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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lust, Lace & Lingerie by Brandi Evans

Lust, Lace & Lingerie by Brandi Evans
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (91 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, Menage, BDSM, Voyeurism, M/F/F/M, F/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Buttercup

I love managing the sexy Dallas boutique Red Light Lingerie—talking to people about sex, toys and bedroom wear. One of my favorite erotic benefits? My boss, Maxwell Penn, is a Matthew McConaughey lookalike—but with a hot British accent. Okay, he can be domineering and I spend most of my time on the clock fluctuating between “I want to bed him” and “I want to strangle him.” But still…yum.

Tonight, however, everything will change.

An old friend of Max’s from Britain, a lingerie designer, has flown in to show Max a couple of possible pieces for our new Risqué line of bedroom wear—but their model canceled. Can you see where this is going? Yep. I go from manager to model, and before I can say G-string, this spur-of-the-moment modeling gig ignites in passion and little ol’ me finds herself sandwiched between Max and his dark-n-sexy best friend.

I’d be in heaven if it wasn’t for the guilt swirling in Max’s blue eyes. But guilt for what?

Embrace life, relinquish the pain, and find more love than you could ever hope for. Ms. Evans' Lust Lace and Lingerie is one of the most emotionally honest books I've read in a long time. Her characters have more compassion and understanding than can be found in real life sometimes, and her story while achingly sad is also so very real.

This was a challenging review to write, which was very apropos since it was a challenging book to read. That's not to say it was bad -- just the opposite. In fact, this book was rather amazing. It just happens to discuss some very serious subject matters, as well as containing sexual and lifestyle practices that as a rule I don't read, mainly open relationships and a F/F scene. So you're probably wondering why I set myself up for such an exacting task when it would have been so much easier to let someone else review the book, preferable someone who enjoys those aspects that I don't. Well, the fact of the matter is, despite my misgivings I couldn't put this book down. Ms. Evans' characters are incredible, they are open and compassionate and real, and the story itself was honest and compelling.

Like Bree, open relationships are not something that I know much about, so we learned together. What I found was that at the core, like with any relationship, there needs to be love, trust, and honesty. Without these three things your relationship, no matter how you might define it, is doomed. Ms. Evans shows both sides of the coin, so to speak.

First with Max and Gina, we are shown how destructive a relationship can be when there is no trust, no honesty, and how quickly that love can be twisted into something else. The scars Max bears from that relationship are deep and slow to heal. On the flip side there is Garrett and Karen who have been happily married for 15 years. Their love and commitment to each other is something that Bree and Max have also found in each other. While it might take Max a while to completely heal, Bree is just the one to help him do it.

Having never been a fan of the gold band diamond solitaire, I think the tattoos Garrett and Karen have instead of rings is brilliant. Every relationship is different, and so should the symbols be that represent that relationship. For a couple that is so outside of what society would deep appropriate I think personalized tattoos are a much better choice that something as ordinary as rings. It's not just for the sake of being different, their reasons for not having the rings fit with not only their lifestyle, but who they are as a couple and individuals.

I mentioned earlier that Ms. Evans talks about some very serious subjects, but I don't want to give any spoilers by saying what they are. However, I do want to say that like all other aspects of this book she speaks with great comprehension, and compassion. She doesn't shy away from the less than pleasant aspects of life, but rather embraces them allowing the reader to see the kind of pain that life inflicts, that people inflict on each other and ourselves. It is only by acknowledging this pain and suffering that we are able to truly appreciate how special and rare love is.

The courtship of Bree by Max is anything but typical, but the more time they spend together the more you see that they are right for each other and perhaps more importantly they are good for each other. When I first met Max I didn't like him all that much, he was too brusque and oh so British, in that condescending superior way, I completely understood Bree's desire to slap him. While part of that is his personality, a larger part was Max simply trying to protect himself. He had been hurt so badly and didn't want it to happen again. It was a refreshing change of pace to have a man be vulnerable and the woman to be the strong one to help him thru.

Lust, Lace & Lingerie is a dark and compelling journey that takes you from the depths of guilt to the redemption that only love can provide. Ms. Evans has created characters so real it feels as if you could meet them walking down the street.

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