I'll confess up front that Kimberly Dean's name on the cover sealed the sales deal for this anthology with me. I am a die-hard fan of her stories, but came away very pleased with the other two installments as well. I love a good spicy read, and "If This Bed Could Talk" more than delivered on a heart-pounding, steamy collection of red-hot love. They're fast paced, yet very satisfying.
"Agent Provocateur" by Liz Maverick was an interesting story with an alternate modern reality. Maverick is well known for penning awesome sci-fi romance reads, but here she tones down the sci-fi and kicks the red-hot love into overdrive. Vienna James is a weapons specialist whose luck has run out. She's in prison and about to be exterminated--unless an interested party buys her indentured servitude. Michael Kingston and his brother are looking for a little revenge and they think Vienna is perfect to carry out their plans. Michael takes the bombshell beauty under his wing, personally ensuring her training reaches the required level of naughty needed to carry out the mission. Maverick really impressed me with this short, as she turns away from the strong sci-fi elements I'm used to from her and pens a strong, hot tale of erotic love. Michael and Vienna are a pulse pounding pair that I was engrossed with the entire story through.
"Unrequited" by Kimberly Dean was, of course, my favorite. Her personal style of erotic writing has always appealed and she's an automatic buy for me. Trista is ready to put her miserable ex hubby and marriage behind her. It's time for a date and another local businessman, Cliff, is her choice for a disastrous first experience. When she sees her ex brother-in-law while out with Cliff, her mortification is complete. But when the sexy muscle bound ex-brother construction worker follows her home, it's the beginning of the most erotic experiences of her life. Will Trista be able to reconcile her feelings for someone who's always been a dear friend? This was a superb read, very emotional and endearingly sweet to read. Dean has that blend of erotic and nice down pat. Her stories never fail to set my pulse to pounding and she gets better with every story produced. Another great recent read of hers for me was "High School Reunion".
"Victim of Deception" by Lynn LaFleur is about Karessa, a young woman of past heartache troubles. Her great aunt left Karessa her old home and Karessa feels an instant pull, and strange sensations, from the charming house. Little does she know that two people remain trapped inside and Karessa is the key to releasing their ethereal forms. When fate brings the cad that broke her heart back into her life, the two cannot resist the temptations of a love that never died. This story was a very interesting one, one of past love, in two different situations, that is put to rights. I had a hard time believing in Max's transformation to an honest man, but his love for Karessa shines through at the end. As for the ghosts, I could have done without their strange love scenes, which distract from the main characters, but despite that, their resolution was interesting to read about. LaFleur writes for Ellora's Cave and is well worth the effort of checking into further.