Sticky Situations & the Power of Three | Erotica Reviews

This month, our erotica titles plant their protagonists into sticky situations, to varying degrees of enjoyment. In Tara Sue Me’s The Flirtation, recently reunited D/s couple Simon and Lynne are still drawing the lines of their relationship; Lynne is playing with fire by “double-dating” Simon both as herself and as online alter ego Faye. Carson Frost is willing to do almost anything to save his late father’s candy company from going under—including hiring an actress and staging a shotgun wedding in Shayla Black’s Misadventures of a Backup Bride. But things heat up fast when playing house brings real love. Brilliant Domme Carmen Dane finds herself the target of a stubborn terrorist mastermind in Sienna Snow’s third “Rules of Engagement” thriller, but Thomas Regala, security expert, former flame, and father of Carmen’s children, refuses to leave her side. We’re also highlighting the power of three with two steamy series updates. Rikki runs the risk of falling in love with not one but two men of the only variety she’d sworn off permanently—firefighters—in Opal Carew’s latest. And bookish dreamer Bayli Styles is taken to the heights of pleasure when she risks it all for her own sexy trio in Calista Fox’s newest addition to the “Lover’s Triangle” series.

Black, Shayla. Misadventures of a Backup Bride. Waterhouse. (Misadventures, Bk. 1). Oct. 2017. 178p. ISBN 9781943893423. $19.99. EROTICA

Carson Frost has suddenly become a Sweet Darlin’s CEO after a tragic turn of events—the father he barely knew left him his candy business when he dies. To avoid going under, Carson appealed to rival Gregory Shaw, who has since roped Carson into a marriage of convenience with his daughter Kendra in exchange for financial security. Carson’s only out is a fabricated “one who got away” in the form of hired actress Ella Hope. Their chemistry is palpable and immediately leads to a passionate marathon sex session—though neither can tell who is putting on an act when it comes to true romance. Playful banter and affectionate one-upmanship showcase Ella’s and Carson’s competitive drive in their respective fields and highlight their compatibility. Ella’s ambivalent relationship with her body size may prove relatable to some readers, though Carson’s persistence in disabusing her of this notion by ordering her food while reassuring her of her beauty feels more controlling than altruistic. This component aside, fans of erotic romance will thoroughly enjoy Black’s (More than Want You) simply sweet lovefest with its slightly wacky premise. VERDICT This speedy, steamy read will leave hearts racing. A solid launch to the ­“Misadventures” series.

Carew, Opal. Heat. Griffin: St. Martin’s. Jun. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9781250116789. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250116796. EROTICA

Rikki is still on the mend years after losing her first love, firefighter Jesse, in the line of duty. When she moves to the small town of Muldone for a fresh start, she hardly expects to fall hard and fast for two gorgeous, sincere men: best friends (and firefighters) Simon and Carter. But Rikki has set a hard limit on giving her heart to anyone else in this brave yet perilous profession, let alone to two men. Can Simon and Carter burn her boundaries to the ground? Carew (Six; Blush; Swing) brings passion and lust to a refreshingly contemplative story line. Though Rikki, Simon, and Carter eventually find contentment (and have plenty of naughty fun along the way), this unconventional happy ending isn’t without its hiccups. When it appears the trio have found solid ground, disaster strikes, and Rikki is reminded of just how easily she could lose love again. VERDICT Strongly recommended for Carew fans and readers craving delightfully naughty threesomes with a touch of melodrama.

Fox, Calista. The Billionaires: The Bosses. Griffin: St. Martin’s. (Lover’s Triangle, Bk. 2). Sept. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9781250096425. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250096432. EROTICA

Aspiring model and recent New York City transplant Bayli Styles can’t believe she is interviewing at the supremely exclusive restaurant Davila’s NYC for the role of hostess. She’s especially unsettled when she runs into master chef Rory St. James, literally and figuratively, leaving quite the first impression on the cranky culinary legend. Rory and his partner Christian have been excelling at joint ventures for years; the pair realized they share a head for business—and a keen interest in dating women as a triad. Rory feels an immediate spark with Bayli, as does Christian when he encounters the stunning model turning heads at a swanky charity event. The trio’s chemistry sparkles in and out of the bedroom as they navigate a relationship and the planning of their next big idea—a destination-based cooking show—hopefully with equal success. Fox’s distinct characterization of Christian’s inimitable charm and Rory’s impressive ambition allows their respective relationships with Bayli to flourish—readers will love the unique ways each man drives her wild. VERDICT Fox’s (The Billionaires) latest is a sure hit for fans of erotica with titillating triads (of the M/M/F variety), luxury, and lust.

redstarSnow, Sienna. Rule Changer. Forever Yours: Grand Central. (Rules of Engagement, Bk. 3). Oct. 2017. 352p. ebk. ISBN 9781455568802. $3.99. EROTICA

This third book in Snow’s darkly sexy ­series sees Domme and new mother Carmen Dane stowing away her broken heart, and two young sons, in the safety of the Hamptons. She can barely forgive Thomas Regala, or herself, for showing him her rarely seen submissive side. When Thomas tracks her down, she tries to maintain the icy demeanor protecting her genuine heartbreak, but she finds her resolve waning when Thomas declares that he wants her back, so much so that the renowned Dom is willing to submit to her completely. The pair find themselves falling head over heels again in a naughty new game, without their usual rules. But romance is put on hold when a deadly ghost from their past resurfaces, putting the whole team in jeopardy once more. Part erotica and part juicy crime thriller, Snow’s latest is a perfect blend of peril and passion. The series’ main trio—Arya, Milla, and Carmen—are all powerfully smart women with unique talents and wealth, a refreshing shift in a sea of male millennial millionaires. Scenes of Carmen embracing her inner Domme while experimenting with Thomas’s submission provide some of the book’s hottest highlights. ­VERDICT A stellar conclusion (after Rule Master) to this action-packed, erotic series. Recommended for fans of grittier drama and scintillating Dominant/submissive power play.

Sue Me, Tara. The Flirtation. Berkley Sensation. (Submissive, Bk. 10). Aug. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9781101989333. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781101989340. EROTICA

This addition to the expansive “Submissive” series (e.g., The Exposure; The Claiming) centers on Lynne, Simon Neal’s submissive ex whom he’s still not over. It is soon revealed that Simon broke up with Lynne using a flimsy excuse, saying he didn’t think she was submissive enough; in reality, he didn’t think her inexperience could match his own sadist tendencies, so he ran. When tentative Lynne decides to tiptoe back into the lifestyle through a kink website, she hardly expects to connect with Simon, under the guise of confident yet mysterious submissive “Faye.” Meanwhile, Simon and Lynne reunite in “real life,” leaving Simon to wonder why he ever abandoned a woman who might be his missing puzzle piece. But can lightning strike twice—and should it? Though predictable at times, and with potentially questionable ethical behavior (Lynne actively seeks out Simon while adopting a fake identity, and there is a murky incident of unprotected sex), this novel will appeal to readers looking for a tale of lovers reuniting with a cautious simmer that still brings in plenty of kink. Strong writing and abundant BDSM ribaldry keep the plot deliciously decadent, even when Simon and Lynne are doing nothing more salacious than assembling a jigsaw puzzle. VERDICT Fans of the series and newbies alike will enjoy this slow-burn story of kinksters rediscovering their love.

Ashleigh Williams is Editorial Assistant, School Library Journal

 

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