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REVIEW: Silent Surrender by Barbara J. Hancock

Dear Ms. Hancock,

After reading and reviewing your impressive novella, Ghost in the Machine, I was eager for more of your work and curious as to what your writing was like in other genres. Silent Surrender, your new Spice Brief, caught my attention and I decided to try it.

Alexia arrives at the Rivera hotel and resort for a vacation harried by her phone. Alexia is a trader on Wall Street and it is difficult for her to carve out even two days to get away from her stressful job. She doesn’t know she is being watched by Carlos Rivera, who observes her dealing with a couple of crises as she checks in.

Carlos is impressed and intrigued, and he later approaches Alexia, who is sitting at the bar, with two champagne glasses. Alexia is appreciative of the fine champagne, and even more of the man’s gorgeous appearance. He speaks no words, but his eyes say volumes. Soon Alexia and Carlos are dancing together, and not long after that, sexxoring in a private dining alcove.

Rivera spirits Alexia away to his penthouse suite, where they spend the night, still saying not a word. But will Rivera’s silence content Alexia, and how will she react when she learns why he won’t speak?

This was a charming little short. Your writing here is atmospheric and seductive, so the absence of dialogue worked almost as well for me as it did for Alexia. I can’t say that I didn’t guess where the story was going plot-wise, because I did, but though not as compelling as Ghost in the Machine, it was still enjoyable.

What surprised me was that the sex was pretty vanilla for an erotic story. Also, some of the metaphors, such as “the dress sighed into a forgotten fabric puddle at her feet,” worked for me beautifully while others did not – for example: “Butterflies? The thrill that arced from her nipples to her stomach and beyond was more jet airplanes engaged in aerial acrobatics.”

But the characters were so very easy to like and want the best for, and I was glad for the outcome of their encounter (not things I take for granted in a Spice Brief these days), so this one gets a C+.




Janine Ballard loves well-paced, character driven novels in historical romance, fantasy, YA, and the occasional outlier genre. Recent examples include novels by Katherine Addison, Meljean Brook, Kristin Cashore, Cecilia Grant, Rachel Hartman, Ann Leckie, Jeannie Lin, Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Miranda Neville, and Nalini Singh. Janine also writes fiction. Her critique partners are Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran and Bettie Sharpe. Her erotic short story, “Kiss of Life,” appears in the Berkley anthology AGONY/ECSTASY under the pen name Lily Daniels. You can email Janine at janineballard at gmail dot com or find her on Twitter @janine_ballard.


  1. LeeF
    May 08, 2012 @ 11:51:20

    Maybe it’s because I just voted in the cover contest but the cover on this one turned me off even before I read your review.

  2. Brie
    May 08, 2012 @ 12:01:58

    I don’t think the cover is bad! Maybe I’m getting soft, but I’ve seen much worse.

    I really, really liked Ghost in the Machine. This one is obviously a different type of story, but I’m tempted. The problem is the price, $2.51 for 23 pages? I think it’s too much, even if I like the author. But you tempt me!

  3. Janine
    May 08, 2012 @ 12:18:15

    @LeeF: Like Brie, I like this cover. It’s really not too bad for an erotic short story.

    @Brie: I liked Ghost in the Machine considerably better than I liked Silent Surrender (although I did like it mildly). Ghost in the Machine has stuck with me and this one, though pleasant and sweet, is starting to fade from memory. I really need to read some of her other post-apocalyptic stuff.

  4. Jennie
    May 08, 2012 @ 19:08:25

    Now I’m curious about the reason for the hero’s silence! I may have to check this one out…

  5. Kaetrin
    May 08, 2012 @ 20:30:31

    Ack! It’s $4.47 for me in Australia – for 23 pages? I don’t think so.

  6. Janine
    May 09, 2012 @ 10:59:49

    @Kaetrin: Sorry to hear about the price. Even here in the US it isn’t cheap.

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