Friday, March 28, 2008
Secrets, Vol. 13
Secrets, Vol. 13. Romantic erotica.
- ***½ "Out of Control" by Rachelle Chase.
Event planner Astrid Thomas thinks she's being interviewed after answering an ad for event planning placed by wealthy businessman Eric Santos, but when she arrives, it turns out that the ad was for a submissive weekend "trophy wife," and she's been set up by her best friend, who's also Eric's brother's girlfriend.
Astrid intends to leave, but Eric talks her into admitting she has submissive fantasies and she agrees to stay and explore them with him for the weekend.
I suppose the main thing this story suffers from is being too short. I very much enjoyed the matchmaking aspect and twists, but I'd have liked it to be explored further. And I found both characters' emotional motivations interesting and believable. The introduction of Eric's ex-fiancee Natalie was necessary to understand Eric's emotional state, but I didn't think we needed to meet her in person--that took up space that, in a short novella, could have been better used. I also have to admit that the not-my-kink issue affected my enjoyment of this story. Semi-public sex always just seems sleazy to me, rather than sensual or erotic.
- **** "Hawkmoor" by Amber Green. Paranormal romantic erotica.
This one's about shapeshifters. Darien Hawkmoor is the leader of his people--a position he's holding in trust for the missing Lady Hawkmoor, to whom he was bonded when they were children. But now Mary Alison Hawkmoor (or Mary Alice Enhog-Moore, as she's been rechristened) has resurfaced, and neither of them is happy about it.
To put it mildly. Unfortunately, Mary Alison remembers nothing about her history, knows nothing about her powers or her position, and Darien has very little time to either get her under his control or sacrifice her. And he's not the only one trying to influence or control her.
The only problem with this story was the length--it was a little too short, which allowed not enough detail on some issues. Otherwise, I absolutely loved this one. The shapeshifter society was intriguing and unusual. The matriarchal leadership was a nice change, and I was very impressed with villains who weren't exactly villains--they just had conflicting goals. The romance was refreshing, too, in that instant attraction didn't cause them both to immediately forget everything else.
I've bought one of her full-length novels already, and expect I'll be buying more. Definitely an author I intend to watch.
- ** "Lessons in Pleasure" by Charlotte Featherstone. Historical romantic erotica.
You know, I should have liked this one--Lily Farrington and Damian Westerham, the Earl of St. Croix are reunited lovers, and I usually like stories just for that.
Lily and "Saint" had separated 7 years ago, and now he's determined to get her back. But he has an odd way of going about it. He sets up her friend's husband for a duel which Saint would undoubtedly win unless Lily agrees to spend three nights with him. So far, a little contrived, but not too bad.
During those three nights, he intends to instruct her in the ways of passion. Now my teeth are on edge. I really dislike the "all-knowing man instructing the shy little virgin" scenarios. And he decides that the best way to entice her is to pretend that he doesn't give a rat's ass about her and only wants her body. Uh-huh. Yeah. That makes perfect sense. In response, Lily is a complete dishrag. She goes along with pretty much everything he says, making a few token protests here and there, and then waffling back and forth between guilt and ecstasy.
I loathe paternalistic heroes (and I'm using the term "heroes" loosely). Alpha know-it-alls, sure, I'm fine with them. But manipulative jerks who think they know what the heroine needs and just how to give it to her without regard to her own feelings or opinions in the matter--that's one thing that gets a book tossed across a room.
- **** "In the Heat of the Night" by Calista Fox.
Nick Moretti is Molina Toscano's bodyguard--not an easy task, as Molina's 30th birthday is coming up, and her family is under a curse that kills them on that date. You can pretty much guess where the story goes from here: they fall in love, with the bodyguard resisting so he can do his job; and they solve the curse. That's not a spoiler--there's really nothing else that could happen.
Even though the bodyguard romance is fairly standard, this story does shine. Molina in particular is very credible as a woman who's known all her life that she's fated to die when she turns 30. And the way the curse is solved (I'm not going to spoil that) was a clever twist.
Categories: Books, EroticRomance, 4stars, 3.5stars, 2stars