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Vanilla-Free Christmas by Jorja Lovett
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Vanilla-Free Christmas

by Jorja Lovett

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This review was originally posted on my blog.

Nine authors, nine kinky stories all centered around the Holiday of miracles. Dive into nine erotic tales of kink featuring BDSM, spanking, romance, voyeurism, role playing, paranormal, shifters, elves. You name it, it’s probably in there. Though I’m familiar with only one of the mentioned author’s body of work, I decided to read them all. Anthologies are a great way of getting a taste of something new.

Story #1 – Santa’s Beard by Doris O’Connor

Elements: Menage, M/F/M, Paranormal, Shifters, BDSM, Erotic

Rating: 3.5/5

Forty year old Joanna is single and lives with her two cats, Ben and Bill. She satisfies her kinky fantasies in various BDSM clubs, but has yet to gain entrance to the exclusive Club Ink where there are more experienced Doms. During her shift at the mall playing Santa’s elf, he tells her to sit on his lap and make a wish. She tells him in great detail exactly what it is she wants. The next morning she’s in for two very large surprises.

This was … amusing. I had a feeling the paranormal twist was coming as soon as she made her wish. The sex scenes were sizzling and on the rough side but she asked for it. The only thing I didn’t care for was the term “thick prick”. That word just doesn’t sound sexy to me. Aside from that, this was a hot read.

Story #2 – The Olympian by Sandra Bunino

Elements: Contemporary, Sports Romance, Erotic

Rating: 5/5

Olympic hopeful, Rachel Stanton is off on a weekend trip to practice her moves on the slopes. Determined and focused on the upcoming Olympic trails she has no time for a love life. When a handsome stranger tries to chat her up in a coffee shop, her head and mouth say she’s not interested, but her body says something else.

Erik is Crimson Mountain’s Operations Manager whose job it is to make sure that Rachel doesn’t offend the other guests with her notoriously rude behavior on the slopes. When the feisty daredevil decides to ski a roped off area, Erik knows that will not end well. Sure enough, Rachel crashes and is out cold. With no way to call for help, Erik tries to find them shelter. She needs to get out of the cold and those wet clothes. What’s the best way to warm someone up quickly? Skin to skin contact.

I loved this story. Ms Bunino shocked me a little by getting even kinkier than she does in her SRE series. There’s an interesting use of an icicle and a candy cane. On a heat level of 1 to 5, I’d give it a 5. I knew I should have stuck with my skiing lessons back in the day.

Story #3 – Three in a Tub by Giselle Renarde

Elements: Contemporary, Erotic, M/F, Menage M/F/M

Rating: 1/5

Cathy is having her bathroom renovated for her mother who had suffered a stroke. The bath installer, Vance is a nice bit of eye candy that Cathy can appreciate. That is until her tenant and lover, Jeremy decides he needs to mark his territory. At some point the men make nice, and Jeremy ends up telling Vance about Cathy’s secret fantasy. If she’s willing, so are they.

This story felt so weird both in tone and description. For one, none of the characters are appealing. Cathy comes across as a non-descript, middle-aged woman who feels young and alive through Jeremy who is 25 years her junior. Jeremy sounds like he’s whipped. She tells him to do shovel snow, and he walks out with a pout.Then there was this awkward description:

For five seconds, Jeremy was a statue. When he came out of his orgasm pose, he fell into the cradle of her body and they held each other.

Then there’s Vance. If anyone should have been hot, it’s the handy man. Not so.

Vance unbuckled his overalls, one clip and then the other, but …

and then this

Vance dropped his pants and tore off his top. Nothing left but tightie-whities that admirably showed off his bulge.

Then there are other descriptive things like his member “half-sitting on the pillow of his balls”.

And I don’t see how three people would fit into one of those walk-in tubs for the elderly.

Story #4 – A Few of My Favorite Things by Seleste deLaney

Elements: Fantasy, BDSM, M/F, Erotic

Rating: 3/5

Autumn has made a few bad decisions in her past. When the opportunity arises for her to escape her present, she grabs it. She signs a contract agreeing to become one of Santa’s elves for 20 years before she can return to the human realm. Santa not only knows who’s been naughty or nice, but he also knows his elves’ deepest wishes. Santa knows all about Autumn’s needs for domination. To complicate her situation, she also has a crush on her friend, Storm, but he seems content to leave her in the friend corner. Maybe it’s for the best. Where she’s rock ‘n’ roll and kink, he’s country and vanilla. But then one night everything changes and she gets one wish granted. Now that she and Storm are a couple, can she give up her kinky lifestyle to please him? But then he finds out about her dark side and her world comes crashing down. Or does it?

Although the love scenes between Autumn and Storm are glossed over, this was still a good read. The only thing that freaked me out was having Santa take over the role of a Dom. That was just weird. I wouldn’t say this was sizzling, but luke warm.

