Sexy Reads | African American Fiction (and More)

Mirroring the mantra “sex sells,” this month’s selections feature such salacious situations as open marriages, hiring prostitutes for a hubby’s bedroom pleasure, cougars turned on by younger guys, and gold diggers taking older men’s money. With an intriguing blend of humor and erotica, Allison Hobbs’s Power Couple earns my pick of the month.

PICK OF THE MONTH

51UXa4Z3QgL[1]OrangeReviewStar Defending Your Castle | African American Fiction (And More!)Hobbs, Allison. Power Couple. Strebor: Atria. (Zane Presents). Jun. 2016. 336p. ISBN 9781593096748. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781501119378. F
Maverick and Cori Brown, a high-profile couple jetting between New York City and Los Angeles, are tagged as “Mavcor” by paparazzi and live a lavish lifestyle. After Maverick’s retirement from football, the Super Bowl–winning quarterback is in high demand endorsement-wise. Cori, no celebrity slouch herself, hosts a hugely popular soul-food cooking TV show, Cookin’ with Cori. Yet, after ten years of marriage, Maverick admits he’s unsatisfied in bed, and Cori decides a baby will help things but can’t stand the thought of swollen ankles depriving her of wearing stilettos on her show. Solution? A surrogate mother! From this crazy decision, Hobbs’s (Hittin’ It Out the Park; Put a Ring On It) story zooms into comic chaos. Cori hires a Russian prostitute to please Maverick, while she bats her eyes at cooking contestant Michelangelo, who has great abs and is all-around stunning. Meanwhile, Cori’s wild staff and oddball show participants refuse to cooperate, leading to priceless amusing behind-the-scenes confusion. VERDICT Leaping from one crazy plot twist to the next, Hobbs’s entertaining novel alternates between steamy bedroom scenes (along with an outdoor tryst that oozes sexuality) and slap-your-knee humor. Sure to delight the author’s many fans as well as aficionados of the “Zane Presents” brand.

 

Billingsley, ReShonda Tate. The Perfect Mistress. Gallery. Jul. 2016. 324p. ISBN 9781476714974. pap. $14; ebk. ISBN 9781520017686. F
811dT4oQL6L[1]Young Lauren Robinson idolizes her philandering father, Vernon, but having witnessed her mother, Joyce, struggle to accept her husband’s cheating, Lauren realizes Vernon can’t help gallivanting with other women. Lauren’s firsthand observations prove the training ground for adulthood when she puts her Pilates-toned derrière to good use and becomes a mistress to many wealthy men. Billingsley (Mama’s Boy; Finding Amos) teases with some sexy setups, but this novel isn’t so much as a romps-in-the-boudoir, as it is a tale of redemption and reconnection with family. Readers will be touched by the author’s description of Lauren’s long-suffering mother, whose “skin bore no signs of scars, but all kinds of tracks stretched across her heart.” VERDICT With a strong emphasis on family, acceptance, and letting go of the past, this uplifting story of a mother-daughter conflict that comes full circle later in life will please Billingsley’s fans. [See Prepub Alert, 2/1/16.]

Morrison, Mary B. Just Can’t Let Go. Dafina: Kensington. Aug. 2016. 282p. ISBN 9781617730740. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781617730757. F
In the follow-up to Baby, You’re the Best, the hot and 51djlDlSJ3L[1]sassy Crystal women return: sisters Devereaux, Sandara, Alexis, Mercedes, and their fiftysomething mother, Blake. All five ladies are, ahem, quite active sexually and enter into extreme sexcapades for physical release, anger management, recreational fun, and sometimes for love. This time, the spotlight lands on two romantic triangles. Devereaux produces the reality TV show Sophisticated Side Chicks ATL; unfortunately, her star sexpot, Ebony Waterhouse, is sharing her erotic talents with Devereaux’s fiancé! Topping that hot mess is Blake’s affair with her ex-husband’s son, Spencer. Bartender Spencer also plays house with Alexis. To be fair, our Lothario was unaware of the family relationships when he seduced both women. Everyone is seeking a happily-ever-after, but make no mistake, the driving force here is sex, and the wilder the better. A great number of voices clutter chapters, but that can be forgiven by an abundance of “OMG, oh no she didn’t” scenes that will leave readers breathless.VERDICT Some may label Morrison’s bold story shocking, but I’m betting female readers will flock to this lively series and pass copies around to friends.

Tucker, Pat. Free Fridays. Strebor: Atria. (Zane Presents). Jul. 2016. 247p. ISBN 9781593095901. pap. $16. ebk. ISBN 9781476775760. F
81Nt4Dwur0L[1]After eight years, Leela and Riley Franklin have settled into a comfortable if predictable marriage and all seems well. That is until the marriage of best friends Samantha and Bill hits the rocks. When Leela’s grandparents end their 52-year union, Leela wonders what else could go wrong. Plenty!  Riley attends a no-spouse party and runs into former flame Natasha, while Leela hits a nightclub with Samantha and returns home drunk. The couple’s activities prompt talk about spicing up their relationship, and Riley suggests having Free Fridays once a month in which they each could go out and do whatever, no questions asked. Is that code for having sex with other people? Readers won’t be able to pry their eyes away from this relationship derailing off the tracks. Tucker (Somebody Has To Pay; Sideline Scandals) takes some time building the plot before catching her stride, but when the no-spouse parties crank up, the author demonstrates her knack for creating shallow characters caught up in situations they believe is beyond their control. Uh, folks? You can walk away at any time. VERDICT For audiences who can’t get enough of juicy soap opera scandal and where the “Zane Presents” tag is popular.

 

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