by Anne Calhoun (Goodreads Author)
The author of The List continues her sinfully addictive Irresistible series with a provocative new novel about a woman inspired by her most forbidden desires…
Arden MacCarren can’t afford to lose control. Her family’s investment house has failed, their professional reputation is all but destroyed, and it’s up to Arden to hold the line. The only distraction she allows herself is a weekly drawing class where she can forget everything. Then she meets Seth Miller. When he poses in her class, strong, mysterious, and unbearably sexy, she can’t resist him. The only thing she can do is keep it purely physical—no emotions, no strings, and definitely no telling.
Seth understands responsibilities, both Arden’s and his own. During his last tour as a Marine he lost his best friends to an IED. He has a duty to look after his buddies’ survivors. All he allows himself is the stolen moments with Arden. But as he’s drawn into Arden’s battle with her demons, he comes face-to-face with his own. Seth will have to choose between a duty he can’t ignore and the longing to inspire Arden’s every desire—mind, soul, and body…
Source: eARC for Honest Review Courtesy of Penguin Group
Genre: Adult Romance
Part 5 in a series but could be read as a standalone
My The Muse Review . . .
He was her muse, helping her learn. But somehow this had become about him, not just Arden.
Let's start with a big shout out to Anne Calhoun as her ability to write blows me away ever time I read her work. Her stories don't fit the normal formula that we are used to in this genre, which I 'm extremely thankful for. The way she threads sensuality through her stories is so alluring. Her stories aren't about sex, sex mixed with some substance. They are beautiful tales that have so many elements and emotions woven together that you feel you are following along in the couples journey. You feel every emotion as you glide through. Her stories just feel like more. It's hard to completely explain instead Anne's story need to be experienced to truly get the magic of her work.
This book feels like the peak of what this series has been heading for. Yes all the books are part of a series but can be technically standalone. But in The Muse it felt like all the elements of the past have come to light which made it so much more. I'm going to assume it would be better has a whole series then standalone.
This book started off as a sensual journey of a need of sex between two consenting adults, but ended up as so much more for these two. Together they emotionally needed one another to get them through their current circumstances.
Without his knowledge, let alone his consent, whatever this thing with Arden was it wasn't just about her anymore. It was about him.
Arden MacCarren and Seth Miller have their own personal demons. With Arden she's dealing with panic attacks and the downfall of her families empire and good name, while Seth is still recovering from exiting the Marines and losing his friends/brothers in arm in duty. Together these two calm each others demons.
You have to go on living because you're alive. They aren't. To deny that, to live only for them, is to deny yourself.
Originally Arden only wanted to have Seth help her with her art as she needed an escape from the chaos that was her life. But his natural beauty shined through causing Arden to want to use him in more ways then the original plan. For Seth, he's a 'live in the moment' type of guy and was intrigued with Arden, so decided why not with this new plan.
Safety was an illusion. So was peace. But she could find calm in the chaos, a harbor in the storm, and be that for someone else.
Together these two used each other as muses but found so much more. The both had beautiful journeys to find themselves.
"We all walk with ghosts, Arden."
I loved these two together. They were such a great match. I loved Arden's hidden strength where even she didn't realize she had. I loved Seth's loyalty and love for his lost brothers, but it broke my heart for where he was stuck. I loved that they brought the best out in each other and without that I don't know if they would have found their wholeness without each other.
5 Sensual Thumbs up!