Military Erotic Romance, Final SECRET, Spicy Crime Drama, Kinky Anthologies, & More | Erotica Reviews

THIS MONTH’S EROTICA theme is “surprisingly sweet.” Naughtiness is part and parcel of the erotica genre, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have a soft side, as well. We have players, rockers, gangsters, and big shots all turning the bad boy image on its head—sparks fly between criminal and cop in Heat, and a rock star learns the ropes of commitment in Lick—while some kinky anthologies like Never Say Never and Slave Girls prove that hard-core sex can have just as much heart as its fluffier counterpart.

ON THE SWEET SIDE

Active Duty: Gay Military Erotic Romance. Cleis. Jun. 2014. 224p. ed. by Neil Plakcy. ISBN 9781627780315. pap. $15.95. EROTICA

activeduty051414 Military Erotic Romance, Final SECRET, Spicy Crime Drama, Kinky Anthologies, & More | Erotica ReviewsThis collection was the inspiration for the concept of “surprisingly sweet” erotica; with its military theme, it could be assumed that most of the sex scenes would be harsh and heated. However, variety reigns as Active Duty offers both tender and tantalizing tales of same-sex love, in and out of fatigues. The array of stories touch on the pain, roughness, and camaraderie forged in the military—a bond that can extend beyond brother- or sisterhood. From Dominic Santi’s touching tale of futuristic fathers-to-be (“Liberty”) to Julian Mark’s racy “Do Ask, Do Tell,” Plakcy’s compilation ranges widely but always hits its mark. Even the raunchiest of pieces have a lot to offer in terms of emotional substance. There’s no lack of happy endings, with many of the stories highlighting the advancements made in the military since the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. VERDICT A valuable addition to any erotica collection, particularly those with a high demand for LGBT titles.

OrangeReviewStar Military Erotic Romance, Final SECRET, Spicy Crime Drama, Kinky Anthologies, & More | Erotica ReviewsAdeline, L. Marie. S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed. Broadway: Crown. (SECRET, Bk. 3). May 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780553419207. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780553419214. EROTICA

secretrevealed051414 Military Erotic Romance, Final SECRET, Spicy Crime Drama, Kinky Anthologies, & More | Erotica ReviewsIn the riveting conclusion to the “SECRET” series, Cassie, a rundown waitress whose self-esteem, confidence, and sex life were reinvigorated by the S.E.C.R.E.T society, is currently picking up the pieces of her broken heart after her longtime love, Will, rejected her for her participation in the group. She has taken refuge in the arms of Jesse, but with their own fraught past, “no strings attached” seems harder to maintain than ever. Meanwhile, new (and final) S.E.C.R.E.T. recruit Solange Faraday, one of New Orleans’s most promising young news anchors, is navigating her own Steps while balancing a demanding job, motherhood, and a mountain of inhibitions. With great pacing, great sex, and a plot that is just as entertaining as the raunchier parts, this novel tackles drama and dirt with a deft hand. Solange is a fantastic new character—kind and cautious, with a lot of sass. Readers will enjoy exploring her fantasies and watching her rekindle her sexual prowess. VERDICT Despite the large number of characters to juggle, Adeline does a masterly job of filling the reader in, so much so that it isn’t imperative to be familiar with the “SECRET” series, though it is strongly encouraged. Fans and new readers alike will not be disappointed with this fun, sexy final installment.

Julian, Stephanie. Over Exposed. Berkley Heat. (Salon Games, Bk. 3). Jul. 2014. 326p. ISBN 9780425272114. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780698141650. EROTICA

overexposed051414 Military Erotic Romance, Final SECRET, Spicy Crime Drama, Kinky Anthologies, & More | Erotica ReviewsGreg Hicks has hit rock bottom, again. Drunk, disheveled, and incredibly jaded, he has fled Los Angeles, with its host of problems, in an attempt to finish the screenplay that will rejuvenate his career. But concentration proves elusive as ever when Sabrina Rodriguez, Haven Hotel’s star employee, reappears in his life. Alone and snowed in at the hotel, the two finally give in to the passion that’s been brewing since they first met. While both realize there’s more than sex between them, neither is prepared for the complications life throws their way as they explore this new relationship. Though the alternating points of view can make the cat and mouse nature of Greg and Sabrina’s relationship a bit repetitive, the interactions between the two are sassy, snarky, and hot as hell. Greg and Sabrina sizzle together, both in and out of bed. Julian (By Private Invitation; No Reservations) refreshes the concept of sensuality with blazing descriptions of tangible chemistry flaring from her protagonists. Bumps abound, with uncertainty, insecurity, and jealousy driving a wedge between Greg and Sabrina at every opportunity, but the tale ends on a sweet note, with the promise of a healthy, happy relationship. VERDICT For erotica fans seeking a side of heavy romance.

