|As George Takei might say, "Oh, my." Photo from Tea Time.|
Ladies, there is a very naughty book on the 2013 RITA award list: Melt Into You by Roni Loren. According to her blog, Loren writes erotic romance “for the fearless romantic.” Considering myself to be reasonably fearless—as a reader at least—I snapped this book up on the old Kindle and settled in.
As the Amazon reviews can tell you, this is not a book for the faint of heart. I was fairly clutching my pearls throughout the whole thing. It reminded me of this Durex commercial.
Here’s a checklist for those of you who are interested:
- A sixteen-year-old girl has sex with a nineteen-year-old man
- Two men have very loud sex in one of the first scenes
- There’s the Ranch, which is apparently a vineyard with a private sex club on the grounds
- Two men have sex with each other
- Two men have lots of sex with one woman
- There’s a veritable smorgasbord of anal sex
- Hey, that’s a butt plug (!)
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s humanize the story and explore the plot. Evan is a woman about to start a marriage of convenience with her friend Dan, a gay man in the public eye who needs to maintain the appearance of heterosexuality. She reconnects with her first love, Jace, who is doing business with Dan. Jace happens to own an adult superstore called Wicked, above which he lives in a loft with his roommate and best friend, Andre, a cop.
Andre and Jace and Evan all end up at the Ranch, a private sex club wherein lots of BDSM occurs, often in specialized rooms; the one that turns Evan on the most looks like a jail cell complete with bars. Andre and Jace are both doms and Evan is a sub. They certainly put Evan through her paces. After each scene, even I had to take a gulp of Gatorade and readjust my mouth guard.
By the way, the safe word at the Ranch is “Texas.” What if I want to yell “Texas” while I’m enjoying myself in my Walker, Texas Ranger fantasy? Way to harsh my mellow, man. Why not a less common word? “Heleoplankton,” for example?
|Photo from Barnes & Noble.|
But where the author succeeds is in character development and the shifting dynamic among the triad of Jace, Evan, and Andre. All three of them transition easily into a shared sexual relationship, but they each struggle with falling in love with two people at the same time. The reader witnesses the characters’ internal struggles and finally resignation to a new truth: three people who are meant to be together can fall in love and make a commitment to stay together forever. They have to make the leap of faith to believe this to be true.
That’s a lot for readers to take in, and the happily ever after doesn’t take us beyond a final volcanic sex scene. But readers can believe from their friendship and concern for each other, Evan, Jace, and Andre have the potential for true happiness if they find the right place to express it.
With ample tribal tattoos and nipple piercings and the fantastical Xanadu of sex that is the Ranch, Melt Into You is quite “porny.” But at its heart, it is a romance novel. All that the main characters want is acceptance and love, not just from each other, but from the readers as well. Though it left me feeling a little like Sandy at Frenchy's sleepover, this is a gutsy, unflinching novel. You should check it out and see what you think.