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Daily Deals: Storm generators, comedic noir, Regency and menage

The Big Kiss-off of 1944The Big Kiss-off of 1944 by Andrew Bergman. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Searching for a chorus girl’s stag film, Jack LeVine stumbles on a sinister political plot

Like all chorus girls, Kerry Lane yearns to get her name on the marquee. After years of high-kicking, she lands a bit part in a Broadway smash hit which should lead to better things. The only thing holding her back is her past: specifically a series of stag films from her days as a struggling wannabe film starlet. When a blackmailer demands a payoff to keep them out of the public eye, Kerry comes to Jack LeVine. Stocky, sweaty, and bald, LeVine is a Jewish private detective who makes a living by being polite. But underneath his smile lies a bulldog. Lured by long legs and a roll of crisp twenties, LeVine takes Kerry’s case. But before he can speak to the blackmailer, the crook turns up dead. As LeVine hunts for Kerry’s pictures, he finds that the heart of this case is even uglier than greed, lust, or murder. It’s politics.

Andrew Bergman (b. 1945) is a successful comedy screenwriter and occasional author of hard-boiled mysteries. After receiving a PhD in American history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Bergman sold Tex X, a novella about a black sheriff in the Old West, to Warner Bros. The studio hired him to turn his story into a screenplay, as part of a team of comedy legends led by Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor. The result was Blazing Saddles (1974), which is widely regarded as one of the funniest films of all time. After that early success, Bergman published the first two novels in a mystery series starring Jack LeVine, a hard-boiled Jewish PI. After The Big Kiss-Offof 1944 and Hollywood and LeVine, he continued writing and directing films, producing such classics as Fletch, The Freshman, and Soapdish. In 2001 he returned to LeVine in Tender Is LeVine. Bergman continues to live and write in New York City.

Bergman co wrote the screenplay for Blazing Saddles. The few reviews I’ve seen indicate that the Blazing Saddles humor is evident but that the story isn’t as strong as the wit.

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Rule of Three by Kelly JamiesonThe Rule of Three by Kelly Jamieson. $ Free

From the Jacket Copy:

When wicked-sexy Dag returns to catch up with his old college buddy Chris and meet The Girlfriend, old feelings resurface, new attractions are explored, and a storm of sexual sparks is unleashed that leads them into forbidden areas.

Kassidy blossoms under the attentions of two loving men, but neither she nor Chris are expecting the ménage to take a quarter turn toward Dag…and his feelings for Chris. When it’s revealed that Dag’s attraction to Chris is one big reason he left town, a tangled mess of old hurts and new feelings might destroy friendship. Love. Might destroy everything.

Even the three star reviews praised the book for addressing the menage aspects well.

And that’s where Rule of Three stood out above all the ménage stories I have read so far. It explores in detail and depth the emotional struggles, doubts and fears the parties in such a sexual and couple relationship deal with. In most cases ménage stories gloss over the doubts and problems such arrangement would cause for the couple, their entourage and society in general (if they don’t skip these altogether), so the realistic approach Kelly Jamieson took in Rule of Three was a welcome change!

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Storm (Elemental) by Brigid KemmererStorm (Elemental) by Brigid Kemmerer. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys– the ones she doesn’t want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her.

Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water–just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming. . .

This has an older YA feel to it (verging on the cusp of NA). I reviewed this book and enjoyed the story quite a bit.  Chris is an angry young man and he reacts poorly, all the while knowing he is reacting poorly.  Becca suffers because of her scars and she doesn’t really understand a power that she has inside her.  I’d recommend at the $1.99 price.

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Bedding Lord Ned      by     Sally MacKenzieBedding Lord Ned by Sally MacKenzie. $ 1.99.

From the Jacket Copy:

Determined to find a husband, Miss Eleanor “Nell” Bowman attends a ball put on by the Duchess of Greycliffe, fondly referred to as the Duchess of Love. But she roundly dismisses the suitors the matchmaking hostess has invited on her behalf. For it’s the duchess’s dashing son Ned, Lord Edward, who long ago captured Nell’s heart—and roused her desire. All it takes is a pair of conveniently misplaced silky red bloomers to set the handsome widower’s gaze on this unusual girl who is clearly more than meets the eye…

After more than a year of mourning, Ned longs to finally start anew. At first glance, the birthday ball his mother has thrown in his honor is decidedly lacking in suitable mistresses. But he senses something unexpectedly alluring beneath the veil of Nell’s plain exterior—something she’s anxious to reveal, and the lonely Lord is incapable of denying…

Fans of MacKenzie say that Lord Ned is a seriously underdeveloped character and they weren’t sure why Nell pursued him. He is the son of a couple in a previous book “The Duchess of Love” and perhaps therein lies the attraction. PW says its funny.

