I have go-to authors. These are 4 authors that are tried and tested and have yet to ‘fail’ me. So anytime I’m in a book slump and I want to read something good, I go to those four authors and immediately my slump is turned into a high. Anne Calhoun is now officially in that list. Just the other day I was thinking to myself, I need something beautifully written with really hot sex scenes and she immediately came to mind. So I browsed her books and came across The Muse. I had loved Evening Storm (book #4 in this series) so I thought why not. Except this one cost 14 dollars! It’s a long time since I saw a kindle book cost that much but it’s Anne Calhoun, I just had to get it. Best.decision.ever.
The Muse is the story of Arden MacCarren. The last name might sound familiar if you’ve read Evening Storm. Arden is part of that MacCarren family that was involved in the ponzi scheme. Her brother and father have been arrested and the rest of the MacCarren’s are being investigated in case they were also involved in the scheme. Arden’s family is old money, she’s what you would call a socialite. With the news of the MacCarren downfall, Arden is having to deal with paparazzi everywhere, including outside her house.
Arden has suffered from panic attacks since she was a teenager. Add to that the whole ponzi scheme business and she really needs an outlet before she implodes. Her best friend Betsy suggests a private art class at her home. Enter Seth Miller, the model. Arden is drawn to Seth and a no strings attached sounds like a good deal. However, Seth is battling his own demons. As a Marine stationed in Afghanistan, Seth witnessed the death of three of his best friends. Their families are now his responsibility. He has no time for a woman.
He was a former Marine with obligations to the dead, working as a bike messenger and an artist’s model, and he had no regrets. As much as he wanted her, it wasn’t going to happen. The last thing Arden needed was a man like him.
Just like any other Anne Calhoun book I’ve read, this one had me from the first page. I not only love her stories, I love the way she tells them. The way they draw you in slowly… the way you understand why they fall for each other. I’ve read so many books where I just don’t understand why the characters fall for each other. Why the player finally settles. I’m not even talking about instalove. I just feel like a lot of authors try to explain it but it leaves me wanting more. Not Anne Calhoun, and especially not in this book. I don’t know if I can explain it. It’s the way they see each other, that is different from how others see them. I particularly loved how Seth saw Arden’s strength where others saw her as weak. How he saw strength in things that made her weak in other people’s eyes.
She wanted him, a man who’d fought real battles, who saw her as strong. Maybe she could learn to be the woman he saw.
I mean the whole thing just warmed my heart. And that’s not even getting into how they anchored each other. How they just fit.
They were lost in each other. Found in each other.
Sigh. And the steamy scenes – wowza! Rarely do I read sex scenes that are more than just an experience for the body. These two used sex to communicate… and it was beautiful. Add to that the art that was part of each sexual experience and I couldn’t have loved it more.
When she settled in and started to draw, it was like she saw every single cell in his body. There was a longing, a want in her eyes, all the more powerful for the fierceness in every line of her body. But the real kicker was the way he responded to it. She wanted like he wanted, from so deep in the body it felt raw and red and hot, like an open wound.
I do feel as though the end was rushed. I feel like I walked with Arden towards her breakthrough. But I feel like Seth’s breakthrough happened in one big scene. I would also have loved to more of them after they’d decided to be together. Maybe an incredibly long epilogue. Yes, it’s possible I just wanted a longer book 🙂
And in the end –
He’d made her promises the only way he knew how to make them. He’d made them with his body, with his heart. He’s ridden beside her while she conquered her fears, lain still so she could find a way to see the world, tucked her into the curve of his hip while the swat dried on their bodies after they burned each other to cinders.
See what else I loved about it? The writing. God the writing was so beautiful!
Amazon Buy Link -> The Muse by Anne Calhoun