FREE READ! My Sensual Fantasy

17 Dec

Police officerBy Elizabeth Shore

We Lady Smutters are off this week to recharge our batteries and prepare for an amazing 2015. But leaving my lovely readers high and dry is hardly in the spirit of the season, so below’s a free read I posted way back in 2013. It’s here for your pleasure now in case you missed it the first time around. Enjoy … :-)

I looked around the small, dingy room. Drab curtains, peeling paint, TV in the corner that looked like it had been new circa 1987. Not exactly the kind of place a girl wants to call home, but when you’re on the lam I suppose it’s the best you can hope for.

I slumped back on the mound of pillows as my irritated gaze shifted to the clock radio on the nightstand. Nearly eight. Damn. Where was Carlos? He was supposed to score us some food and be back half an hour ago. And then . . . My skin prickled as memories flitted through my mind of what he said he’d do to me after we ate. And then . . .

Idly I ran my fingers along one bare arm, imaging it was Carlos’ silken caress causing shivers of excitement to race down my spine. Oh, what he could do to me. My nipples pebbled as I thought of his lips dotting soft kisses across my breast, his tongue sweeping over the skin, swirling and teasing. A soft groan escaped my lips. I arched my back as if to lift my aching breasts toward his mouth, begging for him to suck harder.

The click of the door dissolved the daydream and brought me back to reality. Carlos strode into the room, carrying food-laden bags. He lingered in the doorway, his already dark eyes growing inky black as he took in the sight of my naked body. Setting the bags on a nearby table, he slowly stepped over to the bed.

His hand dipped into the pocket of his jeans and emerged holding a small pouch. He tossed it to me, an amused grin curving one side of his full, lush lips.

Cariño.” He murmured the pet name for me as he slowly unbuttoned his shirt. “My heart stops at the sight of your beautiful naked body.” His gazed raked over me as he sucked in a breath. “Mi tesoro.”

The heat from his romantic whisperings burned my cheeks. I loved it when he called me his treasure. But I expressed an indifferent air. I couldn’t let myself get too carried away with this bad boy. What kind of partner in crime goes all gooey from whispered terms of endearment? I knew I had to play it strong.

“If I’m your treasure then prove it,” I said, struggling to filter out the excited tremors in my voice as my eyes flicked down to the rising tent in his jeans. He laughed when he noticed.

“See something you like?” His tossed his shirt away, revealing bronze, sculpted biceps and a ladder of muscles rippling across his stomach. With machismo flair, he slid his palm slowly down his abdomen, then lower still, until he reached the mound between his legs. He grabbed his crotch and jerked his hips forward.

“You see what you do to me, cariño? You torture me.”

“Do I?”

“Yes. And you’re a very bad girl for doing it.” He wagged a scolding finger at me. “So as punishment, I’m going to climb onto this bed, and you’re going to wrap those beautiful lips around me and suck.”

My heart hammered wildly in my chest, like a manic caged animal trying to break free. But I didn’t want him to know that.

“I’m not doing anything until I get my share,” I said, donning what I hoped was a stern expression. “I risked my life this morning in that jewelry store. Can’t believe we didn’t spot the owner’s pistol behind the counter when we cased the joint beforehand.”

He shrugged, seemingly unconcerned. “Sometimes that happens.”

“Fine. Whatever. But where’s my take?”

“Ah.” He smiled, although he’d unbuttoned his jeans by now and was sliding them down his divinely sculpted legs. He nodded toward the pouch he’d tossed on the bed. “Look in there.”

I pulled apart the drawstrings and turned over the bag. Out spilled dozens of colored gemstones, various sizes and shapes, sparkling even beneath the room’s dingy lightbulb like snow in the sun.

“Ooooh!” I squeaked with delight.

“You happy?”

“Me happy,” I purred, pushing myself up to a sitting position. “Now let me make you happy.”

