Cooking Up a Storm, by Emma Holly

>> Thursday, July 22, 2004

Cooking Up a Storm (excerpt), by Emma Holly was my first successful erotica read. I'd previoiusly tried a couple of Blue Moon titles I'd found cheap here in Montevideo, but I found them distasteful (lots of emphasis on spanking and disciplining, which I find not only not my cup of tea, but a real turn-off).

The Coates Inn is about to go belly up when beleaguered owner Abby Coates jumps at a stranger's offer to help - both in her kitchen and in her bed. This handsome fellow claims to have a secret weapon, an all-aphrodisiac menu that her customers won't be able to resist. But can this playboy-chef really save the day when Abby's body means more to him than her heart, and when stealing her restaurant out from under her means the most of all?
Well, my first Black Lace read was an excellent experience. I'd actually rate it a B+.

I went into the book reminding myself "It's erotica, not romance; remember, it's erotica, not romance". I found what I was expecting for well-written erotica, but I also got a believable romance at the heart of it, which was a surprise.

The erotica part of it was really good. There's a great variety in the sex, so I had a variety of reactions to different scenes. Some things elicited a "Hmm, I really should try that"; others were erotic to read, but not something I'd be interested in participating in, while yet other things I just didn't "get". But all of them were beautifully written, with a style that wasn't at all purple but also far from clinical.

As I said, I was surprised by how, though there isn't much of a plot, there actually is some character growth, and by the end of the book, I believed Storm and Abbie really loved each other. I mean, it was obvious that they wouldn't have a traditional HEA. Their sexual adventures will continue, and it's a testament to Holly's good writing that, even though my personal fantasy HEA has monogamy as a basic part of it, I'm happy for these two and believe their way is the right way for them, and more power to them!

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