Desire and Deception Book Cover Desire and Deception
Sharon Buchbinder
Red Sage Publishing
April 1, 2011

Dual Review

She Said – Gloria Lakritz / She Said – Penelope Adams

Pampered princess and daughter of a Mexican crime boss, Isabel (Izzy) Ramirez is a newly appointed assistant professor working toward tenure and promotion. Driven by voracious desires, including ambition for advancement in the legitimate world, and lust for her boy toy, Izzy’s house of cards is threatened when the department chair confronts her about a major transgression. Izzy’s take no prisoners approach means she makes sure her boss can never expose her deceptions.

Graduate assistant and guy-on-the-side, Sean Richards wants Izzy to leave her sleazy husband. If she would only get away from that crook, he’s convinced that he can bring out the better woman who exists beneath Izzy’s tough sex siren exterior. He adores his hot blooded Latina and will do her bidding -up to a point. Despite the mind blowing sex, he can’t and won’t commit murder for her.

As Izzy’s nosy friend and colleague, goody-two-shoes Sarah Wright-Rosen doggedly follows an obscure trail of clues about the department chair’s death, Izzy is forced to choose between reverting to the ways of her unredeemable father, or becoming the extraordinary woman she sees in Sean’s loving eyes.

Gloria Lakritz – Senior Reviewer and Review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild – She Said:

3.75 ***”Stars

Sometimes you sit down, open a book that you have been told is an Erotic Romance and are somehow introduced to a story you did not quite expect. This is exactly what happened to me for this review of Desire and Deception. Ms Buchbinder has written a novel mixed with love, murder, intrigue sprinkled with a pinch of humor to have cooked up one heck of a busy story!

We have two young women, both professors at a local college. Each has their own story to tell as their lives intercept for this story. Izzy is a Latina, daughter of a Mexican crime boss with a husband, a lover and 3 children. Sarah Wright-Rosen, newly married to handsome Doctor Dan Rosen has one agenda: to beat the biological clock and have a baby. So our story begins.

The first hint of trouble: Sarah is embroiled in finding the dead body of her boss and mentor drowned. Sarah was fishing with her husband after a business event she attended, off the coast of Florida, and reeled Bobbi in on her line. Sarah being a black and white type person, is not satisfied with the police blowing it off as an accident. She returns back to work to find notes to her from her deceased boss implicating a tenured professor of wrong doing. Sarah sets out to find a killer, and Dan is not at all happy with it, as terrible acts of violence towards Sarah start to occur.

I do not want to add any spoilers. Ms Buchbinder has woven such an intricate story, switching between the lives of these two women chapter by chapter leading the reader down a path of no return. The addition of Dan’s Jewish mother adds a just the right amount of humor to break the dark mood that follows us.

As our story proceeds, we start to see the changes in these two young women. As we grow life has a way of doing this and they are no different. Rated erotica this book certainly is not sex for sex sake but a part of life of two healthy young women who are with loving partners and is quite natural to the storyline. Izzy uses her sexuality because it is a tool to get what she wants.

Each woman has their own personal baggage that we learn about, each woman abused in different ways as children, and this is what makes them who they are today. Sarah had a drunk and abusive mother, and Izzy had a father that abused her both sexually and emotionally. Learning about this gives us the background on why they are who they are today. Ms Buchbinder gives us characters that are real, flawed and like someone you might even know.

I had trouble liking Dr Dan. I felt he was too overbearing at times and then not supportive in others. I sometimes became overwhelmed by too much story being given to me, changing the flow of my read, so that I had to set the book down to digest. I liked the growth of Sarah who at the beginning was a bit of a wimp, who grew into herself and curbed her green eyed monster. Izzy kept us guessing all through the story on which destructive path she would take. This is not a quick novella 99 cent read. Once you open page one you are invested in this well edited story.

Penelope Adams – Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team – She Said:


While on a working vacation, Dr. Sarah Wrigh-Rosen and her husband Dan make the gruesome discovery of Sarah’s boss Bobbi’s body. Distraught over the discovery, Sarah is determined to prove that Bobbi did not die while riding drunk on a jet ski, as the official ruling states, but that foul play was involved. Dan is not thrilled with Sarah’s determination. He is busy with his own problems at the hospital where he is a doctor, and can’t be bothered to help with the investigation.  Back at her job teaching at Baltimore Metropolitan University, Sarah pursues her investigation, all the while dealing with her problems getting pregnant and leaning on her best friend and fellow teacher Izzy Ramirez.

Izzy Ramirez has an agenda of her own, sexy and irreverent, she is the daughter of a South American mafia boss, mother of three children, has an active sex life with her husband and a boy toy grad student on the side.  What Izzy wants, Izzy gets, and no one stands in her way, not her husband, best friend, father, children, or lover.

Sarah and Izzy’s worlds collide taking them both in directions that neither would have anticipated and leading them into paths far from what they are comfortable with.  

