This sale and promotion have now ended (sorry, the sale ended earlier than I thought it would). This sale is over, thank you for your support! Passion and Obsessed are now only $2.99
on Kindle AND if you click through you'll see my special BOGO promotion.
To celebrate the Kindle sale price of $3.99 for erotic romance anthologies Only You and Irresistible, I'm sweetening the pot for a very limited time: if you review either Only You Or Irresistible on Amazon.com, I'll send you the Kindle version of the other one. Email me at rachelkb at gmail.com by May 16 5 pm EST (firm deadline as I won't be near a computer after that) with a link to your review on Amazon and the email address where I should send the ebook (I can't gift to @kindle.com addresses). Thank you!
Introduction: Very Happy Endings
Driven Angela Caperton
Overcome Alyssa Turner
Forgotten Bodies Giselle Renarde
In the Doghouse Hanna Martine
Autumn Rain Michael A. Gonzales
The Love We Make Kristina Wright
In-Flight Entertainment Catherine Paulssen
Republicans Don’t Like Kate Dominic
Mom’s Night Out Lolita Lopez
Slow Fire Donna George Storey
The Nude, Stripped Naked Jeremy Edwards
Edge Skylar Kade
Unfolding K D Grace
Married Abigail Grey
Cook’s Treat Elizabeth Coldwell
Hollywood Romance Veronica Wilde
Matters of the Heart Tenille Brown
September Song Anna Watson
Saved Cassandra Carr
For the Very First Time Rachel Kramer Bussel
Introduction: Very Happy Endings
“Honey, are you happy?” is the question with which Cassandra Carr opens her story, “Saved,” about a marriage that needs reviving, pronto. Haven’t we all been in relationships where we longed to ask our partners what they were truly thinking and feeling; whether they were happy; whether they had fantasies, regrets, dreams—but didn’t ask because we were afraid of the answer? I certainly have, so I have extra admiration for this lonely wife who dares to ask for what she wants, realizing it’s never too late. That is the same spirit that enlivens every story in this collection, where sexual pleasure and romantic happiness are not guaranteed at the outset. Couples in various stages of their romances experience tricky territory and have to ask, pursue, explore and test the boundaries of their love in order to reach new peaks, learn about themselves, and make their relationships stronger. Yes, these stories are hot, and I fully encourage you to read them with one hand, but I also find them heartwarming. They explore what happens within a marriage or relationship behind closed doors, for the most part, when you’re stripped bare in the literal and figurative senses, and are truly seen by someone who knows you inside and out.
You very likely know the feeling of being captivated by a lover, wanting to be with him morning, noon and night; dreaming about her when you’re away; reveling in the heights of passion as well as the tender comforts of togetherness when you’re not. The stories in Only You celebrate that feeling of knowing the ones you love for all their high points and their faults, of seeing beyond their outer image to what truly makes their heart beat, sometimes knowing them better than they know themselves.
The stories you are about to read all explore the theme, in some way, of lovers who are drawn to each other, whether they fully understand why or not. Some are pulled apart by obstacles they have to overcome, and others simply can’t wait to tear each other’s clothes off. Some serve as teachers, guides or gurus into matters of the heart.
What I especially like about these tales is that the lovers here join forces, using their knowledge of what the other person gets off on to spur them to risqué acts, even under circumstances that may not seem ideal at first glance. “Forgotten Bodies,” by Giselle Renarde, addresses the ways we can forget our own bodies, not to mention our partner’s libido, in long-term relationships. Susan goes so far as to hide in the bathroom to avoid sex with her husband, only to discover that he’s cooking up something new and naughty for them to try. In “The Love We Make,” by Kristina Wright, fighting leads to the hottest sex imaginable, and means there’s no excuse too petty to pick a fight over, if they get to “make up.” Sex-starved Sidney in Lolita Lopez’s “Mom’s Night Out” engages in a one-night getaway with her husband, Owen, where they forget all about the draining daily duties of parenthood and rediscover how much they still hunger for each other.
Some of the lovers here are less experienced, such as M. in “Autumn Rain,” by Michael A. Gonzales, and Dean in my story “For the Very First Time.” Each delicately touches on the ways our first time leaves an impression, makes us fall that much harder for the person we’re sharing the momentous occasion with. Even when the characters aren’t actually virginal, when they approach their relationships anew, finding something novel in their partner’s kiss or touch, they can invoke Madonna and feel “Like a Virgin,” only with the bonus of a shared, special history.
