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Bad Ass Heroines In Space

13 Jul

by Madeline Iva

No more token female characters in sff novels. No more ‘space babes’ in skimpy costumes on the cover. You do not get to use your galaxy kitten for a minor romantic/sexual sub-plot then push her right back into plot obscurity again. Those times are over. Dead. Gone.

Here are two books that emerged from the SFF world fairly recently to provide a punch in the gut for male SFF patriarchy– now rolled up into a fetal position and slowly dying.

First I want to give a shout out to ASCENSION.  I love the cover. I’ve only read the first two chapters so far and saw much that romance readers would want to roll around in.  I’ll use three words to describe Jacqueline Koyanagi’s writing: heartfelt, soulful, longing.

At the same time, ASCENSION is described by others on Koyanagi’s website as “a fun, fast-paced space opera” with a diverse cast of characters. It examines disability and polyamory—“all while racing to save the universe from certain destruction.”

Sounds good to me!

Here’s the low down on the plot:

Our main character, Alana Quick, is maniacal about fixing spaceships. She’s an obsessive grease monkey–even her skin tastes like the metal from ships she repairs. She feels as much lust for a space ship as she does for its hot female captain.  Although Alana has an aunt with medical issues, and a dying business on a harsh planet, she jumps world to stow away on a ship called the Tangled Axon.  The ship’s crew are trying to find her sister Nova–but why? And do they mean Nova harm?

The captain of this ship is a sexy bad-ass woman, the engineer is more of the burly growly type of male. But our heroine definitely has an eye for the ladies. Alana describes her first impression of the Tangled Axon’s captain:

The woman sizzled in front of me, all blond hair, boots, and confidence. She tilted her head at an angle of self-important distain, hip cocked to match. Cargo pants hung below her waist and a white tank top bared her toned arms. […] We locked eyes. Her barbed expression pricked at me from beneath her bangs, as if I were a spot of rust on her ship that had the audacity to sprout up when she wasn’t looking. Muscles pulled at the corner of her mouth. 

The book definitely is going to have romance/sexual elements in it. I can just tell.

However, I haven’t read it yet, just the first few chapters. So check it out yourself! (It’s the start of a series.)

You should definitely buy Ancillary Justice.

ANCILLIARY JUSTICE was the book everyone was talking about last year at Wis Con. It’s the first book in a three book series by Ann Leckie, but it’s definitely a stand-alone kind of read.

The main character in ANCILLARY JUSTICE is an AI. Once a spaceship called Ancillary Justice, the A.I. started off with thousands of “nodes” –i.e. human bodies that the A.I. mentally occupied and controlled–now the A.I. is down to just one body and bent on revenge.

The book starts off with the A.I. rescuing a former crew mate on the final stage of her long cold quest for vengeance–and we’re off to the races.

The other kicker in this novel–the one that left all the readers I talked to pleasantly a-buzz–was that the A.I. comes from a culture that only uses the “she” pronoun. Everyone from her world is a “she”.

Now, that’s not to say everyone is actually biologically female. The A.I. is no longer in her own society and while talking to other characters from different worlds, we get plenty of clues as to who’s who in terms of man meat and va-jay-jays.

That may sound like a complicated read. It’s not at all – it’s actually easier to read than it is to describe in this blog post, and that’s because Leckie is just one f***ing masterful writer.

Overall the book is engaging. I whiffled right through it in a day and then actually wound up reading it over again because I just wanted to hang out with the characters in that world all over again.

A great read.

A fabulous summer read.

Buy it!

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.





Rules? There *Are* No Rules–When It Comes To Love

29 Jun

by Madeline Iva

Airplane ride coming up? Click to buy.

Life is messy.  We know that.  I grab a romance to escape from all that chaos that whomps down on my head every so often.  Okay, frequently.  I call romances happiness machines. Though sometimes we love romances that it makes us ugly cry.  So…okay, catharsis machines.  And yet…sometimes I yearn for less romance tidiness.  Sometimes I just really like it when an author breaks all the rules.

If you know of any romances you LOVE that ‘break the rules’ –please let us know about them.  You can comment down below or post to our Lady Smut FB page. If you reallllly want to get into the nitty gritty about sex that breaks the rules in erotic romance books or erotica–about why you like it anyway (and believe me, I’m all ears) — then you’ll want to request that we add you to our Lady Smut Speakeasy –a private group on FB. Come talk to us there and tell us allll about it. ; >

I’ve talked before about Never Sweeter and Untamed.  Both are books that had my eyes widening and saying out loud “OH MY GOD!” But here are two books that break the rules quietly — and firmly.

REMINISCENT HEARTS by Rachel De Lune has that hot, “gotta have you, rip your clothes off right now” kind of sex that I always really love.  Ohhh, but Rachel De Lune makes you wait for it.

