by Lisa Andel, TA Chase, and Bonnie Dee; romantic erotica (2007)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 0-7582-1531-2
Three is an anthology united by a theme that you can probably guess from the title: the bed has more than two people on it, let's just say.
Lisa Andel gets to go first and Tia's Leash is her story. This is... well, a gangbang fantasy, pardon my language. Our heroine Tia is considered an anomaly because she is born more human than wolf, but that doesn't mean all the male werewolves don't want her. The female werewolves are, of course, jealous. When Tia is in heat, which is her condition in this story, males literally line up outside her place to take turns as our heroine does her happy "those amateurs Anita Blake and Merry Gentry can kiss my well-used behind!" act. Poor Tia - all the men want to, you know, love her while all the women want her dead. Seriously, Tia is making Anita Blake and Merry Gentry come off like such amateurs. Tia's problem intensifies when it seems that even when she's no longer in heat, she makes all the men horny so she's really not going to get off her back anytime soon.
Fortunately, a vampire named Risk Boudreaux is going to come to sweep her off her feet. Or will werepanther Conner O'Rourke be that One Special Penis? By that time Tia is so well-shagged that I am tempted to make some kind of crack about how one more penis in the factory line isn't going to make much of a change. Tia's Leash is such an obvious attempt to hop on the Laurell K Hamilton bandwagon that it is not even funny. I suppose I should only be grateful that Conner isn't a wereleopard. The only consolation is that Ms Andel can at least write better love scenes that Ms Hamilton who just "spilled" the words all over the place.
Come on, Ms Andel, do your own thing. Or, if not, don't make it so obvious.
TA Chase is next with Two For One. Hero Jack Samson has just moved to Sumerset and in this story our hero finds himself at the popular gay hotspot Pretty Young Thing even when he can't dance and he isn't a natural flirt. He also claims that he is not good-looking. He meets the really unfortunately named Brady Vanderly whose notable physical traits were his big prominent bulges in all the right places. Brady has a friend, Simon Wittman, and they are both looking forward to playing games with Jack. After playing awhile, Jack feels that it is best that he move on because he's the kind of person who can't play the field well (he tends to get too attached to his lovers). Can Simon and Brandy convince Jack that three can indeed be some fine company? Perhaps by inviting the charming new vet to the Vanderly Farm (don't laugh, that guy can't help being born with such a name) for some rancher-style ménage à trois will do the trick.
This story literally gushes all over the place. These men just can't stop being randy. I don't know if it's something in the air or in the water, but it's ridiculous after a while how anything can apparently get these people off. Brady calls up Jack and Jack already has his hand around his little buddy to play tug-the-choo-choo even as he answers the call. I don't know whether to be amazed or to cringe at these men's apparently endless stamina. This story is one long sex marathon until a hastily tacked-on conflict towards the end which is resolved by - what else? - hot sex.
Finally, Bonnie Dee closes the funny sex comedy hour with Awakening. Poor Melissa. Our paralegal heroine is stuck with endless paperwork and, in this story, she only gets what little fun she has by touching herself in the toilet while imagining lawyer Michael Avery doing all those things that she is doing to herself. Michael is however sleeping with her room mate Rachel but luckily for all, the more outgoing and sexually adventurous Rachel is willing to share Michael with Melissa. As she puts it, this will be an interesting "social experiment". Because Rachel is just having a fling with Michael, she is more than happy to step aside after a weekend of fun so that Melissa can explore a more exclusive relationship with Michael. But first, the weekend.
Given the sheer number of ménage à trois tales featuring two men and one woman, this one is a change indeed since it features one man and two women. This one is really hot, although there are not enough female-female interactions for my liking. Then again, with Melissa not the type to experiment with women, I suppose I can't expect her to go wild even if Rachel is clearly willing. What makes this story work so much better than the previous two stories is that Ms Dee actually takes the trouble to flesh out the characters a little. For example, unknown to Michael, Melissa and Rachel have a pact to put their friendship above any feelings they may have for Michael before they embark on the weekend. Rachel and Melissa are clear distinct personalities who, given the length constraint Ms Dee has to work with, are so much more realistic and memorable than the characters in the previous two stories. The sex scenes are also very hot and pretty realistic (Michael needs to take a break after a while) rather than comically exaggerated in terms of endless stamina and purple prose.
Three is an anthology that is geared towards readers looking for sexually explicit tales involving more than the usual two main characters. There is a little romance here and there if you want to look hard enough, but romance is not emphasized heavily in these stories. Personally, I feel that Bonnie Dee's story is the only one that works very well in delivering the good fun smut. Lisa Andel comes off as trying too hard to imitate Laurell K Hamilton while TA Chase's characters come off as if they are sex toys powered by Energizer batteries. These two stories feel too exaggerated to be taken seriously. Ms Dee's story, on the other hand, feels like it's actually erotica rather than a story that is trying too hard to be erotica. That story is nearly good enough to make up for the other two stories. Nearly, that is.
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