by Elizabeth Amber, historical/fantasy (2009)
Aphrodisia, $12.95, ISBN 978-0-7582-2581-8

Dominic is actually a collection of two shorter stories. They both revolve around the Satyrs, warriors of Bacchus with two pee-pees and enough sex drive to fuel Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion parties into the next millennium. Yes, I said two pee-pees. I'm rather tired of trying to convince people that I am not joking about this every time I review a book in Elizabeth Amber's The Lords Of Satyr series, so I will just direct you to my review of the first book in the series, Nicholas, for the background information if you are new to the series.

The first story, Dominic, introduces - duh - Dominic Janus, a demon slayer Satyr who is ordered by the folks of his Temple to shag Emma, the wife of another Satyr who is currently residing on Earth, because apparently destiny has ordained that he must bestow demon slayer powers into the baby that Emma is carrying by boinking the pregnant woman. Hey, don't laugh. Heroines in paranormal romances have uber-magical vaginas, so hey, why not give the heroes magic sperm for a change?

Fortunately for Dominic, the author makes his job easy by having Emma and her husband Carlo on the verge of estrangement. You know how it is - the husband was always away, she didn't want a kid, he forced himself on her that night until she conceived, and she is certain that all he wants from her is a brat.

When the story opens, Dominic has purposely become Carlo's best friend just to get himself invited to the moonlight shag party these Satyrs love to hold. You see, Satyr brats require only a month of gestation before they pop out into this world, and I'm told that orgasm from a good rogering is the "catalyst" to get the happy mother into labor. Since Carlo is conveniently impotent thanks to a recent injury, guess who will be the fellow to service Emma.

I can't believe the author actually takes the trouble to come up with these oh-so-ridiculous explanations to get Dominic and Emma to do that ooh-ooh-ooh thing. I'd think she'd come up with something that doesn't come straight from the Funny Biology Jokebook, at least. The story has some promise. Dominic could have an appealing tormented hero, due to his job and the fact that he has to play the outcast despite the services he provides to his people. However, he kills much of my sympathy for him when he behaves like a typical alpha male who is only better than Emma's husband in that he doesn't berate her like a mad man. His treatment of Emma ends up forcing Emma to go along with him regardless of what she feels about the matter. Poor Emma doesn't have a choice in this story.

And Ms Amber's treatment of Emma in this story borders on sadistic glee as Emma undergoes humiliation after humiliation in this story. First she has to service her impotent husband in the presence of Dominic after having Carlo berate her in front of that man, and then she ends up pleading for the men to stop as they force her to service the both of them. If that's not enough, Carlo becomes a stereotypical evil villain with homosexual tendencies while Dominic ditches Emma to do his thing. The poor dear is stringed along by every asshole man she happens to meet. I find it hard to believe that what she has with Dominic is love. Dominic treats her the same way that a careless and cold man treats a dog that he doesn't care much for, despite his internal monologues about how she completes him and other nonsense.

I'm all for silly sex if there is enough entertainment value to be had from the story, but the sex here is tinged with tawdry unpleasantness. This story is like the illegitimate mutant spawn of Robin Schone's misanthropic take on sex and Bertrice Small's horrific purple pen.

Vincent takes place a considerable number of years after the previous story. Vincent Satyr, the eldest spawn of Nicholas and his wife, is now a lawyer and, for the sake of his people, he is about to embark to the ElseWorld to negotiate for peace between the warring factions of ElseWorld. Vincent is also famous for his penis, which I'm told measures eleven inches in length and seven inches in diameter. I take out a measuring tape to gauge for myself how big that thing is, and let's just say that I don't care how handsome this man is or how skilled he is in bed. If he shows up at my bedroom door, I'm going to beat him senseless with a baseball bat if he even thinks of wagging that thing at me.

Since this is an erotic romance, however, the focus of the story isn't on the war, it's on Vincent's obsession with a Shimmerskin woman he summons when he's in need of boinking and there's no size queens around to service him. He's infatuated with a particular Shimmerskin, whom he then summons on a regular basis. When the story opens, he finally does what any smarter guy would have done a long time ago: he asks her to stay around so that he can get to know her better.

Remember Milla Jovovich's character Leeloo from The Fifth Element? Our heroine is like that, only instead of "Multipass!" her favorite phrase is "No fuck!" Hey, you think I'm kidding? I wish I am coming up with all this stand-up comedy material on my own.

His eyes swept her nude body. Bacchus, she was beautiful. Two hours was actually quite a long stretch when he considered it. Perhaps they could squeeze in a time enough for...

"No fuck," she said fiercely.

She isn't clear on how she gets to remain with him when ordinary Shimmerskins would go back to the Mists, but she definitely knows of one thing.

"Come with me." He left her, moving to stand in the doorway. Glancing along the corridor, he made sure no servants were about, and then he beckoned her, doing his best to appear unthreatening. No easy task for a man of six and a half feet. "Come back to my bedchamber. We'll talk."

"No fuck," she insisted.

How cute. Let's move on.

His eyes glazed over as they fell to the hand between her naked breasts. Breasts that were full and perfect and crowned with nipples that were pink and pointed. Under his robe, his sex twitched.

Both her hands dropped to fist at her sides. "No fuck."

Hmm, I think we need a new punchline.

His gaze roved her features and roamed lower. Damn, she was beautiful. Sweet. To hell with clothing. He took a step toward her. He needed to...

"No fuck," she warned, her smile dimming.

And then, a few pages later, she's splaying her legs wide to show and complain to Vincent that she's, uh, dry down there and before I know it, she's more than happy to say yes. I tell you, I will never understand these women in romance novels sometimes, heh.

That's not to say that Vincent is a bad story. In fact, the set-up is actually quite sensible compared to the freaky biology of the previous story, and this one is more of a romantic comedy featuring an unexpectedly adorable heroine and a surprisingly beta hero. The dialogs are definitely too contemporary-sounding, but they work very well in making me laugh. The hero's biggest-penis-in-both-dimensions thing is ridiculous, but it is portrayed in a tongue-in-cheek manner so I can laugh it off as well. I also appreciate how Ms Amber tries to give Shimmerskins in her setting some depths via Miss Thing here instead of letting them remain as brainless sex toys for sex-mad Satyr fratboys. And really, did I mention how adorable I found Miss Thing and Vincent to be together? Considering how Miss Thing could have been the child-like heroine that gets on my nerves in a different story by a different author, I find this to be pretty cool.

Dominic the collection boasts one miserable story and one comedy that works. That makes this a 50-50 affair, but I will tilt the score slightly over 50 because I do like Vincent. However, on the whole this collection doesn't really have enough substance to make it more than anything but a literary equivalent of a Shimmerskin: you read it, you get your fun from it, and then you forget about it a few days later. The previous two books in this series are so much better than this one.

Rating: 58

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