Tour’s Books Blog

May 6, 2009

Erotic Romance and ebook Roundup – May Part 2

Here we go with some more erotic romance with varying degrees of hotness and quality – and several of these are scorchers.

Howling for My Baby by Beverly Rae (Novel length)

This novel is a Romeo and Juliet story with a werewolf and the daughter of a hereditary werewolf hunter who fall in love.  Ms Rae gives it a couple of twists and the happy ending isn’t all-inclusive, but that’s better than if it had been.

Sydney Skeller is so desperate to stop her erotic dreams of a werewolf lover she ends up going to see a psychic for help.  Apparently, Madame Medusala accurately predicted the new husband of one of her gym club members would turn out to be a werewolf – and he was.  And she keeps using the words like ‘mate’ instead of boyfriend.  What’s wrong with her?

At the insistence of Syd and her friend Charlie, Madame Medusala starts her summoning of spirits and Syd focuses so hard, she blacks out.  Convinced something happened, Madame Medusala finally tells her – she howled, and then she chucks them out.

Jason Cannon has been having dreams too – of a curly haired female.  He’s been away from his pack for awhile and the personal fitness/ gym business he’s running has really taken off.  His friend and accountant, a gay werewolf, Benjy Boudoir, has this annoying habit of calling him Jay-Jay.  They are stopping by one of their locations to speak with the new manager, Steve.  As they walk through the gym Jason sees his dream girl with the curly hair – and Syd turns her head while running on a treadmill and sees the dark man/werewolf who has haunted her dreams.  She stumbles and goes down, taking Jason with her – on top of her actually but her jog bra is caught by the belt.  Steve tries the emergency stop and the treadmill keeps running, so Jason extends a claw and cuts her loose – leaving her half naked.  The men react as men always do – with hoots and whistles.  She demands Jason’s shirt and runs for the locker room.  Jason knows he just found his mate and she’s not exactly thrilled with him right now.

That nite her father, who she calls Skeller, wants her to attend a Hunter meeting that night.  As his only child, she’s heir to a long standing family tradition of hunting werewolves.  She wants nothing to do with it.  In fact, she refuses to believe they’re even related.  She flatly refuses.

Just as the pain meds are kicking in, there’s a knock at her door.  The hunk for the gym and he’s there for a reason.

“You and I were meant for each other, Sydney Skeller. Can’t you feel it?”

Yes. “Uh, yeah, I—” She sucked in her breath, unable to say anything more. She wasn’t ready for his next words.

“I know you do. We both know it.” He cupped her cheek, locking her to him. “I’m here to claim what’s mine.”

And he does – in her round bed.  All goes well till he bites her.  Syd panics.  As in she’s now a werewolf in the making, and her dad shoots werewolves because they’re damned.  Oh lord, she thought being half naked in a gym full of guys was bad, how does she tell her werewolf hating father she’s about to cross to the other side?

So Sydney and Jason begin a more than usually difficult relationship.  Werewolves can be ‘smelled’, so when Syd brings him home to meet the folks Jason has to all but bathe in cheap cologne and claim to be a ‘metrosexual’.  He even ends up a meeting of the hunters where he runs into Syd’s ex-boyfriend, Max Tiller, who is highly suspicious of Jason.

Secrets this big can’t be kept and Skeller learns his daughter has been mated to a werewolf.  He kidnaps her, locks her in the basement and calls Madame Medusala to come to the house and tells her to do an exorcism to make Syd fully human again.  But the Madame is has hysterics and says she can do things like that, not even for $3,000, besides, she doesn’t even believe in werewolves.    Benjy saves the day – twice, and Syd isn’t exactly what she thought she was.  But then neither is Max or Madame Medusala.

In the end, Syd is at peace and finally understands why she felt she never quite fit in with the Skellers.  I particularly like that fact there was no unrealistic epiphany on the part of Skeller just because of his beloved daughter.

