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Friday, September 24, 2010

Scandalous by Karen Erickson

Scandalous by Karen Erickson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (109 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

She always got anything she wanted…

Playing with Fire 3

A teenage crush on her big brother’s boyfriend. It was one of the few times in her spoiled-little-sister life that Alexa had to swallow the word “no”. She got over it, or she thought she had—until her brother’s wedding brings Eric back into her life, as flirty and fun as ever. It never mattered to her that he’s gay. Attraction is attraction.

One illicit kiss, and their reconnection blows her mind and rekindles girlish hopes. Then he sets her away from him and runs like hell.

Eric can’t believe that a woman’s touch arouses him. Not just any woman, but sweet Alexa, and he can’t help but want more. Desperate to come clean, he confesses all to his steady boyfriend, Brandon, expecting anger. But Brandon’s intrigued. He wants to meet the woman who’s tied Eric up in knots. With luck, maybe she’ll relight the spark between them.

Alexa may have lost her chance with Eric, but the consolation prize—a fling with him and Brandon, is too tempting to resist. She never expected to love both men, or to secretly yearn to belong to the one who commands her body like no other…

After reading the first two books in Karen Erickson’s Playing with Fire series, I couldn’t wait to read the third installment, Scandalous. I already knew the story would be hot, and I couldn’t wait to see what surprises were in store. Unfortunately, while the sex sizzled (as I knew it would), I found myself rather disappointed in this offering.

When you meet Alexa and Eric (familiar names if you’ve read the previous books), you can sense their attraction. The only problem is Eric is gay and in a relationship. After they share a steamy kiss, Eric returns home to his boyfriend Brandon and reveals he was not only turned on, but for the first time he would consider having sex with a woman. Brandon, a bi-sexual man, is intrigued by the idea of witnessing his lover with a woman. The men decide to invite Alexa into their bed to spice things up. What they don’t expect is the way she turns their lives upside down as a consequence.

At first, the story worked. I got the chemistry, the tension, and the heat between the three. Then the book took a turn that was unexpected and, in my opinion, unbelievable. It’s so difficult in reviews to refrain from telling too much and giving the story away. Without going into details I’m only able to provide this: the end of the story just didn’t work for me. Had things played out differently or more time had been devoted to developing the characters, maybe it would have. As it was I left the story feeling as if the sex was great but the plot, motivations of the characters, and overall outcome was a way to provide a HEA and wrap the story up.

On the plus side, the writing, as with any Karen Erickson work, sizzles. There is nothing negative to say about the steamy dialogue or racy ménage scenes. She’s excellent at working the room, putting her players together, and making it work. If you’re in the mood for a blistering ménage involving multiple combinations, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re searching for with Scandalous. Although perhaps disappointed with the direction of this story in particular, I did enjoy many of the scenes, and I’m eagerly waiting for what I hope will be another installment in the series.

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