Tag Archives: Erotic

AN UNEXPECTED AFFAIR

A romance novelist heads to a holiday cottage hoping to break through writer’s block and finds herself drawn to the retreat’s enigmatic owner.

An Unexpected Affair (Scottish Werebear, #1)

An Unexpected Affair

Clarice Adler is under a deadline to turn in her next novel and she’s no where near finished. So her attraction to Derek McMillan is unexpected and unwelcome, especially since she believes he’s married. For his part, Derek is not at all interested in starting anything up with Clarice. He’s a werebear, and everyone knows (according to him) that bears are loners. It doesn’t help that labors under serious baggage stemming from his parents’ fatal car accident. Derek is sure there’s more to the event than officials will admit. Resolving this plot line links all of the subsequent books, though the romances in each novella are self-contained.

The setting in this book is done so well that you can SEE the farm, cottages, and surrounding open spaces. There’s also a nice, slow build to the relationship. This easy pacing is refreshing and it’s also not easy to pull off in such a short book.

As soon as I finished this, I hurried to download the next two. The accident plot takes some interesting turns over the course of the series, but I think this first one is the best by far in terms of character development and emotion.

ONE NIGHT OF SCANDAL by Elle Kennedy

An ex-fighter turned nightclub owner struggles against his attraction to his best friend’s ex.

One Night of Scandal (After Hours, #2)

One Night of Scandal

When I read the first book in the After Hours series ONE NIGHT OF SIN I fell for Elle Kennedy’s well-developed characters and wildly effective scene setting. ONE NIGHT OF SCANDAL delivers the same excitement. Reed Miller and Darcy Grant have a lot of chemistry. Reed is a grump and emotionally shackled by his bad-boy past. Darcy is pretty wholesome, even if she does enjoy the occasional walk on the wild side.

The relationship develops against the backstory of a possible drug problem at the club. This plot line starts in book one and carries on through all three of the After Hours books. At this point, the club is in definite danger of being raided, so Reed is preoccupied with finding the dealer before the whole business goes under.

Darcy and Reed’s relationship has a great balance of romance and drama. The misunderstanding at the end is a little too engineered. There are enough real issues between the characters that complicate matters, so it was a little disappointing that Kennedy got so melodramatic at the end.

On the whole an entertaining experience.

Review: DANGERS OF ADOPTING A WEREWOLF

A young illustrator picking up the pieces of her life after a time of tragedy takes home a stray puppy only to discover he’s a werewolf.

The Dangers of Adopting a Werewolf (Changeling Encounters, #2)

The Dangers of Adopting a Werewolf

This is the second story in J.S. Scott’s Changeling Encounters paranormal series. I was glad to find it much better developed than MATE OF THE WEREWOLF. There’s tension from the first page as Rafe Lancaster, stays outside too long in his wolf form, is on the run from hunters. He makes himself as small as possible and hides. Zoey Hall discovers him during a walk in the woods. The tension escalates as readers wait for her to figure out what she’s brought home.

The romance develops nicely. There’s more of an arc to the relationship than in Scott’s first story. Still, by not delving deeper into Zoey’s past, the author misses an excellent opportunity to build the character.

THE DANGERS OF ADOPTING A WEREWOLF has a great premise and is an overall quick, fun read.

Review: FALLING IN (Vol. 4)

A short story focused on the development of secondary characters Saint and Jeanette in Riley’s Taking the Fall series.

Falling In: Vol 4

Falling In: Vol 4

Saint and Jeanette added a lot to the first three volumes of the Taking the Fall series, so I was glad to hear the author had penned an installment that delved into their relationship. We get a new perspective on both characters. Saint is still lovable, but his submissive behavior in this installment made me a little queasy at times. I know he was just giving Jeanette the control she craved after escaping her ex, but even there the logic was wobbly. We learn that most of the horrible things her ex did was to OTHER women before and after Jeanette. He was controlling, sure, but there was only one real episode of violence and it led to Jeanette running away.

Some of the problems with the plot may have to do with so much story being squished into so few pages. It felt rushed. It didn’t help that the epilogue (as unnecessary here as it was in the earlier parts) steals space from the main narrative.

This fourth volume didn’t deliver what I was hoping for based on the first three.

Two Alexa Riley Erotic Shorts

OWNING HER INNOCENCE

A sexy older bachelor give into his longstanding attraction for his closest friend’s daughter.

