Everybody and their dead fourth cousin knows two things; I lack a filter and am always thirsty for the bowchickawowwow in my romances. So, kDude. HOT!
Everybody and their dead fourth cousin knows two things; I lack a filter and am always thirsty for the bowchickawowwow in my romances. So, knowing that, know this; Stings So Sweet is at level 112 on the Sex Fun scale and is SO so SOOO not PG-13. If you don’t like intense smexy times getting erotic like whoa, this book isn’t for you.
That disclaimer out of the way, OH MY GOD READ THIS BOOK!
BECAUSE OH MY GOD I READ THIS BOOK!
And that’s wow because said book fought an uphill battle for my attention. Not only is it a 1920s historical, not only is it erotica and far more legit with the sexing, not only was it three individual romances under one book cover, but it was first person present tense and that’s no.
AND YET DAMN GOOD BOOK WAS DAMN YES!
For many reasons, partly because all three stories exist in the same world set among the same group of people, partly because it was hot as hell, and partly because it was SO powerful! That intro done, I’m going to shut up and start talking!
Story #1: Love Me Or Leave Me
You know what I like? Internal conflict and sex.
That’s handy, because that’s Norma and Jonathan all the way. Their story opens with some hardcore backstory that’s got this married couple about to call it quits, and here’s the thing. Normally I big sigh over married OTPs because it’s hard to come back from whatever’s about to destroy the relationship, but with this couple?
I was completely okay with their screwed up relationship AND their eventual healed marriage.
Yes I suck, since I’m making it sound like their explosive emotional tension was boring, but it wasn’t and I can’t say why it wasn’t because dude spoilers. I can say, if you’re okay with BDSM in your roaring 20s story with a quietly strong female lead and an intense but adoring husband then read this book JUST READ THIS BOOK.
Norma and Jonathan’s fundamental conflicts are rooted in misunderstandings set against a tragedy while sexual preferences adds the last layer of fun to this shindig. The hero and heroine are both kind of screwed up, and they suck at communicating, but you as a reader SO desperately want them to find their way back together.
Put simply, you like them, and you like them liking each other, and that makes their story pretty damn likable.
Story #2: When I'm Bad, I'm Better
I’m dumb and boring and craptastic so I can’t do the words to explain how much you need to put Clara and Leo’s story in your face; you just gotta.
These two and their little adventure are evocative and sensual and taboo and probably one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful love stories you’re ever gonna read. It’s about two very lonely people finding and healing one another in a way that’s, forgive the hyperbole, straight up poetic.
Firstly, there’s our heroine, and I swear to you on a basket of kittens you’re going to love this woman. Clara is a worldly silent screen starlet; she’s seen it all and done it all at least twice and yes I’m talking sexually. She’s had a string of lovers, and she’s broken, though not because of her promiscuous past. Our girl is convinced her sexual and emotional past have tarnished her, despite her definitely having come out stronger as result.
Every morning, I wake up with a knife against my throat, Leo. And I fight it. Every day of my life, I kick and punch an elbow my way past it. But sometimes I get tired. Some days, I don’t think I’m going to be strong enough. Someday I’m going to lose. - Clara
DAMMIT I LOVE HER!...About as much as I love Leo.
Leo’s pretty much everything Clara can’t have; he’s reckless and stubborn and pursues her in a way that is downright carnally scrumptious. Like in all eroticas, the sex is what drives the plot, and it's through sex that the emotional through lines are established. Power dynamics, blackmail, menage trois, you name it, it’s all here..
Clara’s journey was so enjoyably satisfying, having been as sexually erotic as it was emotionally moving. Her experiences underscored the value of self-acceptance, of how important it is to never allow someone or a group of someones to dictate your moral compass or your guide to happiness.
That’s a cool message and all, but it packs a harder punch when on the heels of a beautiful romance that gets your heart doing the rumba.
Dammit why can’t I grin my happy-face any harder?!
In this, and in everything, Leo keeps his promises to me. We fuck, we make love, we play bedroom games the rules of which are known only to us. We’re a couple of fools in love. And we’re happy. We’re madly, deliriously happy. - Clara
*Cue all my happy sighs!*
Story #3: Let's Misbehave
Last up on the safe talk agenda we have my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE STORY AND I JUST CAN’T OKAY I CAN’T BUT I NEED TO AND I CAN’T!
Let’s Misbehave is legit the best short out of the three, and that’s because of many, many things.
Thing One is that I’m biased and Sophie stole my heart. She’s working class, she’s a firebrand activist, and she’s plopped into a power dynamic with, of course, her rich boss. And I am SOOOO here for smart poor girls and rich sweet employers because I’m shameless and it’s fun.
Plus Robert’s amazing, like AMAAAAZING!
I wish you wouldn’t be embarrassed. I think most women are ashamed of thoughts like these, so men don't know that you have them. We assume you’re all angels we taint with our own base desires rather than earthly creatures with desires of your own. That’s a tragic mistake I’ve made at least once before. - Robert
Yep. I heart him.
It doesn’t hurt that the heat levels, fantasies, and sex plots were unbelievably intense in Let’s Misbehave, and it DEFINITELY doesn’t hurt that I found the leads to be the most emotionally compelling.
Thing Two for why I heart Sophie and Robert’s story so much is because yay for sexy funtimes, but BIGGER yay for an interesting heroine in an interesting conflict!
Sophie is a woman who fights for social equality while simultaneously conflicted about her submissive sexual preferences. As such, her story is fascinating because it becomes as much about society as it does about sex.
Am I the girl who loves strong hands holding her down or am I the girl who can hold herself up? - Sophie
Throw in the impressive OTP chemistry, the emotionally charged romance, and the amazing characters and writing and just GOOD STORY IS GOOD!
No, good BOOK is good. All three of these couples effected me with horny pants and a happy heart, and I am so all about that kind of fiction. The writing in all three stories is erotic and kinky as hell but it's also intense in that there's a thread of heightened emotional tension that was explosive in a way few authors can capture.
Whether it was in the more nuanced prose, or just quotes like “We both taste like liquor and heartbreak,” either way Stephanie Draven impressed me.
Character and story structure never get sacrificed for the sake of titillation, and sex scenes are AWESOME but sex scenes that capture emotional vulnerability while driving the story are SO much more erotic...and also make me happy.
And yes, the billiards room scene in Clara and Leo’s story makes me happy with happiness, too, because hey...I’m weak and thirsty, judge me not!
Especially if you’ve not read this book. Now go away. I have feelings and emotions I need to process. It’s important.
(If you like my writing voice or you think I’m funny...[or you just really wanna laugh at a fangirl for fangirling]...then SHAMELESS YOUTUBE CHANNEL PLUG IS SHAMELESS! I review romance novels and Asian dramas, so that is a thing and now you know.)