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Daily Deals: Four menages deals

Harlequin.com is offering 40% off their NYT bestsellers for 2012. This is a PRINT only coupon: BEST201240OFF. eBooks are not eligible for this promotion.

But Brian reported a Kobo coupon of 40% off so if you see a Harlequin digital book you like, you can probably pick it up from Kobo for the same price with the discount code VoucherCodes40 (Kobo link)

The Lovers Eden BradleyThe Lovers by Eden Bradley. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

It seemed ideal —two months at a writers’ retreat, surrounded by kindred souls. But Bettina Boothe wasn’t prepared for how long eight weeks truly was. Or that she would have to open up and reveal the most secret places in her body and soul.

Fortunately, her fellow authors do not share Bettina’s self-consciousness and begin to draw her out of her shell. One in particular—Audrey LeClaire—seems to ooze confidence. Dark and petite, Audrey’s sensuality draws men and women to her. Bettina is just as vulnerable, overwhelmed by a very unexpected attraction to Audrey.

But when Jack Curran arrives at the retreat, everything changes. Jack is tall, beautiful, masculine. A writer of dark thrillers, he’s as mysterious and alluring as his books. He and Audrey are obviously an item, but they eagerly welcome Bettina into their bed. Bettina finds herself swept up in a maelstrom of lust, obsession and jealousy, in a love triangle where she will be cherished…or consumed.

This is a Harlequin Spice book and that line was notorious for not having HEA/HFN endings. One review warned that this book was not for minors. (The cover…the blurb…um, okay) But generally, the negative reviews indicated that there was too much sex and not enough emotional development and what development there was came off insincere.

AmazonBNSonyKoboBook DepositoryAREApple

Calling the Shots By: Christine d'AboCalling the Shots by Christine d’Abo. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

He’s had a wild ride, and now sex club owner Josh Scott is looking for a change of scene. But first, he’s determined to bring two friends together, and he’s willing to be a third wheel to move things along…

Beth Norris is eager to be set up with hot bartender Oliver Stephenson, but she’s equally attracted to matchmaker Josh. Soon she’s fantasizing about both men at once-and about being the one to call the shots in the encounter…

Ready to move on with his life post-divorce, Oliver is conflicted by the realization that he’s attracted to women and men. Or more specifically, to Beth and Josh. He tries to keep his distance, but it’s not long before the chemistry between the trio combusts in a night of mind-blowing sex.

In the light of day, it’s clear something deeper than desire is growing between Josh, Beth and Oliver. But though Josh has helped others find love in unconventional relationships, is he willing to take a chance on one himself?

68,000 words

The reviews say that there is a ton of drama in this book and perhaps for a 70,000 word book, too much drama along with the conflicted feelings Oliver has for both Beth and Josh AND a suspense element.

AmazonBNSonyKoboBook DepositoryAREApple

Texas Tangle By: Leah BraemelTexas Tangle by Leah Braemel. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Thanks to her cheating ex-husband and her thieving brother, all horse breeder Nikki Kimball has left is a bruised heart, an overdrawn bank account and an empty home. When sex-on-legs Dillon Barnett and his brooding foster-brother Brett Anderson start showing more than just neighborly attention, Nikki is intrigued…and a little gun-shy.

Dillon and Brett have a history; back in high school, the two friends fought a bitter battle over Nikki. Now, ten years later, Brett still longs to be the man in Nikki’s life, but he’s determined to stand back and let Dillon win Nikki’s heart.

Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves. Is Nikki strong enough to break all the rules in order to find happiness?

73,000 words

I reviewed this book in 2010: While Texas Tangle isn’t a gem that I am going to re-read, it does provide more substance than many of the erotic romances I’ve read of late.

Nikki is a damsel in distress. Her no good cheating husband left two years ago. Her no good derelict brother is draining her dry. Her ranch is on the brink of bankruptcy and her truck just died. (This reminds me of the joke about country music. What do you get if you play a country record backwards? You get your girl back, your dog back, your truck back, etc).

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Sharing Hailey by Samantha Ann KingSharing Hailey by Samantha Ann King. $ 2.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

Hailey Anderson’s deep, dark secret? She’s been madly in lust with her overprotective brother’s two best friends for years. Gorgeous woodworking artist Mark Allen and sexy doctor Tony Adamo have no idea they star in her fantasies every night.

After a nasty breakup with her abusive boyfriend, Hailey’s looking for a little distance. Headed for a two-week Hawaiian vacation with her brother and his hot friends, Hailey can’t wait to feast her eyes on Mark’s and Tony’s rock-hard, ocean-slick bodies. Even if she can’t touch.

But instead of treating her like their little sister, Mark and Tony have a surprising proposition: a monogamous ménage à trois. The three of them—and no one else. Both men want Hailey and have agreed to share her. The red-hot reality is even better than the forbidden fantasy. Until Hailey’s ex threatens their newfound happiness?

