Brava, $14.00, ISBN 0-7582-0359-4
Contemporary Erotica, 2003
What can I say? Very nice cover, although those jeans could have been a little more snug, but the story inside is the very reason why I sometimes wonder just when did Brava become the dumping ground for series authors. If Janelle Denison has taken her half-finished Harlequin series novel and pad it with a few hundred pages of tame Blaze-style sex scenes, I wouldn’t be surprised if the boring thing is called Wilde Thing.
Liz Adams opens a cafe. She is thirty-one. She’s in lust with that handsome guy who comes in often. His name is Steve Wilder. He’s an ex-cop and now a PI. Her cousin sister, a phone sex ho, is missing, maybe with a client, maybe in a better book. She hires him. They neck and almost have sex in his office on that same day. She becomes a phone ho at her cousin sister’s workplace. She is grossed out by other male customers, but when Steve calls, she wets herself having too much fun on the job. They will wet their eyes when they get their credit card bills, because I don’t think these phone sex things come cheap. They decide to have real sex. They have sex some more. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex. SEX.
Then the story is over. Whoa, wait, so what happened to the cousin again? Oh, there she is. Well, let’s just say that the whole missing girl thing is a case of much ado about nothing. This is one of those books where the plot is built to fit in as many sex scenes as possible. Also worth noting is that for a “sexy” book, there is a lot of thing Ms Denison openly disapproves of: threesomes, phone sex, sexually aggressive hos, and any fetish that isn’t vanilla. Maybe this is what they call erotica for conservatives.
Some bonus points have to be given for making Liz not that neurotic. But she’s the stereotypical good girl whose emotions alternate between guilt, obligation (she makes the hero charge her full price even when he is willing to give a discount, only to whine in the end that she owes him a lot of money – hello?), and when Steve is fiddling with her buttons, lust. While Liz is a good girl though, at least she’s enjoying her sex instead of thinking of a thousand ways to turn her orgasms into some sort of crosses she has to bear. She makes the first move, she has fun, and she’s not so bad. Steve, unfortunately, is mostly a one-dimensional character defined only by his “biker bad boy” image and his occupation (ex-cop turned PI).
No matter how fun the sex can be – and in this case, it’s not that fun because the love scenes are pretty tame – there is only so long that the hero’s mighty erection can hold up the story and keep it afloat. After a certain point in Wilde Thing, the book turns into something like an overlong porn movie that just won’t end. Instead of wondering when the money shot is coming, I end up starting to feel really sorry for the players while trying to stifle a yawn.