Rated XXXmas – Anthology by Lisa Henry and JA Rock – E.F. Mulder ~ Book Review by Lirtle

rated xxxmas cover 1 Title: Rated XXXmas – Anthology

Author: Lisa Henry and JA Rock – E.F. Mulder

Publisher: Loose Id

Cover Artist: Syneca Featherstone

Rating: 3.25 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

Fall on Your Knees
By: Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

Asa and his longtime partner, Javier, are looking forward to a cozy, kinky Christmas together. But when Asa discovers his coworker Drew has nowhere to go for the holidays, he invites Drew home for dinner. His motives aren’t entirely pure: Asa and Javier are both dominant, and occasionally arrange one night stands with submissives. Asa’s been hot for Drew for months, even though he has no proof Drew is kinky.

Drew has wanted Asa since the day they met. Drew could never come between Asa and his partner, but it doesn’t stop him from fantasizing about belonging to Asa. About letting Asa do filthy, painful, incredible things to him. He accepts Asa’s dinner invitation reluctantly, not eager to witness Asa and Javier’s domestic bliss firsthand.

When Javier discovers Drew’s profile on a BDSM site shortly before Drew’s arrival, the game changes. A bold proposition leads to Asa and Jav sharing a night of play and passion with a dinner guest who’s nowhere near as innocent as he looks. But as their not-so-silent night progresses, all three find themselves on shaky ground. Can they keep this no strings attached? Or is there a way for each man to get what he really wants for Christmas?

Shepherd, Wise Man, and the Little Drummer Boy
By: E.F. Mulder

They were as close as brothers, but hadn’t seen each other in a long time. The moment Shep sees Zeke again, standing there in his army fatigues, he wantes to strip him out of them. Shep’s trying to salvage a toxic relationship, though, and giving into his desires for Zeke doesn’t feel right to do. And even with Shep’s abusive ex gone for good, he still wants to wait.

When he and Zeke meet CJ by chance, however, CJ’s bold, brazen attitude lead to a sexual invitation they can’t resist. Before Shep can say “three-way” he’s lying beside the two, naked in CJ’s bed. The next morning, there are four of them. It seems like nirvana at first, but several partners engaged in sex is one thing; more than two to a relationship turns out to be something else. Shep has feelings for Zeke, and when it became obvious Zeke and CJ have feelings for each other, Shep’s uncertain as to where that leaves him. He finds out quickly, and very soon discovers, that three might just be his lucky number for the best Christmas ever

Lirtle’sView:

Fall On Your Knees – Lisa Henry and JA Rock

I like the playful tone – thanks to Asa and Javier – mixed with the nervousness and excitement in Drew as this story gets started.

It doesn’t take long before the kink kicks in. What I really like about this, though, is none of the three of them are over confident or free of worry. Drew knows he wants something but not exactly how to make that happen, make his fantasies become a reality. For Asa, fantasy is becoming a reality and neither one feels right, not yet. Javier isn’t exactly sure how all of this may affect his and Asa’s relationship. So many questions.

Sometimes you don’t know what’s been missing until you see it. Or meet it. Or meet him, and want him.

Communication is vital. This is a large component of this story. Not that it always occurs when it should, or is carried out perfectly, with precision. This imperfection works to heighten the importance and impact of what is starting to happen between these three men. In other words, those dreaded (not really) things called feelings seem to be getting in the way. That’s Javier’s initial conclusion, anyway. Is it?

Oh, and did I mention the kink? Kinky activities take place in this story. Asa and Javier know what they’re doing, they’ve been in a long term relationship and most of that time has included these specific additives to their sex life, and relationship as a whole. Drew is beginning to understand how to translate his wants and needs into some of those same specific activities. They’re all struggling with their own personal uncertainties. Some of those uncertainties arise from the scenes they share with each other. We get to witness the process, including the emotion. So good.

As usual, the writing that results from this collaboration is fabulous. Yup. Rock and Henry get down to the human level, exploring through their characters. I felt included in a rather intimate way in getting to experience those discoveries.

A number of various toys and implements are used in their scenes. For me, there was one I’d never encountered in a story before. I’m sure it’s not new for some, but for me it was for me. I like being exposed to new things, if for no other reason that just to be aware, to have the knowledge.

All of the scenes felt real and not overly choreographed, making them warm with the discovery and enjoyment between the characters. Even when things don’t exactly go right, it’s not clinical or cold. As they learn together, the need and ability to share grows.

Rock and Henry are good with the one-two punch of heat and emotion. Intense and hot. And gentle, with patience, and all of these characters working to fulfill each other’s fantasies.

4.5 stars

Shepherd, Wisemen and The Little Drummer Boy – E.F. Mulder

There are a lot of characters to keep track of right off the bat, some of whom don’t even appear on page, merely spoken of in conversation. My head was spinning, but I was, of course, determined to keep going.

The main characters that do share page time are in their early 30’s or older. However, all of them sound like adults still using and living with the brains of teenagers. Toss in an overall glaze of dialogue worthy of cheesy porn, and that’s the setting we have here.

There are some really good ideas in this story. Adults who all became a part of a great foster family as kids and teens, foster brothers missing and caring about each other, one of them finally home for good after ten years on active duty in the military, and a father wanting to remain a part of that family even after him being the cause for divorce. Unfortunately, the execution of these ideas is not as good. The hopes for this story take the shape of whining characters and dialogue filled with non sequiturs and overly dramatic, abrupt sentiments. Granted, this definitely happens in real life, but when you’re trying to tell a story, it doesn’t really work.

There are some good one-liners and exchanges in here. Unfortunately, as well, the reason these stand out is because they are surrounded by what feels to be someone’s interpretation of a supposedly dysfunctional family (I don’t think they are, actually) instead of real conflict due to mistrust and disagreement. It’s hokey drama

If you enjoy soap operas, you might enjoy this. Otherwise, it may just be frustrating and cause a head tilt here and there.

2 stars

Buy Links

Loose Id
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble

This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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