Duncan’s style is animated, and he recounts the imperatives of vampire and werewolf brutality and sexual aggressiveness with...

BY BLOOD WE LIVE

Vampires and werewolves are at it again...and for the most part, they still don’t like each other.

In this book, Duncan continues the saga of Tallula (the werewolf, also known as Vali) and Remshi (the vampire), one of the stranger love stories of modern times—and of ancient times as well, since their relationship goes back some 17,000 years. Although Tallula knows about “[s]pecies enmity…, Mutually Assured Detestation at the cellular level,” she still has a thing for her vampire lover. The novel opens with Remshi in a relationship with Justine Cavell. He’s bewildered when he shows up one night expecting to be received with open arms, though Justine is even more bewildered to see him because he’s actually been gone for almost two years. Remshi has almost no memory of his time away, though, given his nature, he realizes he’s probably been up to some naughtiness. Meanwhile, a vampire named Olek sends a mysterious diary to Tallula purporting to explain how to get rid of the curse of “turning”—the process of becoming a werewolf. In a flashback to prehistoric times, we learn of the budding relationship and sexual ferocity of Remshi and Vali; meanwhile, back in the contemporary world, Remshi has become convinced that Tallula is a “reborn” version of Vali. Talulla and her band of werewolves are attacked, and she, along with her daughter, Zoë, is kidnapped, but her son, Lorcan, escapes. Tallula is questioned—Inquisition style—by Cardinal Salvatore di Campanetti, but in an extraordinarily violent scene, she is eventually liberated when a gang of vampires comes to her rescue.

Duncan’s style is animated, and he recounts the imperatives of vampire and werewolf brutality and sexual aggressiveness with particular gusto.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-307-59510-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

A work of romantic historical fiction with an emphasis on sex.

ONCE UPON A TOWER

An erotic novel set in England and Scotland in the early 1800s.

Gowan, a Scottish duke, falls in love with Edie, the daughter of an English gentleman, who reciprocates his feelings. They are both virgins: Gowan was disgusted by his own father’s philandering and wants to save himself for the love of his life, and Edie is a proper English lady. Both were raised by their fathers after their respective mothers died. As it happens, sexual incompatibility threatens their marriage, but ultimately, their shared values as well as their deep love for one another will save it. Edie is a talented cellist who might have been a world-class performer had she been born a man. She jealously guards her time for practice. It was her father who taught her to play, and music was how they connected. Gowan, meanwhile, runs the family estate and oversees the workers, unlike his father, who was an irresponsible drunk. Gowan also has a half sister he wants to raise with Edie. Edie loves her stepmother, whose own marriage to Edie’s father is on the brink. The two women help each other with marital advice that eventually will pay off. The dialogue between characters is witty, but there are too many explicit, repetitious bedroom scenes. According to the author, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and the story of Rapunzel inspired this book, and there are references to and quotes from both.

A work of romantic historical fiction with an emphasis on sex.

Pub Date: May 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-222387-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

Readers who enjoyed the first three EroticaNoir.com anthologies will likely enjoy this one.

ZANE'S BUSY BODIES

From the Chocolate Flava series , Vol. 4

The fourth installment of Zane’s anthology series based on the "Featured Erotica" section of EroticaNoir.com.

Twenty-six authors share bold and graphic details about sexual affairs and interludes in stories set in varying stages of life and disparate geographical locations, though most include African-American characters. From a recent college grad in Atlanta to a woman touring her dream house in a nameless suburb, as well as a young girl exploring a darkly mysterious sex club in Pigalle, Paris, and an abandoned wife on a Depression-era Midwestern farm, the shorts give blow-by-blow accounts of, to put it simply, lots of sex. There is also a spectrum of talent in the set and some jarring editorial choices—with at least two stories ending with no true resolution. The authors are amateur writers submitting to a website, yet they generally manage to maintain cohesive storytelling and titillating—if not overly elegant—descriptions of lust and carnal connections. An audience looking for hot, varied stories with elements of secret liaisons and naughty licentiousness may find something satisfying here.

Readers who enjoyed the first three EroticaNoir.com anthologies will likely enjoy this one.

Pub Date: July 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-8964-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

Beguiling and emotionally lush.

NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED

A duke who has lived under the shadow of suspicion for a murder he’s not sure he didn’t commit holds the possibility of redemption in his hands when the lady reappears, alive and well, though she brings other threats—to his equilibrium and to his heart.

Twelve years ago, William Harrow, Marquess of Chapin and heir to the dukedom of Lamont, woke up on the morning of his father’s wedding to find that he was in the would-be bride’s bed, along with an astonishing amount of blood, and that the lady herself was nowhere to be found. Under a cloud of suspicion of murder, the marquess was banished from his family and from polite society, resurrecting himself as Temple, first a street fighter, then a partner in the Fallen Angel, the exclusive London casino. Members of the club may petition for the opportunity to challenge the undefeated Temple in the boxing ring; if the challenge is accepted and the patron wins, all of his debts will be forgiven. One dark night, Temple is approached by none other than long-lost Mara Lowe, assumed dead at Temple’s hands. Mara’s brother has lost everything to the Fallen Angel, and she promises to re-enter London society and prove Temple is innocent in exchange for debt forgiveness. Understandably angry, Temple decides on another path, one that will ruin Mara once and for all. Mara has more at stake than her brother’s fortune, but given Temple’s angry reception of her, she’s can’t trust him with her secrets, even as she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the enigmatic outcast. As for Temple, the closer he gets to his retribution, the more he wonders if he hasn’t well and truly met his match in every possible way, questioning his thirst for vengeance. In the third installment of the Rules of Scoundrels series, MacLean once again creates compelling and complex characters and sets them on a path toward love and reconciliation that begins with seemingly impossible odds and ends with exquisite fulfillment. 

