by Lani Aames, Rebecca Airies, Charlotte Boyett-Compo, Megan Kerans, Melany Logen, and Cheyenne McCray; romantic erotica (2007)
Ellora's Cave, $9.99, ISBN 978-1-4199-0865-1
Ellora's Cavemen: Seasons Of Seduction Volume II kicks off another season of bad sex and comedic attempts at romantic erotica writing.
Lani Aames is first with Gillian's Island where two couples find themselves stranded in an island "somewhere in the Caribbean". Brandt Powers and Gillian Alford have been dating for a year. Gillian believes that they are on Pearl Island and to celebrate their "special night" of their boat going down and leaving them on that beach, they decide to have a "special fuck". Well, I suppose that these two don't have anything better to do than to reenact an embarrassing "ravished by a pirate" scenario. Meanwhile, Paige Douglas and the truly unfortunately named Tony Stompanato go off to look for help but Paige, a woman who knows her priorities indeed, spends all the time holding back unshed tears because she's old enough to be Tony's mother and therefore he is going to wake up one day and dump her for a younger woman. She spends pretty much all the time screeching and screaming when she's not berating him, so if you ask me, if he hasn't run away by now, he's not going to run away so she may as well lay back and enjoy the shagging.
Needless to say, this is an utterly silly story where the main characters can't wait to embark on a sex marathon when they are supposed to be looking for help. I tell you, if they are stranded on a genuinely deserted island, they'll never be found because they are too busy having sex to do anything else. The sex scenes aren't hot - in fact, they are ridiculous given their context in the story. Chalk this one up as a story where the author wrote it because someone was willing to pay her to work out her intestinal gas in words.
Rebecca Airies is next with Devon's Vix. Set in some vaguely described town on Planet Laurell K Hamilton where vampires and humans have appointed liaisons to... um, do something, I suppose, Jessamine Coulter has been bitten by a vampire so by right she should have been reported to the proper authorities for appropriate action to be taken. However, she chooses to keep quiet about her condition until Jessie becomes the target of the Society of Pure Hearts, a bunch of human extremists determined to eradicate all vampires. Devon Knight shows up to protect her, but there is a small problem there: Jessie broke up with him a while ago when she learned that he was a vampire and therefore could discern that she had been bitten and was undergoing the change. You see, if he learns about what Jessie is going through, he'll take her to the Vampire Council where she will be fully changed into a vampire.
The Council intends to use Jessie as a bait to lure out the members of the Society of Pure Hearts, but from what I can see, this strategy involves sex between Jessie and Devon and strolls in town hoping that they will get attacked by the Society. It's really not much of a strategy as much as playing sitting ducks, come to think of it. Or should I have said "shagging ducks" instead?
On the bright side, Ms Airies doesn't bring up "destiny" or "mates" or how being a vampire make you forever horny. But I am hard-pressed to figure out why it is so important to destroy Jessie that we have two assassins stupidly attacking a club full of vampires just to kill Jessie. Shouldn't there be more important targets than some silly woman who was bitten by a vampire? This isn't as much of a brain gas as the previous story, but it is nonetheless comparable to some kind of gas since it barely has any weight where story and depth are concerned.
Charlotte Boyett-Compo's Wendy's Summer Job starts off with an author's foreword where I learn that she calls herself "the WyndWryter". Is this where I say "Oh, you're just hylaryous!"?
Wendy Cole is forced to drop out of acting school because her nasty stepmother believes that acting is on the same level as prostituting yourself. Wendy is upset because her dream of being a "character actor" is dashed by this wicked woman. She finally attends a job audition where she ends up sleeping with three truly tragic brothers who drop lines like "I can personally guarantee you’ll get your money's worth with that rod" and "I'm rather enjoying her rack and I can’t wait to pinion her". So, it looks like the Evil Stepmommy is right after all. Then again, prostitutes get paid for their efforts. Oh, poor Wendy. She should have opted for remedial classes instead.
