This decidedly blissful and romantic anthology is filled with couples in every stage of love and lust who simply can't get enough of each other. Best Erotic Romance 2014 is naughty and nice, and has both the heat and the sweet. Editor Kristina Wright has developed a stellar reputation with romance readers and fans, winning the coveted Golden Heart award. Desire, love, and realism are the heartbeat of the third edition of this popular, well-reviewed series. The authors are top writers in the erotica and erotic romance genres and they capture the essence of lustful loving in their passionate stories. From new lovers to married couples who have withstood the test of time and parenting, these are luscious, heartfelt tales layered with eroticism and emotion.
This is an anthology of sixteen short stories by sixteen different authors. Each story is about 10-15 pages long with each story beginning in a different relationship stage, meaning a few stories start out after the couple is already married, they’ve been friends for a while and decided to move their relationship to the next level or they’re strangers.
While I think some stories are better than others, all of them need another round of edits to correct a typos, missing words and/or passive voice. That’s sad since the editor of this antho is also a participating author and her story is one of the better edited pieces.
Some stories are in first POV and others are in third POV.
The following reviews are my opinions on each story.
The Shortest Day by Nikki Magennis
John and Lucy are married with kids, they have guardianship of Lucy’s elderly mother, and their marriage is on the rocks. They don’t talk, barely look at one another, and they’re just going through the motions of everyday life. I felt very little sympathy for them because I don’t see what they had to complain about. I mean, hire a babysitter and put the mom in a rest home since they’re ill-equipped to take care of her as she needs. I don’t mean to sound cold, but all they did was whine.
A Competitive Marriage by Victoria Blisse
Ian and Mandy are married with two kids. Mandy is trying to lose weight for her sister’s wedding but can’t go walking as normal since it’s snowing outside. She and Ian play a dance game on the Wii and make a competition out of it. Whoever loses must give the other an orgasm. So the story is all about dancing and the loser fulfilling the bet. I like Ian and Mandy, their relationship is loving and playful even with kids in the household, but the story doesn’t have much meat to it. It’s short and cute, but that’s all.
Professional, Knowledgeable and Very Thorough by Annabeth Leong
Tamara owns and works in a garage and she often has to deal with sexist men who think a woman mechanic doesn’t know squat about engines. She meets Randall, a man who knows nothing about cars, so she invites him to return to the garage afterhours so she can give him a step by step rundown on the maintenance she performed on his car. One thing leads to another and sparks fly. I really enjoyed this story, especially the twist at the end. The heat and chemistry between them is spot on. They understand one another, respect each other, and the sexual car metaphors were hilarious. This story is one of my favorites in the antho.
Rules by Emerald
Joyce and Pete have been married for 3 years but they don’t know everything about each other. After she reveals her wild teenage years and he admits to thinking goth girls are hot, she buys herself a purple wig and dons a corset to spice up their love life. Though he thinks she’s absolutely amazing, high class snobs disagree at the hotel they go to. Joyce is such a strong character, Pete loves her no matter what, and I totally respected them. I agree with the author’s message in the story about living one’s life no matter what someone else thinks or dictates. Sometimes you gotta fight for your rights, for respect, and break out of the mold conservative society demands.
More Light by Laila Blake
George and the heroine (the author didn’t name the female lead) are friends and photographers who sneak inside an abandoned building to take photos. There was a lot description about the building that I found boring and I didn’t feel connected to either character. Honestly, George seemed like an ass. Their attraction to one another seemed superficial and temporary. I just didn’t like this story.
Stay with Me by Crystal Jordan
Jamie owns and runs her deceased’s husband’s Texas ranch. Cord is a horse trainer, hired on for the summer. They’re attracted to one another but neither acted on it until just days before the handsome cowboy drifter is supposed to mosey his way out of her life. The heat and desire between them sparked the sheets but it didn’t feel like a real connection to me. They jumped in bed together before the reader even knows their back story and it just seemed rushed and sloppy. This short story had the potential to be good but it fell flat.
A Singer Who Doesn’t Sing by Jeanette Grey
The author didn’t give either of her main characters names and I read he and she so many times my eyes blurred together. They meet at bar, have a fun night of sex and move in together a year later. He’s a musician who won’t play the piano and she’s a painter who won’t paint. Their reasons for giving up on their dreams didn’t make sense. Maybe if the author fleshed out the characters, I could’ve connected with them but, as it stands, I just didn’t like the story.