For an unusual spin on such a well used trope, this one’s pretty good.  It has grit and humor and people whose hate don’t just suddenly change miraculously.  The character of Benjy is an over-the-top gay, werewolf or not, but he is the one who rescues them.  Some scenes sometimes border on farce, and the cellar scene does take on Marx Brothers atmosphere, but both Sydney and Jason are genuine enough.  Syd’s grows and expands as a person.  Jason hangs in there to keep his mate despite everything.  Funny and good light read.

My Grade: B- to C+ (3.7*)

Who would enjoy this book:  Followers of Jory Strong’s Supernatural Series, Dakota Cassidy’s Wolf Mates, and Jaci Burton’s Devlin series.  My rating would be NC-17 to X.  From Samhain.

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Mail Order Bride for Two by Elle Saint James  (novella)

This is a rather shallow ménage story set in the late 1800’s.  Logan Granger and Derek Brand have been friends and decided they wanted to share a wife.  Lawyer Jasper Coggan was paid a good price to find someone willing to take them both on.  Back east, women became mail order brides for many reasons, but for Clarisse Barnes it was to avoid having false charges brought against her by the scion of one of New York’s leading families.  When she got off the train there were two of the most handsome cowboys she’d ever seen.  Unfortunately neither is the man she’s contracted to, Clyde Jenkins.  They’re waiting for the woman who jumped off the train some miles back.  Apparently, her intended married one of the local saloon girls when the train was late.  The lawyer, Coggan, was apologetic to both but there was nothing he could do and she’d have to go back – not an option.

Logan and Derek like what they see and offer her the same agreement, with the understanding they were a package deal.  Fascinated rather than repelled, she agrees and promptly marries Logan.  The men had arranged for a honeymoon of sorts at the local hotel where Clarissa gets quite an education.

There’s not a lot of story here, but there’s a lot of sex and the men prove to be both honorable and treat her really well, far better than she had hoped for.  Meeting the man she had contracted to marry made her very happy he couldn’t wait for her and married the saloon girl instead.  After their splendid time together they stop at the store to pick up supplies.  The nasty wife of Clyde Jenkins enters the shop and backs her into a corner, threatening her by saying she’d contact her former boss in New York and tell him where she was.  Terrified, Clarissa, hands over the only thing of value she has, an heirloom brooch.  The shopkeeper tells the two men what he heard.  Without saying a word, Derek tells Logan and Clarissa to go on and head back.  He goes to Dora and they have a chat.  She’s got quite a past – including quite a few husbands that are still very much alive and breathing in other territories.  He gets the brooch back and that about as exciting as the story gets – other than the sex.  Clarissa is thrilled the guys are happy with their woman and all is well.

Mail Order Bride for Two is not exciting, it’s actually kind of dull, but it has lots of sex and rather nice people.  No intensity or defining moments of personal insight or really much of anything, except sex.  And did I mention sex?

My Grade: D+ (2.5*)

Who would enjoy this book: Fans of ménage who don’t need a plot.  My rating is xx.  The book is from Siren and runs about novella length, maybe short novel.

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Submission by Kimberly Zant (short novel)

If you’ve read Surrender by Kimberly Zant, you’ve pretty much read this book too; they are all but the same story, even down to the description of two ‘mighty wangs’ as – anacondas.  It’s not like you’ll forget that easily.

The Thorne Bank and Trust, is a family affair, so when a hacker hits them and takes eight million dollars, revenge is also a family affair.  The money was returned, but that wasn’t enough for the Thorne men.  Wearing nothing but hastily donned pants and an old tee shirt she’d slept in, Stephanie was a big disadvantage when she and Jimmy were dragged into the Thorn Bank for questioning.  All she could think of was saving her son – keeping him out of jail.

Jimmy Bridges has been in trouble before.  As a single mother, Stephanie has done all she can, but he’s a bright kid that needs more discipline than she can manage and this time he’s been caught red-handed.  To him it was a prank, but Gavin Thorn wanted his pound of flesh, as did his cousins.  Like every other bank, advertising a breach in security would be counter-productive, especially when the money is returned, but they couldn’t let the culprits run free either.

