“I want you to fuck me,” opens Marie Force’s Sex Machine, a phrase spoken by heroine Honey Carmichael to hero Blake Dempsey which sets the reader to smirking and the hero to stuttering. Things really don’t let up from there as the novella progresses though Blake and Honey’s relationship, which begins as a sexual bargain and ends with feelings that travel from the beltline to spots further north of the equator.
Honey, you see, has a problem. She can’t have an orgasm. Nope, no matter how hard she tries and with which man she tries, she is forever unable to come using anything but her own five fingers. Honey approaches Blake because her friend Lauren has already been with him, and she knows that his north pole is apparently… sizeable and always firmly pointed toward the stars. That’s made him quite popular in Honey’s small town, resulting in Blake being branded with the nickname The Cock. Honey, who has known Blake for as long as she can remember, has decided she’s tired of always coming (not!) up high and dry and wants a piece of the action. Unfortunately for both parties, their one night stand transforms into something more, but Honey is afraid to open her heart up to Blake and admit she has feelings. The only question left is, can Blake reciprocate them?
Sex Machine is getting a lot of notice for its spicy hot sex scenes. But Force is well endowed with something most of those stories never had – a wicked sense of humor. In the saucy voice of Honey, the author’s tone shines brightly.
I can definitely feel her winking at me through the prose as she ladles on the sex and personality. Every little erotica cliché comes out to play and Ms. Force and the audience revel in her silliness. The reader absolutely roots for Honey to finally get her goodies off. There are some unfortunate sexual do-nots that sneak into the prose (note to erotica authors everywhere: lube and dental dams are less mood breaking than the hero suddenly and impassionedly discussing the post-anal sex blood on his cock), but the rest is all fun. Blake and Honey have a charming chemistry when they’re together, even out of bed.
But eventually the sun comes up and the sheets come off, the plot gets complicated, and underneath it all lies the story’s heart; Honey is a lonely orphan who recently lost the woman who raised her, and Blake became become the town stud because he fears losing another woman the way he lost his first love in a car accident back in high school. Blake was behind the wheel and – you guessed it – he blames himself, and the tragedy has left his heart in need of some Viagra.
And that’s the story’s big blemish. Yep, Blake’s one of those heroes who Cannot-Love-Another-Woman-Because-Of-His-Past-So-He-Will-Push-Away-The-Heroine-For-Her-Own-Good. In fact, he’s numbed himself to All Feelings Forever. Half the book is from his hot-and-cold-icy-yet-affectionate side of the equation, and oh, can it be annoying, as he has quite the charmless side. Blake is obsessed with sex and enjoys it but it’s a substitute for any emotional connection to a woman, and it’s a depth – much like Honey’s deep connection to her adopted grandmother – that the novella never really manages to plumb successfully. He wallows and whines and pulls Honey close only to reject her; and just when he makes a breakthrough he comes down with emotional limp dick. At one point he even gets blackout drunk, has sex with Honey and then completely forgets he promised to try a relationship with her, blue balling the reader to oblivion and bringing up some thorny, ugly consent issues in the process. And one has to put up with his constant complaining about how much life sucks and is awful but ooh does he have the burning crowbars for Honey and how ‘not like the other girls’ she is. It’s like saltpeter to the reader’s libido. Thankfully, the reader has Honey, and she’s usually enough to keep them up all night long.
But fortunately, Ms. Force manages to pull out an erotic victory, milling humor and heart from a pretty sour hero and turning a priapic mess into a happy ending.