Here’s my blurb for Reminiscent Hearts:

Lily wants the bad boy Jake.  But Lily ends up doing what any sane, intelligent heroine would do. She gets together with someone equally wonderful, without all the twisted parts, and they live happily ever after.  Until they don’t.  When Jake runs into Lily again, things have changed.  She’s totally changed.  Now there are no rules. 

So shivery delicious.  The thing is this: I was told as a would-be romance author you CAN’T DO THAT.  You can’t show the heroine falling happily in love with someone else.  Noooooo.

Why not? This book shows that you can do it, and it’s a perfectly wonderful read.

Because readers don’t like heroines who are promiscuous is why.  But coming out of the sexual dark ages, let’s be real.  Most people in life that we know have had sex with more than one partner by the time they’re thirty.  And they’ve been in more than one happy relationship.  If you read the book, it’s quite clear that Lily is about as far from promiscuous as you can get without belonging to a religious cult or something.

But I have to say, that I quite like and cheer for someone who doesn’t succumb to the alpha male treatment, who doesn’t sign up for a relationship with a young ass-hat.  Jake needs to grow up some and gain some control–and he’s not ready for Lily until then…he doesn’t deserve her until then.

I whiffled right through it in one plane ride.  You will enjoy it too! Buy it here:


Amazon UK:



$4.99. Click to buy.

THE ART OF THREE by Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese is a book I’ve just started, so I can’t say anything about where it goes or how it ends–or even what kind of sex is in it.  It’s described as “contemporary romance/queer romance”. I’m already getting the feeling this is definitely NOT erotic romance and that with two bi-sexual men, it’s not menage either.  It’s polyamory.

I’m finding it terrifically soothing.

So far, everyone is behaving well towards each other, even though the characters constantly find themselves in social situations that are tricky to navigate.  I’m just at the part where the hot movie star is not seducing his hot male co-star, because the co-star is too sleepy. Yes, it’s that kind of book.  If you’re looking for a romance that’s modern, that celebrates instead of clashes, you’ll want this book.  It’s as good as settling down on your couch with a throw and the best cup of tea ever.

Buy it here:


Oh, and check out their website:

And follow them on facebook:

Meanwhile, follow us on Lady Smut — we’ll soothe your sensitive soul.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

Disclaimer: I met Rachel De Lune recently at a writing retreat and we instantly bonded, I now consider her a friend.  I know Rachel Maltese via a facebook group we both joined.  

Play Ball! Baseball Romances For Your Fourth of July

4 Jul

tumblr_nfwjx2gwUO1sj9ufho1_400by Madeline Iva

What are you doing this Fourth of July? I am gnoshing on my fav fourth of July candy: dark chocolate with pop rocks and chilies.  Yes, it’s delicious! It pops in your mouth, which is fun, even though it sounds so dirty.

We also tried making a cherry clafouti to celebrate this year–though maybe that’s more appropriate for Bastille Day, since it’s a French dessert.

The fire works started early in our neighborhood–and for the last several nights our dog is hiding between my feet, or under the covers, poor boy.  😦  See his adorable little face peeping out from under the covers here on my Facebook profile.

As for the rest of today, I’ve finished mourning the Red Sox’s abysmal record and I’m now finding solace in perusing some baseball romances.  The covers are so wholesome they hurt.  Check these out and we at Lady Smut hope you have a SIMPLY SMASHING FOURTH OF JULY! (We’re taking the rest of the week off, btw.)

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Here’s a baseball romance: CALLING IT by Jen Doyle:

After a near career-ending car accident and with paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, all-star catcher Nate Hawkins can only think of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he’s not sure what to think…except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.

Librarian Dorie Donelli never thought she’d get to meet her fantasy man in person—much less while she’s wearing her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary. As long as she remembers he’ll be gone once his life gets back on track, she won’t get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his old life.

Click to pre-order.

Click to pre-order.

Jen Doyle also has another baseball romance, CALLED UP, that’s available for preorder and comes out in August. LOVE this cover!

If those suggestions don’t scratch your baseball itch, there’s a whole mess o’ baseball romances at GOODREADS, to check out, including romances by JILL SHALVIS, JACI BURTON, MINDY KLASKY, BELLE ANDRE and others.

Good hunting!






He’s Hot, He’s Tied Up, and He’s All Yours–Now What Are You Gonna Do?

30 Jun
Some days a woman feels her inner spank more than others.

Some days a woman feels her inner spank more than others.

by Madeline Iva

Let’s talk about women in seriously tight leather, wielding whips. While everybody hates a shrieking bitch, we all respect the woman who has her sh** majorly together.  This woman is my role model when I encounter her–be she a mom or a boss.

She is unflappable when it comes to getting results.  ‘Results’ often means putting man or man-child back in his place and making him behave.  I respect this kind of woman–but do I identify with her as my heroine in an erotic romance story? Sure I do!

