A couple of weeks ago I e-mailed TRR's editor begging for a break. It's not entirely her fault, but she kept sending me gawd-ass awful books to read for review.
But she lured me back in (like she always does) with promises of a goodie bag from Avon Red. This would be yet another erotica line from a big NY publishing house. I have to wonder what Tina Engler over at Ellora's Cave thinks of this latest trend. I mean really, NY is essentially jumping on her bandwagon. Gee, who would have thought that women are sexual beings and want read about their own fantasies and desires? Well duh.
Anyway, I went into If This Bed Could Talk by Liz Maverick, Kimberly Dean and Lynn LaFleur rather skeptically. I mean, Avon is currently screwing up historical romance - so what's to say they won't ruin erotica for me too.
Yeah, I went there.
But this was a very pleasant surprise. Coincidently, two of the authors write for EC as well.
Maverick's story is a futuristic with very light world-building and some unsavory plot devices - but the author saves it all by writing sexual tension that could peel wallpaper. Heroine is about to be executed for gunrunning when hero "buys" her at auction. He wants her to seduce the villain and get back something he stole from his brother. So we have slavery and a revenge plot here. Oh boy, this could be a mess - except the sexual tension (and naturally the sex) is hot, hot stuff. Whoa doggie. Someone get me some ice water. A bucket full of it will do.
Kimberly Dean's story has a nice unrequited love theme. Heroine has been divorced for 8 months and gets pushed back into dating scene. Her date inadvertently takes her out to dinner at a sports bar, where her ex-brother-in-law happens to be unwinding after a long day at work. He's immediately jealous. He's been in love with the heroine forever, but never did anything about it out of respect for his spoiled younger brother. Now she's free, and apparently on the market. A very nice love story with some very steamy sex. I loved the ending when the heroine realizes that the hero is the man for her.
Lynn LaFleur's story is certainly different. Heroine inherits a Victorian house, and she plans to move in while renovations are underway. Hero is a treasure hunter who broke heroine's heart - but has to get into her house because he suspects it contains a very old, very valuable bearer bond. But she hates his guts. He'll just have to use his connections to get on the work crew that's all. Also, the house happens to be haunted by the heroine's great-great-grandparents who are stuck in limbo thanks to a witch. They suspect the heroine is the key to setting them free and to do so, they must reunite her with the hero. This story takes a bit longer to get moving, but I liked the haunted house angle, and the sex is hot stuff. Kinky (with some um, back door shenanigans), but hot stuff nonetheless.
A very good erotica anthology, and all stories feature happy endings. I really enjoyed it. I'd rate this one a solid B+.