Just One Touch by Maya Banks is the fifth book in the Slow Burn series. Even though characters from the earlier books features extensively in this instalment, it can be read as a stand-alone. It is a romantic suspense with a touch of paranormal. There were some exciting and suspenseful moments, which kept me glued to the pages.
Jenna Wilder grew up in a strict religious cult, with no access to the outside world. Kidnapped for her extraordinary healing powers, she was subjected to abuse, exploitation, and was forced to do their bidding. Believing they had broken her spirit, they underestimated her, giving her the opportunity to plan her escape.
Isaac Washington’s daily routine of purchasing coffee and bagels was interrupted when he caught Jenna trying to steal his SUV. Immediately, he felt the need to protect her. However, this need took a back seat when a hail of bullets almost cut him down, but when Jenna healed and brought him back from the brink of death, his need intensified. As a result, he made it his life’s mission to protect her from the people intent on harming her.
This is not my first foray into the world of Maya Banks. I read a few of her books including the first book in this series. I never had time to read the books that came after prior to reading this instalment, so you understand how appreciative I was of the fact I could read this instalment without feeling I was missing something.
I enjoyed reading about Jenna and Isaac. Jenna’s story was heart breaking. She spent most of her life not knowing what it meant to be loved. She was made to believe she had no value because she was a woman. I cannot imagine the hell she went through but in spite of it all she had experienced, she never allowed it to break her. I understood her need to break out in tears, which I believe would be a natural reaction for someone who experienced such intense trauma. In spite of this, Jenna proved to be a brave person. I admired her strength and her determination to protect Isaac and his friends although I disagreed with the manner in which she did so.
Isaac is an enigma, which made connecting to him difficult. I had no knowledge of who he was prior to him coming to work for the DSS. When Jenna healed him, she had freed from his horrors, but what these were I have no idea, as there was no mention of them. One thing was certain; he was protective of those he cared for to the point of obsession, which was evident in, his behaviour towards Jenna. The blurb indicated that he was the toughest recruit for Devereaux security, but I didn’t see a demonstration of this toughness. Most of the time he kept beating upon himself when anything threatened to harm Jenna. In addition to beating up on himself, he tended to act rashly, which is contrary to what one would expect from someone who is trained to prepare for all eventualities.
The story features a strong cast of supporting characters. I loved how they were all willing to put their lives on the line to help Jenna, who was a stranger to them. They perfectly demonstrated the value of family, friendship and teamwork.
The suspense theme was well done and it was my favourite part of the story. This was what motivated me to continue reading, as I was eager to discover the outcome. Then there was that shocking twist near to the end. I could not believe what I was reading. I cannot imagine how Jenna must have felt at that moment. I know I would be devastated if I were in that position.
Unfortunately, the romance did not work for me. Jenna and Isaac fell in love within a week of them meeting, which I found unbelievable, especially given the circumstances under which they met. Furthermore, for someone who spent her whole life in an abusive environment and has no experience of what it meant to love and be loved, her falling for Isaac so quickly was somewhat incredulous.
Another thing that bothered me was the overly sweet expressions of love, which had me rolling my eyes most of the times. It was an established that Isaac loved Jenna, he would sacrifice all to protect her, and he would give her all her heart desired. I did not need to read about it on practically every page in the book.
In spite of the issues, I had with the romance and the male protagonist, the suspense was riveting which helped to make my reading experience worthwhile. If you enjoy romantic suspense and do not mind the insta-love theme then you will find this an entertaining read.
Question and Answer with Maya Banks
Describe yourself in five words or less.
Unorganised, melt-down prone, laid back, despise drama and conflict!
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
I’m a complete homebody an enjoy hanging out at home with my family every chance I get. It’s rare for me to leave my house!
What types of scenes are your most favourite to write?
I love revealing information about various characters personalities and the closeness between them through dialogue. I also always look forward to writing the dark moment as I love me some angst!
What are your favourite types of stories to read?
I love stories that don’t feature a couple who spend the entire book apart or that focus on internal conflict. I much prefer to see the hero and heroine together on the page and to see them working together to overcome external conflict.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I absolutely love following up with characters from a previous story whether it’s including them as secondary characters in a newer book or writing a short novella that revisits them so readers can see them after the HEA
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I absolutely credit my readers with my success and my career. They, not me, are why I’ve been able to write close to 80 stories in the 11 years I’ve been writing
Maya Banks is a multiple #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author whose chart toppers have included
erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the Surrender
Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels. She lives in Southeast Texas.