Samantha Kane, $0.99
Historical Erotica, 2014
Dr Phineas Harper, a doctor in a hospital in Scutari, is boinking the nurse Edith Lambert. Hey, it is wartime in 1854, and people boink because they aren’t dying yet. Then arrives Finn’s childhood friend, Hamish Fletcher who was recently injured in the fight at Balaclava. Hamish has a thing for Finn – read that any way you like, it’d be the truth – and vice versa, and they both have a thing for Edith. The lady’s Christmas sure has come early!
Edith pressed down more firmly on the captain, who immediately relaxed beneath her, though she could feel the tension in his good arm. She whispered soothingly to him as he bit his lip, uncharacteristically quiet. “It’s all right,” she said. “I’ve got you. Let Finn make it better. We’ll take good care of you.”
She and Finn are resetting Hamish’s broken arm, with her holding him down, in the above scene. Maybe it’s just me, but there is a poignancy in that bunch of sentences – an undercurrent of tenderness and sweetness that would an injured man feel more at calm and peace. This kind of moment is not something I expect to come across in a work marketed as erotic romance, and that is the beauty of Samantha Kane’s Hamish.
The story is titled that way in order to tie it to a series called The 93rd Highlanders, but the story focuses more on Edith’s emotional development. Edith wants to use Finn as a source of physical pleasure and distraction from her job, and she is trying hard to resist feeling anything more for that man. It’s pretty hard, that, and it’s just as hard for her to resist her attraction to Hamish. The two men are far less complicated, just like how it is in real life: they are hard for one another, they are hard for Edith – simple. Eventually, Edith decides that they should all boink together, and that’s it, everyone can stand up and applaud now.
This is a short story, so the characters aren’t deep and neither is their so-called love for one another. Unfortunately, the things that I normally enjoy in my stories – emotional journeys of the main character – are built up in the early parts of the story, making me expect something that isn’t here in this story: satisfying destinations at the end of these journeys. Instead, the character study is basically thrown away as the author realizes that the story needs to come to a close soon. Hence, these characters decide to throw off their clothes, and then it’s the end. Will Edith learn to love the two men? Will Finn and Hamish find a good resolution to their aborted love when Hamish walked away ten years ago? Who cares? Their private parts met, so everything is perfect now, the end.
Worse, the grand love scene, the supposed pay-off to all the erotic tension in this story, is way too short. That scene is pretty much an “Oh, it’s finally happening, it’s… it’s… wait a freaking minute. That’s it?” thing.
I end up feeling that the author started out writing Hamish as a more emotional kind of romance, only to remember halfway that this is supposed to be an erotic short story and abruptly pull the curtain down for the finale. If the author had stuck to one direction, the story would have been much better. There would have been more room to either develop the characters and their feelings or bring on more sexy stuff. As it is, this one is half-baked in both the romance and sexy departments.