Category Archives: sex

Summer Nights

Summer Nights (Fool’s Gold, Book 8)
Susan Mallery
Published by Harlequin HQN
383 pages
Available on
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.
4 / 5 cupcakes

First, a word about the cover. Absolutely no scenes in this book take place on a beach, certainly not any love scenes. I’m all astonishment that this photo was chosen as the cover, because it reflects nothing about the book other than a couple who falls in love.

Which is a shame, because Summer Nights is a fun, sexy read and perfect for reading at, say, the beach.

The eighth in Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series (I read none of the previous books, and had no trouble understanding this one), Summer Nights focuses on petite redheaded librarian Annabelle Weiss, who does not let her divorce sully her wishes for True Love Always. In fact, Annabelle craves the mess and passion and lack of control that come with love. She’s ready for it.

Shane Stryker, on the other hand, has made no peace with his divorce from his cheating ex-wife, who remains a specter in his life. Unlike Annabelle, Shane has no interest in anything uncontrollable; he wants order and neatness, love that can be predictable and reliable.

So of course they fall for each other.

Annabelle goes to Shane, who earlier spotted her dancing on a bar (there is a good reason for it, and no, she was not drunk) and decided that, hot as she is, he needs to avoid the certain drama that comes with her, to learn how to ride a horse. She wants to raise money for a book mobile and has an idea of riding a dancing horse as a fundraiser. Shane reluctantly agrees, just as he reluctantly agrees to a lot of things in this book, mostly because, as Annabelle tells us many times, he is a good guy. And he is. Too bad about the nasty divorce and all, because he really is a good guy. And he can wear his jeans with style.

[As an aside: girls. I know you know. Not all men can wear their jeans well. Sometimes the jeans sag, sometimes they are tight in the WRONG places, sometimes they ride too high on the hips. But a man who can wear his jeans Just So, who can fill them out in all the RIGHT places? That, my friends, is nectar of the gods.]

Shane and Annabelle are immediately attracted to each other, and the first time they kiss, it’s HOT. Every time they kiss, it’s HOT. So imagine how hot it is when they rock the headboard! It’s HOT! But in spite of their clear desire for each other, there remains the little issue of feelings. Annabelle worries that she feels more for Shane than he for her, and he worries that he will feel anything other than lust for her at all.

He wasn’t indecisive. He knew exactly what he wanted. What kept him from acting was the consequences. Because sex complicated everything. The better the sex, the bigger the complications. Because wanting Annabelle was driving him crazy but having her might be another level of hell.

Susan Mallery can write some sexy times, folks. Annabelle is very comfortable with her body and with knowing what to do to drive Shane nuts, and he knows his way around a woman. Does he EVER. He knows exactly what to kiss, lick, suck and bite. He is a true fantasy.

The only problem with reading this book at the beach is that you might get the pages wet or short circuit your eReader from all the sweating you do, or from the dripping water when you go dunk yourself to cool off.

This is a fun book with some rockin’ sex scenes. My only quibble is a subplot involving a friend of Annabelle’s who decides she wants to become a mother. I realize Susan Mallery is setting up the next book, but it was distracting and those scenes dragged. I’d rather read more about Shane’s kissing. Or how he wears his jeans.


Filed under hot hero, Hot Romance Novels, sex

Ecstasy is Necessary

No, this is not a Hot Romance Novel … at least in the traditional sense.

Instead, Barbara Carrellas delivers Ecstasy is Necessary as a sort of guide to discovering your own path to ecstasy. This is a very individual journey. Yes, you can have a partner. Heck, you can have more than one. But that person is irrelevant if you don’t understand yourself. You will not achieve fully realized ecstasy in an intimate relationship until you know your own needs, desires and fantasies.

Carrellas is a new agey kind of girl who tells us about her 18 piercings. If you think this sounds weird or that she would be too weird to take seriously, allow me to say that I am about as new age as a ’72 Buick LeSabre, and I could relate to a lot o what she has to say.

This isn’t so much a how-to book as an exploration. Carrellas gives you exercises, and you need a journal for recording them. She also gives you a lot to think about. How do you define ecstasy? What are your fantasies? What secretly kinky thing have you wanted to do but haven’t? And why haven’t you?

The biggest message in Ecstasy is Necessary isn’t the title, but rather that ecstasy is a journey, and you have to know yourself in order to successfully traverse it. My idea of ecstasy may be different from yours, and that’s okay. As Carrellas puts it, “Ecstasy is available through so many avenues! I point this out to clients when they claim that joy, pleasure, or ecstasy is not possibile in their lives because, for some reason, sex is not available to them. Yes, orgasm and sex are hugely important, and for many people sex and orgasm are either the easiest or the only ways they know to access an ecstatic experience. But ecstatic experiences are available in a myriad of other ways.” You need to figure out what ways are YOUR ways to ecstasy.

One of the journal “prompts” she gives you is to write down sensual “elements” that make you feel safe, centered and special. Carrellas is big on safety and centeredness as pathways to ecstasy. She also stresses communication. All of this self-exploration is worthless if you can’t explain your needs to your partner. For instance, when she guides you through determining an “erotic risk” that you would like to take, you must be able to communicate those desire with your partner.

In these days of Fifty Shades of Grey making BDSM a coffee break discussion, Barbara Carrellas’ guide arrives at an opportune moment. If you think that your sensual life needs a little boost, this is a non-threatening guide to getting you on the right path.

Published by Hay House and available on
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.

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Filed under self-help, sex