86,000 words

Kati reviewed this book for us:

There were things that impressed me about the story, but also a lot of little things that I wish you’d done differently to make the book more effective. Hailey is a likeable girl. She’s smart and funny and is very loyal to those she loves. She also looks like Jennifer Aniston, but has no idea how good looking she is. Really? It may be a personal tick now that I’ve read several “50 Shades” types of books, but heroines who don’t know they’re pretty smack of Mary Sue to me. Also, I wish that you’d done more to differentiate Tony and Mark.

I read this and thought that there was simply too much going on in the book.

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

21 Comments

  1. Ros
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 14:03:39

    All Harlequin eBooks are 40% off at Books on Board this weekend. No code necessary.

    ReplyReply

  2. SusanS
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 14:24:35

    Long time lurker, first time commenter…
    Can someone explain to me the appeal of menage books? I am not being snarky, I genuinely want to understand. I’ve been reading romance novels for 35+ years and like to see 2 individuals with a HEA. I’m not picky about gender, race or species but I am kind of hung up on the number. So how can 3 people have a HEA? Does the heroine (in the case of most of the books on this page) pick one of the 2 guys or do they each provide something different and agree to share her? Thanks. This isn’t the sort of thing I want to Google, lest my computer start sending me ads and emails that I don’t wish to receive.

    ReplyReply

  3. azteclady
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 15:18:18

    @SusanS: I am not aiming for snark but what comes to mind is this: they either appeal to you, or not amount of explaining will make them appealing.

    ReplyReply

  4. cayenne
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 15:45:00

    @SusanS – I like menage books, but can’t explain why any more than I can explain why I don’t like PNR or UF or Inspirational; it’s just a preference. But I do appreciate that other readers enjoy them, so it’s not for me to point fingers.

    Re your questions: sometimes there are 2 people in the HEA and sometimes there are 3. Sometimes the menage is simply a plot episode within a 2-person relationship, and sometimes the story is the trio (or quatro, even) and how their relationship develops and ends up. It certainly allows for a bit of flexibility in the story to the HEA :)

    Hope this is helpful.

    ReplyReply

  5. CG
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 15:47:37

    @SusanS: Depending on the storyline, one of the guys may only be along for the pleasure and not part of the long-term relationship or he may play a facilitator role to bring two people together. In others, the ménage becomes a true polyamorous relationship complete with HEA for all. Just like anything, I think the appeal of the ménage romance depends on the specific reader. A few of the reasons I’ve heard are: Being the true love and center of attention of not just one, but two hawt guys. The taboo factor can be a big turn-on for some. Also, the angst can be upped because polyamory is frowned upon by society and it’s interesting to see how some characters negotiate/deal with this specific situation. I’m sure there are more reasons, but these are the few that immediately sprang to mind.

    ReplyReply

  6. chris booklover
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 16:15:43

    @SusanS:

    I can rarely read menage with a straight face, because the plots seem decidedly implausible. These stories feature hot alpha males who are desperately and crazily in love with the heroine and would not dream of touching another woman – but are perfectly happy to share her with their brothers and friends. Apart from a few fetishists (google cuckold porn) very few such men exist in the real world. (F/m/f novels such as Eden Bradley’s The Lovers are extremely rare and constitute a miniscule proportion of the menage genre).

    I’d like someday to read a novel about a couple who practice true polyamory – meaning that both the hero and the heroine have other sexual partners. Polyamorists claim that sexual fidelity is not necessary in a relationship, and practice what they call consensual non-monogamy. I don’t know if anyone can make this plotline work (the psychological strains seem obvious), but it’s a lot more realistic than the standard menage trope.

    ReplyReply

  7. azteclady
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 16:45:42

    @chris booklover: Not quite true–I can name at least three novels off the top of my head in which the men in the ménage love each other as much as the heroine, making these true triangles.

    For those curious: Emma Holly’s Demon’s Fire, and Lauren Dane’s Captivated (Federation series) and Laid Bare (Brown Siblings series)

    ReplyReply

  8. Moriah Jovan
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 17:20:33

    @chris booklover:

    I’d like someday to read a novel about a couple who practice true polyamory – meaning that both the hero and the heroine have other sexual partners. Polyamorists claim that sexual fidelity is not necessary in a relationship, and practice what they call consensual non-monogamy. I don’t know if anyone can make this plotline work (the psychological strains seem obvious), but it’s a lot more realistic than the standard menage trope.

    Actually, in the course of researching for my next book, I’ve had occasion to talk to several women who are in polyamorous relationships. It’s a delicate balance, but it CAN work, and every one of those triads are monogamous. They have different reasons for being in such relationships, but none of the people in the family go outside the relationship.

    I can rarely read menage with a straight face, because the plots seem decidedly implausible.

    This, I agree with.

    After having interviewed these women, having listened to how long it took them to come around to even CONSIDERING it, the realities and LEGALITIES of living this way (especially with kids in the mix), how difficult it is but also that they find it totally worth the work, I can’t read menage books anymore, either. I’m not saying none of these books have no basis in reality, but I’ve now talked to too many people whose reality is diametrically opposed to the ones I’ve read (and whose summaries I’ve read). It’s the fetishization of what I believe to be a legitimate lifestyle choice. (But for the most part, I have no problem with fetishization, so it’s no skin off my nose.)

