I’d thought Hand-Dipped Pleasure was part of Ellora’s Cave’s series featuring younger men and older women, but it doesn’t have “Oh Yum!” on its cover. In Leannan Mac Llyr’s brief (11,300 words) contemporary erotic romance, a 35-year-old woman’s anger about being thrown off schedule on a busy day turns to lust when the object of her ire – a 25-year-old man – offers to make the wait worth her while.
Tasha is furious when she arrives at confectioner Dale Westing’s – aka Stud Muffin – apartment to deliver fresh strawberries on the first day of the Strawberry Festival, the busiest day of her year. The lights are off, and she’s itching to yell at him for sleeping through the delivery. She angrily stomps up the stairs, discovers the front door unlocked, marches through the living room into the bedroom, and voila…there he is, prone, naked, and asleep on his bed. She can’t seem to stop herself from touching his hair, and while she’s at it, runs her hand down his naked back before smacking him on the ass. For her efforts she ends up on his bed, breasts to chest, with her hands firmly encased in his as he informs her with a smile of the following: 1) He does the spanking in his bedroom, and 2) Nobody is allowed to wear clothes in his bedroom without his permission. That does it – Tasha’s hormones kick into overdrive and delivering her strawberries loses all importance. She falls for Dale’s charms as he promises her pleasure upon pleasure if she’ll give herself over to his control in the bed. And so…she does.
The set up here is okay, the tone nice and light, and while the hunky Dale may like to dominate, he’s pretty laid back about the whole thing. I’d have really gotten into it, except that Dale doesn’t talk like a normal person. He is practically a stranger to the contraction, and his lofty speechifying about orgasms was more suited to diplomacy than sex talk: “You are not trusting me… if you work against me neither of us will reach that perilous height I am striving to reach.”
And that’s not all; Dale tells Tasha she can’t come until he gives permission. The first time I came across that edict, it was in an intense story of a woman becoming a true submissive. In that particular context, combined with the novelty of the idea, it worked. But after reading a couple of dozen erotic romances with the same hero-to-heroine requirement, I’ve got to wonder how many women are wandering around out there who have hair-trigger orgasms? Lucky them – where do I sign up for mine?
If you’re in the mood for something short and playful, you could do worse, but you could also do a whole lot better than Hand-Dipped Pleasure.