Show Me by DR Slaten
Dani and Ian are living together and the story starts right off with sex. The reader knows nothing about them. No back stories, no romance, no love. Just sex. He has a mom whom they plan to visit after playtime, and that’s all I learned about his life.
A Perfect Place by Catherine Paulssen
Julie works as a location scout for a movie production company and goes to Hungry to inspect a grand but dilapidated castle. Benedek is the reserved castle owner with a sexy accent. Things heat up quickly between them but I felt their passion for one another. Neither of them seems to be the kind of person who jumps in bed with just anyone so their union is fiery, wild and unexpected to both of them.
Something New by Giselle Renarde
Kim lives at home with her parents to save money for the mortgage she and Elson wants to get after they’re married. He lives alone in a bachelor apartment but she won’t move in with him because her parents think she’s a virgin and she knows they won’t approve of her living with a man before marriage. I have absolutely no respect for Kim and I don’t know why Elson is with her. She’s 32 years old for crying out loud. She can’t even have phone sex with her fiancé in fear her parents might overhear and she can’t masturbate in the privacy of her bedroom because she’s under their roof, but the heroine gets down and dirty with Elson at his place when they’re alone. Just ridiculous.
Over a Barrel by Tasmin Flowers
Bonnie slipped on a patch of ice weeks earlier, broke her wrists and is now homebound. Jason, her co-worker and possible usurper of her job, brings paperwork to her home so they can work on a project together. She’s bitter and rude. He’s trying to be nice but he’s straightforward and doesn’t take her crap. There’s lots of animosity between them but I didn’t see any romance. They make peace at the end of the night but it took sex to bring them together.
Tuscarora by Anja Vikarma
Jane inherited a plot of land and house from her deceased uncle, so she leaves her bad husband and relocates to her new property. She constantly thinks of her husband as simply ‘bad husband’ and the reader never learns his name or what made him so bad, other than one sentence when Jane remembers that he called her names. She meets her new neighbor, Beau, as she explores the property and he immediately insults her and the Hindu religion because she practices yoga and likes to chant in Hindi as a calming mechanism as she mediates. While I know he’s joking with her, I don’t like it. Their connection, however, does seem real and heartfelt but I know so little about the characters. Is she even divorced? There was very little to Jane’s back story and nothing about Beau’s from what I can remember.
Big Bully by AM Hartnett
Charlotte is a former child star and now a Hollywood bad girl. She’s about 23 and her tough-as-nails bodyguard, Teal, is double her age. As she strips down to her underwear and jumps in the ocean in November, her so-called friends call the Press but Teal arrives to save her from yet another embarrassing situation before the media arrives. He’s angry and doesn’t take her crap. She hates him, but feels safe with him. Of all the people in her life, she respects him. He takes her back to his place. Though he meant for her to sleep on the couch, Teal changes his mind and decides to teach the brat a lesson. A lesson she’ll never forget. I love this story! The heat between them is incredible and he’s the only one who can see past Charlotte’s bratty exterior to the vulnerable and scared woman beneath. Their connection is chalked full of emotion—pain, happiness and hope—and I feel like this couple is just meant to be.
Going in Alone by Lucy Felthouse
Debbie and Jake met at park where they walk their dogs. While they’ve talked a few times with their playful dogs as their buffers, they’re on their first official date and she’s very nervous. Things go great, however, and they head back to her place. Though this is a classic story of boy meets girl, I enjoyed it because of its simplicity. The characters and their connection to each other felt real.
Closing the Deal by Kelly Maher
Julia and Paul are vacationing for work on the island of St. Thomas. They both like each other but she’s hesitant about starting a relationship with a coworker. The whole story is about Paul trying to get her into bed. I felt blah about these characters. I understand why Julia doesn’t want to date a coworker and I understand why Paul pursues her anyway. He’s in love with her. There’s just no depth to the story.
Whatever It Takes by Kristina Wright
David and his nameless wife have some fun after the kids are in bed for the night. They’ve been married for years and even though they don’t have sex as often as they want due to their busy lives, their love and passion are still strong. Still, I found the story rather boring. While I’m happy I felt the couple’s love for one another, the plot lacked depth. It’s well-written and the most well-edited of all the stories.
The Book Overall – 3 Stars
Disclaimer – I won a print copy of this book in a contest. I am a reader. I am not paid or compensated in any way, shape or form for this honest review. I will not change or alter this review for any reason unless at my discretion.