Jimmy is safely off with her brother, a former Marine, who runs a boot camp for troubled kids, teens mostly.  He’s older and would ride to her rescue in heartbeat, but she’ll do this one her own.  She should never have believed Jimmy when he said he stopped hanging out with those hackers.  She hopes her brother can straighten him out.

Stephanie gets pulled into Gavin Thorn’s office.  One thing, the Thorne men were handsome and all 5 of them are there, not just Luke and Gavin.  This isn’t good.

Gavin looked a tad peeved, too. I saw a muscle work in his lean jaw at the question—must have been a family habit. He flicked a look at his brother and his cousins before settling his cool blue gaze on me again. “You wanted to keep this out of the courts. As it happens, we do, too. We’d actually like to keep this as quiet as possible and, as long as you cooperate—fully—we can.

“Since you claim you masterminded the robbery, we’ll expect you to serve time, too—as our submissive—six months to two years … depending.”

I blinked as he tossed that out. That was the word that kept throwing me.

It sounded like he was saying I was going to be their sex slave.

As in Surrender, the men here are her age or younger.  Instead of being kept isolated all day, she is to continue to work at the bank, but service them.  If she did what they wanted, Jimmy wouldn’t be prosecuted.  Thing is, Stephanie couldn’t figure out why these men wanted her?  It wasn’t like she was some sexy thing.  She was woman who got pregnant in her teens and raised her son on her own working her ass off to make sure they had a decent life.

As with Surrender, it’s the oldest of the Thorns she most attracted too, but Gavin is also the surliest.  He makes it clear what her ‘duties’ will be.  Thing is, she didn’t exactly jump at the chance to climb into the sack with them.  She accepts, for the same reason Anna in Surrender signs the submissive contract – to protect her child.

What follows is a ton of sex, but unlike Surrender, after the first weeks the thrill wears off for them and Stephanie’s resentment turns to attachment that’s reciprocated and the whole relationship changes.  The men become protective of her and her reputation in the town and even defend her from each other.  The ending is a bit far-fetched, but hey, it’s a happily ever after!

Kimberly Zant likes writing stories where a woman conquers the men by submitting, not in the classic BDSM way, but in an unequal way that slowly equals out.  I liked Stephanie, even though I would have gotten a lawyer, sued their asses and walked off with a lot more than $8 mil, but then, where would the story have gone?  Not to mention the sex – lots and lots of sex.

I was disappointed at just how much Submission was like Surrender, but I liked it better – a “new and improved” ménage that was enjoyable and actually funny.  Stephanie is a tough cookie and a realist.  When she discovers she likes sex with the guys, and they seem to be willing to make sure she does, she ends up relaxing and enjoying it while she can.  How often does a 33 year old single mother have 5 hot, rich guys panting after her?

Credibility and the common blue print aside, it was just a likable book.  It wasn’t boring and the characters were surprisingly well done.  The story evolved in a realistic fashion – or a realistic as one can be with five guys and 1 woman.  Zant didn’t try and stretch the slight plot too far, but did give erotic romance readers what they like best.  And how often do we get guys with ‘anacondas’ AND enough money to have maids and housekeepers to do the laundry?

My Grade: C+ (3.6*)

Who would enjoy this book:  Fans of Zant’s Surrender and light-hearted ménage stories.  My rating for this book is xxx.  Short novel.  NOTE:  The ebook has an extended excerpt from Surrender at the end.  Available from New Concepts Publishing in print or ebook.

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Against the Wall by Rhyannon Byrd (Novel)

This contemporary erotic romance is the book that endeared Rhyannon Byrd to me as an author.  It’s funny, has heart and the characters are just real, likable and very well developed.  Shea Dresden is a determined geek who wants to get into the pants of her neighbor, ATF agent Ryan McCall.  She’s wanted to for a long times now – like since she first laid on him.  She’s not stalking him, she’s just making sure he notices.  So, she does what any determined female geek PhD candidate longing to get laid does, goes to his hunting grounds – Red Mackey’s Bar.  She even wore very painful high-heeled sandals and a black thong.  She goes in the local dive and does get hit on, but not by Ryan who is nowhere to be seen.  The determined drunk, Rich Spaulding, gets warned off – twice.  She and her killer heels skulk back to her apartment still determined to get her man.

