Double Down by Katie Porter
The Particulars: Contemporary Erotic Romance, Samhain, 2012, Book #1 in series, Available in both digital and print
Why Was It In Wendy's TBR?: Katie Porter is the writing team of Carrie Lofty and Lorelie Brown. I'd never read Brown before, but I generally really enjoy Lofty's work - so I picked this one up at an RWA conference (uh, 2013?). Plus I was intrigued behind the idea of the series, and that the authors were willing to explore a big bag of kinky tricks (in other words, not all BDSM all the time - praise Jeebus!)
The Review: I love erotic romance, but dude - it's got issues. No genre fiction is immune to what I call trend chasing (see: The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter, Twilight....), but erotic romance seems to fall really fast and hard into that particular pit. The minute Fifty Shades became "a thing" we've been subjected to an endless stream of BDSM. And sex clubs. And red rooms of pain. And a mountain of Angst-O-Rama-Jama that not even Sir Edmund Hillary could climb. Now long time readers of this blog will be all like, "Seriously Wendy? You of all people are poo-poo'ing angst?!" I know, right? I love me some angst. But it has literally been running amok, totally unchecked, in erotic romance. So it's kind of nice to read one that, by and large, falls into the "fun" category. Sometimes the fun gets in the way of, oh, conflict - but hey. There's promise here.
Major Ryan "Fang" Haverty is an honest-to-goodness fighter pilot. Stationed at Nellis, he flies like the enemy in order to train Allied pilots. He's kind of a big deal. But Ryan has a deep, dark, naughty secret and all it takes to unlock it is a pair hot legs in seamed stockings. Our boy Ryan? Loves to role-play in the bedroom. You know, naughty patient and authoritative nurse, out-of-town businessman and high priced call girl, yada yada yada.
The hot legs in seamed stockings belong to Cassandra Whitman, part-time waitress, part-time art gallery worker, and part-time tour guide at her parents' business. She made the mistake of dipping her pen in the company ink, and her boss at the restaurant is her ex. Ryan is eating dinner there when stuff happens, sparks fly, and they run out into the night to have some fun Sin City style.
What follows is Ryan and Cass getting to know each other, having fun, and having a grand ol' naughty time getting naked together. It's....nice. And to be honest? Kind of boring. Because while it is fun and sexy - there's not a whole lot in the way of conflict. What is keeping these two from riding off into the sunset together? Mostly Ryan's Poor White Trailer Trash Meets I Must Be A Pervert baggage. See, Ryan is pretty hung up on the whole getting his rocks off by role-playing thing. Which - I don't know - doesn't seem that big a deal to me. Especially since Cass is a willing and enthusiastic participant. There is no hesitation with this girl. She's, like, all in.
It's pleasant, but to be frank - I never got that reader sense of urgency of OMG I Must Quit My Job So I Can Spend All Day Reading This Book! It needed....something. Which seems a bit two-faced of me since I just complained about all the angst floating around in erotic romance of late. But this story went a little too far in the opposite direction.
That is, until the ending. The ending is great. Because by that point Ryan admits his deep dark secret fear that he's a sicko pervert and Cass ends up blasting him with both barrels. The Black Moment in our story is really very well done. It just takes a couple hundred pages for us to get to it - hence, my issues with the story.
I'm left feeling a bit lukewarm. I loved that the authors explored a kink outside of the usual bag of erotic romance tricks, I liked the characters, I loved the set-up to the series. It just was missing a decent shot of adrenaline. But it was sexy and fun and I thought it ended on a really positive note. So probably a good thing I have the next two books in the series waiting for me. I'm up for a return visit.
Final Grade = C+