In the DEVIL’S DOORBELL anthology I was raving about last week, the heroine in Megan Heart’s story is a domme, with a hot sub.  His dick may be in chains (literally) but he is clearly empowered with his own agenda.

Our heroine in this story is heart sore (but then again, what Megan Hart heroine isn’t? ; >) She tends to his needs, until her own needs become so large, that her sub puts his role aside.  He takes his turn being the comforting one, the one to hold her and fuck her hard if that’s what she needs.

All of which helps when a demon from her past comes back into town.  This bad boy who once wrecked the heroine shows up to befuddle her head and break her heart. Again. Yet thanks to her domme experience and her sub, who’s shown her just how good a real man can treat her, she is no longer the broken woman her ex left behind. She finds an emotional power to deal with her ex calmly and firmly—putting him in his place sexually–even in her highly vulnerable state.  Not your typical spanking sub tale.

Click to buy to read this forceful, sexy, hero's story...

Click to buy to read this forceful, sexy, hero’s story…

Joey Hill has probably been most successful writing domme heroines and sub heroes. In NATURAL LAW, the hero is a cop going undercover at a sex club as a sub to catch a murderous FemDom.

Mac is an interesting alpha-sub. The heroine thinks he throws himself into the submissive roll with the cocky idea that he’s so tough, no woman can break him.

Such attitude makes her itch to try, of course.

Letting himself be restrained, Mackenzie, full of male pride, insists he can take anything she dishes out. There are two scenes when Violet violates his sense of old skool masculinity.  As he roars with primal fury, he’s helplessly getting off – and getting off – and getting off some more.

Reading these scenes, I was like ‘Oh my God!’, my eyes glued to my Kindle.

Viola breaks her bucking bronco, and leaves us with a wounded, sexy beast, weary and full of feels as she holds his large head in her hands.  He’s more humble, his primal force banked in the tenderness he feels towards her. I’m sure this scene hits all the right pleasure button for women readers.

MADELINE IVA: How are you the rare exception when it comes to erom writers in being able to have really successful FemDom sex that actually sells? What’s your secret sauce?

JOEY HILL: When I started writing my first FemDom/male sub story, I didn’t expect to BE writing that genre. Holding the Cards was intended to be MaleDom/female sub, because that’s what I liked to read myself. But it didn’t work, and I became so frustrated, I flipped the roles and suddenly the book took off. That was the story that taught ME that I could enjoy reading about that type of relationship.

I didn’t quite get my feet under me until the next one, which was NATURAL LAW. When I wrote Mac and Violet’s story, I figured out “the secret sauce” so to speak. Like most of those who were writing erotic romance at that time, I was a traditional romance reader. I loved romances with uber-alpha heroes (aka Dom wannabes that the world wasn’t ready to call Doms yet, lol). So when I wrote NATURAL LAW, I wrote a hero who had all the elements of those traditional heroes. Mac Nighthorse was protective, strong, and sensitive at the right moments in a masculine way (not a girl hiding in a guy’s body, lol), but he had the intriguing twist of desiring to submit sexually and serve… Full stop.

He's hot, he's tied up, and he's all yours. Now what are ya gonna do?

He’s hot, he’s tied up, and he’s all yours. Now what are ya gonna do?

It was that word “serve” that clicked for me. Since then, I’ve called this form of submissive the “palace guard” sub. He’s the type of guy who might be a cop or in the military, with such a craving to serve the woman he loves that it translates into a submissive orientation. I am a submissive myself, so I used my understanding of the submissive psychology to guide me through the scenes, but integrated it with how I’d expect a male hero to react and handle those scenarios.

Of course, the nice thing about how the erotic romance genre has evolved is it also now has room to explore the beta male subs.

Oh behave!

Oh behave!

It’s also REALLY important not to forget the Domme side of the equation. Just as my male sub still has traditional qualities of romance heroes, my Domme has vulnerabilities. She doesn’t stop being a woman in love; far from it. Her Domme side is all part of how she loves. She’s tough and amazing, but she still needs to be held when she cries. Which is genuinely the way a Domme is in real life as well. Dom or sub, these are still human beings whose needs and desires are pretty much the same as what we all have – they just express them through a Dominant or submissive orientation.

MADELINE IVA: Do you think FemDom will be more embraced by romance audiences as we move along?

JOEY HILL: As the erotic romance readership has grown more sophisticated, they’ve become more willing to try storylines they wouldn’t necessarily have considered when they first started reading erotic romance. So yes, I think as readers hear from other readers “Hey, this is really good and you should try it,” they will. That’s how NATURAL LAW gained in popularity and became the book that launched my career. Pretty funny, since I assumed in the beginning I would only ever write Male Doms, lol. Now I do Dommes, Doms, threesomes, you name it. I guess erotic romance authors become more diverse and sophisticated as we go along, too.

