Review: Tantalizing Maria


Tantalizing Maria (The Temptation Saga) by Helen Hardt

 Releases: 25th October 2016

 Genre: Contemporary Romance

 Last of the Temptation series – all books are standalone reads



Helen Hardt’s new release Tantalizing Maria is appropriately named.

Yes, this novel tantalized and enticed me.

I devoured it in one sitting.

At the same time, Tantalizing Maria made me so angry with both of the two lead characters that I flew into fits of rage that I have not experienced while reading a novel in a very long time.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

Tantalizing Maria is the seventh novel in the author’s Temptation Series.

It tells the story of two young lovers that experienced an emotional connection that blossomed when it was cultivated and never completely died in spite of the tragic set of events that halted the progress of their love affair and put a thirty-year hold on their hopes for the future.

When bad-boy Jefferson (Jeff) and Maria initially meet the instantaneous connection between them surprises and stuns them both. They immediately want more, but alas….

Fate has other plans.

Jeff is wrongfully convicted of a crime that he does not commit and spends decades in prison.

No, you did not misread that statement.

While Jeff is serving hard time,  Maria realizes that their union has resulted in an unplanned pregnancy.  She is desperate to ensure that the impending arrival that resulted from her relationship with Jeff will carry the legitimate name of his sire… so in order to nip the problem in the bud Maria marries Jeff’s brother.


I was outdone!

Totally flabbergasted and appalled but I knew that there had to be a method to the author’s madness. Trust me when I say that I mean that in a very good way!

To me, Maria’s actions result in the sort of unforgivable betrayal that most couples can never truly recover from.

That is the rub.

This story contains the types of surprise revelations that will almost literally make you sick at the same time that you nearly want to sigh in relief because some of the previous events in the book can now be justified?

I wish I could say more.

At any rate, the fact that I was so emotionally invested in these characters showcases Helen Hardt’s ability to lure you in with her strong storytelling ability at the same time that she is able to emotionally suck you dry with her descriptive narrative of pain and heartache until there is nothing left for you to give.

Quite frankly,  Maria Gomez and Jefferson Bay will remain etched into the depths of my soul for a very long time.

Jeff and Maria experience the type of young love that holds someone emotionally hostage over the years and keeps lovers focused on the “what-ifs”that could have possibly altered the course of a series of unfortunate events that can never be changed or erased.

Tantalizing Maria is the story of an everlasting bond, one that these two characters could never let go of in spite of the fact that time passed and circumstances irrevocably changed.

When you factor in the lies, betrayal, deceit and how cruelly the prospect of everlasting love is snatched away from Jeff and Maria when they least expect it…

All I can say is that you should accept the fact that you will probably cry as you read this book.  And honestly,  I feel compelled to issue a small warning here. This novel contains descriptions of events that may result in a trigger for some readers.  As such, conduct yourself accordingly!!

On the other side of the spectrum, be prepared to rejoice and celebrate a love that is so pure, resilient and strong in spite of the appalling obstacles that Jeff and Maria face on their way to finding each other again after experiencing such a terrible loss.

This concept is the essence of what makes this novel so special to me.  In fact, it is the very reason why I was unable to put it down.

I adored this book.  Jeff and Maria’s story took me to an emotional plane that transcends the typical themes of contemporary romance and *that* is why you have to read it!!!

Tantalizing Maria earns 4.5 beautiful, heart wrenching stars!

That is my final word.


Maria Gomez married her lover’s brother to give the baby she carried the name and future she deserved. Now she is widowed, and her oldest child’s father―the only man she ever loved―has returned.

In prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Jefferson Bay never forgot the beautiful woman who betrayed him with his own brother. When DNA evidence proved Jeff’s innocence years later and he was released, he vowed to find Maria and seek his revenge.

The passion between the two has never died, but can they learn to trust each other again?



Amazon US:

Amazon UK:


Amazon US :

Amazon UK:



B&N Audiobook:



!!!!!$20 Amazon Gift Card up for Grabs!!!!!




New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers.



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