Story #5 – The Man Inside by Lila Shaw

Elements: Office romance, Curvy heroine, Voyeurism, Role playing, Erotic

Rating: 4/5

An ongoing office flirtation with the hot but shy accountant Jonah gives the plus-sized Sam a boost of confidence and a longing to take things further. During the office Christmas party, they both realize the benefit and kinkiness of hiding themselves behind costumes and masks. But when Sam tries to get Jonah to shed the disguise, he’s reluctant to do so. Maybe pretending to be different people is exactly what they need.

This was so hot! I loved the fact that the heroine wasn’t a modelesque size 0. Although Jonah does attempt to explain why he is the way he is, it remained unclear to me. I would have liked to have understood his problem better. They had cute ideas for follow up role playing though.


Story #6 – Who’s Been Naughty and Nice? by Vanessa Devereaux

Elements: BDSM, Erotic, Role playing, Contemporary

Rating: 5/5

Sad but funny – her vibrator dies inside of her because she was so overworked, she forgot to buy fresh batteries. Desperate for a man and some real sex, Laura comes across an ad for an agency that fulfills women’s fantasies. Her fantasy is to give up control and have the man take charge. Her wish is fulfilled, but the night seems far from over when a blizzard forces them to spend the night together in the hotel.

Um, wow! There’s bodice and panty ripping involved! Yippy kay yay! David and Laura burn up the pages and the sheets. This story is burned into my brain. I’m going to take a look at Ms Devereaux’s book shelf.

Story #7 – Secrets Santa by Raven McAllan

Elements: Paranormal, Shifter, BDSM

Rating: 3/5

Is that really the title, or a typo? Anyway, Marian has had a few lonely years. She has known love, until she felt he had betrayed her and then he disappeared, leaving her cynical and bitter and very frustrated. Then at her office’s Christmas party, she begins to hear a voice that seems to answer her every unspoken thought.

I liked the story, but I may have preferred to get the back story before the voice in the head thing. It confused and frustrated me a little that I couldn’t pinpoint where this was going or what was really happening. Then there was the repetitiveness in great detail of how aroused she was.

It seems a lot of their problems was based on a misunderstanding, though I’m not sure why he waited so long to come back and resume his Dom mode as if it wasn’t a big deal. And Marian caves rather easily.

Story #8 – Faith’s Gift by R. Brennan

Elements: BDSM, Romance, Dirty talk

Rating: 5/5

Faith agrees to take over her friend Laura’s dog and apartment sitting duties for a week. Since Faith is coming off a bad break up, she could use the change of pace. A week in an upscale New York apartment with a big, lazy dog sounds rather appealing. But the huge St. Bernard and unobstructed view of Rockefeller Plaza isn’t the only surprise awaiting her. It seems the very handsome, very wet and almost naked Richard Halstead has a flight delay.

I’ll still need someone to watch Hercules while I’m away, assuming I haven’t burned that bridge already with my rapier wit and utter lack of clothing.”

As ridiculous as it sounds, I giggled like a schoolgirl. He can burn any bridge he wants, and I’d forgive him anything. But back to the story. There’s no denying the instant pop and fizz between the two. Though Faith knows it’s foolish to give in to a complete stranger, her ego is still bruised from having caught her ex with another woman and having him blame her for being too boring and predictable. It seems the gauntlet has been thrown and she’s about to prove to herself how unpredictable she can be … given the right incentive. I don’t blame her. Richard sounds like sin and being naughty never sounded so good. Not only did my Kindle melt, but I think my insides turned a little mushy when Faith finds an unexpected surprise the next day. Awww!

Story #9 – A Very Furry Christmas by Jorja Lovett

Elements: Kink, anal sex, Hockey player, Contemporary

Rating: 3/5

Caitlin Carr has an unusual fetish. When Santa’s helper walks into the hospital where she works wearing a polar bear costume, she’s a goner. Jason Lewis is tired of ice hockey bunnies who only want him for his fame. At first he thinks that Caitlin is no different, given her odd behavior to seeing him in a furry onesie.

When she and a friend are invited to the team’s Christmas party, she hopes to get better acquainted with Jason. Only he doesn’t seem to feel the same way. Playing hard to get seems to work for the both of them, and Caitlin gets her fantasy fulfilled.

Well, this was a first. I can honestly say that I have never read any type of kink or fetish that involved a teddy bears, or in her case, plush polar bears. It was both funny and weird all at once. Imagine walking into an adult bedroom only to find it could rival a toy store.

“So, instead of a leather or rubber fetish, yours is plushie?”

Jason was adorable in trying to truly understand her and come to some conclusion as to whether she was cuckoo or cute. When he reveals his particular kink, it kind of paled in comparison, but it made for a hot scene.

Overall I liked the anthology, but only three stories were really memorable and made me want to check out more stories by these authors. The editor(s) missed a few spelling and grammar mistakes sprinkled throughout, but nothing major. On the average, I get a 3.61, so I’m rounding it up to 4.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy from one of the authors. A review in exchange was not promised. ( )
  MsRomanticReads | Apr 12, 2013 |
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