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REVIEW: Chance of a Lifetime by Portia Da Costa

Dear Ms. da Costa:

big_costa-clifetime-drmYou are one of SuperLibrarian’s favorite authors and I’ve always resolved to give your books a try.   This Harlequin Spice Brief seemed like a good way for me to get an introduction to your writing.   In the context of a short, short story, I learned a couple of things. You can write very sexy work and everything said in British slang sounds less dirty than told in American slang.   As part of the constraints of the short, short story, however, the love story is less than convincing.

Rose is working a temporary job at Blaystock Manor, the home of a marquis.   She’s got a job waiting for her in a few weeks as a junior manager of a luxury resort in the Caribbean.   Until then she cleans, helps with renovations as Blaystock is turned into a hotel.   As part of her cleaning duties, she stumbled upon a small hidden room with an old VCR and a bunch of tapes.   Rose describes herself as being “irredeemably nosy” and thus just has to discover what are on those tapes.   

The home movies show the marquis indulging in his sex fantasies which comprise mostly of him spanking women.   When Rose is found out, she’s endlessly embarassed but the marquis responds with quite a bit of aplomb:

“Hey, there’s no harm done,” the marquis says softly   “Now we both know each other’s dirty little secrets.”   He squeezes my shoulders.   “I get off spanking girls’ bottoms and having them wriggling on my lap.   And you get off watching videos of it and playing with yourself.”

The two engage in satisfying each others’ fantasies but Rose has a good job waiting for her and Christian, the Marquis, has a boatload of death and not much more to offer.

This has a traditional romance ending for those who are wondering but because of the brevity of the story, it’s really more an accounting of sexual antics than a journey of emotional fulfillment.   B-

Best regards


This book can be purchased in ebook format only from the Sony Store.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Portia Da Costa
    Dec 26, 2008 @ 02:39:41

    Many, many thanks for the review, Jane! I had lots of fun writing Chance of a Lifetime. :)

    It’s a bit late to wish you a Merry Christmas, but here’s wishing all at Dear Author a happy, peaceful and fulfilling New Year.


  2. K. Z. Snow
    Dec 26, 2008 @ 16:34:52

    I like PDC’s stories — nothing coy about them. In defense of all erotic shorts, though, I must caution readers to keep in mind those two words: erotic and short.

    It really is a shame so many publishers insist on calling these “romances.” Almost invariably, the romance element is doomed to fall flat. Given the length constraints of EC’s “Quickies” or HQN’s “Spice Briefs” or similar tidbits offered by other pubs, it’s virtually impossible to pack in explicit sex scenes and weave a believable, fully developed romance. I do think readers and reviewers need to adjust their expectations accordingly.

    Maybe, someday, publishers will begin to distinguish between short stories intended primarily to appeal to our prurient interests and those intended primarily to satisfy our need for engaging plots and characters. In the meantime, as long as authors are expected to jam both into a handful of pages, one element or the other is bound to suffer.

  3. Portia Da Costa
    Dec 27, 2008 @ 14:01:24

    Thanks, K. Z.!

  4. kirsten saell
    Dec 28, 2008 @ 02:33:18

    This was my inaugural story for my brand-spankin’-new Sony, and it was wonderful. I always love Portia’s stuff, and I’m realistic about the HEA in an erotic short. I’m not hugely into spanking in my erotica, but her stories have a way of grabbing you and making you reconsider your predilictions…

  5. Portia Da Costa
    Dec 28, 2008 @ 04:14:21

    Thanks, Kirsten! I’m well chuffed that Chance was your first Sony read, and even happier that the story worked for you.

    I didn’t know Spice Briefs were available for Sony, so that’s great news. I read ebooks on a Palm Tungsten T3 at the mo, but I’m seriously considering getting a dedicated reader. A lot of the ereaders aren’t widely available in the UK yet, but the Sony is, so it’s looking like a contender. Esp. if I can read Harlequin books on it. :)

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