Aphrodisia, $12.95, ISBN 978-0-425-21943-0
Contemporary Erotica, 2007
The cover of the interracial (white hero, African American heroine) erotic romance anthology Big Spankable Asses has generated ample column inches but I wonder whether the controversy has translated into sales. There is more to this anthology than the cover alone, after all. And before you ask, I purchased the electronic version of this book. Heh, do you think that this book would get past the custom officers here in Malaysia?
The anthology revolves around three friends: Lilliana Michaels, Simone Thomas, and Melinda Carlisle who go all the way back. They are all tired of having to fake orgasms and depending on battery-operated boyfriends for the real thing. In other words, they want real men who know what to do with and how to do right by their ladies. And who knows, in this anthology, the three ladies may just get lucky for once.
Kimberly Kaye Terry starts off the show with Just Lay Down. Lilliana has left an abusive ex-beau and she has recently moved to Chicago to start a new life. She also decides to take out an ad asking for guys who know what to do with a “BSA” (hint: the title of this anthology) to write her love letters ASAP. She will soon regret her impulsive act when her friend points out that her ad comes off like an invitation for guys to go all BDSM on her BSA. She doesn’t do BDSM… or does she? The real world and that ad collide when Josh Longmire starts expressing his intention to tap that BSA. The thing is, he’s not just younger than she is, he’s also from a rich family – his family co-owns the company that she works for – oh, and he’s white. But what’s to stop them from indulging a little light bondage fun, eh?
My problem with this story is simple: half the story is crammed full of scenes that have nothing to do with the relationship of the main characters. I know more about the company politics of Longmore, Lieberman and Strauss and the relationship between Lilly and her friends as well as that of Lilly and her ex Marcus than I do about her relationship with Josh at the end of the story. Just Lay Down feels like a few chapters meant for a full-length novel cobbled together with some sex scenes and a rushed conclusion. It’s horribly unsatisfying – a story with lots of information dumping but little pay-off.
Lisa G Riley is up next with Caught. Divorcée Melinda doesn’t have much of a social life to boast about, but our nurse heroine however has plenty of spectacular fantasies about Dr Nicholas Pantino. Of course, while she’s confident that he will never want her since he can have his pick of any woman that catches his eye, he actually has the hots for her. When this story opens, Nicholas blatantly tells Mel that he’s not going to wait for her to make the first move anymore. When he overhears Mel planing to put an ad looking for a guy who can handle her BSA, he decides that this is his perfect opportunity to get closer to Mel.
This one is definitely much more enjoyable than the previous story because it concentrates solely on Nick’s pursuit of Mel. Despite the presence of some contrived cheerleading secondary characters, this one manages to steam up the windows all the same. Nick is probably too good to be real, but you know what they say about well-trained doctors – if you want someone who knows where a woman’s G-spot is, always bet on someone who is well-versed in the study of human anatomy. Mel can be rather whiny and silly, but the story is too short for her to become too annoying, thank goodness. Nick, on the other hand, is simply adorable as he is a nice balance of predatory roguishness and sensitive gentlemanly behavior.
Angie Daniels wraps things up with Fienin’. According to Urban Dictionary, “fiening” means “to deeply and uncontrollably miss something or someone, usually a man/woman or a drug”. Anyway, our heroine Simone doesn’t want emotional entanglements in her life because she’s been burned by love before, and therefore she’s more into flings and short-term relationships nowadays. In her own words, she’s “fienin’ for a man who can satisfy me in and out of the bedroom”. Her dry spell may be coming to an end when she meets Shaun Dutton.
On the surface, Shaun is Simone’s complete opposite. Shaun doesn’t like clubbing – the only reason he’s in Simone’s hot club Situations is because he previously let his buddy Javon drag him here. Since the death of his wife Hannah two years ago, Shaun has avoided getting back into the dating scene, preferring instead to wait until the right woman comes along. Of course, with him being a man, he knows that the right woman is here when he spots Simone’s hot body, long legs, and large breasts. Talk to her first? Get to know her first? Hello, look at his chubby. Who needs to talk? She’s the one alright! Men, I tell you.
Set amidst a competition where the person that guesses what “BSA” stands for will get to spend “a fine night” with Simone, Fienin’ is easily the raunchiest, naughtiest, rudest, and most enjoyable story of the three. I have to warn you folks, Simone is a wild gal here who isn’t afraid to indulge in things that would make many romance heroines blush and run off to church for a confession. As much as Simone is unhappy with her life, she’s also at the same time someone with a wild and naughty streak. I’m not sure if I buy the fact that Shaun and Simone are really in love since their relationship moves at a very rushed pace, but the author attempts and succeeds pretty well in showing me that there are some depths to her characters. There are some unexpectedly heartbreaking moments here, such as when Simone breaks down into tears after realizing that the boyfriend that broke her heart had moved on with life while she is still trying to get over him after all these years. But on the whole, this one is fun, fun, fun from start to finish. Just be careful if you are a genteel reader unused to wild party girl heroines like Simone because she’ll definitely shock you here.
Apart from the first story which is an utter dud in every way, the other two stories here are very enjoyable sexy reads. Come to think of it, I’d say that Fienin’ is nearly worth the price of this anthology alone.