by Lori Foster, contemporary (2006, reissue)
Berkley, $14.00, ISBN 0-425-20785-4
Wildly Winston is merely a collection of short stories that were previous collected into The Winston Brothers (yes, we are talking about short stories that were previously collected in one volume now recollected in another volume) as well as the author's previous book Wild. I've compiled the reviews of those works here for your convenience. Hey, if they can compile, so can I.
First off, Tangled Sheets which originally appeared in Hot Chocolate (1999). Lori Foster's Tangled Sheets is simply Oh-my-oh... whipped cream? sort of story. Whipped cream will never be the same again, not after reading this. Shy, mousy florist Sophie Sheridan has a thing for sexy barkeep Cole Winston and little does she know Cole wants to rip off his shirt and do King Kong impersonation whenever she's around. Cole, in fact, has rigged a Valentine contest. Ladies can apply in this beauty pageant-like thing and winner gets her favorite Winston brother as a date for the night. Where can I sign up? Can I send in multiple entries? I have 5 million entry forms hoarded in my store room.
Cole is determined to persuade Sophie to enter, so that she could be made a winner and is then forced to take him on a date, heh heh. Hey, it's the best he can think of to get that shy and timid woman out on a date with him. Sophie has her own plans. She's bored. She wants to live a little. Without any strings attached, of course, she conjures a twin sister who is the hussy Sophie isn't. Cole sees right through her flimsy disguise and they then cause the whole neighborhood to explode in a ball of fire.
This one is a bit too similar to the other Lori Foster novella Tangled Dreams for comfort, but hey, I'm on a Lori Foster joyride and having the time of my life. These Winston guys can jump out of my birthday cake anytime.
Next, Tangled Dreams, originally from Charmed (1999). Lori Foster's Tangled Dreams is... oh momma, let me fan myself. Two ghosts that haunt Allison's antiquated house can only move on if they can bequeath a family heirloom to a passionate descendant - Allison. To prove her glorious, red-hot passion and hence helping the two dears move on to the hereafter, Allison - a virgin - would have to find a man to prove her mettle. She's always got the hots for her best friend's husband's brother Chase, so she takes a deep breath and gets into a bosom-revealing dress. Okay, so she's a bit dense, but the hero is worth the read. Chase, thanks to the ghosts, gains a newfound ability to read Allison's mind. Her sexual fantasies with him as the main star. Explicit fantasies. XXX-till-you-explode-sort of fantasies. But wait, Chase is a rather kinky man who likes to play mild bondage stuff in bed. Allison is in for the thrill of her life. This story is funny, delightful, has red-hot explosive chemistry, and sexual tension that burns into a conflagration. This story is worth the price of the (anthology it originally came from) alone.
Finally, Tangled Images from Sinful (2000). Lori Foster's Tangled Images has yet another Winston hunk, Mack, wooing a shy, timid woman, this time an older former photography-school classmate Jessica. Jessica is supposed to take snapshots of Mack modeling lingerie, but the silly woman acts as if she's forced to undergo brain surgery. Instead of choosing the most revealing undies for Mack, she trembles, scowls, shivers, pouts, and make me wish I can cobble her head with the rolling pin. Thanks to Jess, I can't get to read about Mack in thongs or G-strings or other flimsy undies. How disappointing.
Mack is a great hero, but Jess' token baggage (single mom with bad ex - another one of those) spoils the fun. TI is decent, but let's face it - Jess never put Mack in any revealing - really - revealing or challenging situations. She is no match for Mack either verbally or emotionally, hence rendering the novella un-steamy and unworthy of its predecessors. It's autopilot reading - a man seducing a woman who can't keep up. Not very fun.
Wild drives me wild. In confusion and befuddlement. It's a Fake Slut story, that starts off with a tease about the "Gypsy heroine" teasing our playboy hero with that all-time sexy line "I want you". Then as it turns out she's just some plain ol' Tamara Tremayne who just wants to have sex because she... well, it's a Harlequin Blaze thing.
Seriously. Tamara Tremayne opens a New Age shop that is currently being vandalized. Her dotty old relatives claim that it's the antic of a ghost. Tamara isn't so sure about that, but what the heck, you know what? She'll just sell the shop. Yes, that's it.
But first, before she moves out of town, she'll have mind-blowing cojone-busting sex with her neighbor Zane Winston. She has a secret weapon: an old book of sorts filled with ancient wisdom of the old and kinky. After all she has learned, she goes to Zane and tells him "I want you."
What a great education. The least she could do is to perform some amazing body contortions the way those statues in Hindu sex cult temples do, yes?
Zane, however, is more than willing. His six-inch cylinders are gearing to go. Then Tamara suddenly remembers that she is in a romance novel and goes "Eeee, I'm so shy!" Give me a break.
I finally figured out the above New Age shop subplot thing after two rereadings. Must be my age, but during the first reading, Wild seems like pages after pages of interminable sexual lusting. Alas, sexual lusting of the boring kind, filled with awkward imageries of taming wild animals, silk, hardness, and other PG-13 erotica-wannabe thingies. When the secondary characters arrive in the story, they irritate me with their annoying "Ghost! New age! Love!" squealing. When Zane and Tamara are together, they are lusting. When they are apart, they are lusting too.
There's so much lust in this story that it jettisons any semblance of plot or character development. There's so much lust that I am sure Zane's drumstick will break off due to too much pressure. I am sure at the end of the day Tamara and Zane will be admitted to the ICU due to lust-induced dehydration and exhaustion.
Unfortunately, the sex is written in silly euphemisms, so it's not that hot. With so little meat to bite on - did I say that? - Wild is a tedious, lumbering read that flounders towards the finishing line.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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