The Fetish Box, Part 1
by Nicole Camden, contemporary (2013)
Pocket, $1.99, ISBN 978-1-4767-2787-5


Mary Deupree, a 24-year old artist, doesn't know much about her mother. All she knows is that she is the result of a week-long Spring Break thing between her father and a woman Mary's grandmother described as a "trashy whore". Mary herself feels that she has some of her mother's free spirit in her, although she hasn't had the opportunity or found the guts to explore the wilder side of life yet. This may change when she discovers that her mother had passed away and Mary is now the new owner of the Fetish Box, an establishment that sells kinky toys and helps organize parties of a naughty nature. It isn't long before Mary finds herself in the company of John Brinks and Max Jobman, two hot guys that come along with the Fetish Box.

The Fetish Box, Part 1 is the first of three parts, so there is no closure by the last page of this short story. You will obviously need to invest time and money on all three parts to get the whole picture. And do take note also that this one is more appropriately considered a work of erotica with romance, as the author breaks a few romance genre rules here to set up what seems like a love triangle of sorts between the two men and Mary.

There are some gorgeous descriptions here of the scenery that make the Fetish Box look like Philippe Starck's wet dream. While Mary's quick turnaround from a rather shy virgin to a naughty young lady who can't wait to wave her legs in the air can be a bit hard to believe, the author gives me enough insight into what makes Mary tick for me to understand her motivations and her desire to experience life to the fullest.

The thing is, Mary goes from instant attraction to making out with these men with little build up in between, so it's hard for me to muster any enthusiasm about which guy she'd end up with. Or maybe she'd do both, so maybe it's a question which guy gets to her first? At any rate, the suspense isn't there, and there isn't much to make up for the lack of suspense. John broods, but he's a "wild" one, and Max would nail anything that moves, and that's about it where the two guys are concerned in this story. I don't particularly care about any of these guys.

Still, I have to admit that there is something compelling about the raw no-nonsense charged eroticism between Mary and each man - sorry, folks, but those two men aren't doing anything to one another anytime soon - so it may be worth my time to stick around for the rest of the naughty serial drama.

Rating: 69


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