Picked this one up on a whim, and I'm glad I didn't pay a whole lot for it. Every once in awhile, I find myself hankering for something a little steamier than the norm, and the cover of this book said "erotic romance", so I gave it a try. From what I read though, there's not much romance going on, but definitely a whole lotta sex. Which, if I was watching a porn, would be what I was looking for, but since I'm reading a book that calls itself a romance, I gotta admit I was looking for a little bit more of an emotional connection.
In the first story, "Ecstasy" by Bertrice Small, I'm reminded again that the whole ancient mid-east, palaces, slaves, harems, etc is not my cup of tea. The hero is purchased as a slave for the queen of a kingdom where men are treated like imbeciles who have no use besides pleasuring women and working in fields and mines. I could live with that, 'cause part of the point of reading for me is to read about different cultures and settings. However, Ms. Small writes in language so purple, I was mostly trying not to laugh. That and the constant descriptions of the size of the hero's manhood, I was convinced that this poor man was walking around with a veritable baseball bat between his legs. All in all, this story was more silly than it was steamy, and I'm left thinking that Ms. Small is one kinky old lady.
The next one, "Bound and Determined" wasn't as bad prose-wise, but there was a lot of swearing, and the hero referred to the heroines parts as her c-word. Not attractive AT ALL. In fact, if a guy came up to me and said he wanted my c-word, I'd probably slap him senseless. I could understand the princess's motives for the most part, but I still didn't much care for either one of them.
"Dark Desires" was a little better as far as the characters go. There was more depth to them. This one was pretty kinky indeed, featuring a bit of bondage and "interesting" choices for the heroine's attire. I can't say I'd like to be in her shoes, but it was a better story than the first two, and I thought it was steamier too.
"A Lady's Pleasure" is BY FAR the best story in this collection. The writing style was good, no purple prose to be seen. The characters were flawed, relatable, and realistic. Their two days in the cottage was good and hot, and the development of their emotions was somewhat touching. Plus the ending was happy and sweet. This is the first thing I've ever read by Ms. Schone, but I think I like her style, and I wouldn't mind trying some more by her at all.