He rid himself of his jeans and shorts and climbed onto the bed, now as naked as I. He pulled me into his arms and tipped my head back, his lips crashing onto mine. His tongue plunged the depths of my mouth, hot and wet. I kissed him back just as fiercely, moaning when I felt one of his hands slip between us and caress my aching breasts, just like I’d imagined earlier. He broke the kiss so he could feast on my neck, nipping the tender skin, knowing just how far I could take the pain and transform it to pleasure before it became too much.

I used the space between our bodies to slip my hand down and do some busy work of its own, fisting him just the way I knew he liked it, slow and hard.

“Oh, f**k, cariño,” Carlos murmured. I felt a thin sheen of sweat slicken his skin. He pushed me back down on my back and straddled either side of my legs. “I think I’m going to have to — ”

Static from his portable two-way radio stopped him cold.

“Units in the area, respond to a potential 415 at 207 Amherst Road. Repeat, potential 415 on Amherst Road. Units in the area respond.”

Carlos’ head hung down. “Damn. That’s me, babe. I’m sorry.”

I blew air out from between my lips. “It’s OK,” I assured him, trying to get my racing pulse to calm down. “Not like it’s never happened before.” I scooted up to prop myself against the headboard, watching him pull his clothes back on. “Molesting my fantasy jewelry store robber will have to wait another day.” I smiled as he slipped his ID with the detective’s badge around his neck. “Go on and save the world from the bad guys.”

“Be back as soon as I can,” he assured me.

“Take some of the food,” I called out as he walked toward the door. “I’ll settle the hotel bill.”

He grinned as he snagged a burger and fries. “By the way, loved the storyline about robbing the jewelry store.”

“You didn’t do so badly yourself with the fake gems and this motel room,” I said. “Definitely a place where I envision two-bit criminals hiding out.”

“Next time we’ll elevate ourselves to bank robbers,” Carlos said, chomping down a fry. “Cariño needs a better place to stay.”

“Perfect,” I smiled as my detective husband walked out the door. “We can use Monopoly money.”

Interviews, Excerpts, and Giveaways–Oh My!

16 Dec

By Liz Everly

Just to remind you, this week I’m on a blog tour with TEMPTING WILL MCGLASHEN. Follow along and enter to wind a $15 gift card to Amazon or B & N. Your choice.

Happy Holidays,

Liz

Tempting Will McGlashen by Liz Everly - 50015th December: http://locglin.blogspot.com/

16th December: http://www.roomwithbooks.com/

17th December: http://www.pinkypollock.blogspot.com

18th December: http://www.fenellajmiller.co.uk/

19th December: http://gracemarshallromance.co.uk

 

 

Xmas Break-ish

15 Dec

Sexy holiday coupleHeigh-ho!

Lady Smut is sorta, almost on Xmas break.

12/17 Elizabeth Shore is posting a FREE READ on Wednesday.

12/18 Adriana Anders is doing a guest post on Thursday.

12/25 Madeline Iva is posting fun links on Xmas.

Other than that — we’ll be more or less off until December 29th.   But it never hurts to check back from time to time.

Meanwhile, we wouldn’t want to leave you feeling deprived — here’s our holiday Pinterest page for some fun holiday Lady Smut posts. :)

xo

Nutcracker? Sweeeeet.

14 Dec
Remember that time you fell in love? So does Clara. Click and see.

Remember that time you fell in love? So does Clara. Click and see.

By Alexa Day

The holiday season rests on tradition, which is to say that most of us, regardless of how we feel about the holidays themselves, spend part of that time doing things because we do them every year and for no other real reason.

We have holiday movies and holiday music that only comes out once a year. We gorge on holiday foods with the defense that we don’t always eat like this. We tolerate the behavior of others more than usual because “it’s only once a year.”

And then there’s the annual Dance of the Exes. This is the yearly ritual in which one’s exes emerge from the woodwork to send a holiday greeting, usually via text, after being wonderfully absent all year long. The Dance of the Exes is a mystery to me. Do they think holiday spirit will keep me from reminding them of how they became exes in the first place? Are they actually hoping for holiday hookup? Are they purging their phone address books? Who knows?

