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Monday, October 15, 2007

Hard Candy

Hard Candy. Erotica.

  • **** "Hero Sandwich" by Angela Knight.

    This is the shortest story in the anthology, more of a short story than a novella.

    Meg Jennings has a secret identity: Paparazzi, with a suit that makes her fly and renders her invisible. At least she's no longer using the suit to be Sneak Thief. So it's a little hypocritical of her to break up with billionaire Richard Drake because of his secrecy.

    Before she can sort out her feelings, however, she gets caught by superhero Cougar, who both frightens and excites her, ever since he caught her and her father 6 years ago. Cougar and his brother Lynx take her captive and, well, once she realizes what they have in mind, she doesn't resist very much.

    I'd really have liked this story to be longer, but all the elements are there--the h/h have known each other, so the romance doesn't come from out of the blue, and there's even some credible emotion between them. I also enjoyed the twist, though I suspect more alert readers would have figured it out sooner than I did. And there's the bit of a theme of keeping secrets that's rather nice.

    The sex scenes, of course, are very hot, which is not at all surprising.

  • **** "Candy for Her Soul" by Sheri Gilmore.

    This story is the more usual novella length that I expect in anthologies.

    It's mostly the story of Natalie, David, and Nico. Natalie wants both David and Nico, and they both want her. And though he doesn't mention it to Natalie and Nico, David wants Nico, too. Deep inside, Nico's also attracted to David, but he doesn't admit it even to himself.

    So Nico and David decide to settle things like men--they make a bet. Whoever has Natalie in his bed on Valentine's Day gets to keep her. Fortunately for all of them, Nico's father Luke is a demon, and he decides to nudge things along.

    I really enjoyed this story--the development of their 3-way romance was emotional, particularly for the men, and David's fear of rejection and Nico's fear of admitting his attraction to David was realistic and poignant.

    The demon parts, on the other hand, seemed extraneous and distracting. I kept wanting to get back to interactions between the 3 main characters. Once again, length could be the problem--in a longer story, I wouldn't have minded Luke's role as much.

    And oh, yes. Very steamy, very hot.

  • **** "Fortune's Star" by Morgan Hawke. This is more of a short novel than just a novella.

    Luxi is a psychic who just lost her job because of her talent for precognition (nobody wants an employee who knows what the company is going to do in advance--the potential for corporate espionage is too great), and is on her way to start a new life, when she meets Leto and Amun, and her secondary talent, for seeing ghosts, becomes valuable: Amun is a diplomat who's a powerful telepath, and Leto is his employee, a cyborg inhabited by a ghost.

    That becomes especially important when it turns out Luxi is the only one who can see and feel Leto's actual self. It comes in handy in the sex scenes, too.

    Luxi's being chased by the man whose scheme she foiled before she was fired, and there's danger related to Amun's job from various people with various psychic talents.

    Then there's the emotional story. Amun loves Leto, and Luxi provides a bridge between the two of them, and they end up loving her as well.

    I absolutely loved the part where Luxi used her precognition in an action scene. It was very clever, made sense, and wasn't something I'd read before. The story as a whole was a bit confusing, but I imagine if I read more stories set in this universe (I see there are a few), it would be clearer.

This was a good, surprisingly consistent anthology. A wee bit disappointing, in that I'd bought it for the Angela Knight contribution, only to find it was the shortest in the book, but I'll get over it.


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