Boy-Meets-Girl Drama | African American Fiction (and More)

Titles this month are about the drama swirling around the time-tested boy-meets-girl story line. Is there a bit of romance? Maybe. Sex? Absolutely. For my pick of the month, two prolific authors join forces. The result: a squirm-in-your-seat erotic novel. Sexual Healing by Allison Hobbs and Cairo separates itself from the pack by bringing life to two flawed, but sexually insatiable, people from different economic worlds. Will love find a way?

PICK OF THE MONTH

OrangeReviewStar Defending Your Castle | African American Fiction (And More!)Hobbs, Allison & Cairo. Sexual Healing. Strebor: Atria. (Zane Presents). Aug. 2016. 71wzN7+2CtL[1]396p. ISBN 9781593096724. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781501119194. F
Arabia Knight turns men’s heads just by walking into a hotel lobby, and this seductive huntress knows it. The advertising executive is a frequent visitor to a New York City sex club where she demands rough sex with anonymous men. She’s also “engaged” to three married men who buy her expensive toys such as a Maybach automobile. Cruze Fontaine, having made his money dealing drugs in the streets, now wants to give back to his Philadelphia community. He is also a sexual athlete with sexy good looks that have women passing him phone numbers and flirting with him in elevators. Of course these two electrifying people will eventually find each other. The first third of this erotic tale repeatedly shows how Arabia and Cruze cannot get enough sex, and the variety of hard-pounding sex scenes can be overwhelming and potentially boring. However, these two protagonists have interesting backstories that reveal the pain in their lives and why sex can be an only briefly satisfying salve. VERDICT Hobbs (Power Couple; The Secrets of Silk) and Cairo (The Pleasure Zone; Between the Sheets) hold nothing back in describing highly charged sex involving gorgeous people with insatiable desires. Stock up, author name recognition and the alluring title will definitely draw patrons, but the high erotic content may be off-putting to some.

71KV2boJZGL[1]Allison, Shane. You’re the One I Want. Griffin: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2016. 315p. ISBN 9781593096380. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781476798264. F
A welcome home party for bad brother Deanthony, who has returned to Tallahassee, FL, after a failed Hollywood acting career, becomes laced with tension when good brother Kashawn becomes furious with wife Bree, who has a past history with Deanthony. Bree, a former stripper, still has eyes for him but worries about losing her luxurious life built on Kashawn’s money. Meanwhile, her best friend Tangela, who has designs on Kashawn’s wealth—and body—betrays Bree, enlisting Deanthony and a sexy stripper to entice Bree into infidelity. Scenes flip from the bedroom to the strip club as sexual attraction pulses among the protagonists. Promising newcomer Allison’s writing can be bold and nasty in giving readers a front-row view of bedroom sexual exertions, but alternating narrators for each chapter and incorporating complicated side stories can become confusing for the reader. Still these quibbles are offset by authentic slang and hot sex scenes. VERDICT This debut novel is full of sex, betrayal, blackmail, and fake best friends. What’s not to like?

Antoinette, Ashley. Luxe Two. A LaLa Land Addiction. Griffin: St. Martin’s. Sept. 2016.91mz7P8OmVL[1] 320p. ISBN 9781250066985. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781466874893. F
In Luxe, Bleu Montclair fled the rough streets of Flint, MI, and landed in Los Angeles only to become tangled up with the Mexican drug cartel. She also became addicted to crack cocaine and fell in love with married drug kingpin Iman. Meanwhile back in Flint, Noah Langston, Bleu’s lifelong friend, has risen to the top of Flint’s drug game. Although Iman is still providing a luxurious life for Bleu, her out-of-control addiction has our heroine making lousy decisions to score more crack. There’s also the big problem of the love triangle between Iman, his wife Tan, and Bleu. Not giving out a spoiler here, but the resolution will shock readers. An odd coincidence moves Bleu back to Flint, where she falls deeper into addiction but manages to reconnect with Noah. Throughout the novel, Antoinette provides a sobering viewpoint of addiction and how drug use destroys not just one life but whole families. Her fast-paced tale toys with readers’ emotions by offing main characters in alarming ways. At times the plot threads involving the various love triangles drag on too long like an extended television soap opera, but the narrative catches its stride when the action returns to Flint’s rough neighborhoods. VERDICT On her own or as part of the popular married urban fiction duo Ashley and JaQuavis, Antoinette (Guilty Gucci; The Prada Plan) is one of the genre’s hottest writers. Buy multiple copies to meet demand.

51zG4tQRI7L[1]Rashaan, Shakir. Reckoning. Strebor: Atria. (The Kink, P.I., Bk. 3). Jun. 2016. 217p. ISBN 9781593096069. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781476775975. F
Dominic Law, the security officer for a club catering to Atlanta’s fetish/BDSM (bondage, dominance and submission, and sadomachoism) specializes in cases of a sensitive nature for members. In his third series outing (after Obsession and Deception), Law determines in the wake of a gruesome murder that someone is seeking revenge, copycatting crimes committed earlier in the series. Rashaan patterns private investigator Law after Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled Philip Marlowe, complete with a sexy helper and a smart mouth that challenges authority. But the many instances of dominant and submissive patrons whom Law encounters detract from the noirish plot as he hunts down clues. To add to the confusion of an already jumbled and overly complicated story line, the author presents submissives in lowercase letters and dominants are given capital letters.There are moments of interest in authentic jail scenes, and a climatic shootout captures attention, but overall this tale fails to get off the ground. Readers unfamiliar with the first two works may find this story challenging to follow as the world of BDSM takes center stage and characters introduced earlier in the series pop in without much backstory. VERDICT Part police procedural, part erotica, this title will mostly attract readers with a BDSM interest.

Rax, Cydney. My Married Boyfriend. Dafina: Kensington. (Love and Revenge, Bk. 2).51T8vYTxUBL[1] Sept. 2016. 285p. ISBN 9781496701381. pap. $9.95; ebk. ISBN 9781496701398. F
Following If Your Wife Only Knew, this second series outing continues the crazy drama. Rashad Eason still doesn’t get being loyal to one woman and finds it difficult to stay away from sexual trysts. He’s moved on from mistress Alexis and will soon divorce Kiara, but now he’s into it hot and heavy with Nicole Green. Does anyone have a flow chart of this dude’s sexcapades? Series fans may recall that Kiara, Alexis, and now Nicole all work in the same office. Yet Rashad’s sexual prowess leaves his women feeling not angry but fond of this playboy. At one point Nicole, pregnant with Rashad’s child, gushes, “I know it sounds crazy, but once this is over, we could potentially have a divorce party, an engagement party, and a baby shower, all at the same time.” Girl, the odds are against you for finding happily ever after. VERDICT Rax knows how to create baby mama drama that will have readers cringing at her female characters’ naïveté. Despite the few insults (“You can’t turn a hoe into a housewife”), the odd lack of cat fighting among the three women will strain readers’ credibility. Still readers hooked on the first two books will eagerly await the final volume, Revenge of the Mistress, due February 2017.

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Comments

  1. Esther Greenwood says:

    VERDICT “Rax knows how to create baby momma drama”

    Dude, really!?!