Ellora’s Cave, $5.99, ISBN 978-1419913518
Paranormal Erotica, 2008
I’ve always been in a semi-reading slump ever since you-know-what hit everyone last year, so when randomly looking through my list of Torrid Tarot titles—why I bought so many of them, I will never know—and I see a plot that promises a hot professor getting down and nasty, well, hello there, Cindy Spencer Pape’s Teach Me.
Galen Forsythe is the prof with the pork, while our heroine Lydia is his grad student. No, don’t worry, she’s not working for her grades or anything like that. Sure, she wears tight tops that show off that magnificent rack of hers in his class, but she’s just motivated by true love, you know. Romance heroines are incapable of sleazy feelings; they only put out faster than some K-pop stan wanting a backstage pass in the name of bagging that ring on the finger.
I mean, sure, she starts putting out on page 11, and the actual story starts merely on page 6, but those five pages are full of Lydia stuttering, wanting to earn the hero’s respect, and all, so we all know she’s not spreading the love around in the name of the ho-ho-ho. Then there is some nonsense about some woo-woo scroll and our heroine acting more like a stuttering hen down with the chills in what seems to be “plot”, right before I get the next sex scene and then it’s the end.
Sigh. This is another story killed by the author going through weird contortions to keep the heroine from being too much like a ho—apparently being one is a bad thing in an erotic story, go figure—only to end up making Lydia an uninteresting ham-brained twit instead. I think I will respect our heroine more if she had displayed more confidence, perhaps as a heroine that wants to seduce the professor to get a good grade, for example. As for Galen, because the author is so determined to remove any hint of unprofessional behavior or breach of ethics in a story that is exactly that, ends up being a bland, personality-free guy characterized only by a big penis.
The best erotic stories are those that aren’t afraid to break the rules or push the envelopes a little. Honestly, a professor sleeping with a grad student actually ranks very low on the list of rule-breaking in erotic fiction, as it’s a pretty common thing these days regardless of how one really feels about such a thing. Instead of playing to the “Oh, this is bad, but so fun!” aspect of such a relationship, the author prefers to instead force her main characters to pretend that they are doing something more wholesome. Then there is the “plot”, which seems like some half-baked effort to further reinforce that these two shagging five pages into the story are really because of finer feelings and what not. The author’s effort not to offend anyone’s sensibilities ends up making this story as hot as a waffle left for too long in the fridge.
Frankly, the whole thing feels very disingenuous and even insulting. I read erotic romance for the skanky stuff, so give it to me upfront with no pretensions, alright?