Aphrodisia, $12.95, ISBN 978-0-7582-1490-4
Fantasy Erotica, 2006
There is actually a B-grade horror movie of same name that spawns a few sequels. The anthology Sexy Beast II seems like its bad T&A horror movie counterpart: this baby feels like the illegitimate offspring that resulted from the unholy union between the Daddy of All That Is Corny And Cheesy and the Mother of All Crap Clichés. Words like “mate” and its equivalent are bandied around as if someone has threatened to bite off a puppy’s head if these authors do not overuse the word until it’s dead like that poor horse.
Kate Douglas headlines the anthology so her Chanku Fallen kicks things off. Don’t ask – I believe Chanku is the name of the setting in which the author sets her werewolf tales in. I could be wrong, but then again, this is my first time reading a story in what seems like a long-running series. The Carpathians are so-1999, the Dark-Hunters are so last year, so bring on the Chunkies!
This is a ménage à trois story, because a kitten gets run over by a steamroller if we do not come up with one such story every three days. Miguel Fuentes and AJ Temple are sent by their pack to look for somebody’s sister and this sister, Tala, is held by an evil pimp. She valiantly lets herself be a martyr to the point that she is gang-raped instead of asking the two men for help because she doesn’t want those two men to die on her account. Only then does Tala decide that she’s had enough and stows away in an SUV right into the clutches of our two heroes, who proceed to gang-love away her blues and pain. Tala already shows signs of having some kind of trauma since it’s hard to imagine someone sane who will martyr herself to the extent that she does, so I’m really not certain if more sex, even the positive kind, is what she needs. I hope they have therapists in Chanku.
I don’t find this story sexy or even a decent tale of healing because the length of the story prevents the characters from coming off as anything more than cardboard figures. Therefore, the use of rape as a plot device in this story can be contrived in a most insulting manner. Points deducted out of spite for the use of the word “tri-mates”. God.
Noelle Mack’s Fantaisie sees our heroine Tanya accepting a job in Paris that sees her being a hairdresser to a lion. No, really. The mysterious Jean-Claude, fortunately not related in any way to an Anita Blake’s chief dildo, lives in a magical chateau. Tanya sees visions of people shagging all over the place in the chateau. She’s, of course, staying and enjoying Jean-Claude’s sexual attentions because her salon needs to stay open for the sake of her employees who will die without their job so oh, Jean-Claude, do that to her again! Oh, but is Tanya Jean-Claude’s mate? Who is Jean-Claude? Do I care? If you can’t get enough of those paranormal dream/mate/fantasy/illusion stories from Ellora’s Cave and wish that they come out with new books seven times a week, this one may tide you during the agonizing wait because this is one of those stories where there is a ridiculous plot that is nothing more than an excuse for cardboard characters to engage in spooky paranormal sex while exchanging corny dialogues.
Kathleen Dante’s Call of the Wild has orphan Deanna Lycan coming to Woodrose to discover her lost heritage. The poor clueless woman – her last name must be too subtle a clue for her to grasp. Her car is about to plunge over into a ravine and spare me this story when Deputy Sheriff Graeme Luger shows up to save her. He’s not a werewolf, he’s a “wolf-shifter”. He’s looking for a “mate”, though, and naturally he realizes that she’s the one the moment he sets eyes on her. Well, he certainly doesn’t love her for her driving skills, that’s for sure. The rest of the story is the same old dance and song of wolves, weres, mates, bonds, whatever.
Sexy Beast II is pretty much an embodiment of all that is cheesy, corny, unoriginal, and even embarrassing about the romantic erotica genre. This book is one that should be kept in the drawer away from prying eyes, not only because it is too graphic for kiddies, but also because it can get quite embarrassing really, trying to explain to other people the allure of all this unimaginative pandering to the formula with all that mate, mate, mate overkill.