Owning Her Innocence

Owning Her Innocence

I’ve read most of Alexa Riley’s books. This one was a bit flimsy compared to the others. I think it was her first, which might explain why it doesn’t quite match the others in character development and plot complexity.

Haley and William are both likable characters, and they share a spark, especially in the erotic scenes.

I found the story arc way off. There’s no time given to character development. Even a short piece like this can offer a little something in terms of character. The potential is there, but the final result is rushed. Also, William’s initial overtures are creepy and a non-sexy kind of predatory. Haley has some promise at first, but she gets too baby-talky. It edged past role playing and became off putting. She seems dopey rather than innocent and sheltered.

It’s a quick read with some good moments.

OWNING THE BEAST

An orphan has no idea what she’s gotten herself into when she agrees to marry a reclusive bachelor sight unseen.

Owning the Beast

Owning the Beast

OWNING THE BEAST is a retelling of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, but the plot is somewhat more complex than the classic story. Annabella (Belle) Blanca is alone in the world. She thinks she’s signing on for an arranged marriage when she’s unwittingly fallen into high-class prostitution. Griffen Stone is a beast in more than looks. He’s truly unpleasant at first. He thinks Belle’s his latest order from an obliging madam. Then he thinks her arrival was a mix-up. It isn’t. There’s a villain in the background who made sure Belle was sent there.

It took me a while to warm up to Griffen. This dude does not like women. It’s clearly a “reject them before they reject me” situation. His eventual attitude adjustment is a tad too abrupt. I would have preferred a more gradual softening. Still, he’s a sexy thing. Very snarly and masterful.

The story logic is rough in spots. Mostly when it comes to the villain and his motives. We come to understand what this bad guy wants, but there’s no credible reason for him to think that Belle in particular would be a good way to get to Griffen. There’s some sense that Belle reminds him of someone he cared for (can’t say more or I’ll spoil the story). And, sure, she’s not his standard tart. But every tart starts somewhere, right? That she might provide a way to hurt Griffen isn’t made plausible enough for me. Despite this, the climax is full of suspense and had me biting my nails.

If you can set your brain’s logic meter on “pause” for the duration, you’ll enjoy this erotic take of the classic fairy tale.

 

Review: THEIR STEPSISTER by Alexa Riley

A young woman is conflicted when she finds herself attracted to her twin stepbrothers

Their Stepsister

Their Stepsister

Sarah’s stepbrothers are the only family she has. The three grew up close friends, but Sarah noticed a distancing that began while she was in college. The boys seemed to grow apart and they spent less time with her. Now she’s out of school, living at their shared apartment, and employed in their security firm. They are good looking guys, and she’d have to be dead not to notice that, but her attraction to them is also embarrassing to her. As the book opens, she’s toying with the idea of moving out.

For an erotic novella, THEIR STEPSISTER is not page after page of moaning and groaning. Alexa Riley manages to pack a lot of character development into a short book. She also builds in plenty of practical and emotional conflict. Luke, especially, has a hard time with his feelings. He’s torn between passion and a sense that he and Logan are somehow exploiting the very person they should be protecting. The result is a textured narrative that’s well paced and filled with honest emotion.

As good as the book is, there are a couple of bumps. One in particular stood out for me. The men’s bedroom language is a little juvenile. There were a couple of moments where I felt I was eavesdropping in some 14-year-old boy’s basement hangout. Logan is more guilty of this than Luke. But even stern, serious Luke has his moments of immaturity. Sure, dirty talk is part of erotica, but in this case some of the expressions used clash with the solid characterizations Riley has built. It also undermines the genuine affection that the three share by reducing Sarah to the status of plaything.

On the whole, though, this short erotic tale is entertaining and full of great characters.

Review: TRAINING THEIR MATE

When a young real estate agent’s attempt to kill the rogue shifter who raped her mother fails, she must rely on the protection of two wolfy brothers who are drawn to claim her as their own.

Training Their Mate (Pack Wars, #1)

Training Their Mate

This short erotic tale (book one of a series) started out really well. Brothers Trax and Dante Field are great foils for one another. Dante is fun and easy going. Trax is a tightly wound control freak. There’s a lot of tension as they butt heads over just how much to tall Liz about their nature and their emotional connection to her. Also things get suspenseful as the brothers attempt and fail to capture Harvey Crouch.

