Desert Isle Keeper
All U Can Eat
I love the uninhibited, laissez-faire feel of Emma Holly’s erotica. The sensuality level is out of this world, but always in combination with an entertaining story, a HEA, and well-drawn, interesting protagonists. All U Can Eat is the kind of book I adore: a frivolous mix of romantic erotica and tragicomic whodunit.
All seems well in Frankie Smith’s cozy world: business is good at her diner “All U Can Eat,” she is her own boss, and her live-in relationship with boyfriend Troy Wilcox, a former underwear model, is still going strong after five years. At least, so Frankie thinks until the night, out of the blue, Troy breaks it off, leaving her devastated. Although Troy hadn’t always been the most faithful and reliable of boyfriends, she thought they were fine and never saw this coming. Unfortunately, running a popular diner in little Six Palms of Southern California also means that sooner or later, everyone finds out about her private affairs. Barely a week after dumping her, Troy shows up at her diner for breakfast with real estate hotshot Karen Ellis, his new – and pregnant – fiancée, who also happens to be his boss. Suddenly, Troy’s frequent late working hours make painful sense, and the sympathy from the diner’s regulars only adds more sting to Frankie’s wounded pride. Hurting and seething, Frankie indulges herself in some soothing (and fantastic) rebound sex. Then the body of a strangled woman is found behind her diner, under circumstances that put Frankie on the local police’s list of potential suspects.
Six Palms’s divorced, 42-year-old police chief Jack West is one of the regulars at “All U Can Eat” who witnessed the breakfast incident. Arriving at the crime scene, Jack is not happy to find that Frankie, his secret crush, has obviously spent the entire night in bed with a stranger. But that’s not the only awkward moment in the murder investigation. More and more intimate details of his fellow citizens’ sex lives emerge that he’d rather not know, but at the same time, the sexually charged investigation feeds his own suppressed sexual fantasies, which star Frankie.
I’m a sucker for shy, picky, monogamous heroes who fall for the heroine first. Add an easy-going and sexually uninhibited heroine on the rebound, and you have the sizzling lust-turned-love courtship of Jack and Frankie.
It’s only when her relationship with gorgeous Troy is over that Frankie notices the less flashy Jack. However, she is still hurting and isn’t interested in anything serious for the time being. Considering what commitment and being a good girl got her, who can blame her for just wanting to play for a while? I loved it that Frankie is unapologetic about her sexuality and doesn’t beat herself up over her excesses. Instead of huffing over her “sluttiness,” I enjoyed her amorous romps and cheered when she finally fell for Jack.
Jack is a tall, rugged and – gasp! – bald Alpha hero. Although he finds warm and laid-back Frankie irresistible, Jack is also sort of self-conscious about his “kinky” fantasies of bondage and dominance and a little unnerved about what Frankie would think. Eventually, it’s her who makes the first move, welcoming him to loosen up his self-restraint. Outwardly reserved, he is a yummy combination of integrity, shyness, and hidden depths who very quickly sneaks his way into Frankie’s heart (and mine.) Jack and Frankie’s role reversal never ceased to amuse me and makes for a different and sexy love story. They feel so right together, that I have no problem believing in their long-term compatibility and happiness.
Alternately switching between Frankie’s and Jack’s points of view, the author interweaves the sexually loaded murder investigation, Frankie’s toe-curlingly arousing escapades, and Jack and Frankie falling in lust and love. And as you would expect from Emma Holly, there are numerous and graphic smoking hot sex scenes, including f/m/m and m/m, and Frankie has vigorous sex with a studly Marine and two bi-sexual guys before exclusively burning up the pages with Jack.
I adore Emma Holly for drawing her characters, weakness and all, with nonjudgmental affection, but also for her mischievous, wicked sense of humor; I’m still grinning remembering certain scenes and how she plotted and wrapped up the whodunit. Honestly, I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about All U Can Eat. It’s lighthearted, deliciously naughty, and simply perfect fun.