Dear Ms. Copeland:
Here’s the deal. At the end of Undressing Mercy, there was an excerpt from “after hours”. It looked kind of interesting. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the end of the first story that I realized this was an anthology. Fuckity fuck.
Night Moves. Brendan Jordan is normally the guy who gets the looks only this time, he’s the one who is panting after a woman. Jillian Lowery’s at a wedding. She doesn’t recognize the hot guy burning holes through her dress so she gives herself the opportunity to loosen up and take this out of towner’s invitation for hot sex. Only Brendan is actually moving to Jillian’s town for good and not only will be seeing her again but everyday because he has been brought in as her direct competition. Yep, standard category romance set up. Jillian has the cool and professional – Ice Queen – persona at work but her ugly bun aside, “she’s really stunning when embarrassed.” Brendan’s determined to break Jillian down. He does so by demanding her complete obedience in the bedroom. This isn’t real DOM/SUb stuff that I have read in erotica. The sex is very vanilla and is, I guess, an Aphrodisia because you use graphic words. Unfortunately merely using graphic words doesn’t make the sex more interesting or the emotional connection between the two characters strong. Jillian is simply another heroine who lacks any personal self worth inside or outside of the bedroom. Brendan is a standard Alpha male character with no interesting characteristics. Both were bland and probably had a very bland HEA. C-
Night Secrets. This anthology story is about Jillian’s brazen friend, Tawny Madison. In the previous anthology, Tawny is the one who encourages Jillian to let loose, just like Tawny does. But in order for you to stay within your self imposed category romance guidelines, Tawny is not a loose woman. She only acts that way because, well, you never really explain this. Even though Tawny is tired of her act, she doesn’t ever let us know why she does her act or why she won’t quit it. In reality, she doesn’t date very much and spends much of her time solo scrapbooking. Her act is convincing enough that new tech co-worker, Andrew Korben, believes that she can make him over into a sex machine or a sex attracting machine. Andrew isn’t really a nerd because nerds can’t be heroes. He’s a PI in disguise and is here to check Tawny out for his ass of a brother in law. Parts of the story are fairly good and has more substance than the first, but the over the top villain and “geeks can’t be hot” schtick that wove it way through the book grew tiresome. Also, for a PI, Andrew didn’t play the geek very well. He’s very alpha male in everything that he does, from the way he talks to the way he acts. C
Night Illusions. This was definitely the best of the bunch. Joyce is Andrew’s brother. She suffered through one of the worst evenings of her life in discovering what a psycho her husband was. she filed for divorce and is determined to grow a backbone. It really stung when he accused her of being spineless and pitiful. She gets a book and starts experimenting but her experiments go awry. She wanted to get a butterfly tattoo but ends up with something completely different. She leases a bright yellow Mustang and drives out to a place away from her friends and family to try out some of the things she read. If a reader can buy into the idea that Joyce is as innocent as a novitiate then this is a good read, funny, sweet and cute. But I did feel that there were a couple of sex scenes that were too over the top and didn’t seem to fit in with the story. And the scene involving his best friend and his sister was weird. And kind of gross. I do have to ask, though, are there really clubs in Atlanta wherein people can engage in public sex? I guess so. Who knew? I guess up here, people have to rent boats. C+
The first two stories were hampered by hackneyed plots and characters and gimmicky stories. The last story was the best, but I felt it was ruined by the extreme sex acts that seemed to be included as it fulfilled some erotic story checklist. You know: oral sex. check. outdoor, voyeuristic sex. check. group sex. check. anal sex. check. Why? Why is that necessary? And the brother/sister/best friend scene was icky*.
*Male protagonist walks in on sister giving his best friend a blow job “Only his friend would have the balls to shoot him a cocky smile while standing naked and erect with his dick glistening from the moisture of Colin's sister's mouth.”