Breathing Shallow
by Stephanie Adkins, contemporary (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-59578-525-1


When Breathing Shallow opens, it has been one year since poor Kristen Carter had been left standing at the altar after her bridegroom-that-wasn't decided to run off with a man. Still, having to deal with a broken air-conditioner and her mother's attempts to set her up with guys aren't so bad after all when Kristen happens to look out the window and sees her neighbor Ayden McKenzie helping some random woman discover religion in his bed. Needless to say, Kristen's now intrigued enough to want to discover her neighbor up close and personal.

Poor Ayden, he actually wants a serious girlfriend. He wants someone he can talk to after sex. Aww, how sweet, eh? But the woman he's with seems interested in just one thing only, and the poor darling is now feeling blue. When he hears the sound of his neighbor's lovemaking with some random bloke, he's intrigued. Will these two ever get it on together instead of just watching or listening as the other person gets down with other people? And if they do, will Ayden finally find a woman who respects him and sees him as more than just a walking multiple orgasm provider?

Breathing Shallow is a nice title for a story and the concept of the story is also an interesting one. Unfortunately, the author also ends up killing the mood with her own narrative techniques here. For example, after describing Kristen's first voyeuristic encounter with Ayden's sexual prowess, the author immediately launches into a backstory about Kristen's dumping a year ago. I don't know about anyone else, but immediately following a heated scene with a woe-is-me moment isn't a cool down as much as it is a splash of cold water in one's face. Also, when Kristen and Ayden finally get it on, it happens so quickly and in such a perfunctory manner that I have to go back and re-read Ayden's scenes with his floozy to remind myself that he really did seem much more enthusiastic when he's boinking that woman. Since when did sex with one's supposed true love has to be this boring? Where is the pay-off?

There are some good scenes here, such as the final scene where the heroine meets the hero all drenched due to the rain. It's a melodramatic scene, but still, it works as a rather dramatic example of the sad-silly things fools can do in the name of love. It's just that the overall prose tend to be on the clumsy and clunky side, with the author often making premature jumps from scene to scene or inserting boring information dump at moments that interrupt the flow of her story.

The idea is there, the concept is such that this could have been an interesting erotic romance that is different from others in the market, but alas, the author fails to put together the story in a way that would have allowed the story to really take off.

Rating: 71


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