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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. MrsJoseph
    May 15, 2013 @ 14:09:23

    I’m not finding Rule of Three for free at Kobo ($4.45) or ARE($5.50). Samhain is showing it for free, however.

  2. Sophia
    May 15, 2013 @ 15:14:56

    Aw man. I thought you said regency ménage, not regency and ménage.

  3. Laurla
    May 15, 2013 @ 16:00:38

    I’ve read Rule of Three twice – and I enjoyed it the same both times. What I liked about it that was that the males were also emotionally engaged with each other and that’s different than most menage stories I’ve read (which is admittedly somewhat limited). Usually you find 2 (or three…) men that are *in lust/love* with the female and end up *sharing* her. In Rule of Three, the men are as emotionally invested in each other (though one doesn’t want to admit it as he is homophobic) as the original couple in the book. I think it’s a beautiful love story and I agree it’s done quite well. The closest second is Lorelei James’ book in the Rough Rider series Rough, Raw, and Ready.

  4. Kaetrin
    May 15, 2013 @ 23:37:47

    FWIW, I really liked Rule of Three. I thought Bedding Lord Ned was boring and kind of meh.

  5. DB Cooper
    May 16, 2013 @ 08:32:06

    So I want to ask before I go on assuming, but:

    Is “menage” here is a category term for stories that involve multiple concurrent sexual partners?

    I’ve seen a lot since I’ve started reading DA and looking into the erotica and romance side of things. I’m inclined to think it comes as a short-hand use of ménage à trois , which in turn is used as a “fancy-colloquial” way to say threesome.

    I’m also curious if, given some of the historical (and NA, exploratory) focus, if this isn’t also being used to categorized interesting living arrangements and people sorting out their complex relationships? — (on that point, I think it’s good that Rule of Three wants to explore the complexities and not just the excitement). Has it ever been used for a story in which the characters don’t engage in a three-way (or more) sex romp?

    This one is interesting to me, because I really love language, but I also find it frustrating watching it actively evolve. :D

  6. kathy cole
    May 17, 2013 @ 20:00:39

    @DB Cooper: Menage for three (or more) partners who are sexually and romantically involved, though M/F/M you don’t see the guys involved with each other romantically or sexually for the most part. A subset has the men as siblings or otherwise closely related, and again, not involved with each other either romantically or sexually.

    M/F/M men involved with the woman; M/M/F all three romantically/sexually linked – those describe the relationships, with sex scenes a mix of two of the partners to all of the partners.

    (The menage could also be temporary, rather than a long-term triad or or more; one party involved with the couple will get a follow-up story later.)

    I don’t think I’ve seen housemates get shorthanded as menage in a romance book, and definitely not in an erotic romance, unless I misunderstood the question.

    Also true the complexities of actually living the life as an open threesome or more-some doesn’t get addressed, but a lot of the stories are shorter.

  7. Jane
    May 18, 2013 @ 07:05:12

    Agree. The ménage is just shorthand for me. I know I should be using the whole phrase though.

  8. DB Cooper
    May 18, 2013 @ 21:50:32

    Actually @Jane, I’m ok with you using just “menage”. After all, you’re far from the only book related site that uses menage in that context (for instance, I’ve definitely seen it at book sellers).

    I think what both bothers and interests me, is that (I get the feeling that) people are using ménage à trois is being used to mean “threesome sexual encounter”. From looking into it, it seems like its original (?) / prior usage was more about the living arrangements–three people who have sexual relations, living in the same house–than it was about three people sexing it together all at once. Literally, a “household of three”.

    Think a man, his wife, and his mistress in the same house. Georgiana Cavendish comes to mind.

    …of course, I shouldn’t be one to throw stones. I took ménage à trois to mean “threesome” too, until I looked it up recently. I think it was realizing my poor french understood what “à trois” meant, but was curious about “ménage”. I had a sneaking suspicion that it was related to the word menagerie, though, and so I finally got off my tail and did some word searching. :)

    And now like someone who has learned something new recently, I’m babbling. so I wish you all a good night :)

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