But final note, if an author wants a FemDom book to take off get it in the hands of readers/reviewers who will give it a try and crow from the rooftops to other readers if they love it. I’m seeing more and more requests from readers looking for “good” FemDom/male sub stories.

MADELINE IVA: Thanks Joey for being here today and answering these questions! Our very own Alexa Day has a FemDom story out in the new anthology HERO TO OBEY.

Click to buy it now---only .99 cents!

Click to buy it now—only .99 cents!

The hero in this story is young-ish, hot-naturally–and performs as an excellent bar back for the owner of a restaurant and bar on the seashore. The heroine’s female employee is like “Can we keep him? Can we?” because he really puts an strong work ethic into his physical labors in an efficient and conscientious way. The heroine, however, has other ideas about what to do with such an obedient, gorgeous employee who responds so well to her commands.

There’s a great scene in the store room where nothing is said really, but the chemistry is palpably felt to the point where the relationship cannot go back to the way it was.  You’ll have to read the rest to find out what happens.

Meanwhile, do you have a favorite FemDom read? A favorite Joey Hill or Megan Hart book you adore? Does FemDom do it for you? Do you think this sub sub-genre is a growing trend?

As we become more comfortable with women in positions of enormous power, *cough* woman president of the United States *cough* do you think more women will see themselves in the FemDom role and look for more of these romances? Or do you think it will drive women even further into the fantasy of submission as they seek a break from all that responsibility?

Do tell.

Meanwhile make your mistress happy–follow us at Lady Smut and subscribe to our newsletter.

Madeline Ivaimgres 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.

You Have to Read This! The Devil’s Doorbell Erotic Anthology

23 Jun

Click to buy, consume, whiffle down in one gulp and then lick your fingers afterwards. Yum!

by Madeline Iva

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.

Molly O'Keefe's character reminded me of Alexander Skarsgard-but in his "I've lost my memory, Suki" more vulnerable state.

Molly O’Keefe’s character reminded me of Alexander Skarsgard in his “I’ve lost my memory, Suki” vulnerable state.

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 Ivaimgres 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.


Darkhouse: Review by Sarah Driver

29 Jan

Hello folks, Madeline Iva here.  Today we have a guest post by Sarah Driver, who has a book review site: Romances For the Weary Feminist.

She’s reviewing Dark House today–check it out!

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Ever wake up with nightmares? Startle your little sister out of sleep with your screams from said nightmares?

Perry Palomino, the intrepid heroine of Darkhouse (An Experiment in Terror) by Karina Halle, has just a few teeny problems with sleeping through the night.  Her recent nightmares have a way of coming true.


Darkhouse has been out since 2011 but you won’t find it on many standard romance book lists because it bends the genre firmly into horror. I’ll be honest; it’s neither your standard read-on-the-beach romance book nor do we get an HEA at the end of book 1, but it is a romance in its own way. The romance doesn’t really go anywhere until the fourth book in the series—and the series is nine books long—but the culmination is worth the wait. Also, you should know right now that the characters don’t always make the correct moral choices.

Perry is a young woman who sneaks into her uncle’s lighthouse and sees something that scares her. In her panic, she escapes and physically runs into Dex, an older man trespassing in hopes of filming ghosts for a new show. Instead of reporting him to the police, Perry eventually agrees to film the supposed ghost of the lighthouse with him. I’m not going to spill the beans on what happens next.

I advise you not to turn the pages at night.  All of the characters are well written and complex–even the supporting characters are well drawn. Currents of secrets run under everything.

Underlying secrets, the sea, and a spooky lighthouse–

It’s charming!

I see Johnny Depp as the hero.

I see Johnny Depp as the hero.

The possibility of romance is one of the main reasons that Perry agrees to work with Dex. She thinks he’s hot. Dex calls her “kiddo” and “barely legal” because he’s all of a decade older than her 22. Darkhouse is peppered with Perry trying not to be attracted to Dex. But is it mutual? I think so, especially after reading this:

He was staring at my ass. At least that’s what it looked like. I guess when it’s the biggest thing in the room, it must be hard not to stare at it. I waited for him to look up. He eventually did and gave me a bright, innocent flash of straight teeth. I narrowed my eyes at him. ‘Were you staring at my ass?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied without hesitation. His eyes were round and crazy. Or playful, if you wanted to use a polite term for crazy.

Dex is complicated. He tells Perry that she is dangerous for him—but not exactly how. The implications just dangle there. If I were Perry’s mother I would tell Perry to run for the hills. But I’m not her mother, and holy shit I see why Perry thinks he’s hot.