I try hard to keep my holiday traditions on the joyous side, since holidays tend to be stressful for me. A couple of years ago, I found out about the Battle of the Nutcrackers on the Ovation network. Each year, the arts channel presents five productions of The Nutcracker and invites viewers to vote for their favorite. The Battle is getting me through the holidays.

The Battle is a fabulous way to discover the less traditional Nutcracker productions. One of my favorites, The Nutcracker- The Story Of Clara, follows an older Clara as she remembers her past. I watched it shortly after turning 40, and it’s a perfect story about how full life has been and how much fuller it might yet become. Have a peek at its Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Now, as lovely as that was, I can’t pretend there’s not another reason I like spending my holiday with the ballet. I like football as much as the next girl who likes football, but given the choice, I’d rather watch the glorious beauty of the male form moving with majestic purpose, without crashing into anything … and without the obstruction of all those pads. If there’s one thing ballet has in spades, it’s hot men. Feel free to ogle them here and here, and then take a second and watch these fellows from the National Ballet of Canada.

Whoa-ho, Canada! That’s actually part one of three. If the National Ballet of Canada isn’t on your greeting card list, it might be time to put them there.

The Battle of the Nutcrackers begins tomorrow, on the 15th, so you’ll want to check now to see if you get Ovation. Once the battle’s over, I’m sure the hot men of ballet will keep your holidays nice and toasty warm.

The Lady Smut crew and I will be on a break until the 29th. I can’t speak for my crewmates, but I will be spending most of the time sleeping off a hangover. Enjoy your holiday traditions, and I’ll meet you back here in 2015.

Go ahead and click the Follow button now, though. You know how busy things get.

Sexy Saturday Round Up

13 Dec

Merry Christmas, sexy readers!

Just a few posts here today before we take our Xmas break.  Sexy Saturday Round Up will be back with the New Year to delight you and provide you with all that’s thought provoking when it comes to sex, gender, and romance in pop culture.

Click to buy at Amazon. :)

Click to buy at Amazon. :)

From Madeline:

No joke: it’s a prostitute intervention reality show.

The Islamic Sex Doctor Is In.

THE SCIENCE OF ATTRACTION:
The Science Behind Dating

The Halo Effect

Profile Pictures

The Smell of Attraction

The Sound of Attraction

And just to shake things up: Desperate Virgins

From C. Margery Kempe:

Best takedown of a sexist meme ever

Protesters show their scorn for sexist anti-porn laws with a ‘face-sit’ outside Parliament

Beard Ornaments: just say no

Bah Humbug

12 Dec Spinning Gold by C Margery Kempe - 500

Your festival does not amuse.

by C. Margery Kempe

My birthday is next week and the present I got myself is returning to Scotland which is all the gift I really need. I understand the need people have to replay all those crap holiday songs — I prefer a John Waters Christmas. I know people will relive their childhood with various holiday specials — they never play ones I actually like such as A Wish for Wings that Work. And holiday movies? Don’t get me started. I will slap you if you suggest Love Actually [glares]; I prefer a very different sort of holiday film experience.

When the Xmas season kicks in about August who isn’t sick of it by now? I refuse to have anything to do with Xmas until after my birthday and anyway my holiday is Yule on the solstice so it’s just for family that I celebrate Xmas. Admittedly now with kids in the picture I remember why people get all sentimental and sweet and there’s the tree and their happy faces and my sweetie cooking Xmas dinner in the kitchen and everybody smiling and cheery and relaxed, so it is kind of nice and the tree is so pretty even with Picachu on top of it and –

Hey, wait a minute. I was supposed to be grumpy. I am grumpy. I still have grading to do.

Jingle your own damn bells.

Follow Lady Smut across all media because we’re not usually grumpy but really sexy and fun. Well, most of us are.

Santa, I’ve Been A Very Naughty Girl

11 Dec
Definitely naughty.

Definitely naughty.

by Madeline Iva

Dear Santa,

When it comes to the question of naughty or nice, doesn’t naughty become so much more interesting when you get to be a certain age?