Ryan and his sometimes local police detective partner, Derek Kiely, have just come back from busting up a local arms dealer selling weapons to street gangs.  There a little beat up, but glad to have shut down the operation.  Derek has been hitting on Hannah, a childhood friend of Ryan’s who went through a tough divorce before moving away from Nashville to start over elsewhere.  She and Shea are good friends – and she’s Shea’s inside information source on Ryan.  Derek’s been trying to get Hannah to go out with him and been shot down several times.  Meanwhile, he’s watched as Ryan shot down every attempt by Shea to get him to go out with her.  He calls his friend on and they nearly fight when they hear a loud crash from Shea’s apartment.

Shea is holding off the drunk from Mackey’s with a broken lamp and a whole lot of mad when Ryan and Kiely burst in.  They drag Spaulding off her and just as Ry is starting to calm down, he makes a run for it and Ryan decks him.  As if her bleeding lip and bruised face weren’t enough, he finds out she’d seen Spaulding earlier at Mackey’s.  Ry has been fighting his attraction to his shy, naive neighbor – and Hannah’s new best friend.  But man she looked HOT in that little black dress.  And the bed is right there …….. everything added up to exactly what Shea asked for – him.

He fights it and she wins – he will not drive her off by trying to hurt her or scare her.  They have wild sex-against-the-wall and Ryan immediately regrets it – and it shows.  Well, that sucked.  But instead of locking up on his way out as she asked, he’s on her bed with – oh, shit, the erotic romance she was reading.  But Shea is no pushover and he gets chucked to the couch for being an ass.  In the morning though, he’s in her bed, having heard her cry out in her sleep, he came to keep her calm and just stayed.

The interplay between Ryan and Shea is by turns intense and funny.  Ryan knows it’s too late for him, but he’s fighting anyway.  Shea, despite her inexperience, is shrewd enough to know Ry’s anger is mostly at himself, yet vulnerable enough to still be hurt by him.  The sex is both hot and emotional, but Shea also keeps a sense of humor.

A phone call from Hannah has Ry realizing the truth – no way in hell is he letting Shea go.  After a whole bunch of mind blowing sex, they actually manage to leave the apartment and go do all those things Shea had asked him out to do and he’d turned down.  But now it’s Shea who is building walls, convinced she’ll just be another of Ry’s many conquests, but he just gets more under her skin.  Then there’s the sex in the fiction aisle of the book store which, once she came down from her high, had her scandalized and laughing at the same time as they scurried from the store.

Then Ryan really says ‘the wrong thing’ and once his mouth starts down the wrong road, he just can’t seem to stop himself and she’s walking out before he finally manages to get his mind back and apologize.  And that’s how the rest of the story plays out.  Hot sex and two people getting over their own insecurities to stay together with a ‘Happily Ever After’ at the end.

Against the Wall is something of an archetype of contemporary erotic romance.  It is limited to a small number of characters with the focus on the hero and heroine with limited distractions by friends and surrounding events.  Hannah plays a key role in making Ryan recognize what he’s been doing to himself, and that it’s time he stopped.  Shea finally finds someone she’s willing to risk getting hurt for, and struggles with trying to make Ryan recognize what they are to each other.

Other than the brief fight at the opening with Spaulding, there is no ‘big threat’ to Shea, no outside stresses or sense of jeopardy for her safety. No werewolf ‘mate’ claiming, no magic, no deep psychic wounds from childhood abuse, just the typical hurts and insecurities that everyone has to some extent.  They aren’t ultra rich, the glamorous, or paranormal or anything other than just plain people – and it’s interesting and it’s hot and it works.  And for those of you who want a change from tall, dark and handsome, Ryan is tall, blond and handsome.  And just in case you missed it earlier, there’s lots of hot sex.

My Grade: B- (3.9)

Who would enjoy this book: Fans of Trista Ann Michaels and hot, well written contemporary erotic romance.  My rating is xx.  Available in print or ebook from Ellora’s Cave.  Novel length.

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