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Lacey Alexander

REVIEW:  Give In To Me by Lacey Alexander

REVIEW: Give In To Me by Lacey Alexander

Dear Ms. Alexander:

I’ve been enjoying the H.O.T. (the Hostage Ops Team) Cops series even though each book has presented an issue that has prevented me from fully embracing the books. This story features Rogan Wolfe, a former H.O.T. cop who left his friends in Michigan to take a job down in South Beach. In the previous book, Rogan awoke to feelings for a former girlfriend too late. She had committed to another man and during a long weekend menage, Rogan made a play for her but she stayed with her boyfriend and Rogan was left unmoored.

Give In To Me Lacey AlexanderIn Miami, Rogan feels renewed. His experience as a detective were being wasted in the small town in Michigan. Here, there are increased stakes, cases to be solved, and risks to be taken. Rogan also finds himself intrigued by attorney April Pediston.

April is an overworked, overextended corporate lawyer who does pro bono divorces for low income women. She also financially supports her youngest sister and serves as the on call babysitter for the middle sister. Since the Pediston’s parents deaths, April has watched over and mothered her sisters and now as adults, she hasn’t been able to cut the apron strings and her sisters take advantage of that constantly.

The two meet at Café Tropico where April is meeting her pro bono client, Kayla Gonzalez. Kayla is trying to divorce her unsavory and abusive husband, Juan Gonzalez. Junior Martinez is the target of the Miami police for drug dealing and Rogan is checking out Café Tropico where it is rumored Junior is making drug deals. Sparks fly between the two immediately but April resists, not because Rogan is a cop and she is an attorney, but because she doesn’t have time for her pro bono work let alone a random man.

Reading her body’s responses, Rogan guesses that April would like to be convinced. He tells her that each time that they’ve kissed, she has wanted him to overpower her and April doesn’t deny it. However, April doesn’t recognize that she has certain type of bedroom kink, one in which she likes to be overpowered and taken without consent.

There were two primary reasons why this didn’t fully work for me. First, I really chafe at the “man knows best” sort of stories and there is no question that Rogan plays the role in this story. He’s a good guy and doesn’t come off as an aggressive asshole in any fashion. And April is set up perfectly as the woman with too many responsibilities who can’t let go of anything without a push. Not in bed or out of it. Yet, every time that Rogan told April he understand what she needed sexually even though she voiced the opposite, my hackles rose.

Second, I felt that April’s resistance to where Rogan (and the story) wanted to take me kept building up the barriers to my own consent of what was happening in the story. Each preliminary intimate contact began with April’s resistance and frankly it would have worked far better if each preliminary intimate contact began with April’s consent that she wanted to be overpowered.

Rogan and April do fit together. Rogan helps April to slow down and shed some of the responsibilities that are making her life miserable. April is so smart and sexy to Rogan, his teeth (and other parts) ache. Their chemistry and romance were convincing. It was the sexual trope that left me uncertain. As an erotic romance series, however, I do think this series largely delivers with emotional stories that are enhanced by erotic sex scenes.

The extent to which the reader accepts April has given an unspoken consent to the sexual acts will be the measurement of how successful this story is for each reader. I was discomfited throughout the story even though intellectually I could see what was being attempted. The other thing I did not like was that the Latino characters were low income or drug dealers or abusers. It would have been nice to have some balance. C+

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW:  Party of Three by Lacey Alexander

REVIEW: Party of Three by Lacey Alexander

Dear Ms. Alexander:

I read the first in the unfortunately titled H.O.T. Cops series “Bad Girl at Night.” I meant to review it but failed to do so until recently. Party of Three is the second in the series. I had read a few of your Ellora’s Cave publications previously but found them to be heavy handed and entirely too raunchy for me. I could hear the bow chica bow wow soundtrack play in the background as I was reading them so I didn’t have high hopes for these books. I was pleasantly surprised. These stories read more nuanced to me, with more about the characters and less about the mechanics of sex.

Party of Three Lacey Alexander
This is not to say Party of Three and its predecessor aren’t erotic romances. They are but what is well done in this story as well as “Bad Girl at Night” is that the sex is well integrated into an emotional storyline. What’s problematic about “Party of Three” is tied up with what I admire about it. In this menage you take a look at the negative repercussions of inviting a third person into the bedroom, particularly when the outcome is not a committed menage.

Mira Adams has been dating Ethan West but their relationship has been strained lately as a result of long hours worked by Ethan to make his new law practice a go. Realizing that his work has been distancing him from Mira, Ethan plans a special weekend for Mira’s birthday. Surprise! It’s Rogan. (Yes, only in romantica books is someone’s birthday gift a hot ex boyfriend).

I’m not entirely clear whether Ethan knew much about Mira’s past relationship with Rogan Wolfe but I always considered his choice a fairly big mistake. Mira and Rogan dated for some time prior to Mira having a relationship with Ethan. Rogan didn’t want to settle down with Mira so while he introduced her to true sexual pleasure, he also ended up hurting her. Before Rogan, Mira felt uncomfortable with her body and with her own sexual desires. Under Rogan (literally and metaphorically), Mira blossomed.

Ex-boyfriend, tough cop, bad boy to the bone—and the man who had taught her to love sex. She’d never told Ethan that part about her relationship with Rogan, but while before him she’d liked sex just fine, with him she’d found her true sexual being, and she’d loved how much he’d drawn that out of her. In fact, she credited her good sex life with Ethan—well, before its recent decline—in part to her time with Rogan.

Ethan, Rogan and Mira proceed to have a scorching weekend but their physical intimacy raises emotional questions for all of them. Rogan is older now, more interested in settling down. He remembers Mira fondly and being in close and intimate contact with her is making him doubt his past decisions. He had changed quite a bit and he begins to wonder if Mira isn’t the one he stupidly let get away. Every touch of Rogan’s hand on Mira’s body generates old, very good memories for Mira. She begins to doubt her feelings for Ethan. Ethan is torn between wanting Mira to have the greatest time ever and his own growing jealousy.

The story is meant, I believe, to be a reaffirmation of feelings between Ethan and Mira but so almost equal time is given to Rogan’s point of view. Rogan, more than Ethan, exhibits character changes from detached bad boy and a good lay to someone who is connecting on a deeper emotional level. The emotional scenes that we are treated to from Rogan’s point of view are more powerful and have a better connection with Mira. Ethan is relegated to the side, alternatively questioning his unwise decision to bring Rogan into the picture and then tamping down his well placed doubts. Ethan’s failure to recognize the danger in front of him signaled a man with poor instincts and even poorer insight into his future wife’s psyche.

I appreciated the idea of exploring the jealousies of a menage, but it didn’t go far enough in that direction. Instead, it tried to shoehorn this provocative concept into a more traditional romance. The two didn’t fit and neither the idea nor the happy ever after were convincing. In the end, I concluded that Mira settled, either out of guilt or out of fear. No one but Rogan seemed clear on their feelings for one another and the ending was too tidy for all the emotions that were stirred up. This book had potential and I appreciated a more nuanced look at the popular menage concept. I just wasn’t sold at the end. C+

Best regards,

Jane

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