High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.
There is something very comforting about my study-time romance/erotica binges. They are scary when they happen, but I've had enough of them to know they won't kill me (necessarily.)
So. Yeah. I found out that Carolyn Crane, one of my all-time-favourite authors, writes erotica under an alias, and 30 minutes later I'd downloaded this bundle to read. (I put up a valiant struggle. That half hour was very difficult indeed.) The books won, and I ended up reading the lot in under 24 hours, which for me is almost unheard of.
First things first, yes, you read the title right. No, I'm not going to try to justify it. No, I'm not going to tell you it's not what you think because I bet 50% of you are already reading the excerpts on Amazon and are finding out for yourselves. (Pro tip - you always get a longer excerpt if you click the preview of the bundle rather than the individual book. You'd still want to read the rest, though.) The story centers around Melinda, a small-town girl forced to work for a man she hates to save her parents' farm. She's suffocated by her life and loathes her boss and wants nothing better than to leave it all. Luck smiles down on her when an armed takeover happens at the bank where she works, and she all but jumps on the opportunity to help the robbers.
Then there are complications, she gets taken on as a hostage by the three guys (Hold onto your glasses, my nerdy girlfriends) Zeus, Odin and Thor. The plan is, initially, to take her for a ride and drop her off, but after finding a strange kinship with the three, Melinda (now Isis) manages to negotiate her way into the group for until the next heist, and eventually, indefinitely. And, because this is erotica, you can guess exactly what the negotiations involve.
If you're like me and you've read all of Carolyn Crane's books, you know what to expect - fun plots, guys with a tortured past who are still fucking awesome, romantic couples (or, in this case, romantic units) treating each other with respect, sexy nerdiness and really, really good sexytimes. (And if anyone thought the Disillusionists or the Associates didn't have enough boinking, this is for you.)
(Nope, totally unrelated except for the awesome. You're very welcome.)
And, because I've seen complaints about this, here's a belated disclaimer: this is a m ménage story involving four consenting adults engaging in a respectful, polyamorous, BDSM relationship. The reason why I wanted to sum up the beginning for you was because it's very easy for those hostage-scenarios to slip into Stockholm syndrome territory, and goodness knows we've had plenty of examples where these go wrong. I almost didn't buy the books because of the promise of that put me off, and it wasn't until I read some reviews that I even took a look inside. (Not that Stockholm syndrome-type stories can't be good. It's just that I've seen way too many of them go very badly.)
And I'm so glad I did. Isis is awesome, and while Odin, Thor and Zeus are messed up in their own ways, they still have their shit together and treat her with respect. It's a fine line to toe when you have one domineering alpha male - add three to the mix and you have potential for disaster. Luckily, Isis is just as good at holding her own as they are, even when she submits.
Speaking of submission, it's refreshing to read a series where there is not one scene of angst about the heroine being in love with three guys at once, and no weirdness about the BDSM either. Isis is a self-admitted thrill-junkie and she's damn proud of it. And yeah, there is a subplot about "rescuing" her tortured men, but it's more about the four of them adjusting their expectations like adults, which isn't something I get often from my romance.