Night Of Inspiration
by Jenna Allen, contemporary (2005)
Phaze, $2.00, ISBN 1-59426-528-3


While there is romance in this story, the sex scenes of Night Of Inspiration have an upfront and adventurous kink to them that are more commonly found in erotica. If this is an erotica, I've no doubt that things would go as far as spouse-swapping, but the formula of the romance genre means that voyeurism and using the neighbor's bed for sex are as far as things would go in this book.

A little like a more benign Wisteria Street, the street where our couples live at see its share of matrimonial bumps. Trevor and Megan are newlyweds trying to make ends meet and keeping their marriage alive through the rocky first few months after the honeymoon. At one side of them live Gail and Dean, apparently a happy couple. On the other side are Cassie and Craig. Cassie writes erotic romances but her own sex life with Craig has dried up and she doesn't fully understand why. But Cassie's stories will help Trevor and Megan rediscover the joys of the bedroom again while giving Gail and Dean new ways to spice up their sex life. Cassie, spying on these two couples, learns a few things about herself and her neighbors in the process. It's like the gift that keeps giving, her stories, I suppose.

I enjoy this story, especially in how the author compares the hot-and-beautiful couple of Megan and Trevor having sex to the out-of-shape couple of Dean and Gail getting it on only to prove that hot sex isn't exclusive to Kens and Barbies of the world. The sex is frank, coarse, explicit, and erotic, with an underlying strong romantic undercurrent in the explicit scenes especially between Megan and Trevor. Cassie is a more ambiguous character with hints of bisexuality in her but she is more of a placeholder for the reader. After all, like Cassie, I am as much a voyeur looking into the bedroom antics of the other two couples.

The only downside to this short story is the author having Cassie and Megan narrating the story in first-person narration. Ms Allen doesn't succeed in giving Cassie and Megan separate character or "voice" so sometimes it can get confusing trying to determine who is the "I" at any point in the story. It is only when the spouse shows up a few paragraphs later that I realize who the "I" is.

Night Of Inspiration is, in some ways, truly an inspiring read as it gives me an insight as to how an author can actually combine elements of erotica and romance and come out with a fun and sexy read. I really want more. My toes aren't curled enough. Why can't this story be longer? Dang.

Rating: 83


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