • Marg, it’s such a great day when we discover some new Mayberry books, isn’t it? :D

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