TBR Challenge Review: Real Men Do It Better Anthology by Carrie Alexander, Susan Donovan, Lora Leigh & Lori Wilde

This month in the TBR Challenge we were instructed (ok, it was only suggested) to read an erotic novel. I found that I really don't have many of those hanging around. Sure there are some on my flash drive with all my ebooks but quite frankly I was too damned lazy to go searching. Lol I saw this book on my shelf and realized that when I originally got it in 2008 I only read Lora Leigh's novella. I decided that since it said, right on the cover, “four steamy novellas” that it would qualify for this challenge. So here are my thoughts about whether real men really do make it better.

In Carrie Alexander's HIS BODY ELECTRIC, an aloof stranger arrives at Karen Jaffe's farmhouse seeking shelter at the height of a violent lightning storm. Strange events follow--the power goes out, every clock stops, sparks fly from the visitor's fingertips. Alone in the dark with him, Karen uses her skills as a phone sex operator to seduce the mystery man, uncovering the secrets and erotic pleasures of HIS BODY ELECTRIC.

Karen is on her Iowa farm when the skies open up and the rain pours down. Thunder and lightning accompany the storm and Karen rushes to get the animals in the barn. On the way back she runs into a stranger who is seeking shelter from the storm. He's a bit odd but oh so cute and since she's been by herself for so long she's kind of got sex on the brain. Keeping her hands off of Gabe is pretty difficult and eventually they give in to their attraction in an electrifying way.

This was a pretty darned cute novella. I really liked how the story was laid out and the way the author had the couple getting to know each other a bit before falling into bed together. Ok, it wasn't like they knew each other for long, really only hours before they made their move, but it worked for this erotic novella. There was a little bit of the unusual in this one but it worked.

In Susan Donovan's BED AND BREAKFAST, a stressed-out corporate dynamo with designer boots and a bad attitude is sent to the New Mexico mountains to "get centered" or not come back to Los Angeles. She arrives at the rustic Windwalker Lodge north of Santa Fe, only to find the place in the middle of a renovation and the hunky owner in a pair of lounge pants with no shirt and no idea she was coming. She plans to leave on the first available shuttle the next morning, but one of the area's notorious rains washes out the bridge, and she's stuck. Though resistant at first, she eventually lets the beautiful setting and the extraordinary man give her a new perspective on life, love, and especially sex.

Kate is having a bad life. Seriously, it has been one hit after another and she needs to de-stress. Her boss sends her to a retreat in new Mexico to relax and “find herself.” She's nothing but bitchy when she gets dropped off at 1 am and when she's not immediately let in and continues that way for a couple of days. She soon finds out that her assistant got the dates mixed up and she's a month late for her planned pilgrimage. Oops. Jorey lets her stay the night (on his bed since all the guest rooms are being remodeled and are demolished) but when a rain storm keeps Kate at the lodge she finds that there's more to finding herself then she thought. She's also found a man she could love but how will that work when she lives in LA?

This was another cute novella that had a bitchy heroine to start. She soon got to relax and get a bit centered but it takes her a bit to get to that point. When it did happen it was almost too extreme but I could see how it might happen in reality. Jorey, our hero, is someone who was living the same kind of fast-paced life as Kate was when reality hit him in the face with a medical issue a few years back. Now he runs the lodge and is more than happy with his life. I think what I liked about Jorey was that even though he was more spiritual/fruit and nut (if that makes any sense) than I normally like in my heroes he accepted Kate for who she was. Of course he wanted her at peace, but he didn't try to push his ways on her too much. He was a caring and sensitive man while still being quite manly. You gotta love that in a hero.

In Lora Leigh's FOR MAGGIE'S SAKE, Maggie Chavez from Leigh's sexy Navy SEALs series is in protective custody with a member of her former lover's SEALs team. Joe, her ex-lover, thinks Maggie is hiding information from him about a powerful drug lord and the deaths of some SEALs. He intends to seduce her and get the information before she can sell it back to the drug cartel. But when a member of the notorious crime family captures Maggie and holds her hostage at gunpoint, Joe realizes how wrong he is, and only he can save her life.