Kenner, J. Heated. Bantam. (Most Wanted, Bk. 2). May 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780804176682. heated51414 Military Erotic Romance, Final SECRET, Spicy Crime Drama, Kinky Anthologies, & More | Erotica Reviewspap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780804176699. EROTICA

Kenner (Wanted) strikes a chord with her depiction of cool, collected Sloane O’Dell, a highly successful young cop noted for being one of the best in her field. Sloane takes a case off the books for a friend, investigating the disappearance of an exotic dancer. Her ministrations lead her into the club and into the arms of infamous outlaw Tyler Sharp. Sloane knows Tyler has ways of skirting the law; she also knows that he makes her feel more vulnerable, desirable, and free than any man has in her life. While the plot isn’t exactly innovative—the hard-boiled female cop going soft for the bad boy who upends everything she stands for—Kendall creates a likable, offbeat character in Sloane, one who makes the reader root for her even as the predictable tale unfolds. VERDICT A steamy story with a dark edge. Recommended for those seeking crime drama with spice.

OrangeReviewStar Military Erotic Romance, Final SECRET, Spicy Crime Drama, Kinky Anthologies, & More | Erotica ReviewsNever Say Never: Tips, Tricks and Erotic Inspiration for Lovers. Cleis. May 2014. 250p. ed. by Alison Tyler. ISBN 9781627780261. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781627780438. EROTICA/sexuality

neversaynever051414 Military Erotic Romance, Final SECRET, Spicy Crime Drama, Kinky Anthologies, & More | Erotica ReviewsPrefaced with a great foreword by Tyler (Exposed) about how a little kink can do us all some good (or bad, depending), this anthology is divided into very digestible bites for the novice kinkster, with themed chapters covering topics such as voyeurism, role play, threesomes, and pegging (Don’t know the term? Definitely check out the book!). The material, assembled in a varied layout, presents an impressive overview of diverse approaches to spicing up one’s sex life; each chapter includes a summary of the kink in Tyler’s words, followed by “tantalizing tips” for folks wishing to incorporate some of the fun into their own lives. Each segment closes with a scintillating piece of fiction relevant to the theme (and often, a few more). Tyler has curated a strong erotic text that will educate and excite newbies and veterans alike, although a wider representation of queer relationships would have been appreciated. The book can be read piecemeal; however, this hot how-to will most likely keep folks turning pages from start to finish! VERDICT Strongly recommended where sexuality titles are popular.

OrangeReviewStar Military Erotic Romance, Final SECRET, Spicy Crime Drama, Kinky Anthologies, & More | Erotica ReviewsSlave Girls: Erotic Stories of Submission. Cleis. May 2014. 244p. ed. by D.L. King. ISBN 9781627780322. pap. $15.95. EROTICA

slavegirls051414 Military Erotic Romance, Final SECRET, Spicy Crime Drama, Kinky Anthologies, & More | Erotica ReviewsWith submission being a sort of “kink du jour,” readers might think, “been there done that,” but this collection aims to run the gamut. No story is told twice, as submission is explored with diverse fetishes, couplings, and ranges of tone. Even the harder kinks—dirty talk, humiliation, breathplay—take place with communication and established consent, something that happens far too rarely in published erotica. One D/s pair explore the niche kink of pony play in ­Teresa Noelle Roberts’s “Bridle Party,” while a punishment scene is more than meets the eye in Lisette Ashton’s “Green’s.” The pieces vary from the fun and filthy to glimpses of a heavier, dark desire, like the illicit tryst in Graydancer’s “Savoring Little One” or the surprisingly poignant, aptly placed final piece, Lydia Hill’s “My Master’s Mark.” Overall, the breadth of impressive contributions sends a message that sexual submission is not akin to oppression and will win over even the most reluctant of readers. ­VERDICT Editor King (“What’s Not To Like?”) has accrued a top selection of submission stories to tantalize anyone craving some darker, well-written smut.

Ashleigh Williams is Editorial Assistant, School Library Journal

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