A Tale of Two Erotic Romances

>> Thursday, December 27, 2012

I read these two books in one evening (or rather, for one of them, attempted to read). I haven't been reading much erotic romance lately, as most of what I see people talking about in the bloggosphere has zero appeal to me, but I fancied trying one. They were opposites, and reading them so close together made me think of this post of Liz's at Anna Cowan's blog.

TITLE: Leave Me Breathless
AUTHOR: Cherrie Lynn

I started with this opposites attract-type story, the third one in a series I haven't read. Can't remember why I picked it up, I expect I must have read a review somewhere that intrigued me. Macy is an all-country riding instructor, Seth is an all-heavy metal tattoo artist. They met when their respective friends got together in a previous book (sounds like Macy disapproved of her friend's new man and provided an obstacle for their relationship). At some point they hooked up in Seth's car and got really hot and heavy, after which Macy started ignoring Seth's calls.

As this book starts, Seth returns to town after being away for a few months, and he and Macy immediately hook up again. Sex scenes ensue. Many, many sex scenes, unfortunately completely boring and  non-erotic to me. I didn't particularly care for these characters, I didn't care for the dynamics between them (I'm SO over reading about guys pushing women's sexual boundaries), and the sex wasn't developing their relationship. I dropped out at the point where Seth started convincing Macy to try anal. Anal's a huge turn-off for me (one more reason why I'm not reading much ER, where it seems to be de rigueur these days), and I'll tolerate reading about it only if I'm loving a book. I wasn't, so I bailed. It would only have made me cross to continue.

Leave Me Breathless didn't work because I didn't think it was particularly well done, but also, the fantasy in it wasn't one that appealed to me. If it had, it might have been a bit of a guilty pleasure (a purely "id" experience, in the way Liz describes it), but as it was, it was a complete fail.


TITLE: Restraint
AUTHOR: Charlotte Stein

So, after deleting Leave Me Breathless from my kindle, I remembered I had a very short Charlotte Stein book there, one that Brie from Romance Around the Corner had put in her Best of 2012 list. Since I loved pretty much all the other books she had on her list, I thought this would be a good one to pick up next.

It's a really short story (just over 50 pages, I would say), but to me, it was the perfect length. Mallory has always thought Artie hates her. He's friends with some of her friends, though, so they're forced to spend time together. Mallory has been trying to tone down her outrageousness in front of him, but as the story starts, she's had enough, and decides to go all out, and if he doesn't like it, he can go to hell. She soon discovers Artie's feelings for her are not quite what she thought.

Oh, I just loved this. Artie is a character I've truly never read before, especially not in erotic romance. He's quite simply really, really repressed and struggling with his feelings for Mallory, which are very powerful. When Mallory understands this, he doesn't stand a chance. It's one of the hottest things I've ever read, and more so because it's combined with really strong emotions and genuine romance, with a happy ending that fits perfectly.

Now this one, this one works formally, because the writing is amazing. It's deceptively simple, almost stream-of-consciousness, but it's extremely effective. Every single word counts and works to develop the characters and their relationship. But this is also a book that works at a purely emotional level, and very much so. To me, this was the perfect reading experience, a book that I could love at an ego level.



Wendy 27 December 2012 at 05:25  

I really loved Restraint as well. It felt so fresh to me, and I really am loving Stein's voice.....

Rosario 27 December 2012 at 06:41  

Wendy, what else have you read? I'm definitely going to be reading more of hers!

Wendy 27 December 2012 at 18:22  

Rosario: Unfortunately the only other works I've read by her have been short stories in multi-author anthologies. Obsessed: Erotic Romance For Women (her story here was really very risky and daring IMHO) and Fast Girls (solid story about a married couple).

She's got a single-author Black Lace anthology out (The Things That Make Me Give In) - but alas it's still in my TBR. I really, really want to get to that one soon.

Rosario 29 December 2012 at 08:07  

Oh, that's a shame, I just want hers, not a whole lot of other authors'!

mepamelia 30 December 2012 at 23:43  

If you want a great Charlotte Stein book I really liked "Deep Desires" and "Sheltered" by her. They are VERY different stories with very different characters. "Sheltered" is more of a New Adult story about younger (20-ish) characters. "Deep Desires" starts off with two very damaged people in a voyeuristic relationship.
I really enjoy her voice too, but so many of her books are really short and fairly expensive. I don't like shelling out over $5 for a novella.

Rosario 31 December 2012 at 07:42  

Thanks, mepamelia! That's exactly why I appreciate recs for her work, I don't want to pay that kind of money for a dud!

lakaribane 5 January 2013 at 14:21  

I cannot wait to read the Charlotte Stein. The first novella I read by her was a Christmas one called "Waiting in Vain" that I cannot seem to find but that was so good I have never forgotten it. It's about the heroine spending the hollidays with her brothers in-laws and the slutty older brother she can't stand but that is sooo hot. So beautiful and emotional and sexy. CS has something about voyeurism, I realize. I think I read another one, futuristic or time travel but I cannot seem to remember.

Rosario 6 January 2013 at 07:20  

lakaribane: I've just read Deep Desires now, and yep, she does seem to have something about voyeurism! I didn't think I did, but when she writes it, it looks like I do!

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