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Vegas

Dear Author

What Happens in Vegas by Jodi Lynn Copeland, Lauren Dane, Kit...

Hot for You by Jodi Lynn Copeland. This is a friends to lovers story (the first of two in the anthology). Carinna was a cocktail waitress at The Liege, a resort in Las Vegas. She likes her men like her martinis “dirty as a girl could get ‘em.” The man she want right now is her good friend, Jack. Jack is a local fireman who is working to parlay his mastery at the poker table into a classic car restoration business. Carrina loves Jack and Jack loves Carrina but Carrina can’t allow herself to have a relationship.

The story is told in alternating first person. I don’t mind this technique and I thought the author did a good job showing the distinct personalities through the varying narration but I did feel that Jack’s narration was a bit florid with unintentionally comic results:

The thought of her warm pussy sucking at my tongue had me returning to that fateful night four months ago.

“Pussy sucking” and “fateful nights” aren’t two phrases that I ordinarily would put together in the mind of one man. The paragraph goes on having Jack ponder their “intertwined destiny”. The problem with this story along with all but Dane’s is that the non stop sex (aka pussy sucking) overshadowed any character development (fateful nights). Carrina’s rationale for not wanting permanency with Jack was a common one (for romances) but not well developed which made her look foolish and sometimes mean. C-

Stripped by Lauren Dane. Dahlia is a burlesque dancer at The Dollhouse. She’s dancing to pay for graduate school. Nash Emery, brother of the owner of The Dollhouse, sees Dahlia and crassly hits on her, assuming that private performances can easily be obtained. Dahlia turns him down flat. Nash is intrigued and begins showing up on a regular basis and continues to pursue Dahlia.

The problem I had with this story was that it lacked conflict until the very last. It was a good conflict wherein Dahlia questions whether she, a burlesque dancer, can fit in with Nash’s upper crust, wealthy society crowd. I did feel this was undercut a bit by the fact that Nash’s brother owns The Dollhouse, but it was sold fairly well. The problem was that it was too little, too late. C

Red-Handed by Kit Tunstall. Amy and her cousin, Kevin, try to rip off The Liege and get caught. Amy is hauled to a back room and is threatened with owner and knife wielding maniac, Roan Cavello. Immediately upon discovering that Amy is a woman and not the young boy Cavello thought she was, he gets a hard on and starts thinking about “driving his cock into her pussy”.

“Torn between guilt and curiosity, he continued his perusal, deciding she had nice legs from what he could see under the baggy denim. In her current state, she was a six, but, with the right tools, she could definitely be an eight.”

So he carts the thief off to his bedroom where she bargains off her debt by serving as his sub for six weeks. At this point, the sexual tension was so contrived that I just had no desire to keep reading about these two. I know that space is short in an anthology contribution, but there was no transition from hating cheaters to enslaving them as a sex sub. Roan goes from holding a knife to her to calling her “Beloved little cheat” within the space of about five pages and Amy being told “Your body already knows who its new master is” within that same space. He’s lying on top of her, fondling her breasts and her body suddenly knows that there is a new master? That breast must be some kind of receptor. DNF.

The Deal by Anya Bast. Cassidy is a shill at The Liege where she goes around gambling with house money and encouraging patrons to play more freely. James carter was a dealer at The Liege and the best friend of Cassidy’s former fiance, Damian. Damian had stood her up at the altar much to James’ delight and guilt. Delight because James had always wanted Cassidy and guilt because he was happy that Damian stood her up.

James has been biding his time until he can approach Cassidy and once they physically get together, he believes the deal is sealed. Cassidy is determined that the physical aspect of their relationship not affect their friendship in anyway. James response to this is to bet Cassidy a card game where the winner gets to decide five nights of sex. I had no idea what the card game had to do with keeping the physical aspect of the friendship separate from the friendship. It seemed that it would only exacerbate the mixed feelings that Cassidy was trying to balance, but since this was an erotic romance, who cares about those nit picky plot things. Bast is actually one of my favorite erotic romance anthology writers but this one seemed all sex and no emotional connection. C-

What Happens in Vegas is an erotic romance but the emphasis was on the sex and not so much on the romance.

This book can be purchased in trade paperback from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

REVIEW:  Sucker Bet by Erin McCarthy

REVIEW: Sucker Bet by Erin McCarthy

Dear Ms. McCarthy:

042521718301mzzzzzzz.jpgI’ve really enjoyed this series and with the release of the series in mass market from the original trade publications, I think you might start finding the audience you deserve. The vampire genre is full but I do believe there is always room for well done fun fiction and this series surely fits that niche.

Sucker Bet, as most of the books in the “Vegas Vampire Series”, are written a bit tongue in cheek as you take advantage of the vampire motifs to poke fun at the mystique of both vampires and Las Vegas. Vampires and Vegas – it’s the perfect combination.

Gwenna Carrick, is the sister of the President of the Vampire Nation and ex-wife of the VP, Roberto Donatelli. She has been known for almost all of her life by her association with the men in her life. Recently divorced from Donatelli (300 years ago but these are immortals), Gwenna still lives in the shadow of her brother, living in his hotel, supported by his money. Gwenna spends a lot of time online because that is when she feels useful, as if she is contributing to the vampire community by infiltrating a vampire slayer email listserv. She suspects many on the email list are just playing around but that a few are serious. When one of the more serious listserv denizens invites her to meet, she agrees.

Upon arriving at the meeting place, Gwenna finds that someone has been murdered. Detective Nate Thomas answers the call to investigate the death of a young man on a monorail platform. There he finds Gwenna looking a bit bewildered. A comic misunderstanding takes place as Nate pegs her as totally foolish to meet an unknown stranger from the internet. We as the reader knows that the stranger should have been afraid of Gwenna. It’s a great source of literary irony.

“Look Gwenna, just tell me what you know about the guy you were meeting.”

“I just know the user name he goes by. It’s Slash87.”

“User name? Online?”

“Yes.” Her cheeks got a little pink.

“You were meeting a guy you met on the Internet?”

She nodded.

Christ. Why did everyone suddenly think it was a good idea to hook up online with total strangers and meet them in unsafe locales without knowing jack shit about them other than the fact that they used freakin’ smileys in their damn e-mails? Yeah, Nate was officially out of patience.

Nate proceeds to lecture Gwenna on the dangers of meeting strange men near a train station. Gwenna can’t really explain that she is stronger, more dangerous than any man out there so she just patiently allows his lecturing to run out.

Gwenna later runs into Nate at the hospital where Nate is saying goodbye to his terminally ill sister and Gwenna is celebrating the birth of a new vampire nation baby (nice juxtaposition). She sees that Nate is struggling emotionally and reaches out to him. This leads to an intimate encounter that takes both of them by surprise. Gwenna is beginning to awaken from her cosseted cocoon to realize that she must be proactive. Nate becomes the first victim in her desire to be her own woman.

I enjoyed this chrysalis story but was a bit disappointed at how trivially parts of the story were treated particularly the vampire reveal to Nate. That part did not ring very true to me and I was surprised that Gwenna didn’t suffer a great emotional struggle when it came to certain decisions she made about her and Nate’s relationship.

Having said that, I did enjoy the humor and Gwenna. I loved seeing her gain more control over her life as well as more confidence in herself. Nate is a sexy counterpart, but is a fairly standard romancelandia detective: strong, hot, and overworked. Gwenna is what makes the story for me but Nate definitely added some sizzle. B

Best regards,

Jane

This book can be purchased in trade paperback or ebook format.
As a side note, I read at Amazon that the paper copies were missing pages 188 – 221 so if you buy this book in the store be sure to check that the paper copy you are buying is complete.