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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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08/10/2008 Archived Entry: "eBook review: Love Bites"

Love Bites
Edited by SA Clements
Published by Torquere Press
ISBN-10:  1603704140
ISBN-13:  9781603704144

Review by Jilly Gee

Love Bites is an anthology of eight ménage à trois stories.  As with any anthology, there will be stories that will bore one person to tears and other stories that will excite that same person to giddiness; because of this, there is bound to be something to please a wide audience looking for threesome stories. Well, as wide an audience can get when excluding those looking for more feminine action anyway; the stories all involve two men and one woman, the woman usually finding it one of the hottest things for the two guys to be going at it with each other.

In "Plus One" by Camren August, three close friends, Ritchie, Toni, and Trey, find themselves in a three-way committed relationship when a joke kiss between the two guys deepens into something much more and turns Toni on.  Toni, quite the alpha female, practically demands the two of them to have sex in front of her.  Not that the guys are being ordered to do things against their will; the way they were feeling, the only thing needed to get them together was that icebreaker.  Toni, of course, joins in and the three best friends become even more inseparable after that.  Ritchie, however, becomes scared of his strong feelings for the both of them and starts distancing himself, fearing that the two ex-lovers would eventually become a regular two-some couple again and push him out.

"Plus One" is appropriately first, easing in readers new to the genre with the more common paring of just two lovers and later adding in the hesitation and uncertainty Ritchie feels at gaining another one. It is a sweet threesome story that manages to convey genuine love and not just lust, even though the bond is shared between three instead of two.  I enjoyed learning Ritchie's doubts and seeing how that moved the story along rather than just experiencing a "sex like bunnies" atmosphere.  On that note, having read the other stories in the anthology, I imagine it would be too conservative for veterans of threesome literature; indeed, if stripped of the "third lover" element, it becomes just an average love story.

The second story, "Oliver's Famous Clam Chowder" by Erin O'Riordan, is the most sensual in the anthology, making use of a variety of adjectives throughout the story and causing my mouth to water for food I have never tried before.  Natalie and Matthew, werewolves, are advised by their vampire friends to check out an amazing restaurant by the beach.  Matthew, upon further reflection, cannot stand to wait any longer, and the two make the long drive to the restaurant, arriving just before sunrise.  There they meet Oliver, the chef, who seems to be able to see right into them, to know what they want, to see into their past pain and happiness; a special vampire talent, perhaps.  Of course, this eventually leads to the sex people read erotica for.  As the three are never explicitly declared a "couple", "Oliver's Famous Clam Chowder" lacks that "true love" quality, though this makes for a much lighter read as no one is wondering who loves who more or where they belong in such a relationship.

I am definitely not in the target audience for the next story, "CatsEye" by C. C. Bridges.  Sex scenes largely disproportionate to plot, people who think there is no such thing as too much sex will find much to enjoy while people looking for scenes that actually move the story forward will find themselves wondering when the sex will actually end.  Jason has been in love with Cooper for quite a while, but has never done anything about it because Cooper already has a girlfriend.  Cooper is not as oblivious as he seems, however, and after some hot library sex, begs Jason to meet him and his girlfriend on the (seemingly non-existent) third floor of the CatsEye club. As it turns out, the third floor is a sanctuary for those with kinky sex fetishes and are practicing them either in public or private.  Cooper's girlfriend is a dominatrix, Cooper being her "pup", complete with collar and chain.  He is not just a weak-willed boyfriend being forced into such play; it is what he wants, and if he wants to stop, he merely has to say so.  They convince Jason to join them in their masochistic activities, and though he does enjoy it, is unsure about it afterwords, needing time to think things through.  Personally, I prefer the traditional, flowery, romanticized descriptions, but people looking for kink and masochism would do well to give this one a read.

Returning to something more my cup of tea, "Birds of a Feather" by Dianne Fox is a sugary sweet story involving "shifters", those who can transition between an animal form and human form.  Ross, unable to shift fully to bird form nor to human, is bullied relentlessly by the other birds, and ignored completely by everyone else.  Well, almost everyone else.  Tau, a lion, seems to have taken a liking to Ross and even scares away the bullies.  Lindy, worries about him not having anyone to protect him and takes an interest in the lion that he mentions, though he insists that he doesn't need to be protected.  Proving just how wrong his thoughts are, the bullies retaliate with a vengeance that leaves Ross badly injured, but giving Tau the opportunity to take him home and care for him, showing just how protective and loving he is of the bird.  Though it is not truly three-way love, as it seems the only one being loved by two beings at once would be Ross, it is still very cute the way Tau and Lindy agree to share the bird.

In "Tilt-A-Whirl Kisses" by Vic Winter, Callie, a florist, finds an excuse in flower delivery to visit Buzz Sol the rockstar.  After all, she can't help but want to at least see her first kiss, even if it was a bad one.  Surprised, she finds her husband, Joshua, lounging around Buzz's suite.  I suppose he can't help but want to see his first kiss, too.  If I had to describe this as something other than erotica, I would call it a comedy, what with Callie's dumbfoundedness at having her husband tell her that Buzz was a much better kisser these days and that she should try it out.  Ending with no commitment and simply pleasure, this short (more so than the rest) story is completely drama-free, satisfying readers looking for the simpler things in entertainment.

Though I enjoy vampire stories and the trio in "Marked", by BA Tortuga, was made up exclusively of vampires, I could not find anything to like about the storyline, not even he characters.  Jo is an awful woman, playing with men, marking the men, and then leaving them when she gets bored.  Troy and Law, though they were the ones that got toyed with, are not made more likable by this fact.  The two crass characters coincidentally meet in a bar, realize that the same woman slighted them both, and devise a plan to get back at her.  Or at least, that's what I thought; it turns out it's just a plan to get her back.  This plan, of course, involves sex, and I suppose that's really the only important part.  Two men slighted by the same woman all of a sudden feel lucky to have the same woman back?  Why do they even want her back, let alone feel lucky to have her?  I subscribe to the belief that there is an audience for everything, though, so while I'm not in this audience, anyone who does not mind rude vampires and vampires that make poor decisions as long as the sex has proper vampire biting should probably check this out.

The next to last story, "Quttin' Time" by BA Collins, is told from Gail's point of view.  Taken to a bar by two very different, yet very desirable, men, she doesn't know whether she should be scared or excited that Frank has propositioned both her and Ewen for a night of sex.  She does go for it, as everyone can probably predict; after all, it wouldn't be much of an erotica if she just declined and left.  If marking the sex scene from the time clothes start coming off to the time the three are finally through, it seems unusually long, but they do quite a bit of talking during this time, discovering more about each other.  It's great when there is sex that actually moves the plot along and doesn't exist just for pleasure's sake.

The last story, "The Regular", by Giselle Renard is easily my favorite, containing both humor and magic. Toby and Saada are best friends and work together at a coffee shop.  What appears to be a tragic phone call has their boss leaving the store distraught.  Saada uncharacteristically offers to lock up when normally she would have just left early.  The store, which was seemingly filled moments before is all of a sudden empty and close to closing time.  Readers can easily attribute these strange occurrences to the handsome and mysterious Q, a coffee shop regular, though it is harder for Saada and Toby to get through their minds.  Highly engaging thanks to all the little mysteries that crop up, it would be hard to pause before getting to the end, if simply to find out the answer to it all.

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