This is meant to be some kind of erotic story but someone really should tell Ms Whystlyng Down The Wynd here that she writes like some kind of church-going white woman determined to breakdance to 50 Cent to make some kind of misguided statement. I love how the three brothers call each other "bro" (as in "Don't squash her, bro!") as if they are trying to be the Ms Wynd Behynd A Flap's answer to the Black Dagger Brotherhood. The language turns this story into a comedy for all the wrong reasons. It is not erotic as much as it is comic relief at the author's expense. "Don't squash her, bro!" indeed.
Megan Kerans has a hard time following Ms Boyett-Compo's Last Comic Standing audition but she puts up a good fight. Chasing The Dragon sees Captain Jade Ahnat - no, her father is not Ahnuld, in case you're wondering - trying to collect some Dragon's Eyes seeds from the Dragon to cure the Dark Sickness that is killing people everywhere in this world. I tell you, the innovative world-building in this story knocks me down like a bowling pin.
The hero, Raj Cad - hey, stop laughing, people. It's not nice - is known as, of course, the Dragon. At any rate, Jade accepts a sexual proposition with Raj to save the world and things go straight down the black hole. This is a futuristic smutty romance with some Asian elements given the Long Duk Dong treatment and I don't know whether to laugh or groan when Raj, who won't selflessly save people from what Jade describes as "an aggressive virus, the Dark Sickness" ("It
blinds its victims, then slowly eats away their eyes followed by,” she forced the words past her tight throat, “their organs until they die.”), starts casting moral judgments on Jade. After "he surged into her pussy one last time and poured the truth, his feelings and fears into her womb", Jade lets someone transport the all-important seeds to save the world because she has more important things to do, like giving up her career to be Raj Cad's sex toy. Those feelings and fears must be really amazing, I must say. How do you pour fear into a woman's womb anyway?
Melany Logen refuses to be outshone by Megan Kerans so her Viking's Pledge has several moments of unintentional comedy starting from the very first page when our hero Raynor first goes "Mista had been too young to be worthy of jealousy, but still his wife, Snorra, had hated her" and after a few paragraphs, "No matter he’d denied himself the pleasure of fucking her once she came of age — Snorra’s hate had grown with the girl." Um, Ms Logen, I think you've just explained why Snorra has the right to hate that hussy Mista. Of course, Mista ends up getting Raynor up her rear end anyway so Snorra is smarter than Ms Logen would give her credit for. Then again, Snorra is dead at the start of the story so it doesn't matter in the end.
This is a rather standard Viking historical romance. Snorra was a terrible mother, horrible wife, and old while Mista is barely out of her teens and takes care of the kids while cleaning and cooking so naturally Mista is the perfect woman for Raynor. Mista also doesn't feel like a consistent character. She's either a familiar martyr heroine or she's clearly some contemporary woman pretending to be a thrall. The language in this story is so ridiculously modern. I know this is a short story where nearly all of it has to be about sex but a little bit of effort in trying to make the setting feel even a little authentic would be nice. Raynor can be quite a romantic fellow though as he can get melodramatic over his apparent grand love for Mista.
Finally, Cheyenne McCray ends the anthology with Taking It All. She also doesn't want you to know that this work exists just like I'm sure her loyal readers want to pretend that she isn't still putting out smutty stories which she refuses to acknowledge on her website. Oh, the pain and tribulations of being a respected urban fantasy author.
So, this story doesn't exist. Lisa Peterson doesn't reverse her car and hit the man who happens to be standing in the way. She doesn't confess to him that her life is boring, which is supposed to explain why she was distracted that she didn't see him earlier. They don't do some watered-down BDSM thing before insisting to me that they have found True Love at the end of the day. It's a good thing that this story doesn't exist, I tell you, because it isn't good at all in the first place. Thank goodness that Ms McCray has stopped writing all this terrible smutty stories now that she has seen the light and embraced Artistic Works of Quality.
I'd give the Best Ellora's Cave Comedy Author award to Ms Boyett-Compo, by the way, with Ms Kerans coming close behind.
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