63327984_7275622bdaI tried not to stare at him. It was tough, though. The longer I was in that car, the more I was mesmerized by his face. Sometimes it looked at peace. His soft eyelids would sort of half droop, the corners of his wide mouth would twitch intermittently like he was on the cusp of a telling a ridiculous joke. Sometimes he looked like he was consumed by some internal fire. His eyes became darker, harder, framed by deep chasmy shadows created by the brooding brow. His mouth would set in a hard, firm line and his smart-ass smirk would vanish.

Man, I adore sexual tension and with the forbidden romance undertones, the sexual tension in this book is delicious. You can understand why Perry’s attracted to Dex. Most people can probably relate to (or at least remember) Perry’s feelings of insecurity, occasional moments of jealousy, and general early 20s angst. She is tired of the banality of life and ghost hunting is a way to escape that banality, feel important, and hang out with a hot man.

The actual reality of ghost hunting with Dex proves to be somewhat less fun than Perry anticipated. A better word would be “horrifying.” The ghosts in this series do more than open windows or knock pictures off of walls.

Darkhouse was good enough to make it to my “Great Books” collection on Kindle.

I was thrilled with Darkhouse because it kept me in suspense and the character imperfections made the story feel real to me–even if it’s a ghost story.

So far, so good!    


No ragrets, dude.

Dark House is the first in a series, so like any reading addict, I promptly read Halle’s next two books, Red Fox and Dead Sky Morning, in the same day. I would’ve kept reading but I wanted to get at least a few hours of sleep. I have only read up to the fourth book in the series but I recommend all that I have read thus far.

Thanks for being with us, Sarah! Meanwhile, readers if you want more good book recommendations please follow us–we’ll never leave you alone at night.

Bring Horns: Watching, Cuckholding, & Other Things Couples Do on Dirty Dates

12 Nov

Click to buy.

by Madeline Iva

Curious about cuckholding—a kind of couples kink? (Say that three times fast!)

Then you wanna check out CROSSTOWN CRUSH.  Samira is married to Mike.  So Samira comes home from girl’s night out covered in men’s cologne so Mike can get jealous. (Cause it turns him on.)  Then he confronts her on it, and she humiliates him with a shrugging confession of his inadequacy. (Cause it makes him hot.) She spells out her need to get a good dicking by someone other than him. Which–you guessed it–gets him horny as hell. Then he goes all cave man on her, and ‘reclaims’ her, i.e. boinks her with a fierce roughness which she really likes, so they both get off.

This was a weird book for Cara McKenna. A careful book. Samira is going along with her husband’s kink and it’s with raised eyebrows that we readers follow her on that journey.

It’s like as she wrote it Cara was thinking “This could go so wrong in several hundred ways.” And then she just grabbed her readers by the hand, saying “I’m gonna explain this, and then, trust me, it’s gonna be hot.”

And that’s what she does. Explains and explains. Then it gets pretty hot.

Pink Bow

Click to buy — .99 cents!

Because what happens is, Mike and Samira decide to up the ante and get a real guy to play the role of the man shagging Samira in their fantasy life.  Enter Bern stage left. (Bern is short for Bernard) Bern is hotness on a stick.

I think this is a book aimed squarely at me as a reader. I’m like: cuckholding? Hunh? Whaaaa? I needed that intro with all it’s careful Reasons. McKenna presents Mike savoring the kink which works.  But when Bern comes on stage things heat up and get mighty interesting.

If you’re a Cara McK addict, this book delivers. She has that talent for being oh-so-dirty, yet still classy as hell.

Random aside: What struck me most was the emphasis on generosity in this book. (Note to self—include more of it in my romances.)

Moving on. Mike’s kink was cuckholding, while Bern liked to be watched.


Click to buy. Only .99 cents!

WATCHING by Bethany James is out.  You may remember that I talked about her great dirty book recs HERE. Read her story, cause WATCHING is also about–you guessed it–exhibitionism. It’s a twenty-something’s gentle journey to the land of forbidden hot dirty sex with randy grown-ups.

What I liked best? Those little frissons she has during experiences that touch upon lines of naughty shame and transgression. I’d say both of these books are at their hottest when they put their finger right there and keep it there. Ooh yeah.  Just like that. Don’t stop.

Finally, if you’re like: why aren’t there more cuckholding stories out there? Why? Why? Why? Then check out our very own Isabelle Drake’s cuckholding short story THE PINK BOW. It’s a short little f–kfest with a charm all its own.

And if you’re looking for the perfect dirty date for your own couple-dom, look no further.  Rachel Kramer Bussel edited this great little DIRTY DATES anthology just for you.  Buy it HERE.

Click to Buy

Click to Buy

Th-th-th-that’s all folks! See you next week. In the meantime follow us at Lady Smut. We’ll never lead you astray. (Only because you want us to.)

Coming and Going: One Woman, One Apartment, and One Crucial Box

3 Nov
Trust me. You want to get involved with this.

Trust me. You want to get involved with this.

