Zeek's Reviews > Carnal Desires

Carnal Desires by Crystal Jordan
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May 14, 10

bookshelves: smut, pnromantica, pnr, pnr-kitchen-sink
Read in January, 2009

Okay I fully admit it, I bought this one because of the cover (it's hot!), and not knowing too much about it other than I knew it was in the Paranormal romance/erotica line, which are my favorite romances right now.

The premise of the book is three stories all loosely tied together. So in that way it's sort of like an antho by the same author. Only it's not- because the stories occur consecutively, or close to it time wise and in most anthos, they are completely different worlds and settings. And, these stories sort of build on each other, though there are different characters and happily ever afters!

The first story, In Heat, you'd think would be my favorite. It's about two feline shifters mated, but grown apart emotionally and physically. A year ago they lost their son to a genetic disease and neither has recovered from it. Problem? Mahlia, the female snow tiger shifter, is coming into heat and only Varad, her mate, can satisfy the urges.

This one is as real as fantasy reading gets emotionally, people really do suffer through losses with misunderstandings and miscommunications. But being fantasy, something has to kick in to bring them to an HEA and the heat is an interesting way of doing it.

Like I said this was my least favorite story of the three. I think it was because it was the shortest and I couldn't see things being tied up so neatly so fast but the format had more to do with that than the story telling I suppose.

Still I'm giving this one a 3 out of 5 because it almost made me give up on the book.

Then I came to In Smoke. This one TOTALLY surprised me. The Heroine of the story, Katryn, we met inIn Heat. She is a dragon shifter raised on the feline planet. When she is called back to her home planet, it is the last place she wants to go because she's being called back to fulfill an arranged marriage.

And worse, she will be only one of many, for the dragon shifters have something called "harims".

Due to the dragonshifter's secret societal ways, and she being raised on a vastly different planet cultural wise, Katryn has no idea that she is not betrothed to just one man, but two. Point of fact, a harim is not a covey of women waiting around to give pleasure to one man, but a bond mating that usually involves three partners and no more.

This story opens with the two males anxiously awaiting Katryn's arrival, and to them having one last time of togetherness with just the two. Tarkesh and Nadir love each other- often- but Tarkesh, the sensitive one, is worried about the third member about to be added to the mix. What if she upsets the balance and Nadir loves her more than him? Nadir, an alpha male who is ready to accept the girl out of duty alone, has no doubt of his love for Tark, so, to reassure his skittish mate, he sends Tark on ahead to meet Katryn.

When Tarkesh sets eyes on Katryn, of course, all fears are eased, because there is in instant attraction between the two. Satisfied with Katryn, Tark knows she is the right one to complete his and Nadir's bond.

When he discovers Katryn's thinks she's only mating Nadir, things move too quickly for Tarkesh to explain exactly what a Harim is. All too soon, they find themselves back at the city preparing for marriage.

During the preparations, Katryn is told she is in fact mating two men, not just one... and she's furious Tarkesh never told her!

But when Nadir takes it upon himself to assuage her fears, sparks fly- along with their clothes! Of course, she's attracted to him too, he's the opposite side of Tark- who wouldn't be attracted to both men? And when the three of them finally get together- hooo boy, it is scorching!

Still, Katryn is not happy with the way things are run on her home planet politically, and the boys, knowing she is unhappy, make an offer to leave the planet as ambassadors which take us neatly to the next story.

Usually I have difficulties with m/m or menage erotic stories. I was surprised to find one in this book because I had no idea it was in it! Imagine my bigger surprise, when it actually worked for me.

Trying to put my finger on why it worked- I think it's because it made sense to me.

The men were two halves of one coin and they're characters and lust for each other believable enough for me. (Especially Nadir- deliciously alpha! Tarkesh was more feminine I suppose but not so much I felt his reactions were more female.)

Plus, given the fantasy setting in Carnal Desires, I was able to suspend belief. In other menage stories I've tried, I couldn't get past the ridiculous reason for the threesome hooking up. If I'm not buying the reason the characters are into each other, the sex just makes me wince and feels like porn.

Somehow this author managed to do it right. Again it must be the fantasy setting and set up, because it certainly was a sexy read! :D

4.5 out of 5 from me!

In Mist is all about Merpeople. Here's another fantasy setting that hasn't always worked for me in the past, but managed to work just fine in this book!

Sera, a human earthling crash landed in the future, and Bretton, a merman/shifter and ambassador for his home planet Aquatilis, can't keep their hands off each other ... when they're alone. But, much to Sera's frustration, Bretton is a cold fish when out in public. You see Sera is an oddity in Aquatilis, and there is nothing the people of that planet look down upon more than oddities.

But she's loved the handsome, sexy, Bretton since she first laid eyes on him and whenever she's around him, she feels an intense sexual hunger for only him.

Bretton feels it too and despite his better judgment takes her to his bed over and over.

Until Sera walks away.

Unable to handle the emotional roller coaster anymore, Sera makes the decision to leave with the other ambassadors visiting Aquatilis and leave Bretton behind.

Will he finally stand up and fight for her or will he follow along with what society demands of him? You'll have to read to find out!

This one worked for me too. Fraught with sexual tension, the character development the author manages to develop in In Mist is something I rarely find in a short story format.

Plus the world building is awesome too, considering. (Actually, I can say that in all the stories.)

I think the fact that these stories are set in the same universe, helps in that regard. The author is able to use the world building she placed in the other stories without having to go into alot of detail in each one. (And In Mist needed the backstory more than the other two because it is Aquatilis's society that is keeping them apart rather than internal situations, like the other two!)

I love star crossed lover stories and this one is no exception.

It also gets a 4.5 from me.

So there you have it. Full of surprises, this book is a fun, sweaty, read! I'm looking forward to more from this author!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Rossy (new) - added it

Rossy Fantastic review, Zeek!
I can see why you would buy it for the cover alone.LOL

Zeek thanks rossy- I truly enjoyed this book! :P

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