Nightshade Collections, $0.99
Fantasy Romance, 2016
Don’t be scared, but on page one, we are told that our heroine Jilly’s hoo-hoo “fluttered” at the sight of our Harley-straddling tattooed hard-bodied hero Arriman “Ari” Drake. Given that the word means a rapid series of movement going either up and down or side to side, I can only wonder whether Jilly is a protagonist who ends up here after somehow getting lost while on her way to a Japanese erotic horror story.
Reaching for her kettle, Jilly tried to ignore the flutter of delicious heat in the junction of her thighs at the word dragon. An image of the hunk on the Harley with his dragon tattoo filled her head. Her pulse quickened. Her clit throbbed.
Oh boy. She would need to wear heavy-duty diapers if she happens to be at some fantasy convention event.
Jilly has a Masters in Norse Mythology, which is a nicer way of saying that she has a useless degree and she is now stuck doing dead end jobs. Her mother ran off with Jilly’s ex-boyfriend. Her friend offers her a pity temp job at a pet store. Oh, and Jilly is fat too. Oops, I mean curvy. I understand that “fat” is a hate word now.
Ari is a dragon. Don’t worry, he can shift into hot human form – being a shapeshifting dragon is like having a Ferrari these days, a cool status symbol. That explains the dragon tattoo, I guess. If you are fleeing a cabal of dragon hunters bent on putting you down, sure, take a look at the dragon tattoo, people – “an exquisitely detailed and amazing tattoo of an emerald-green dragon extending from the top of his right shoulder down over his upper arm” – and be completely fooled. No, sir, that one is no dragon – let’s try that reedy kid wearing a hoodie instead.
Naturally, Ari is looking for a mate. One look at Jilly and he’s like, ooh, mate, mate, mate.
When a dragon shifter finally encountered their fated mate, when the mating fire began—a twelve-hour period of intense sexual frenzy—trying to refuse it, ignore it, ended in pain. Sometimes insanity.
Okay, who determines this fated mating thing? Are there gods in the heaven drawing short straws and laughing at the whole thing?
Mating fire. The early stages of mating fire consumed him, claimed him.
He was in the mating fire and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
All he could do was find the woman and surrender to the magic and lust of their joining. Find her and make her his until neither of them had the strength to stand.
And hope to fuck that Kestar didn’t find them while they were at it.
She whimpered, fighting to keep her fingers away from her sex. She didn’t oppose self-gratification, but on her terms. This… thing happening to her now didn’t feel like her terms. Whatever this thing was, it felt…
Swallowing at the unsettling thought, Jilly removed her hands from her body.
She is about to touch herself. It’s biology. Hormones in action. The fact that the author ascribes this impulse to some supernatural fated mating thing… I don’t know if this is some weird way to looking at something perfectly normal or just unintentional comedy in action.
The rest of Scorched Desire straddles between romance and erotica, and everything plays out like Clichéd Paranormal Swag 101. It gets to such a point that the author is basically doing a paint-by-numbers thing here to remind readers that there are authors who do this far better than her. Perhaps it’s for the best that this is just one of ten stories being offered as a $0.99 box set, as paying anything more may be too much for works that smell a little too much like cheap knock-offs.