Desire and Deception is a mystery, wrapped in erotica, all the while dealing with the everyday hopes, dreams and problems of two women who are friends but different as black and white.  Sarah is strong in her beliefs of right and wrong, a bit wimpy when it comes to her life with Dan, and naïve beyond belief. Izzy has no beliefs in right and wrong, to her it’s simple, she is what is most important, and will do whatever it takes to make sure everyone around her is on board with that thought. Sarah’s husband is at times overbearing and arrogant, at other times loving and supportive, hard to get to know and even harder to like.  Izzy’s husband is your typical Latin lover, sexy and strong except when it comes to dealing with Izzy, also hard to get to know and hard to like.  There are a number of supporting cast of characters; we don’t get to know much about them other than how they relate to our two heroines. The story moves in and out of the mystery of Bobbi’s death, Dan and Sarah’s lives, Izzy and Tomas’ lives and a few side trips to the seedy world of human trafficking.

While the blurb for this book says it’s a mystery and sort of discovery of themselves for Sarah and Izzy, make no mistake, Desire and Deception is thinly disguised erotica. There are many different plot lines going on at one time, too many to try to keep up with and you tend to just get lost in the business of it all.  There is no mention in any of the blurbs that you are about to read a book that is heavy on the erotica, this is quickly discovered not 3 or 4 pages into the book with an extremely graphic sex scene. Don’t get me wrong, I read and enjoy erotica, I just didn’t know that was what I was about to read. I suppose you cannot technically call this erotica; there is a plot line and an attempt at getting to know the characters outside of the bed. There was a decent mystery going on with Bobbi’s death, but there was so much else going on to get into it, and just when you seemed to be settling down to the story, there would be a random sex scene thrown in. I actually had to put this book down twice and walk away to read something else, because I was just so overwhelmed with all that was going on I couldn’t get into the rhythm of it. I think two decent books could have come out of this, one erotica, one a suspense thriller, but trying to combine the two just didn’t work for me.  If you enjoy some steamy erotica, this is the book for you.

Now that the reviewers have read each other’s thoughts…

Well, I must say, we definitely have some differences of opinion on this one. I suspected after reading the authors blurb about the book, as I said in my opening of my review, I was taken aback about what the book would be about. You seemed to hone in on the Erotica, which I did not feel this book had ‘just sex for sex sake’. That is how my Erotica flag shoots up, but the blurb only speaks of Izzy and I don’t think it mentions Sarah at all by name. We both seemed to make Sarah the main character though. Interesting don’t you think.?

The story was as a murder/mystery, but with so many other elements. I almost felt at times as a reader, that as another ingredient was added, I was losing the rhythm of the story. Ms Buchbinder is a good writer. The story was well edited for errors. There was just too much story. Izzy is the ‘bad’ girl and although she becomes better, she is not redeemed. Sarah was the ‘good’ girl and she did grow, since so much came into her life. She had to, to keep her main objective, Dan.

What did you think?

I honed in on erotica, since the opening scene has a person getting murdered and the murder is immediately having wild monkey sex. O.K. I thought, so this is erotica and not a murder/mystery as billed. I can deal with that. Oh wait a minute, the next scene has the heroine determined to solve the death of her friend. O.k., it’s a murder/mystery. Oh, wait it’s been a day or two since I found my dead boss floating on my fishing hook, “Hey honey bring out the whip cream.” O.k. erotic romance and so on. Just call me crazy, but I don’t feel like having wild monkey sex after I’ve murdered someone, and whip cream is going to stay in the fridge longer than a day or two after I fish my friend out of the water, might just be me.

I did find it interesting that we both thought the book was about Sarah, but the blurb barely mentioned her. Could be I cast Sarah in the lead because she was just more likable than Izzy. I had problems trying to figure out what kind of book I was reading, it seemed to have a split personality to me. I actually stopped a number of times and went back and re-read the blurb on Amazon trying to figure out if I was just looking at it wrong. While I agree Ms. Buchbinder is a good writer, I just couldn’t seem to get involved with the characters, possibly because there were just too much happening.

Yes, I agree Izzy was the “bad girl”, and while she did show a few glimpses of maybe trying to redeem herself, I felt like any attempts on her part were more for what it could do for her, not because she knew she wrong. Sort of the “I’m not sorry I did that, but I’m sorry I got caught” mentality. As far as Sarah goes, I agree she was the “good girl” and I didn’t see any sign of her going to the dark side. She did occasionally grow a back bone and show some spunk, but even then she was thinking of someone other than herself. There was a note from Ms. Buchbinder to the reader about how Izzy becomes more like Sarah and Sarah becomes more like Izzy, and I just didn’t see that all, possibly had I, I would have enjoyed the book more.

Ms Buchbinder submitted her book for review as an Erotic Mystery. I agree her own Amazon book blurb does not attest to what we felt we read. If it was her thought to have this book have Izzy as her only heroine, and Sarah be a secondary character, evidently we did not see it that way, but let’s get past this, a blurb is just a blurb. I thought the book although busy in its storyline, was well written, and the author did spin a good arc to finish and tie up all loose ends. Sarah did have many things thrown at her, and was able to grow. Izzy was so wounded from childhood, I do not think she could ever not use her body to get what she wanted. Her only redemption was helping her maid, instead of killing her… LOL.

I spite of it all, I really liked Desire and Deception.

While I didn’t think this was a bad book, it wasn’t one of my favorites. I would have enjoyed it more, had it not had so much going on.

We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

Thank you Ms Buchbinder, for allowing the Paranormal Romance Guild to review your book through She Said/She Said.