By Alexa Day

I’ve just moved. Well, in fairness, it’s been about two weeks; it’s not like it just happened. But each time I relocate, I’m reminded of why moving ranks among the First World’s most traumatic experiences.

I’m still in the process of unpacking my kitchen; whenever I think I’m making headway, I find more boxes of kitchen things. The bedroom is so full of boxes that the cats and I are limited to one narrow path leading to the bathroom and then on to the stairs. I keep having to ask myself if I still have certain fondly remembered outfits or if they were sacrificed to the Great Pre-Move Purge and Giveaway.

Still, I’m glad — or as glad as a person can be under these conditions — that the transition is underway.
What’s getting me from day to day? My Go Box.

The Go Box is a sturdy, well marked, easily accessible box that I pulled aside early in the packing process. I make sure that the Go Box travels with me. Like the laptop and my purse, it’s too important to go with the movers. It contains all the essentials that I knew I’d need in those first crucial weeks in the new place.

Cat litter. The shower curtain. Toilet paper. The corkscrew. Condoms. You know, the really important stuff.

So this week, while I try to find the good raincoat and work on choosing a new neighborhood bar, I thought I’d share the real gems from the Go Box.

Of course, my Kindle qualifies as a Go Box essential. I packed the new one that I won in a raffle at the Blushing Books Passionate Pen conference. For practical purposes, it functions as a backup connection to my email, but for the next little while, it’s also going to be the source of my pleasure reading. Right now, I’m using it to snuggle up with Shoshanna Evers’s Beast: The Untold Legend, a wonderfully dark fantasy romance with some of my very favorite things. Hot, sexy abduction … hot, sexy transformations … hot, sexy power play … and of course, hot, sexy sex. I can’t imagine when I’ll get around to unpacking books, so the new Kindle and Shoshanna are really getting me through a rough patch.

I made sure to put a couple of favorite DVDs in the Go Box as well. Blazing Saddles and The Hunt for Red October are sharing time in the DVD player until I can really settle down and figure out how much cable I have. I had probably seen each of them 30 times or so before I moved, so they’re like very old friends. Especially Red October. Alec Baldwin will always be Jack Ryan to me, and vintage Sam Neill is a great companion when you’ve lost the damned scissors for the fiftieth time in one day.

Most importantly, I’ve got the Redweld containing my WIP snugly tucked away in the Go Box. For a long time, it was hanging out on the edge of the bed because I couldn’t figure out where it fit in my career plans. But now I think I’ve made some decisions, so I’m ready to move forward with it. Finally.

By now, two weeks in, I’ve made the pledge that I’ll never move again, which I recognize as just another part of the relocation ritual. Part of me just wonders why I can’t pare my life down to the stuff in the Go Box. Why can’t I minimize my complicated life more?

Funny how one shoebox full of hot cocoa mix can make all those questions fade away, isn’t it?

Follow Lady Smut. We’ll make sure to get your mail forwarded.

Dirty Books & Bethany James

5 Oct

by Madeline Iva (Kiersten is away this week)

“I don’t know, I just really love dirty books” –Bethany James said to me on the phone. Bethany is a debut indie author here today with her own lady smut-worthy dirty book reveal. Ta-da!

Here’s a blurb from her book: “Do you like to watch?” He whispers this question into my ear as he tugs my thong to the side. I don’t answer him but stay there, in the shadows, and watch the couple in the VIP room. I can’t look away. Watching them is turning me on more than anything ever has before. Do I like to watch?

Looks good don't it?

Looks good don’t it? Bethany James was born and raised in Florida.  She currently lives in Tampa.

We’ve met once in person and I just loved Bethany’s sense of humor. She’s a great storyteller too. Of course, once she says this about dirty books, I’m all ears.

And I think dirty books are FUN. You may be saying ‘What qualifies, in your mind, as a dirty book? We’re not talking porn here are we?’ No, no, not at all. I don’t want to speak for Bethany and everyone at Lady Smut is different, but I’m picky.  For me this is what I look for in an excellent dirty book:

  • strong romantic elements that aren’t too clichéd in terms of romance or gender (rolling my eyes)
  • scorching hot really dirty sex–preferably with some mild kink on the side
  • don’t mind a heaping of something forbidden, either
  • But it’s gotta be the right kind of forbidden naughtiness. Nothing skeezy.*
  • Not just vanilla erom sex**

See? I’m picky.

Since I tend to go back to a circle of authors again and again because I like what they do SO WELL, I’m always eager to get out of my rut. That said, the circle can always grow larger, and thanks to Bethany, here are two dirty reads I wanted to share them all with you mah friends, even if they’ve been around a while and you’re like, “Omg, I read that years ago!”

