Review: Bedding the Wrong Brother by Virna DePaul

depaul-brotherBedding the Wrong Brother

Virna DePaul

February 12, 2013

($7.99, free on Kindle)

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Melina Parker is many things: a successful scientist, a lover of nature, and a devoted friend.  What she is not is a woman confident in her sexuality.  After several failed relationships, complete with damaging critiques about her performance in the bedroom, Melina comes to the conclusion that she has no idea how to satisfy a man.

Rather than let this setback put her off relationships forever, she does what any self-respecting academic would: research.  After much consideration, Melina enlists Max Dalton–famous magician, childhood friend, and twin brother to her lifelong crush, Rhys–to instruct her in the arts of love.  Max is a bonafide expert in intimate acts, and someone Melina can trust to teach her some new tricks without trying to steal her heart.

What she doesn’t expect is that Max has a few tricks of his own, including fooling Melina into taking her first lesson with the wrong brother, Rhys.  After a night of steamy foreplay, Rhys reveals his true identity to Melina, the woman he has always loved but thought he could never have.  Before she can make herself disappear, Rhys convinces her to spend the weekend in “class” with him instead of Max.  Against her better judgement but unable to resist, Melina agrees.

She and Rhys spend the weekend holed up in a cabin by the lake, where years of tension are finally broken in scenes that left me feeling like I was the one who needed a swim in cold waters.  This part of the book is where DePaul is at her best.  It’s entirely believable that both characters are mad for each other–Rhys’s expressions of desire and emotion are especially realistic–, but that they’re also both terrified of making the wrong move.  I loved the idea that these characters had pined for each other for years, but their insecurities–Melina’s about her curvy body (among others), Rhys about Melina’s potential feelings for Max–have made them afraid to act on their love.

There are, admittedly, some problems with the plot of this book.  Some of the obstacles keeping Melina and Rhys apart–a childhood misunderstanding, their diverse professional obligations–seem contrived, and Melina’s initial confusion of Rhys for Max doesn’t quite hold up.  Likewise, the scene in which Melina handcuffs Rhys in his hotel room veers from scintillating to sketchy in some moments; as a reader, I like when characters, whether male or female, respect a firm “No,” from their partners.

Still, Bedding the Wrong Brother is strong on a lot of fronts, and really appealing for lovers of the friends-to-lovers trope, as well as readers of steamy contemporaries.  I’d recommend this to anyone who likes some teasing and foreplay before the main act, and who appreciates a heroine who can be vulnerable and powerful at once.

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