I don’t know how many ways to say this: buy this anthology now! THE DEVIL’S DOORBELL would be my vote for best anthology of 2016. (That said, why doesn’t RWA have a best anthology category for the RITA’S?)
Why should you buy it? Let me count the ways:
1) I’m really a hard core erotic romance reader and this is labled erotica, but it very much satisfied my erom itch.
Something has to be super-hot and well written for it to be erotica and work for me. That said, this anthology has all the elements that I want/lurv in erotic romance. They’re such wicked little sexy short stories and novellas but even so, I thought there were a lot of happy endings.
Yeah, they come wrapped in HFN ribbons, but the relationships are so well done, you get the feeling that when the ribbons are plucked off, inside the package are a lot of HEA’s. Okay, maybe I was reading into some of them–but there was only one really that made me think it was a classic erotica story in which the relationship would be pleasing, but then they would still move on. And even that one satisfied this erom gal.
In fact, some seemed more like the beginning of a book, where the couples could go on (and I’d read more!) because they seem to have made such a solid connection, and it seemed like there’s more goodness to come down the well-paved story path.
2. Excellent writing. It was really a delight to read this anthology simply for the mastery of prose. Your head will sink into these stories like a freshly plumped pillow in a luxury hotel.
3. Classy as all git. People, I have gone to war with the erom f*** fest. I don’t want randy, flat characters senselessly humping away by page twelve. I want rounded characters, I want some intelligence, sensitivity, and yes, class when it comes to people whimpering with sexual need. This book had it all. I really liked the honest yet sophisticated attitudes towards women, men, and sex.
4. Hot as hell. Smexy sauce spurting everywhere. Mollie O’Keefe’s writing is new to me. Her story anchors the ending. It’s about a sexy, muscled, female welder-artist type who meets up with a scarred, tall, nordic he-man of the wilderness (I’m picturing Alexander Skarsgard). So yeah, I really liked the feel of her characters. Like the other big girl writers of this erom anthology, her writing was so crystal clear in my head that her compellingly like-able iconic characters played out in my imagination with the ease of watching a sexy mini-series episode. And by that, I don’t mean to drag the comparison down to the level of crap TV, I mean to lift it UP to a comparison of “It’s so glossy, polished, and well done, I could just sit here all day watching this entire series in one go” kind of comparison. You know what I mean.
5. Glamorous locations. Anne Calhoun’s story kicks off the anthology, and takes place in England. The setting is rich, pretty, and the sex is weighted with all the carnal delight of late afternoon sun on a glorious mid-summer’s day. I pictured someone hot English aristo like Matthew Goode in the hero’s role.
6. Compelling plot concepts! I have to say–my fav, fav, favorite story was Christine D’Abo’s DEVIL IN THE DARK. (Though I loved them all, you understand.) This story was hot and to the point. Great concept — With nicely done characters in a very short amount of pages. The story is about a women who creates a wicked little app, a sort of zipless fuck menu, in which you can make up a list of illicit naughty sex you want to try out with a stranger. Then our entrepreneur heroine finds a brooding mystery man at a disco bar who’s willing to be her first victim.
7. Diversity in kinds of sex. There’s a fem dom story in the collection by Megan Hart. (More on fem dom next week.) And even an f/f story by Megan Mulry***. Megan! (Fanning myself.) Set in London no less–a lush setting and a perfect match for Calhoun’s story.
We, of course, are big fans of Megan Mulry’s already, but this story was so excellent. Light and bubbly. Hawt. And this was (at least with my rosy romance spectacles on) the one erotica story that didn’t seem like the relationship was going to last for forever. I didn’t care. It was satisfyingly luxurious. Really an elegant f/f erotica story–if I can even say that about a plot that starts off with an ad for face-sitting. Kudos, Megan!
But there are other very different kinds of stories/plots/and sex as well. Roll playing. Illicit office sex. Virgin sex. Some take place in warehouses. Some involve new encounters, some evoke the haunting of old flames. A whole variety of characters from backwoods he-men to millionaire female doms. Sexy bartenders!
8. Awesome authors! I’m babbling here.
I just really liked this anthology. It’s an all-star erotic romance author line up, people. I also want to give a shout out to Delphine Dryden who has a story in the anthology, cause I’ve always been a big fan of her sexy geeks.
Buy it already! You know you want to — a perfect summer read for the beach. Perfect!
***And thanks to Megan Mulry for slipping me a free copy at my request. I knew I was probably going to like it — but I didn’t know I’d like it THIS MUCH.
Meanwhile, follow us at LadySmut where we’ll inspire your TBR pile with a wave of our battery operated wands and some unicorn fairy dust.
Madeline Iva writes fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, and her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, will be out Fall, 2016.