Click to buy

Click to buy

REASONABLE DOUBT, Vol. 1 to my mind the dirtiest of the two.

Ooooh, this was a great dirty book. First of all, you have a really unlikeable ass-hat of a hero.   No apologies from this guy either.  Yet you get the feeling he wasn’t born a sexist pig or an asshole.  No, he’s making a point of actin like a selfish prick who knows he delivers in bed, and you’re waiting for him to suffer for it.  It was lovely.  Warning though – it’s a serial, and the ending is fabulous but you’re left with your mouth open and all strung out wanting more. (You can buy the complete volumes HERE.)

In fact, Bethany was so enthusiastic about Volume 1, she even told me the ending but I was so absorbed while reading it, I totally forgot that she told me. The ending was such a shock–even though I already knew what was going to happen.

Is it dirty, you’re asking? Yeah. Illicit is this anti-hero’s middle name. Yum. I’m reminded of BEAUTIFUL BASTARD, (which I loved) only I think it’s going to be meaner and even dirtier. At least I’m hoping.


Click to buy

Click to buy

This is a ménage story that turns from m/f/m into m/m/f. Which is great if you like both flavors of menage, which–hey–I do! It’s very, very emotional, with a hot bad boy who joins a squeaky clean couple, though he’s secretly carried the torch for his best friend since college.

Was this book dirty? Yeah. Menage is always great for double penetration sex, (!) and m/m reliable goes for the back door when it comes to penetration too***. That said, it’s the cleanest dirty book you’ll ever read. Aside from the secret torch carrying that involves some REAL soul searching at one point, it’s suffused with emotion all over the place and the characters are nice, nice, nice. Everyone’s trying to right by each other, and yet they’re just sex fiends when they’re all together. (!)

A rather unexpected discourse about Ayn Rand pops up in the middle of the novel. (Has anybody ever taken the philosophy of Ayn Rand seriously? Scratching my head over that.) Anyway — Kelly Jamieson has a series of these books, you might want to check them out as well HERE.

Best of luck with your new book, Bethany! Hey everyone, Bethany just put up a page on fb–please go like her page so she’s not all lonely out there. 🙂

Meanwhile, Cara McKenna is sending me a cuckholding erom CROSSTOWN CRUSH this week.  Squee! Can’t wait to roll around in it.

I’ll see you all on Thursday when I’ll talk more about an amazing m/m erotic romance by Alexis Hall recommended by blogger Elisabeth Lane.

Until then, my lady campers – have fun.  And don’t forget to follow us at Lady Smut.

*For instance, I’d qualify my novella ‘Sexsomnia’ as dirty and although there’s a threat of major skeez, it never goes there.  The heroine explores what those enviable ‘dirty girls’ do when they have a one night stand, there’s back door action, as well as sex with cuffs at one point, and naughty boinking in a tattoo parlor.  See? Dirty.

** what’s classic vanilla erotic romance?  i.e.  a romance where the plot relies upon the sexual growth of the relationship, but the sex sticks to your basic blow jobs, oral, and vaginal penetrative sex. That’s not to say that h/H can’t have a heart of gold in a dirty book — it’s just that they’re being very naughty or pretty darn uninhibited/creative in exploring what they like to do to each other.

*** Would I call all m/m romances dirty then? Because they usually involve anal penetration, right? No.  I mean, if both guys are out or mostly out, and doing the usual male sex stuff together, I wouldn’t call that a dirty book.  Add in some BDSM though, and have one guy still married to a woman–that’s a dirty book.  And I’m rubbing my hands with glee.


Getting Hammered With Charlotte Stein

17 Sep
Ilya. Ilya.

Ilya. Ilya.

by Madeline Iva

My latest phase of obsessive devotion is pretty evenly divided between Armie Hammer and Charlotte Stein. I posted HOT MEN FROM U.N.C.L.E and that’s when my friend Adriana Anders and fellow Charlotte Stein fan-cum-semi-stalker said, You know Charlotte Stein has based a lot of the male characters in her books on Armie Hammer, right?

Whaaaaaat?!? No. No, I didn’t know that.

Well, it turns out that Charlotte Stein went through her own Armie obsession a while back. I went right to the source and asked Charlotte all about it on Twitter. It’s true.

Given this new information I had to dive back into her books and re-read all of them with fresh eyes. Wow.

I mean: wow. The stories seemed even hotter to me. Let us discuss:

Well *somebody* had to play the Harvard twins.

Well *somebody* had to play the Harvard twins.

Charlotte first saw Armie in The Social Network. This inspired her ménage story DOUBLED. DOUBLED is about a nice pair of college age twins who want to do really dirty things with the girl of their dreams.

Then Charlotte saw Armie in Blackout—which is a horrible movie, btw, but he plays a punk in it–which inspired SHELTERED.  SHELTERED is my model of what erotic romance should be. Hot. Innocent. SO romantic and yet simple too.