Beguiling and emotionally lush.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-206854-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

Dahl brings her signature potent blend of heated eroticism and emotional punch to another Jackson Hole cowboy story, to...

SO TOUGH TO TAME

Charlie Allington comes home to Jackson Hole, Wyo., under a cloud of scandal, but with a new job and new lease on life, maybe it’s time to have a little fling with her neighbor and old high school crush, cowboy Walker Pearce.

A few months ago, Charlie had it all: a high profile job in the securities field, a relationship with her sexy but workaholic boss and a big salary. But it all came crashing down when her boss/boyfriend was indicted and tried to pin his crimes on her. She was cleared, but now she’s broke and her reputation is on life support. Dawn, a friend from high school, has reached out and hired her as the securities director of a ski resort she’s preparing to open with her husband. At first, the apartment on the property is a bonus, but after a short time, Charlie feels like a prisoner, and she suspects Dawn is spying on her with the security equipment. Dawn gets crazy jealous over her husband, and things at the resort don’t seem quite right. Trying to gain a little respite, Charlie moves into an apartment across the hall from Walker Pearce, her favorite bad boy and secret teenage crush. Charlie’s not the shy, timid bookworm she was in high school, and she’s ready to meet the speculative gleam in Walker’s eye. As the two enter into a steamy affair, both have secrets, which become burdensome as the attraction turns to affection. More damaging is the deep-seated lack of confidence where the other is concerned: Charlie’s convinced she’s a short-lived fling for him, and Walker’s convinced he’s not smart enough for her. As past mistakes, tarnished credibility and rising doubts push them apart, they must each sift through their own insecurities and find faith in themselves before they can fight for a shared happily-ever-after. The book is both hot and tender, with some sexually explicit love scenes that may surprise readers unfamiliar with the author.

Dahl brings her signature potent blend of heated eroticism and emotional punch to another Jackson Hole cowboy story, to great success.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-373-77789-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harlequin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

With its touching best-friends-to-lovers arc, the novel is both sexy and poignant.

WRECKED

When Abby’s fiance dumps her weeks before the wedding, her best friend Zach wonders if it’s finally time to risk everything and tell her how he really feels.

Best friends Abigale Applegate and Zach Barnes were child stars of a hit sitcom in the ’90s. Now in their early 30s, the two have left Hollywood behind for good, relocating to Tucson where Abby runs her own catering company and Zach owns a tattoo parlor. Abby attempts to control her life to the smallest detail, but her Grand Plan is derailed when her fiance dumps her. At first devastated, Abby comes to understand that she feels more disappointed that the plan failed than upset that Roger left her. Zach gives Abby a freestyle-approach journal, encouraging her to relax and live life a little more spontaneously. Abby comes up with a new goal list that includes some out-of-the-box tasks, one of which is to have a torrid affair. But once she sets the goal, she is disconcerted to realize the person she’d most like to fill the role of wild lover is none other than her best friend, Zach. Zach is happy to oblige, since he’s secretly been in love with Abby as long as he’s known her. The chemistry between them is suddenly scorching, but how do you explain to the girl you love that you want forever when it seems she’s asked for a quick, hot fling? And has Zach jeopardized the very special something they already have for an uncertain chance at everything he wants? Walker’s newest stand-alone title is compelling and will especially satisfy fans of the best-friend-risks-it-all-for-love storyline. There are a number of details that add interesting texture and layers to the plot—the free-form journal, for instance, as well as Abby and Zach’s past as child stars—though some of these elements might have been fleshed out more and will occasionally leave the audience feeling as if some loose ends remain untied. Also, occasional egregiously vulgar language may turn some readers off. Overall, though, a successful romance and a good read.

With its touching best-friends-to-lovers arc, the novel is both sexy and poignant.

Pub Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-425-26445-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley Sensation

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

Lots of hot, sexually edgy content and the promise of a romantic happily-ever-after may satisfy some readers in the intended...

ILLICIT

Lindsay is invited to experience a weekend of sexual fantasy.

Weeks after Lindsay tells her best friend about the three sexy men she saw and fantasized about—in spine-tingling, toe-curling detail—in an elevator, she receives an invitation to experience a weekend of pure, sensual pleasure, including directions and a keycard. Convinced it’s a joke Jill is playing on her to lure her to a girls’ weekend, Lindsay shows up at the appointed time and place and is shocked to discover the three men from the elevator, who are interested in satisfying her every whim for 48 hours. At first uncertain, Lindsay is convinced by Erik—the most compelling of the three—to try, and she experiences pleasure like she’s never known. But Lindsay’s feelings for all three men—Erik, Connor and Travis, who share an apartment, strong, committed relationships and bisexual tendencies—grow remarkably strong in so short a time, and she’s devastated when Erik tells her one weekend is all there is. Connor and Travis know Erik likes Lindsay, but all three men are wary of throwing their unorthodox relationship off balance. Not for the faint of heart, this book has numerous graphic sexual scenes, and with three men and one woman, you would guess correctly that not all of the scenes are heterosexual. Carew is known for adding a compelling emotional dimension to erotica, and while there are hints of such factors in the story—a subtle psychic aspect to the plot, for instance, as well as the complicated relationship among the three men—they are never fleshed out fully or developed in a gripping way that truly enhances the plot.  And Lindsay, who believes an invitation to sexual fantasy is a joke set up by her best friend but never confirms the theory before she shows up, leaves us suspicious of her intelligence and common sense from the get-go.

Lots of hot, sexually edgy content and the promise of a romantic happily-ever-after may satisfy some readers in the intended erotic-romance audience.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-67462-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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