I grew up priding myself on being such a good girl. In high school, all my friend’s parents would chillax if they knew I was going to be at the party, etc. Ain’t nothing sinful was going to happen on my watch and purity just beamed from my entire being.

Need some Christmas reading? Click to buy.

Need some Christmas reading? Click to buy.

And then…I don’t know. I hit college, and suddenly being good seemed, well, a lot less interesting. Less artistic. Less original. Less rebellious. Less passionate. There’s a quote about well-behaved women seldom making history, and I began realizing that I was way-way-way too well-behaved.

Which is not to say I wanted to be bad for bad’s sake either. There are some women who own leather pants, who can down a shot of tequila and then drink some more. Women who will go to Las Vegas and do things they seriously regret. I’m not that woman. No, I think I’m more of a good-girl-in-recovery.

But there’s something a bit inherently naughty about being a romance writer, isn’t there? For me it’s been like sliding on a motorcycle jacket that fits just right. I just love the romance writing world. Woman friendly, sex-positive, they bring some naughty fun to facebook and Twitter—and yes, I’m talking about you, #FridayManWars.

Mostly though, I’m getting much more comfortable with the “it feels good to be bad” thing. Honestly, I’ve been holding back. Especially emotionally. Slowly I’ve been learning to start poking naughty fingers into new nooks and crannies.

One woman, two hot elves.  'Nuff said. Click to buy.

One woman–and two hot elves. ‘Nuff said. Click to buy.

I promise next year I’ll dig in deep and delve into being very bad.

Santa, please put these on your list and check them twice:

*pouty hurts,

*forbidden fantasies,

*tormented it’s-so-wrong-but-feels-so-right feelings.

You bring me those, and I’ll ladle them all into a twisty arousal, creating sex scenes so scorchingly hot readers will drop their e-readers to blow on their fingers.

I promise I’ll let go of my old angst-y worries about writing PC sex and is-bdsm-feminist? etc, etc, etc. I’ll embrace this lumpy world we live in, warts and all, and just live in the moment.

I promise too that no matter how much sweeter my romances get, I’ll never, ever forget that being naughty is more fun.

Meanwhile, Santa, if I deliver on all that, could you also bring me more pictures of hot men in Christmas sweaters?

Peace and nutmeg,

Madeline Iva

Meg Maguire's story gets two thumb's up from this blogger.  Click to buy.

Meg Maguire’s story gets two thumb’s up from this blogger. Click to buy.

P.S. Kiss Dasher, Dancer, Prancer – and especially Vixen for me. Xo

P.S.S. Follow us at LadySmut.com. We’ll stuff your stocking with all kinds of good things throughout the New Year. Yowza.

New “Average” Barbie Is Heavier And Has Zits. Is This Good?

10 Dec

Sexy holiday coupleBy Elizabeth Shore

Holiday shopping is upon us! Time to push and shove our way through stores – or cyberspace – to grab perfect gifts for the kids. Hmmm. Stumped over what to get the little angels this year? New video games? Board games? Action figures? Gadgets? It’s a dazzling array of choices that makes even the savviest shopper’s head spin. But toy designer Nickolay Lamm says he’s got an easy solution – the Lammily Fashion Doll. It’s a toy that celebrates the “average” girl.

The Lammily Doll was inspired by designer Lamm’s desire to make a Barbie-like doll representing proportions of an average 19-year-old American girl. So he consulted the Center for Disease Control’s website, got her measurements, and voilà! The Lammily Fashion Doll was born. As stated on the website, she’s “the first fashion doll made according to typical human body proportions to promote realistic beauty standards.” She’s shorter than Barbie, wider than Barbie, and available just in time for the holidays. Starting next month, you can enhance her average-ness with Lammily Marks, a packet of tattoos, cellulite, acne, and freckles that you can stick on your doll so she can even further look like a great deal of others.

Lammily doll

Average and fabulous!