I have to pause a moment ask myself what is it about yer basic Charlotte Stein erotic romance trope that makes me so happy? Well, first she takes a nice guy. A nice, very, very hot guy, who yes, okay, has secret lustful filthy thoughts way down deep. No, he can’t put them out there, he’s too nice to do that. Charlotte Stein then kicks off the story with  a heroine who fixates on the problem of what to do with this nice guy seething with sexual repression.  Well, she finds a way to pry him open is what.  Then that nice repressive guy finally lets out his nasty uninhibited sexual side and now all he wants to do is get the heroine off repeatedly.  Sigh.

Don't you want to kiss that tattoo on his neck?

Armie in Blackout. Don’t you want to kiss that tattoo on his neck?

I mean, I like a heroine who DOES something—who goes after the guy.  Yet I also can relate with the typical Stein-i-an heroine who is pulchritudinous, insecure, and lacks social confidence. (My friends are going to die laughing when they read this – me, lacking in social confidence? Me, insecure? Well I was like that, ladies, back before I got together with DH in the dark ages. If I’m different now, it’s only because of true luv. Which made me the mighty wonder woman I am today. Which is why I write romances. So there.)

I asked Charlotte about why the Armie characters are almost all so deliciously repressed. She said: “Armie played a super uptight religious figure in this cheesy crap called Billy Graham…hence the often seen repression in those characters. Though really that was more my interpretation of how he looks and his expressions.”

A very uptight Armie inspired RESTRAINT Which is the best short story EVAH! With your most restrained hero ever–thus the title.  Nice guy meets dirty talking girl and boom!

Armie also inspired an equally hot clamped down character named Cameron in TELLING TALES. I’ll confess I had a little bit of trouble getting into this book, but once I was re-reading it with Armie eyes well — I read it in one night.  Much to say here–I’ll save it for goodreads.

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Armie even inspired Charlotte’s wolfie hero in RAW HEAT because Charlotte says she saw James Spader in a werewolf movie called The Wolf and imagined what if it was Armie instead?

BTW, RAW HEAT is just the best paranormal romance I’ve ever read–and that includes J.R. Ward. The hero is to die. To die.  It’s also got a bittersweet the-whole-world-is-all-going-up-in-flames feeling that I just love.

But wait! There’s more–

Like ménage? Charlotte’s written quite a few that were inspired by Armie and some other movie celebs. I haven’t read them all yet, but maybe you’re a faster reader than I am.

Armie and Michael Fassbinder inspired ALL OTHER THINGS

Armie, Fassbinder, and James Spader inspired POWER PLAY

Armie and Brandon Routh inspired MAKE ME
Given that Charlotte is so inspired by Armie, I remembered the plot of her book BEYOND REPAIR about a young woman who discovered a semi-drowned movie star in the living room of her beach house. (!) Was that based on Armie? No, Charlotte said. She uses a lot of movie stars for inspiration, and that character was based on Chris Evans.

My dream of being the center of an Armie Hammer/Charlotte Stein sandwich is probably not likely to ever happen, so I’ve also made up an Armie pinterest page for y’all with buy links so you can see His gorgeous face, paired with Her amazing books.

Armie Shmarmie you say. What’s that about Charlotte using other actors for her pervy-hot erotic romance inspirations? Here’s the list.

Click to Buy

Click to Buy

Control: Zacharay Quinto

Waiting in Vain: Alex O’Loughlin

Sweet Agony: Benedict Cumberbatch

Deep Desires Alex O’Loughlin

Run To You: Marton Csokas

Intrusion: Hugh Dancy

Forbidden: Colin O’Donoghue

Taken: Silas Weir

So last Friday night, DH and I settled down to watch a video and he said The Social Network? Why did you pick this movie? Didn’t it come out a long time ago? Then we start watching and about ten minutes in, he’s like, Oh. Armie’s in it. Okay, now I get it.

Another good performance in another bad movie. Poor Armie!

Another good performance in another bad movie. Poor Armie!

We finish Social Network and turn to J. Edgar. DH looks at the cover and says Leonardo DiCaprio? Why? We start watching and then about ten minutes in when Armie shows up in the movie, DH turned to look at me in this resigned way and shook his head. What? I said. It’s for the blog.

Hope you follow us on Lady Smut like I follow Armie Hammer interviews on You Tube.

Hey, while you’re at it, hope you follow us on Pinterest as well.

Do you live in the Mid-Atlantic region? On Saturday, October 10th I’ll be at the Washington Romance Writers luncheon for readers and bloggers in Bethesda, MD. Register for the event, and be showered with free books and awesome gifts! We can talk about Armie. At this point there are less than SIX spots left for readers—so hit that link now if you don’t want to wait until next year. 🙂


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