It did bother me that the author gave no clear answer about WHY Crouch singled out Liz’s mother and returned to attack her again years after the initial series of assaults. I know this is book one, but the next volumes focus on other main characters, so there seems no real reason to hold back this info.

Trax’s manic need to control his environment and his sexual partners undermined his strength as a romantic lead. At times his behavior bordered on creepy. Also, the conclusion irritated me. It’s not a true cliffhanger, but the abrupt lead-in to book two was clunky and awkward.

Review: ONE NIGHT OF SIN

A retired MMA fighter-turned-club owner doesn’t think the woman he’s falling for fits with his unsavory past and complicated present.

One Night of Sin (After Hours, #1)

One Night of Sin

This one surprised me. Really surprised me. Too often, “erotic romance” translates into plenty of gratuitous sex and modest (if any) character development. And with a title like ONE NIGHT OF SIN, well, I figured the writing was on the wall (and the clothes spread all over the floor) with this one. What I didn’t expect was a sophisticated, well conceived, beautifully executed narrative and characters that made you want to get to know everything about them.

SIN is the name of the club owned by Gage Holt and two of his buddies. He and the woman he fall for, Skylar Thompson are both given rich, believable histories and hopes and dreams that have nothing to do with a hot time between the sheets. Don’t get me wrong, the sexual content is hot, but it doesn’t take over the book. Gage’s situation–the misadventures of his younger brother drag him back into a world he would rather leave behind–is scary, and he’s no superhero. At one point he takes a real pounding at the hands of a crime boss’s toadies. Skylar has her own issues. Her only living relative is a stepfather who’d give anything to have a relationship with her, but she’s paralyzed by her loyalty to her real father. Skylar feels stifled in her own well-organized, white bread world. She wants to stretch a little.

Author Elle Kennedy makes great use of her Boston setting. Most writers plunk their characters down in a city, mention a few landmarks, and that’s that. Boston, especially the tougher neighborhoods, really permeate this short work. I felt transported to those dark, dangerous streets.

I’m glad to see that Kennedy has written at least one other book set in the SIN universe. It’s a place where I’d like to revisit.

Review: SULTRY SANTORINI SUNSETS

A businesswoman worn out by her high-flying life escapes to Santorini and discovers she’s the key to an ancient prophesy that might allow six Gods of Sensuality to reclaim their souls.

Sultry Santorini Sunsets [Erotic Journeys]

Sultry Santorini Sunsets [Erotic Journeys]

What I liked about this short, erotic fairy tale is that the author managed to give all of her characters–and Miranda’s bed gets pretty crowded–distinct personalities. Only three of the six Gods of Sensuality play a part in the main action of the story. The other three have been lost, though perhaps not as eternally as their surviving fellows fear. Can’t say too much about that or I’ll spoil the plot.

In between bouts of carnal delights, we see the three men become more and more human. At the same time, Miranda (or Mira to her immortal admirers) leaves the mortal world behind little by little until she’s more at home in this newly discovered sensual paradise than she ever was in the boardroom.

The sex is pretty creative, probably the most explicit I’ve yet read from this author. At the height of “activity” I did find myself losing track of who was doing what to whom. And the re-emergence of the three lost Gods made me a little queasy. Otherwise, SULTRY SANTORINI SUNSETS is a fun fantasy.

Review: DESIRED BY WOLVES

Lena, a veterinarian from a shifter family, has just about given up on making her relationship with the James brothers official when their wayward alpha returns home battered and broken.

Desired by Wolves (Call of the Wolf #2)

Desired by Wolves

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The paranormal and erotic elements are secondary to the story of soldier Alex James coming home to his family. The plot is well developed and moves at a nice pace. There’s a nice arc to the narrative.

One reason this second book in Diane Leyne’s Call of the Wolf series works so well is that the characters are already established lovers. So, though there’s sex, there’s also room for character development thanks to the strong back story. Lena is “real.” She has a profession, one that’s integral to the plot. There’s conflict and tension. Alex returns from the Middle East in terrible condition both physically and emotionally. It’s by no means a given that he’ll ever be able to resume his position as the alpha of his family. And if he can’t, there can be no official mating ritual.

DESIRED BY WOLVES is a well-balanced paranormal romance far superior to the first book in the series.