Review: Within Temptation (Sons of Temptation #1) by Tanya Holmes #1

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Title: Within Temptation (Sons of Temptation #1)

Author: Tanya Holmes

Release Date: May 12, 2014

Category: Romantic Mystery/Romantic Suspense. This is not erotica or romantica. This is a romance centered around a murder mystery.

Heat Factor: 3 out of 5 — The sexual tension is high, and the burn is slow. Sex is character-driven, rather than plot-driven.



Love, betrayal and murder in a small town….

Twelve years after her mother’s murder, Shannon Bradford fears she may have helped convict an innocent man. Even worse, her prominent family may have had something to do with it. Desperate for answers, she seeks help from the one person least likely to give it. Her best friend and childhood crush, Trace Dawson. The man she sent to prison.

Serving hard time for murder has left Trace angry and bitter. As far as he’s concerned, digging into the past won’t replace the years he’s lost or erase the hell he’s lived. Now that he’s free, Shannon Bradford tops his list of bad memories. But he never counted on falling in love.

Set in a sleepy little town during the dead of winter, this award-winning romance novel is a tale of one woman’s quest for truth and a man’s struggle to forgive.


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 Natalie’s Review – 4 Stars

True mysteries are hard to come by in the romance community. Most often you get a good healthy dose of love and sex with just a spattering of sleuthing. It is often very easy to deduce early on the “who done it” and the mystery is usually thin and wrapped up quickly. Within Temptation by Tanya Homes on the other hand, was a true murder mystery with a great romance that fell in stride with the story. 

Tracemore Dawson, the Butcher Boy of Temptation, West Virginia has just been released from prison after serving a 12 year sentence for killing Lilith Bradford, his wealthy socialite employer. With a gardening spade to the chest, Lilith left behind a daughter, Shannon and an unpleasant legacy. 

Once home Trace has to face the town that still finds him guilty even after he served his time. He is unable to find a job, his friends and family,who are trying to help him have now become victims of public scrutiny. Even Shannon Bradford who once helped in convicting Trace is having second thoughts after some new information comes to light. Through all of this Trace is trying to remain stoic even through his anger. He doesn’t see the point in delving back into the past. Whats done is done, he just wants to move on, ride out his probation and get out of Temptation. Plans however change ……

“If you steal a man’s dreams, destroy his livelihood, attack his friends and family –then prevent him from protecting the weakest of them, what’s he got left?” I paused and lifted a brown. “Hope. That’s what.” Sidling closer, I narrowed my eyes. “But what happens when you take hope away?” I tilted my head. “I’d say that man is now a dangerous foe. ‘Cause he’s got nothin’ left to lose.” 

Trace and Shannon begin a journey to find the truth which is filled with lies, deceit and enough family drama and secondary characters to keep you guessing at every turn. The romance as stated in the synopsis is truly a slow burn. The sexual tension, lust and at times even humor were fantastic. It fit the story, made it believable and made you crave the characters connection even more. 

Author Tanya Holmes has really created a great romantic mystery that has it all:  a solid character driven plot, dialogue that kept the story flowing, a budding romance complete with some serious sexual tension which you all know I love even more than sex at times, and a mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. The story was like peeling back an onion, each layer revealing a new clue but also opening up a whole slew of new questions. I loved that when I thought I knew who the culprit was I ended up being wrong. Great book!




No more than two minutes could have passed, two of the most terrifying minutes I’d ever had. The left side of my face was numb with cold. My lips and hands ached too. I couldn’t seem to make anything move.

The details came in pieces. How I’d almost been run over. How a stranger shoved me to safety just before a Jeep playing target practice could send me flying.

Then as if someone had flipped a switch, sensory explosions filled the void. Horns blared. Somebody screamed. A baby was crying. And the wind howled while sounds burst forth in a crush of voices.

“I swear the brakes locked!” a teenage boy yelled. “She ain’t dead, is she? Oh, jeez. Daddy’s gonna kill me!”

“Don’t just stand there. Call 911!” a girl shrieked.

A cell phone chimed and someone started pressing numbers.

Next, an old man with a rough-and-ready voice said, “Pushed her out the way just in time. Another second and—”

“Is she dead or not?” the teenager demanded again.

While this was going on, I sat up, taking my time to ensure I was in one piece. Except for a sore hip, a bump on the head, and a scraped knee, I was fine. A woman standing nearby helped me, and as I got to my feet, realization dawned.

Trace Dawson had tried to save me.

I fought to see past the crowd into the parking lot, spotting him instantly. He’d just struggled to his feet and was staring right at me, his chin dripping blood. The people scurrying about and the cars streaming through the slush faded. Nothing but the two of us existed.

Memories flooded my mind, of the quiet riot he was, of the secret crush I’d had on him, and the extraordinary friendship we’d shared so many years ago. As fast as those images came, others replaced them.

I was thrust back to the crime scene, back to Mother’s corpse and the shirtless eighteen-year-old roaring obscenities while Sheriff Gray and a deputy dragged him away in handcuffs.

Trace Dawson the man glared at me now, and his eyes were hard and accusing, eyes brimming with fire and ice. A chill wind rumbled past him, but he stood as still as a statue. Only his eyes moved while he looked me up and down with agonizing thoroughness. The rage. The pain. It was all there.

Trace?” I whispered.

In chilling silence, he walked away without so much as a glance over his shoulder.



About the Author


Tanya Holmes is a former Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist, a recipient of the Maggie Award, the MICA Award, as well as Overall Winner of the Sandy Haddad Award and a two-time finalist and one-time winner of The Emily (Best of the Best). She’s happily married with children and loves reading, writing and a good cup of coffee—but not necessarily in that order. Her debut novel, Within Temptation is due out on May 12, 2014.


Connect with the Tanya

Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Website | Amazon Author Page | Trace Dawson on Twitter




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  1. Thank you for the great review!

  2. Loved your review! Your onion metaphor was just perfect. Well done.

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