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REVIEW: Delicious by Shayla Black

SPOILER ALERT: THIS  REVIEW HAS ‘EM!

Dear Ms. Black,

Delicious by Shayla BlackI will admit front and center that I never read  Decadent, but I definitely did read the reviews and comments on both this site and Smart Bitches Trashy Books. I was intrigued by the reviews and comments, similar to how one is intrigued watching the slow-motion replays of the crashes during the Women’s Olympic Downhill ski race. The hits just kept on coming. But for some reason, I never picked up the book, and after readingDelicious, I am very happy that I didn’t bother.

It took me  quite a while  to get through this book, not because there were big words or complicated plot twists, but because I had to keep collecting my jaw from the ground and re-reading to make sure I’d read what I thought I had. I laughed…I cried…I nearly barfed. I can’t say it was better than  CATS, but that’s probably because none of the  characters were weres.

Luc Traverson (cousin of Deke from  Decadent) spent an incredible, unforgettable night with Alyssa Deveraux,  but it’s a night he’s never going to repeat. Alyssa is a stripper and very unsuitable mother material, and Luc is looking to marry his mommy. Don’t believe me? Straight from the horse’s mouth:

A perfect wife. A perfect stay-at-home mother, just like his own. That's what he wanted.

Why, you ask, is Luc looking for this paragon of virtue? Well, Luc has some sperm issues, and his biological clock is  TICKING! He wants babies, and he wants ‘em now, and he’ll do anything to get ‘em, be it adoption, insemination…he didn’t go as far as stealing, but it sounded damn close. This guy has baby fever…lord knows why. Luc thinks Alyssa is totally unsuitable as a mother because she’s a stripper. And, in Luc’s vernacular, stripper also equates to stupid, sex-crazed, gold digging whore. Without asking, knowing or having any sort of proof, Luc assumes that all of Alyssa’s interactions with the male population involve her trading sex for just about everything.

So why is  Luc back in Alyssa’s neck of the woods? Well, remember that special night they spent together? As an exchange for sleeping with him and Deke (Deke chickened out at the last minute), Luc promised Alyssa he’d cook for her restaurant opening week.  One wonders why Luc thinks Alyssa uses sex as currency.

Alyssa knows deep in her bones that Luc is the man for her. Anyone that gives a rogering that amazing and sends you flowers days later, but won’t return phone calls,  is your one twew  wuve. Alyssa has Luc cooking  at her restaurant  for one whole week, so she has seven days and nights to  work her wiles on him. Oh, and she hasn’t had sex with anyone since she hooked up with Luc in  Decadent, and before  that  encounter was  celibate for 3 years.  I bet that re-virginized her.

Alyssa’s restaurant, Bonheur, is an  expensive,  upscale  endeavor that is blocks from her original business venture, the strip club Sexy Sirens.  I don’t find it strange that Alyssa would want to be the proprietor of a hip, upscale business venture and  shed her stripper image. However, it’s hard to do that  when you’re still stripping. You read that right. Alyssa owns Sexy Sirens (and apparently has for five years) but still strips at her own club to make ends meet…or something.  Oh, the humanity. Luckily, Alyssa’s bouncer (and giant, Goldberg-sized slab ‘o meat) is there to keep the riffraff away:

[...] Tyler lifted Alyssa, sat in her chair, and set her on his lap. His hand rested high on her thigh, the other on her waist. And the bouncer's fingers weren't still. They roamed, his thumb brushing the curve of her breast, his other palm disappearing under her skirt, over her hip.

Alyssa didn't blink, much less fight him off.

What? In addition to this,  Luc has caught  Tyler ogling Alyssa naked…in her  own home.  Alyssa’s reaction? Not much of a reaction at all, in fact they had a conversation as he helped her out of the tub. Hell, I’d assume the same as Luc; she’s fucking the bouncer.

Happily, the stripper prejudice goes both ways. Alyssa is the target of a crazed lunatic and is on the receiving end of threatening notes and  break-ins, in other words, the usual. Rather than doing things  to protect  her own well being, she’s TSTL (as are all the characters in this book) and  ducks away from  Tyler and Luc to check in at Sexy Sirens. She’s talking to an employee and there’s this:

Though it was hard to take someone seriously wearing a thong and pasties, Alyssa couldn’t discount the dancer’s observation.

Yep, you read that right. She just knocked her own employee for doing something she does on a regular basis. You may think I’m nit picking here, but I promise you, there is a gem on nearly every page of this book.  At this point, I’m sure  you realize that the back-and-forth  between Luc and Alyssa consists of  Luc hating that he wants  Alyssa  and punishing her for it, Alyssa wanting  Luc but hating that he doesn’t want her, respect her or seem to give a rat’s ass about her:

"What I really wanted to hear was that you believed I didn't have sex with Tyler today."

Luc shrugged. "You don't owe me explanations."

"I don't," she agreed. "But I want to know what you really think."

It was probably pointless, but she couldn't stand him thinking she was the kind of woman who slept around.

He paused, seemingly lost in his thoughts, sorting through them. "You're too dedicated to your future to fuck away the afternoon the day

your happiness opens its doors."

Tears hit her instantly. He got it. He got her! It was a start.

Trust me, for much of the book, we don’t get beyond “start”. Luc’s jealous of any interaction she has with any other man, and backs it up with his crazy assertion that  <sarcasm> relationships  are difficult and  take work </sarcasm>.

