by Diana Laurence, paranormal (2007)
Living Beyond Reality Press, $3.99, ISBN 978-0-9792741-0-7
Soulful Sex: The Fantasy Collection sees Diana Laurence taking on stories set in other worlds for her own brand of soulful sex. Soulful sex is the author's concept of writing romantic and sexually explicit stories with an emphasis on love and other emotions instead of merely on the sexual act itself. It's a pretty fine concept if you ask me and I'm all for it. I'm just not sure about this particular collection of stories.
The Will Of Ordanta is a puzzling story because it has this goddess/sorceress Ordanta magically transporting Eliander and Chrystienn to her realm and telling them to shag. I don't know why. Maybe her cable TV is down. Eliander believes that Ordanta is a goddess and therefore he's putty in her hands. Chrystienn however believes that Ordanta is a cruel sorceress who deliberately makes her people's lives hard for her amusement. However, once Chrystienn sees Eliander's mighty erection, she feels so regretful that she initially spurned Eliander to spite Ordanta. Then those two make love with Ordanta watching and approving and next thing I know, everything is fine and Chrystienn no longer have any doubts about Ordanta being evil or something because their magical sex session has restored life to their home planets. Uh... okay, that's nice, I suppose.
In The Fantasy Room, Louisa enters a room with a set of magical rings that will transform the room and the man in it into anything she desires. The Fantasy Room is like a glamored brothel that way - you book the room and you do whatever you want until it's time to check out at ten the next morning. I think we need a few Fantasy Rooms around the neighborhood. This story is more to my liking because of a rather surprising fantasy Louisa opts to choose: she wants to play an adulterous wife cheating on her husband with another married man. However, while this may seem more like soulless sex, there is a resulting positive affirmation on fidelity and love despite what the reader may expect. I like this story because it's some different and the author throws a curveball towards the end of the story that pleasantly surprises me.
The Cheftain's Man has Colya, the heroine, falling in love with Adesteis, the son of the Cheftain of their people, after he rescued her from an enemy soldier bent on rape and murder when she was only fourteen. Since that day, Colya wants to be a soldier so that she can devote her life to serving Adesteis. Unfortunately, females are not allowed to join the army. To prove herself to Adesteis, Colya over the next two years strive to prove the skeptics wrong. I am still not sure what to think of the romance in this story since we have in this story a teenage girl struck with gratitude and hero worship of a much older man and I'm not sure if I agree that this is love we are talking about. This story reminds me of those stories that came out by the truckloads when everyone wanted to be the next Jean M Auel and wrote stories of women in some prehistoric era running around looking for strong warriors to love.
Soulful Sex: The Fantasy Collection is more sexually explicit than anything the author has written before but the stories in this collection aren't any better from the increased level of sensuality. The problem is quite evident in the first and third stories - Ms Laurence apparently equates "fantasy" with cheese and I'm afraid the romance doesn't fully come through.
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