There was so much enthusiasm around Lamm’s idea that he swiftly raised over half a million dollars through crowdfunding. People are embracing the idea of a doll whose proportions more realistically represent the average girl versus Barbie, whose super skinny legs, waist and hips make young girls everywhere feel as if they need Weight Watchers pronto. Our own Kirsten Hallie Krum wrote a great post last week about society’s perception of the ideal body image and the challenges she faces every day dealing with the fact that she doesn’t fit that mold. So it was interesting that on the heels of her post I came across an article about the Lammily Doll.

Reviews on Lamm’s website from buyers who’ve already gotten their hands on it are effusive with praise. “Thank you for making positive changes for our young girls!” says one reviewer. “Love the concept!” raves another. Yet for all the accolades, there are those who question whether Lamm’s approach actually is doing good for body image perception. The tagline on his website is “Average is beautiful.” And by “average,” we’re talking about those 19-year-old proportions:  a 5’4″ tall, 33-inch waist white girl with straight brown hair. But what about if you’re an Asian girl, 5’9″ with a 37-inch waist? An overweight African American girl?  Not average, ergo, not beautiful?

Designer Lamm has been quick to react to the criticism, especially to those who’ve taken to calling Lammily the “normal” Barbie. He’s publically stated that calling the doll normal is a simple way to describe her, yet it shouldn’t suggest that if a girl’s image doesn’t match those of the doll’s there’s something wrong with her.

There’s also the “average is beautiful” slogan that has some cringing. Are we really only aspiring to be “average”? Aren’t parents constantly telling kids to shoot for the stars, dream big, be anything they want to be? Who in the world wants to be simply average?

To me this is a whole lot of making sure a good deed doesn’t go unpunished. It’s easy to pick apart what Lamm is doing and criticize everything wrong with it. Where’s the diversity, for example? How come just a white doll? What about a doll for those who are heavier, taller, or disabled? Where are the dolls for those girls, hmmm? Those are valid concerns – Lamm, by the way, says he’s working on a diversity doll – but to address the detrimental body image perception that young girls of today have, there’s got to be a starting point. I think Lamm’s effort to celebrate “average” and bring young girls a doll that at least resembles their proportions a whole lot more than Barbie does is a step in the right direction. Stating that “average is beautiful” doesn’t mean it’s all we should hope to be. But the truth is, most of us aren’t born with supermodel looks and supermodel bodies. So why not make it OK to accept that and have a realistic looking doll who won’t contribute to 10-year-olds having an eating disorder.

Here at Lady Smut we take average to new heights, so be sure to follow us for above average posts seven days a week.

 

 

 

Giving it Away

9 Dec

So the publisher of my e-book series,( SAFFRON NIGHTS )is giving away the first book in the series. The numbers were way up last week because of it. It made me jump for joy and cringe at the same time. Because—YAY—what a great rating. But—BOO—nobody is making any money off of it.

Screenshot 2014-12-03 04.35.08

The theory is, of course, that people will love the first book in the series so much that they will buy the other two books. And even if they don’t, I’m now on their radar and the next time they see a book written by me they may be more likely to pick it up.

 

LizEverly_SaffronNights

I have several friends who have done extraordinarily well with their series because they made the first book permanently free. So maybe there’s something to it. But then again, as all successful marketing trends go up, they often come down. And as I recently read somewhere “A free book is not that big of a deal anymore.”

Which made me very sad.

Most writers don’t write for money alone. What I mean is, it’s not the reason we write. We all write for different reasons. But writing books is hard work. And writers do have to pay bills—just like everybody else. And I know readers enjoy the entertainment—why do some feel like it should be free? Is this what we’ve done by offering free so many books? I don’t know any of the answers. I wish I did.

I’ve been a professional writer for about 30 years, now, in various guises. But before that, I was a reader. A free book would have been (and is) a treat to me. I can’t imagine “expecting” to have free books from my favorite writers. Do people go to the movies for free? See plays for free? Live bands? Nope.

Rant over. I enjoy a good freebie as much as the next person. But I don’t expect them and I lay down the money to read the next book, do you?

If I was in Indie writer, I’d see the results of this latest promo quickly—as in hard core numbers. I could tell you exactly how many downloads there have been and so on. But, it will be awhile before I know anything. I’ll report back to you when I do. And then the other sad truth of the matter is that even though, say, 5,000 people download the book, maybe 2 will read it. Or nobody. Who knows?