No matter what route he took to fatherhood, he couldn't achieve it without a woman in the picture. Even if Alyssa supported his decision to adopt or undergo surgery or visit a sperm bank, she'd have to agree to go through the process with him, perhaps carry a child. And they'd have to find a way to make their passionate, difficult relationship work.

What kind of mother would she be? Certainly not like his own.

I nearly cried when I read the above, and this is the point the wheels fell off the bus for me. There are so many things wrong with it that I think any commentary would send me into rantsville, and I don’t want to go there.  In addition to all of the relationship angst, sexxoring and fighting,  there’s  a  buttload of  non-communication, miscommunication, intentional miscommunication,  oversharing (by secondary characters)  and an annoying background threat to Alyssa’s well-being that could be resolved/avoided if she’d just discuss her past with someone…anyone. This book is written in all seriousness, but the characters, plot and dialogue  are so unbelievable that I kept thinking my brain was going to spontaneously combust from the  absurdity. F.

~ Shuzluva

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Sydney (better known by her handle, Shuzluva) knew that she wanted to be Han Solo's copilot after seeing Star Wars at the tender age of 5. She fell in love with romance novels over 20 years ago when she got her hands on Sandra Brown's Texas! trilogy, and in the mid 90's was overjoyed to discover romance writers had branched out into the world of SciFi/fantasy. While she enjoys the occasional contemporary or historical novel, the world of SciFi holds an unshakable fascination for her. Some of her favorite authors include Nalini Singh, Catherine Asaro and Kresley Cole, and she's always interested in adding new authors to the list.

13 Comments

  1. Ellie
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 04:44:50

    I wish every review were this honest, I’d buy a lot fewer bad books.

  2. Jayne
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 04:58:14

    No matter what route he took to fatherhood, he couldn't achieve it without a woman in the picture.

    Too bad Luc is stuck with us pesky women. Now, if he could only clone himself, he could do away with women altogether! Except to f*ck the slutty ones. And we’re all slutty ones.

  3. JessW
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 06:39:27

    Thanks for the detailed review.
    The excerpts I’d seen on other sites were intriguing (and hot) but did not indicate how nonsensical the action and characters are.

  4. Randi
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 10:42:55

    Yup, this sounds like Shayla Black. It’s also why I’ve stopped reading her stuff.

  5. Maddie
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 10:51:17

    I have to disagree with the rating you gave this book, it was beyond an F.

    I love(d) Shayla Black and was so excited with Luc getting his own book and was pretty bummed out when it was with stripper Alyssa, because from the first book I didn’t care for her.

    After reading this book I liked her more than Luc, who came across as an A-hole, he was so so worried about Alyssa moral character that he forgot to look at his own lack of morals, plus his “mommy” issues don’t bode well for the future of his marriage, or his out look on women who are not up to his “mommy standard”

    I wanted to drop kicked his butt for his actions with his **************** back home while engaging Alyssa, not cool at all.

  6. Babs
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 12:01:23

    Wow! This sounds even worse than Decadent which was a train wreck of epic proportions. I don’t remember Luc being such as asshat in that one…that was Deke’s role.

  7. Debra S
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 13:50:29

    Thanks for giving us a real review this just saved me from buying it today at amazon.I did read her last one Luc was not such a asshat as Babs said wonder why she made him so nasty.I so wanted this book to be yummy oh well saved me some money to bad how sad.

  8. Alyson H.
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 15:09:44

    @Jayne:

    And we're all slutty ones.

    All but Mommy, of course. ;-)

  9. DeeCee
    Mar 03, 2010 @ 23:55:31

    Back when Shayla Black was Shelley Bradley I adored her books. Bound and Determined was one of my favorite books and her older historicals are still keepers. And then all the press with Decadent hit and I ran out to buy it. Utterly and flamboyantly bad. Just…out there. Trying to fill the niche erotica and romantica had created.

    I’m glad the review was so honest. The more fangirl a review the faster I run away from not only the book but the review site. Thanks!

  10. Cara McKenna
    Mar 04, 2010 @ 07:23:13

    I have something nice to say about it! Me me! Pick me!

    I love the cover. I’m totally jealous of the cover art… I’m sorry it doesn’t sound like the story delivered, but if the cover artist is lurking someplace, you can has fabulizz!

  11. Angela
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 03:12:46

    @Cara McKenna: lol, the cover art has been recycled many times–I recognize it from an Alison Kent SG-5 book and I think Mary Blayney’s first historical romance.

    Based on this review, it’s clear why the erotica/romantica boom is dying a slow, angsty death.

  12. sami lee
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 03:12:56

    It amuses me this idea that a man could have such a loudly ticking biological clock. What did Luc supposedly want? To stay home with the baby, get up to it during the night, nurse it (as best he could), clean house and cook for Alyssa the stripper, who would have to take over the breadwinning role while he kept the home fires burning. Huh? Huh? Who’s going to look after this kid if he doesn’t have a woman in the picutre. Him? He doesn’t immediately seem like the nurturing type, maybe that’s just my skeptical view of this ‘men have biological clocks too’ concept.

  13. We’re All Mean Girls Now « Read React Review
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 20:35:13

    [...] at Dear Author in a Shuzluva review of Shayla Black’s Delicious: It took me quite a while to get through this book, not because [...]

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