Publication Date: October 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Erotic Romance
Pages: Paperback, 336pp
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Heat)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Maya Banks on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Karin Tabke on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Sylvia Day on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Excerpt from Men Out of Uniform WARNING: This excerpt may not be appropriate for readers under 18 years of age.
The hottest think about a man in uniform is imagining him out of it...
They may enforce the rules, but when men in uniform are off duty and under the covers, they're experts at breaking them. In this searingly sexy anthology, popular authors Maya Banks, Karin Tabke, and Sylvia Day present men in uniform - unzipped...
In Maya Banks's Soul Possession, Jessie spends a hot night with two sexy-as-sin detectives, only to be accused of murder the very next day. But when Jessie becomes the target of a serial killer, her two detectives will risk everything to have her back in their arms - and in their bed...
Karin Tabke's Wanted follows the X-rated exploits of bad-boy cop Colin Daniels and the soon-to-be ex-wife of a mob boss. He's been hired to guard her body, but it drives him to distraction instead, putting his career - and his life - on the line...
It's time for protected witness Layla Creed to come out of hiding and tkae the stand in Taking the Heat by Sylvia Day. Layla has only three days to reconnect with federal marshal Brian Simmons - and to slake the white-hot lust that has simmered between them for years...
Since this book is an anthology there is quite a bit to cover in this review. This is the first erotic romance anthology that I have reviewed and to be quite honest I have only reviewed one other anthology on this blog, and that was from the mystery/thriller genre. The reason being, I don't generally like anthologies. I like books that have a lot of meat to them, that delve deeply into characters and issues and I generally find that anthologies just don't do it for me, LOL... But after reading Men out of Uniform I have decided that not all anthologies are bad, but they have to have certain criteria to make them work.
There were things in Men Out of Uniform that worked and things that were a bit sketchy. I am very new to reviewing erotic romance and I'm still adjusting to the idea that authors are able to lay it all out there so easily. I have never read anything from any of the three authors of this anthology which I considered a plus in this case. All three authors are veteran erotic romance writers, who have honed their craft to suit a particular audience. This anthology was a good way to become acquainted with the style of each author without reading a full length novel and I really liked that. I want to take each story and review them separately and then give an overall rating.
Soul Possession by Maya Banks
Soul Possession is the first story in the anthology and the longest. When thinking about fantasies and what women like, there are so many possibilities. Some people would find the idea of two men and a woman more than just unconventional, some might consider it too far fetched to even be considered. However, there are those who have experienced this or been around others who ascribe to this kind of lifestyle that would see nothing wrong with it or hard to believe, it just depends on your background and I think Banks was able to portray it well, by using strong characters and a suspenseful twist.
Police detectives Rick and Truitt are men who face extreme risk in their careers and being partners they have to build up a great deal of trust in each other and in the case of this story that trust spills over into their private lives. I can definitely see how two men can fall for the same woman. I can definitely see how both of these men would have the confidence in themselves and their own bodies to put aside jealousies and how much of a turn on it would be to have one woman. As far as the long term relationship aspect. It can work... I've seen it and I thought Banks did a good job with the constraints of a novella to pull it off with these characters.
Jessie was fun and had some back bone to her, but the story is carried by the men in this one.
This one gets 4 out of 5 apples.
Wanted by Karin Tabke
The second story in the anthology takes a more traditional path. Colin Daniels is cop who takes his work seriously. He works hard and plays harder. He isn't into commitment and he loves women and sex with no strings attached. There are a lot of men and women out there like that. I thought Colin's character was authentic and real, he didn't have unrealistic expectations about love and he didn't sugar coat anything for the women he chose to be with. I liked the raw honesty that Karin Tabke put into his personality and it totally carried this story.
Sophia was a little harder for me to get into. She came across as a bit petulant and broody. I won't go so far as to say entitled, but she was getting there. I wasn't quite sure I thought she was a good mate for Colin in the beginning of the story, but she grew on me and in the end I thought Tabke reigned the character in and made her more of what Colin needed to tame his wild streak. With barely 100 pages to develop the characters and the plot line, I think this one fell a little short for me, but it did give me an idea of what I could expect from a longer novel from Karin Tabke. It was enough to peak my interest and make me look forward to more of her writing.
I'm giving this story 3 out of 5 apples from my book bag, totally length related issues, not a sign of how good the writer is.
Taking the Heat by Sylvia Day
The third story in this anthology really got my attention quickly. It is also more along the lines of a traditional story arc. I think the best part of this story was the deep connection that Day develops between Layla and Brian. In the short amount of time she is given, Day is able to show the past history between the characters, a very steamy present and also allow the reader to contemplate a future between them. It is very believable. It isn't so much a fantasy as it is a more realistic portrayal of what could happen in everyday life. I liked that aspect of the story and thought Day did an amazing job of compressing a lot into a very short span of time.
The characters in each of the three stories in this anthology are law enforcement or special ops, that kind of thing and this particular story really plays on the men in uniform theme. You a cop, a witness who he has prior knowledge of and he is tasked with protecting her until she can testify in a high priority case. The fact that Brian is a cop brings out a protectiveness in him and I liked the way Day shows the whole protect and serve scenario. Brian comes across as very sexy, very loyal and the kind of guy most women see as a hero. He carries it well and I think readers will fall in love with him and Layla and root for their happy-ever-after. This one was definitely my favorite of the three.
I'm giving Taking the Heat 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Jeez! That was a lot of information... Overall I found that I really liked the anthology, even though I didn't get to spend enough time with any of the characters. I have to take it in stride that shorter stories can still be very good. I look forward to reading more from each of these author whether is is short fiction or novellas or full length novels.
Men Out of Uniform is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
Overall this one gets 4 out of 5 apples!