by Sasha White, contemporary (2007)
Aphrodisia, $13.95, ISBN 978-0-7582-1548-2
At the risk of repeating myself from my last review of this author's work, I really like Sasha White's brand of erotic romance. When she writes about confident women, her heroines are really confident when it comes to sex. These heroines don't have contrived "Eeek! I can't enjoy sex too much because the reader may think I'm a slut or something!" issues to downplay their personalities. Likewise, when Sasha White writes about red hot men, these heroes are so hot that they can make my toes curl up permanently.
Lush is a collection of three short stories which are related in such a way that a secondary character in one story will be the principal character in the next story.
In The Principles Of Lust, our heroine Teal Jamison decides to embark on a new career - she's about to open a gallery specializing in erotic artworks. As you can probably imagine, it doesn't take long before protesters start vandalizing the place. In the meantime, Teal decides that she has a really hot thing for our even hotter fellow Zack Dillon. The carpenter however prefers to dominate his girlfriends while our heroine is the take-charge type. They don't suit, surely?
Readers expecting BDSM will be disappointed with this one as Ms White takes the Ellora's Cave route and go only as far as mild bondage. In fact, I'd probably go as far as to say that Teal and Zack are going to have sexual compatibility issues in the future since I can't see Teal as the kind of sub that he wants. Still, for the moment, these two have something really hot going on, with the added bonus of some well-portrayed moments of emotional connection outside the bedroom. The only flaw I find with this short story is the throwaway vandalism subplot which doesn't add anything to the story.
Teal's brother Dominick gets his story in Passion Play. At the surface, this is one story that I have read many times before. He's the one who likes to be in control of everything. Mia Jones is the carefree type. Nick, however, is at a career crossroads of sorts. He has just resigned from his job as the columnist of the popular nightspot feature Nick At Night. Getting involved with Mia is exactly the crazy thing that feels right to him at that moment. It is Mia who has the family issues here, by the way.
Oh, this one. Nick is such a sweet fellow even as he is a burning hunk of hot love. This story has some really unexpectedly romantic and tender moments coexisting with the hotter scenes, so much so that even if a part of me believe that these two characters fall in love too quickly, Ms White manages to serve up a story that is simultaneously sexy and romantic. I like this one.
Mia's best friend Caitlyn Ellis gets her story in Sexual Healing. I like the fact that Caitlyn isn't ashamed of her more voluptuous form and she can get any man she wants without going on a diet. Here, in order to help Mia promote her jewelry line, our massage therapist heroine finds herself modeling Mia's jewelry before our photographer hero Jack Lowell. Sparks - and clothes - fly, but Jack, being a typical artist-type emo fellow, has plenty of issues. Fortunately, his issues are pretty weighty and the fellow really tries to get himself together for Caitlyn, so he's more sympathetic than annoying. Caitlyn gives back as good as he dishes out, often offering him some comforting TLC shag while at the same time knowing when to tell him to stop being an ass.
Like the previous story, this one has a very nice balance of sensual moments and more emotional and tender scenes. I feel that the relationship between the main characters feel the most realistic of that in all three stories and this one is easily my favorite of the three.
Taken on their own, each of the three stories is pretty good in delivering the hot stuff and some tender stuff as well, but when put together in the same collection, these three stories only drive home how much I enjoy Sasha White's brand of erotic romance. Lush is simply too luscious a read.
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