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REVIEW:  Prince Charming Wears Garters by Clancy Nacht

REVIEW: Prince Charming Wears Garters by Clancy Nacht

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Sara feels like her life is on track. She has the career of her dreams as a senior art director at one of the hot ad agencies in town. Her only real annoyance is the womanizing account executive in the office next door, Chuck.

When Chuck lands a new account, he sets his sights on Sara to work with him, but she gets the feeling he’s looking for more. Working late one night she discovers Chuck’s secret: he loves wearing ladies lingerie. Surprising to her, she can’t resist his long legs in silky stockings and her lust drives her to begin an ill-advised affair.

As a career-oriented woman, she’s not sure if she’s ready to balance her steamy encounters with work life, and she’s positive that trying to date Chuck would be a disaster. Yet, each time they get together she can’t help but speculate on what Prince Charming’s wearing under his well-tailored trousers.

Dear Clancy Nacht,

While looking over the latest offerings from Loose Id, it struck me that I can only recall ever reviewing one book with a transvestite character. That was enough to make me request your book. But while I thought I was going to get Lite and Funny, things took a turn for darker while also veering away from the lingerie.

“Prince Charming” has a fast, funny start with the image of prairie dog junior workers popping up over the cube farm that is their workplace to check out the latest office scandal – Chuck’s newest ex yelling at him- or later on – his riveting interactions with Sara. Sound, and gossip, certainly does carry there.

Sara and Chuck are quickly thrown together on a new ad campaign but I liked that Sara is already established and successful at her job. She can yank Chuck’s chain a little and not worry about losing her job as well as putting him in his place a few times to remind him she’s not to be messed with.

The plot then moved zippity quick to sex. The main pull of story could have been utilized more and I wish it had. By the end, even I was starting to think I might share Sara’s men-in-garters fetish. You did make that sexy and hot. Still Sara never asks Chuck what got him started wearing women’s undergarments nor does she ask him where he buys his lacy, frilly, silky smooth, fishnet wonders. But then see above about hot smexy smex in the office – though watch that carpet please.

Dane and Trey are Sara’s two GBFFs but at least Trey is an architect and Dane makes a living at his art production. Yeah it’s a little much with the trip to day spa but they’re happily married so that evens it out a bit. Chuck is already pre-programmed to fall for Sara due to her ex’s rants which told him that this unknown woman was his perfect match. That helps my belief in his belief in their relationship jump starting so quickly.

Chuck’s angsty back story life also gets ladled on which moves their feelings way deeper than would be expected but with a shorter page count, every shortcut to emotional intimacy counts.

Sara really has the sh*t luck in her jobs and this is where the book took a sharp right turn into the dark side that I wasn’t expecting. All of a sudden, my fun flirty little read is all Really Deep Shi*t and where did that come from? Should I have been expecting this in a book set in the advertising world? Is it still Mad Men and sexual harrassment for all women in that industry regardless of their position? Wow.

Which leads me to warn about triggers. The scene is written so well that I was with Sara in feeling helpless as it progressed. I just wish she had been the one to administer a sharp kick where it counts but I guess in the end, she and the others hit the whole agency where it hurts.

Sara’s initial shame and feelings of responsibility for what almost occured make me sad for her and mad at the world that this still happens. I mean really? Even her female mentor was going to let this go on? Wow. Just makes me so glad my profession is not this way.

I like the funny, I like the sexy and I’m still turning over my thoughts about liking the lace (though I wish there’d been more of it) , plus I always like cats but I think readers need to be ready for some office harrassment and the “quick on the draw” relationship. B-

~Jayne

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REVIEW:  His Fair Lady by Kimberly Gardner

REVIEW: His Fair Lady by Kimberly Gardner

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“Mark Talleo is something of a dog with the ladies. Any girl, anytime, anywhere is his motto until he meets Josie Frazier. The long lean redhead not only shares his love of musical theatre, but her smoky sexy voice and infectious laugh drive Mark wild and haunt his every step. Equally fascinating is his sense that she has a secret, one he is determined to uncover on his way to becoming her leading man.

Josie does have a secret, one she guards with her whole self. Although she has always known she was female, her name used to be Joey and she’s still biologically male. As much as she yearns for love and acceptance, her fear of rejection is just as strong.

Mark’s need to know the truth is matched only by Josie’s need to hide it. But when malicious gossip reveals her deepest secret the price of honesty may turn out to be too high to pay. But if each can accept that the woman he wants is the woman she is then at last he may find His Fair Lady.”

Dear Ms. Gardner,

I’ll be honest and admit that the main reason I picked this book to try is because it has a transgender character. It’s not that I have any fetishes, I’m just trying to make sure our LGBTTQ reviews at DA actually have some characters who are BTTQ. To find any stories that delve into issues faced by this community is hard since I haven’t found that many being published. To find a nicely written one is a treat.

I liked Josie from the start. She’s smart, not easily bowled over when a hot guy asks her out and makes Mark work to get her attention and a date. So sure, a bit of this is because she’s got a secret and hasn’t dated much but a lot is due to some inner quality I sense in her that won’t accept second best or anyone only trying to see if he can get in her pants. My thoughts were validated later in the story when she verbally lets Mark have it after All Is Revealed and he panics. She does cry but only after a few choice shouted lines calling Mark on his cowardice.

Mark’s not too bad either but did notice that he’s really not the “dog” mentioned in the blurb. Perhaps I wouldn’t have taken to his character quite as much if he had been but the fact is that his only offense in this department seems to be not being firm enough in ending an almost over relationship. Once his attention is caught by Josie though, he’s a goner. He presses, retreats slightly so as not to be thought a stalker, makes sure Josie gets home, sees her to her door, calls her mother “ma’am,” and behaves as if someone raised him right. But he’s not unbelievable either given that his dorm room is a pit, he cheerfully calls his friend and roommate an asswipe, and would gladly get Josie into bed if she’s willing.

Josie’s anxieties and fears about revealing her gender are worked into the narrative without it seeming to flip on a neon “sign” stating ISSUES HERE! She takes care with her necklines and pulling her hair back from her throat, is silently grateful that her hormones will help her hide any erection she might get when things get hot and heavy with Mark, worries if a transgendered professor has realized her secret and has to face the fallout when her gender becomes known. And while this isn’t a “everything is genderly wonderful world,” it’s one that is perhaps more open since it takes place on a college campus, among theater arts majors, and with a hero who has a gay brother. I was watching to see how Josie’s and Mark’s parents were portrayed and was happy that this novella doesn’t have the disapproving families trope.

Perhaps all of the above mitigating factors smooth over the real dangers trans people face daily. Maybe Mark ends up being Super Boyfriend who is still sexually turned on by Josie despite the fact that she’s not planning on having gender reassignment surgery. But I enjoyed that the story focuses mainly on Josie and Mark and reaching their HFN – maybe HEA. B

~Jayne

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