Alpha Romeos
by Rhyannon Byrd and Madison Hayes, fantasy (2006)
Ellora's Cave, $5.95, ISBN 1-4199-0594-5


I believe that fellow on the cover has the biggest breasts of all the characters in this story. Having said that, Alpha Romeos isn't about heroes courageously overcoming gynecomastia with the support of the women who love them. It's a paranormal romance with magic and stuff. Oh, and plenty of really explicit sex scenes.

The best way to describe Alpha Romeos is that it is not romance as much as an irreverent take on a humorous fantasy tale that you can normally expect from Piers Anthony and put in plenty of sexual situations. A pornographic movie version of such a fantasy story, if you will.

The plot is pretty simple: the goddess Andarta needs help. Her half-sisters are all cursed by a villain and she needs heroes to rescue them. She summons Warrick, who's dead but has been reincarnated by her for this Quest, and tells him that if he succeeds, she'll reward him with "eternal head". Yes, eternal head. To help him, she tosses in Colin McKendrick, a Warlock who's been cursed for what seems like a sexual transgression into exile and his own curse is to never achieve release during coitus. Andarta also adds in a magic talking sword named Bash and some vibrators of several colors. Warrick enlists the fellow who killed him, Dye, and the three "Alpha Romeos" are now set to release the half-sisters in question: Life, Age, Lust, Denial, and Fear.

The curse of each sister can be broken by giving her sexual release. Ah, but it's not just a matter of ramming it home and setting off the fireworks - each of the sister's curse is designed to make it very difficult for her to attain sexual release. For example, anyone who touches Life dies instantly. The Alpha Romeos will have to figure out how to break each curse.

Conventional sex scenes are actually scarce in Alpha Romeos, instead the sex scenes are of a more inventive nature as the three twits try to figure out how to break the curse when one of them is technically dead and therefore can't get it up, one of them can't attain orgasm, and the remaining fellow has a... well, I'll leave you to discover that for yourself. And really, those scenes can be really hot, especially the one where they use fruit juices to make Life go "Wheee!".

And because the sex scenes are hot, that means this book has done an excellent job, so there shouldn't be anything left to say, right? Let me add a few things more, though - apart from being a most entertaining bag of smut with its often creative sex scenes, Alpha Romeos is also genuinely funny. It's an irreverent adult fantasy romp that tickles my funny bone as well as make me break open an iced can of Coke. As a bonus, one of the Alpha Romeos actually finds romance. I have to hand it to the authors: that romantic aspect of the story is cute.

Alpha Romeos seems to be at first glance some silly sex romp. Well, it is, in a way, but on the other hand, the authors did something amazing here. Alpha Romeos is free from purple prose or silly euphemisms, for one, which makes the sex scenes work even more remarkably. Also, I find myself enjoying both the sex scenes and the humor - the authors are being silly with their tongues against their cheek here but they aren't being so flippant to the point that they insult my intelligence. The plot isn't heavy or deep, of course, but the story in Alpha Romeos nonetheless has enough closure to make me feel as if I've read an actual story instead of some sex scenes stringed together by a barely-there plot. The three men make quite an amusing team of unbridled virility, which can be quite surprising considering how they barely use their penises in this story (more often than not, they use their hands and mouths), and I'm only disappointed that there isn't even a little homoerotic undertone to their relationship to make the story more fun.

I confess that I don't know what to expect from Alpha Romeos when I first purchase it. For all I know, it could be anything from a tale about heroes with gynecomastia to a skanky non-stop sex romp. How lucky for me that this one is more of a well-written comedic adult fantasy romp rather than a cheesy kind of barbarian smut!

Rating: 89


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