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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Notorious by Karen Erickson

Notorious by Karen Erickson
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (97 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Toys, Voyeurism
Rating: 3 Cherries
Reviewed by Gladiolus

King of one-night stands, all-around man whore, that’s Eric. And you know what? He doesn’t give a rip. After being dumped by the two people who mattered most to him, numbing himself with alcohol and anonymous sex was the easiest thing to do. Men, women, they’re all the same to him. Feelings, caring, it all just gets in the way.

Then he meets Stacy. Sweet, beautiful, a delicate combination of shy and forceful, she’s unlike anyone he’s ever known. She sees right through his façade and makes him face his ugly truths, brutal reminders he doesn’t deserve her. He wants her like no one else—and it scares him out of his mind.

Stacy can’t help herself, she’s attracted to gorgeous, sexy, hurting Eric. There’s more to him than meets the eye—even though what’s meeting her eye right now is a complete mess. Broken hearts will do that to the strongest man—she should know. If she can get him to forgive—especially himself—maybe things could work out between them. But first, she can’t let him get away.

When I'm in the mood for a scorching romance, Karen Erickson is an author I'm sure will deliver. Her latest installment in the Playing Fire Series, Notorious, picks up where the third book left off: with Eric -- a man who has lost his lover to a woman they shared in a ménage -- who is now alone. To say Eric is in a bad place is an understatement. He doesn't trust, he doesn't share more than one night with a lover, and he doesn't love. Then he meets Stacy. She, too, is the victim of heartbreak. Soon they discover the chemistry between them will not be denied. Can Eric overcome his demons in order to find happiness? Or will his actions push Stacy away?

Notorious is a story that a reader will approach with high expectations. After reading the previous story, Scandalous, readers want Eric to have his happily ever after. Unfortunately, the connection between the characters never happened. What is meant as tension quickly becomes something else, making it difficult to care for either the hero or the heroine. Eric continually pushes Stacy away, to the point that it’s difficult to understand why she’d take him back. Likewise, due to her nature, Stacy becomes hard to like. She’s a sweet character who continues to allow Eric to mistreat her. Perhaps the length of the work is a part of the reason; however, the result is a lukewarm reception to what had the potential to be an amazing book.

On a more positive note, Ms. Erickson does deliver the heat. The sex scenes are so hot they burn. Despite the differences between them, Eric and Stacy steam up the pages as he assists her in exploring her sexual boundaries. He’s well versed in all things sexual, so suffice it to say he’s more than willing to explore naughty things with the woman he can’t seem to let go. Familiar locations are used, which allows the reader to settle in and remember what drew them into the series. Another bonus is the protagonists in the prior book, Brandon and Alexa, make appearances. It was interesting to see what had occurred in their relationship.

If you’re in the mood for an extremely hot erotic story, with scenes that will leave you breathless, be sure to check out Notorious.

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