    ReplyReply

  9. Violetta Vane
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 17:51:23

    I run a (currently inactive) menage review site and am right in the middle of writing a BDSM MMF (with zero millionaires). I’m a huge menage fan, but I’ll be the first to admit the genre is known for crap. Still, there are a lot of awesome stories to be found!

    Here’s why I like MMF, although I’ll also read MFF and sometimes MFM.

    - hot guys having sex
    - without erasing women
    - it’s nontraditional, which means less boring conventions and rules to follow
    - I love reading about bisexuals
    - I love reading group sex, voyeurism, double penetration, other kinks which are often (but not always) present in menage.

    I’ll happily admit to watching lots of porn involving threesomes, but when it comes to writing, I really want sex AND psychological complexity. The play between jealousy, intimacy, wanting a partner to be happy, societal strictures, etcetera makes for fascinating psychological conflicts to explore. One of the menage books I reviewed for my site was Ernest Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden, which has almost no sex, although it’s an extremely sensual book.

    Most menage books don’t take advantage of the potential for psychological complexity. I avoid “mate bond” ones like the plague… I feel like that’s a shortcut around all the issues I read menage for in the first place.

    ReplyReply

  10. Hits a nerve « Her Hands, My Hands
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 18:24:09

    [...] posted links to some daily deals, centered around ménage stories, and the comment asked if someone could please explain the appeal of these types of stories. I [...]

  11. LisaCharlotte
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 21:05:26

    I don’t typically read ménage, but did read and enjoy Lauren Dane’s Undercover. It’s one of my keepers.

    ReplyReply

  12. SusanS
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 21:46:20

    Thanks for the helpful comments. I appreciate the opportunity to learn about this genre in a safe space (as I mentioned, NOT by Googling it).

    ReplyReply

  13. CHH
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 00:04:42

    @Violetta Vane:

    What’s the difference between MMF and MFM?

    ReplyReply

  14. MikiS
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 01:14:53

    @CHH: MMF means all three people have sex with each other (includes male-on-male sexual activity), MFM means two men making love to a woman at the same time. Usually MFM makes a point of stressing that the men are “purely hetero”, but sometimes it’ll hint that maybe, someday, maybe…

    I’ve read a few MMF, and I’ve enjoyed the growing relationship and angst and recognition of the wider possibilities, but on the whole I don’t find the love scenes erotic, so I tend to avoid them. I prefer MFM. :)

    ReplyReply

  15. Violetta Vane
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 09:00:10

    @CHH: MikiS covered it. MFM = “don’t cross the streams. It would be bad.” MMF = “CROSS THE STREAMS!”

    I prefer MMF and try to avoid MFM, but I’ve read at least one I really liked and thought was pretty realistic. I’ve also read an interesting V-shaped MMF where the two men had a sexual relationship and so did one of the men and the woman, while the other man had an intimate but nonsexual relationship with the woman because that wasn’t his sexuality.

    ReplyReply

  16. cleo
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 12:44:59

    @chris booklover. I’d like to read more romances with a monogamish couple – a committed pair that opens up their relationship under certain, agreed upon, circumstances. I’ve read a few m/m with this (The Letter Z by marie sexton and Special Delivery and Double Blind by heidi cullinan) but no m/f that i can think of.

    @violetta vane and MikiS. Thanks for the info re MMF. I’ve read a few mfm, which i didn’t much care for (the whole “sharing my woman” thing bugged me) and some mmm, which i enjoyed mire. MMF sounds like it might work for me.

    ReplyReply

  17. cleo
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 12:53:24

    @Violetta Vane: What’s the title of that V-shaped MMF? It sounds similar to a Black Lace title that I read years ago and can’t remember enough to find it again – iirc the set up was that a woman rented a room (or something) to a gay male couple, had a huge crush on one of the men, who turned out to be bi. All of them had a threesome together, but I think the woman and bi man also had a sort of separate sexual relationship, which I think didn’t end his relationship with his boyfriend (not sure about that actually – all I remember clearly is the set, not the resolution).

    ReplyReply

  18. Violetta Vane
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 13:02:57

    @cleo: Steal Away by Amber Green (I capsule-reviewed it here). Cheesy cover, but absolutely awesome, unique, fun story.

    ReplyReply

  19. azteclady
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 14:36:45

    @Violetta Vane: And there’s Anne Herendeen’s Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander, reviewed here by Sarah, she of the Smart Bitches.

    ReplyReply

  20. cleo
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 17:44:14

    @azteclady: I read that! Huh. I’d completely forgotten about it – apparently I have read a couple mmf books. I remember both really enjoying it and liking how different it is and thinking that there was way, way too much plot and that it got in the way of the character development and romance.

    @Violetta Vane: Thanks. That looks like fun.

    ReplyReply

  21. Robyn Carr’s Virgin River (the series) — a commentary. « Her Hands, My Hands
    Jan 24, 2013 @ 04:11:49

    [...] looooooooooong!) series¹. This is basically a bunch of incoherent musings inspired by this and this conversations over at Dear Author, and the fact that I found myself re reading the first few of the [...]

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