As I’ve edited this collection, I’ve been listening to Adele’s achingly gorgeous album 21. Those songs are about lost loves, but they contain all the tenderness you will find here as well, and rest assured, not to give too much away, the tales in Only You have happy, sweet, sexy endings.
I wish you only pleasure in enjoying the stories you’re about to read.
Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York City
Introduction (see below)
Twice Shy Heidi Champa
Safe for Work A. M. Hartnett
Repaint the Night Janine Ashbless
Same As It Ever Was Cole Riley
Out of Control Karenna Colcroft
Warrior Kate Pearce
Hypocrites Alyssa Turner
The Pact Elizabeth Coldwell
Exposing Calvin Rachel Kramer Bussel
Six Eyes, Two Ears Kris Adams
Renewal Delilah Night
The Netherlands Justine Elyot
Predatory Tree Craig J. Sorensen
The Mitzvah Tiffany Reisz
After The Massage Kay Jaybee
Pink Satin Purse Donna George Storey
A lot of the erotica that comes across my desk focuses on the spark of attraction when strangers meet, the cataclysmic sensation of falling, hard, for someone new and exciting. That makes sense, because there’s built-in drama and erotic tension when two people discover there’s intense chemistry between them. With this anthology, though, I wanted to explore what happens after that, once those people have been together a while (even a short while). I wanted to see what sparks fictional couples could produce on the page, and the results are, well, scorching.
The couples in this book explore all sorts of exciting sexual possibilities, and one of the main reasons they’re able to open up in the ways they do is precisely because they have another person to rely on, coax them, challenge them, tease them and seduce them into traveling down a new sexual path. Whether that means outdoor sex, kink, a trip to a strip club or a very sensual massage, we get to see the ways the layers of trust that have been built up get used to stoke the fire that burns between them.
In addition to enjoying naughty, wild adventures, the couples here also work out differences between one another and handle issues like infidelity in ways that ultimately strengthen, rather than destroy, their relationships' longevity. In Cole Riley’s “Same As It Ever Was,” Joanne suspects her husband of cheating, but with a little help from her best friend, manages to recapture the sensual spirit and passion that’s been missing as both husband and wife make amends and move on, knowing what it was they almost lost. Rekindling a romance that’s threatened to go stale is also the theme of “Renewal” by Delilah Night, where she writes, “That touch sent a long-missing ripple through my body. I hesitated, hoping he’d remember what I love.”
In “The Pact” by Elizabeth Coldwell, a woman rediscovers a man she’d once passed over, only to find that the years they’ve spent apart have made him someone she’s sorry she overlooked. How a couple deals with a death in the family, as well as religious tradition, is the subject of “The Mitzvah” by Tiffany Reisz, as Grace and Zachary find that embracing desire can be healing. Kris Adams takes us into an African village and some complicated relationship dynamics, along with a lot of voyeurism, in “Six Eyes, Two Ears.” Kay Jaybee takes a common fantasy, that of a man watching two women make love, and breathes new life into it by showing both halves of a couple as they live out this dream.
Individual characters work through their own issues with the help of their partners, getting support, love and, of course, very hot sex. “Repaint the Night,” by Janine Ashbless, is about public sex, but, even more, a woman who is conquering a fear of the dark after being mugged ten years before. The erotic power of that story is heightened by Leah’s awe at being able to enjoy what she and Callum are sharing, as she recovers a part of herself she lost and deepens the level of trust between them.
For those who likes things a bit spicier, there’s "The Netherlands” by Justine Elyot, in which a nude Loveday serves guests tea and takes orders, while fulfilling a longtime fantasy of being “used,” with her true love there to watch.
Make no mistake: though these are stories about couples, they are not light or fluffy. They are full of joy, lust and kink, as well as realistic elements of mistrust, uncertainty and confusion, which the couples work through in ways that don’t gloss over or ignore their differences.
These couples, however long they’ve been a team, push the envelope by pushing themselves to try something new, even when they’re not sure where it will lead them. They go to those exotic, erotic places, to those recurring fantasies, because they know they have someone who will travel there with them. I hope this book will inspire nighttime reading--out loud--and erotic adventures, as well as conversations that have been bubbling under the surface, waiting to be exposed, just like the fantasies in the tales you’re about to read.
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Labels: book reviews, Cleis Press, ebook, ebooks, erotic romance, Irresistible, Kindle, Only You