Joe and Maggie were lovers at one point. Because of a misunderstanding, and some stupidity on Joe's part, they parted ways and Maggie ended up married to Joe's best friend Grant. Now this is a novella that is part of the Tempting SEALS series and apparently Grant was a bad guy – now he's dead. He wrote journals and in those journals he completely implicated Maggie as being part of his criminal activities. Now she's under suspicion from the police and the bad guys are after her thinking she knows too much. Joe ends up taking her to a safe house and while there the pair work out their differences.

I read this novella in 2008 and frankly I could remember about 3 pages of it near the end. Lol I kept thinking, I read this? Really? When I got to those 3 pages a switch flipped in my head my memories came back. :)

While they're at the safe house they finally start talking about their past. They argue and argue and they both see that they've made mistakes. I liked how we saw Joe coming off his high horse a bit as he thought he'd done nothing wrong and that their breakup had pretty much all been Maggie's doing. Of course they end up sleeping together and working things out but they have to go through some hard times, including facing death, to come to their HEA. The story was more intense than I was expecting after reading the first two books in the anthology but it was good. You gotta appreciate Leigh's alpha males but this one wasn't such an ass and I liked that. Maggie was a bit whimpier than I expected a man like Joe to be in love with but she had been through hell with her husband so I cut her a little slack. lol

In Lori Wilde's SIREN'S CALL, Annie Grave is back in her hometown, St. Augustine, looking after her grandfather's dive shop as he lies bedridden with a broken hip. Though she is a Harvard MBA with a high-powered finance job in Manhattan and a boyfriend on the brink of proposing marriage, she's never forgotten her first love, sun-bronzed dive instructor Duncan Stewart--or the day years earlier when she lost her virginity to him and he told her it was just a fling. But what she doesn't know is that Duncan has regretted that decision every day since. Afraid of not being able to hold onto a smart, sexy, beautiful woman like Annie, he pushed her away and ran away from St. Augustine. But now she's back, and so is he, and he's cooked up a plan to win her back. After all, what girl could resist the lure of buried treasure, and a hot, handsome Scotsman to guide her on the hunt?

Duncan and Annie met when he was 16 and she was 13. Even though Duncan liked Annie immediately he didn't do anything about it. They became friends and over the years Duncan planned to make himself a better man and then make his move on Annie. When they eventually sleep together Duncan realizes that he's holding her back and hurts her in order to make her live the life that she should, instead of giving up college to stay with him.

Annie has been hurting for 5 years after Duncan's betrayal of her feelings. Now he's back and says that he has a treasure map to a legendary idol that her parents died searching for. Annie tells herself that she wants nothing to do with the man and she's practically engaged to a nice man back in New York, but she can't seem to keep herself away. For Duncan this is a plan to finally get Annie where he wants her – in his bed and in his life – permanently. If he has to use an idol that is supposedly an aphrodisiac to get her, he'll do it.

This was a lovers united story but since Duncan had hurt Annie so much she wasn't exactly thrilled with his return to town. Now secretly she's in love with him but is unwilling to face being hurt again. Duncan didn't exactly go about getting Annie back in the most honest way – ok, it wasn't honest at all, but he was so desperate that he'd try just about anything to get her back in his life. It was a cute story and definitely hot – the hottest in the anthology, imho.

Actually the Alexander, the Leigh and the Wilde were all pretty steamy in different ways. The Donovan had sex involved but it wasn't anywhere near as erotic as the others. Overall I liked all the stories in their own way. They each brought a different view of erotic romance to the table and I found them all to be good stories.

Overall Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Carrie Alexander
Susan Donovan
Lora Leigh
Lori Wilde


Wendy said...

Alexander, Donovan and Leigh were in an earlier anthology (I can't recall if Wilde was too?) called Honk If You Love Real Men. Seriously. I read a book called Honk If You Love Real Men.

I'm still kind of embarrassed to admit that out loud :)

Tracy said...

Um, yeah, I think I actually have that one too. I used to buy the anthologies and then just read 1 story. Luckily a lot come out in the anthologies and singly now. Yay! :)

You just read it, I own it...who's more embarrassed?