I don’t harbor any resentment for e-Kensington for making this book free. I think it’s a good idea. I’m hopeful that the more people who read it, the better off the whole series will be. That series is not for formula-romance readers and it’s taking awhile to find it’s larger audience. Any push is better than none at all.

Free books: Are they still a good way to market and promote to reach readers, or are they doing nothing for writers these days? What do YOU say?

In the mean time, I am on  a blog tour next week and will be offering a $15 gift card as a prize, so follow along on the TEMPTING WILL McGLASHEN blog tour:

Tempting Will McGlashen by Liz Everly - 50015th December: http://locglin.blogspot.com/

16th December: http://www.roomwithbooks.com/

17th December: http://www.pinkypollock.blogspot.com

18th December: http://www.fenellajmiller.co.uk/

19th December: http://gracemarshallromance.co.uk

 

Take a Break From the Holidays With Megan Mulry and Alisha Rai

8 Dec

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

The holiday season is in full swing. I swear, the emails in my inbox inbreed when I’m not looking given how many more I’m getting per day from the same vendors.

Everyone dig deep. We’ll make it through this together. Even if, like me, the only shopping you do is online, we all need a break from the hustle and bustle. Here are two books that can entertain you along the way with a pair of heroines who will knock your thigh-highs off.

Roulette by Megan Mulry

Roulette

Click on picture to buy!

Safe and secure in academia, finance professor Miki Durant has never enjoyed the limelight that surrounds her flashy movie-star mother and Russian mogul father. But when her father unexpectedly dies, Miki finds herself alone in St. Petersburg juggling the myriad and complex workings of his international empire, which includes negotiating with a notorious French playboy, corporate rival Jérôme Michel de Villiers, or Rome as he’s known among the glitterati. Rome is everything Miki avoids and yet their sizzling attraction keeps knocking her sideways. The work too is challenging and enlivens her professional side more than any tenure track. Will she risk it all on such a gamble, or retreat to her safe if uncomplicated life in L.A.?

I loved Miki. She’s so unashamedly smart and capable. Her upbringing and history are unique and yet grounded in believability. Her grief for her father, despite their complicated relationship, particularly resonates for its lack of emotional hysterics, as deep mourning often presents itself in real life. Into this tumultuous state enters Rome, like a David Gandy advert come to life but with a French accent. All of Rome’s story comes filtered through Miki’s perception as Roulette is written in first-person present, but that just makes his impact all the more strong. He and Miki are instantly kindred spirits, their attraction forming first sight unseen as they spar over the phone. He gives Miki one perfect fantasy night…a night that is romantic and sexy and that haunts Miki even as she turns down Rome’s offer for more. While naturally a risk-taker, her aversion to her parent’s dramatic and very public lives has made her resist impulse and live as risk-free a life as she can manage. Rome is the biggest risk she’s taken in a long time, personally and professionally, and their night together sets loose a chain of events that can transform her life if she’s willing to take the biggest risk of all: trust.

My favorite parts of Roulette are when Miki is in France for her friend’s wedding. It made me think of the movie Stealing Beauty where, in search of the true identity of her father, a young Liv Tyler goes to Tuscany to stay with artist friends of her mother who recently died. Friends hanging out drinking wine and creating things, whether art or, in the case of Roulette, cutting-edge, international finance deals, are my idea of a happy place. But Roulette also seeps with international glamour. St. Petersburg comes to life under Ms. Mulry’s deft pen, all the romanticism of its old world allure brushed up for new world adventures. Roulette kept me up reading until 4 AM. On a weeknight. I know no better recommendation than that.

A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai.

Gentleman in the Street

Click on picture to buy.

Like Roulette, I bought A Gentleman in the Street because of its gorgeous cover and buzz on The Twitter. Never let anyone tell you The Twitter doesn’t sell books. Also like Roulette, I was not disappointed.

