Bad Boys Next Exit
The stories in Bad Boys Next Exit are short on plot and all about fantasy sex between virtual strangers. Authors Shannon McKenna, Donna Kaufmann and E.C. Sheedy pull off their romances with varying degrees of success.
- by Shannon McKenna
Grade : C- Sensuality : Hot
Shannon McKenna's Meltdown gets this anthology off to a shaky start. Jane Duvall, a trained theater actress, makes her living working as a corporate headhunter. She puts her theatrical skills to use making up new personas to get past suspicious receptionists in order to tempt employees away from their current jobs. Jane finds herself in a bind when she shows up for her latest headhunting assignment and is forced into a meeting with the CEO of the company instead of the key employee she was plotting to lure away. No need to worry, however, because Michael (Mac) MacNamara is one sexy CEO. Within moments he's giving her an intimate tour of his hotel's rooms and she can't resist boldly locking the door and giving in to the powerful sexual attraction.
Mac is a man who despises liars, but instantly desires Jane. A phone call alerts him to Jane's deception and he assumes the worst because his parents were a couple of shifty grifters who ultimately left Mac and his siblings to fend for themselves. Jane attempts to spill the truth time and again but uh, well, she's interrupted for one reason or another and eventually tells him she'd like to remain a "mystery." See where this is leading? Mac is angry but determined to enjoy every inch of Jane's luscious body before confronting her (and ruining his fun). They go at in various and assorted ways and play a few domination games - all of which are described in explicit, earthy detail. There are no love channels and jutting man-roots here, but despite the erotic writing, it still managed to get, dare I say, a little boring after Round One.
McKenna's novella is all about heat, surrendering to attraction, and intense sexual satisfaction. It is erotically written, but suffers from a rushed and unbelievable ending. Enjoyment of this story will depend on your tolerance for badly behaved, arrogant males who exhibit barbarian-like behavior and characters who declare their undying love after knowing each other for a whopping twelve hours. Personally, I need a little more than raw sex and expensive gifts to convince me that this couple belongs together forever.
- by Donna Kauffman
Grade : B Sensuality : Hot
Donna Kauffman's Exposed features two professional photographers who get caught up in the moment while stranded on a train during a snowstorm. Delilah Hudson enjoys her solitude and the fact that she doesn't have to depend on anyone but herself for personal happiness. She's on her way home to New York City when she's stranded on the train. Austin Morgan is dreading his trip back to his childhood home and doesn't mind the delay. He minds it even less when he runs into Del on the landing. She's standoffish and unapproachable and completely annoyed when he snaps her photo without asking. She pays him back by taking a several shots of him, purposely taking her time and reveling in making him as uncomfortable as possible. He's intrigued. They end up retreating to his private cabin car where they give in to their instant attraction. Austin takes another picture, "Strangers. Snap. A part of hers was his. Forever.", and realizes this interlude is more than a simple sating of lust.
This story, though slightly less explicit, is very similar to the first in that the plot revolves around two strangers meeting and having sex, and it works better than the previous one because the characters communicate and question their impulsive actions. They also do a lot of talking (during and after sex) and get to know each other quite a bit in the short time span. A tender kiss mixes things up, but both admit that love isn't something that happens in an instant but is born out of trust and friendship. The characters are enjoyable (though edgy) and foul-mouthed Del is much more of a "bad boy" than Austin ever dreamed of being!
- by E.C. Sheedy
Grade : C+ Sensuality : Burning
The final entry is E.C. Sheedy's Pure Ginger. Ginger Cameron, an advertising/public relationship business owner, is tired of men using her for sex and treating her like dirt. When she ends her latest disastrous relationship, she realizes it's high time she stopped getting dazzled by cover-boy looks and nab herself an "ugly plumber" who'll put a ring on her finger. She decides to "revirginalize" herself by giving up sex and cleaning up her sex kitten image. So out go the stilettos, colorful micro-minis, wild hair, and sexy makeup in exchange for yards and yards of baggy beige material and buttoned up old lady blouses.
Cal Beaumann, ex-soap star and owner of a brand new soon-to-be-opened theater, needs local promotion and he needs it fast. In walks Ginger, undone up in her new persona and Cal is thoroughly unimpressed. He needs someone with current ideas - not a drab wallflower with pale skin and frizzy hair. He declares the interview over after taking one look at her and making several snide comments about her appearance. She's insulted (and who wouldn't be!) and demands he give her a fair shot and at least look at her work. Cal eventually hires Ginger and finds himself oddly attracted to her despite the blah appearance. He insists she buy new clothes and though the two of them say highly unprofessional things to each other, the banter remains light-hearted. Soon Ginger's best intentions are falling to ruin as Cal insists on seeing exactly what she's hiding under the beige tents.
This is a cute and sexy story where the hero confuses lust for love while the heroine is more realistic about the relationship. It is marred only by a contrived separation near the end and some oddly funny word choices that created bizarre images in my head. A few of the weirder morsels include "From here it goes slowly like a snail with a head cold." Can you picture the poor little sucker sneezing away without a Kleenex in sight? Then there's the bizarre "butterflies and dingbats rising her belly" - dingbats in the belly? As in Phoebe from Friends? Those were silly but the one that had me shuddering in fear was the description of Cal "plucking" a certain sensitive female part - ouch. Cal may be delectable to look at but he¹d better do some work on his technique or Ginger may be headed for a trip to the emergency room. This steamy romp had me laughing in all of the wrong places.