Book Reviews: Erotic Sunsets and Massages

Black Light: Valentine’s Roulette
Black Light is a dungeon club in DC, where on Valentine’s Day they set up a game between doms and subs in which the roulette wheel chooses partners and acts. Some of the pairings know each other, which can be good or bad, others are playing for the first time.
Though each story has a different author, there’s obviously a common backstory that has to be adhered to. The main ingredient here is a ton of psychology, more than actual physical events. There’s also surprisingly little sex, although the fact this takes place in a dungeon mitigates that a bit.
No matter how much the thrown-together couples hate each other, they all end up happily ever after. The security guy and the bartender was the most preposterous. The most intriguing featured a new sub paired with an FBI agent out of the game for a long time while he got custody of his little girl. Another intriguing one was the famous starlet, but after a while I couldn’t tell the characters apart.
3/5

Strangers at Sunset
Lady with a lot of problems has a one-night stand with a photographer while on vacation in Florida, only to have it turn into much more, of course.
The book starts with an intense description of her husband dying, then goes to a year later, but considering how often he’s mentioned—for good reason—that opener hardly felt necessary.
As a photographer, I enjoyed some of the stuff here, though I had to laugh at, “How many people get to travel the world and make a ton of money just by snapping pictures?” Cough cough: a TON of money? If I didn’t know it was fiction before. . .
On the other side of it is: “That’s so much more compelling to the average person than bikinis, tans and fake boobs. Although that’s all nice to look at, it’s been done over and over again. I like my work to stand out. Fresh and original is the hope I have for each project. The fact that I don’t go with the expected.” Is this writer in my brain? Spooky.
Okay, back to the story. There’s a huge twist—not gonna spoiler it, but you can guess it easily—that wasn’t much of a surprise at all. More than anything, I am completely shocked she forgave him that easily. What he did was so incredibly cowardly. The most interesting part is how the parents of both her ex and him react basically the same way: “I thought I raised him better.”
3.5/5

Play Mates
A recently divorced lawyer goes to visit her sister and ends up having a one-night stand with an injured footballer, also recently divorced. As one would expect in these kinds of stories, the one-night stand turns into much more.
Since this book is well into a series, there are a lot of people to meet, but because they’re all jammed into the start it’s difficult to keep track of who was who.
As always, I only enjoy these stories when I like the main female character, and there’s a lot to like here. She’s not a typical lawyer, fighting against the death penalty, and even gets a chance to do that unicorn of the profession, freeing a wrongfully convicted man. The surprising part here is how likeable the not-too-alpha-male football player is; much of that likeability comes from his being a dad to his four sons. Because of this, it was strange how long it took for someone to take his side against his ex; it was never clearly explained why she did what she did, so as far as I’m concerned it was all her fault, yet everyone blames him. But once it became about relationships I was reminded why I loved this author’s previous works so much.
Everything was going great until the badass lawyer went stupid, as someone always does at the end of these types of books.
Not the same feel as the superb Random series, but still pretty good.
3.5/5

Ella’s Triple Pleasure: Massage Tales
Masseuse/mother of three teenagers gets set up on a blind weekend, but it’s with a guy she wants, so she eventually caves in. Then two other guys from her past come to town and the competition begins.
That first scene with Garrett was just too weird, and made it tough to get back into the pleasant flow that the weekend with Cade had engendered. Long before Derek showed up I found Garrett creepy, and seeing them together, planning her life without asking her, made it worse. I get that she has a past with them, but considering how reluctant she was to let herself go with Cade despite how much she wanted him, she sure let those two take control of her life pretty quickly. Did not expect her to be such a pushover, and I lost tons of respect for her. Even the way she let them use her sexually, which in other circumstances would have been part of her sensuality, is completely different than the way the character was portrayed at the beginning. The sex was great, but all the surrounding drama makes this a much more difficult read than it had to be.
This is a toughie. Of course we all knew how it was going to turn out, but getting there was the fun, and it wasn’t as much fun as I expected from the great beginning.
3/5

Michael
Submissive woman is concerned that her dom boyfriend is cheating on her with a starlet he’s auditioning with.
Interesting that this isn’t a meet-cute romance; this couple is already together. But then it is a novella.
Despite some fun S&M stuff and Hollywood problems, the frame of the story just didn’t hold together. The plot was barely enough to sustain the story until the abrupt ending, as if the author wanted to get it over with. Not only was it resolved too easily, but they didn’t really earn that happily ever after anyway.
2.5/5

;o)

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