Bitch. Slut. Whore. Akira Mori has been called them all, often right to her face and frequently by her own parents. Long inured to the slander, Akira takes delight in fulfilling people’s low expectations, secure in the knowledge that she answers only to herself. Known for being shameless and ruthless with an impenetrable heart, in life and in business, she can and does have anyone she wants. Except author Jacob Campbell, the man she’s lusted after for more than a decade since her mother married his father for a New York minute. Believing Jacob will never give in to her considerable charms, Akira instead needles him verbally, taunting him with their not-quite-related status as a defense against how much she longs for him…and how deeply his opinion, out of all of them, matters.

It’s not that Jacob’s not interested, though Akira doesn’t know that. Since having a feckless father left Jacob to raise his three siblings, he takes that responsibility to such serious degrees that he’s been denying his desire for Akira all these years. That hasn’t stop him from featuring her in some deliciously filthy fantasies, but so long as he doesn’t actually touch her, he can hold himself in check. Until the one day Akira pursues him to his writing retreat with a deeply personal request. With just one touch of her hand on his arm years of restraint break free. Now the lines between fantasy and reality are blurring with Jacob only too willing to let Akira show him her brand of shameless pleasure.

Akira is a compelling heroine with all the eroticism of her private life and all the balls-out, barracuda personae of her public one. People say they don’t care what others say or think about them, but Akira really doesn’t care and that is refreshing at the same time that it’s a little sad because of why she doesn’t care. Her parent’s casual cruelty to Akira is shocking. She’s been neglected and emotionally abused by them for so long, she believes she’s actually unlovable but has convinced herself it doesn’t matter. And it truly doesn’t…except for when she perceives Jacob has that same attitude.

As much as Akira is driven to fulfill the bad opinions held of her by society and her horrible parents, Jacob is compelled not to become his father, feckless and shameless to the point of neglecting his children. Jacob’s been lusting after Akira for 10 years, but he’s afraid to give into his erotic imaginings for fear of being so caught up in her, he’ll forget his responsibilities. Forget the people he loves.

There’s so much I like about how this book is written. Rather than dragged out beyond bearing, the big misunderstanding between Jacob and Akira is resolved within the first third of the book and we get right on with the courting. It’s also really, really sexy, especially when Akira initiates Jacob into her notorious house parties. But really, it’s Akira’s characterization that makes me the most happy. She is so confident, so sure of herself even in her extremes. She absolutely does not care what people think of her. She doesn’t back down and she doesn’t apologize. She can be utter unlikable and that’s perfectly okay with her (and, clearly, with Ms. Rai). I’m a big believer in claiming who you are and screw anyone who doesn’t like it, but in actually, it’s incredibly difficult for most of us not to still be affected by the opinions and reactions of people, right or wrong, to our behavior. Akira lives such an ideal full throttle and without apology. She’s got baggage, sure, and while she takes pride in the names people call her, she’s let them convince her she deserves it, that she’s unlovable. But she also knows who she is and does not apologize.

Jacob is a hero worthy of Akira because he doesn’t expect her to apologize. He doesn’t love her in spite of her mouth or her sexual proclivities or her aggressive behavior; he falls for the whole package. When she calls him on blaming her for his shit, he realizes she’s right not in some character-changing epiphany but in contemplative agreement because he’s already that guy, he just had to be reminded of it. Jacob is a total sweetheart, big and rough but gentle and sexy. Really, any man who can manage The Talk with his teenage sister and later discipline her for callously calling another woman “slut” is one to grab hold of.

Years of holding his desires in check has taken its toll, but when Jacob lets loose, he’s completely comfortable in Akira’s world. He never expects her to change, never asks her to tone down her behavior, doesn’t think for one second that he has any influence over how she conducts her life except whether or not he joins her in it. Akira doesn’t have to lose her agency to have Jacob and Jacob doesn’t have to be less manly to be with Akira. The absence of those expectations, even only as a hurdle to be overcome in the story, is vastly refreshing.

Sexy, bittersweet, and with a truly unique heroine, A Gentleman in the Street is an entertaining, must-read.

 

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