The second category that I am listening to/reviewing for the Audies this year is Erotica (although personally, from the descriptions I’ve read, all of these books seem to fall more into an erotic romance category, than Erotica – but that is a discussion for another day, because there is a difference). I would say in the grand scheme of reading that erotic romance/erotica probably makes up about 40% of my reading, with straight romance another 30% and then miscellaneous other genres, the remaining 30%. But when it comes to audiobooks, erotic romance/erotica is not a genre I normally pick up (due in part to listening in the car during my work commute – there is nothing like having a red face going through the security gate at work because you just got done listening to a hot/steamy part of a book ;) ). But I was intrigued by the books chosen and look forward to listening.
The nominations (with descriptions and initial thoughts) for each book in the category are:
Alpha – Jasinda Wilder – Narrated by Summer Roberts and Tyler Donne
The first time it happened, it seemed like an impossible miracle. Bills were piling up, adding up to more money than I could ever make. Mom’s hospital bills. My baby brother’s tuition. My tuition. Rent. Electricity. All of it on my shoulders. And I had just lost my job. There was no hope, no money in my account, no work to be found. And then, just when I thought all hope was lost, I found an envelope in the mail. No return address. My name on the front, my address. Inside was a check, made out to me, in the amount of ten thousand dollars. Enough to pay the bills and leave me some left over to live on until I found a job. Enough to let me focus on classes. There was no name on the check, just “VRI Inc.,” and a post office box address for somewhere in the city. No hint of identity or reason for the check or anything. No mention of repayment, interest, nothing…except a single word, on the notes line: “You.” Just those three letters.
If you receive a mysterious check, for enough money to erase all your worries, would you cash it?
The next month, I received another check, again from VRI Incorporated. It too contained a single word: “belong.”
A third check, the next month. This time, two words. Four letters. “To me.”
The checks kept coming. The notes stopped. Ten thousand dollars, every month. A girl gets used to that, real quick. It let me pay the bills without going into debt. Let me keep my baby brother in school and Mom’s hospice care paid for. How do you turn down what seems like free money, when you’re desperate? You don’t. I didn’t.
And then, after a year, there was a knock on my door. A sleek black limousine sat on the curb in front of my house. A driver stood in front of me, and he spoke six words: “It’s time to pay your debt.”
Would you have gotten in?
It turns out $120,000 doesn’t come free.
Initial Thoughts:Of the 5 books nominated in this category, Jasinda Wilder is only 1 of 2 (the other being Shayla Black in the anthology) that I have previously read. I remember liking that book (Falling Into You) but this one seems to have a lot of iffy reviews on Goodreads (I don’t rely on them, but do reference them – in particular those of friends on the site). I will admit that personally, I struggle with the millionaire tropes in romance/erotic romances, they just don’t do anything for me – but I’m trying to not let that affect my listening. Both of the narrators are new to me and I am a fan of dual narrations.
Beauty from Love – Georgia Cates – Narrated by Bunny Warren and Robert Black
Jack McLachlan is fulfilled by more than he dared to dream possible. He finds everything he never knew he wanted—or needed—in Laurelyn Prescott, his last and final companion. Life is beautiful with his beloved by his side but their post-wedded bliss is cut short when his dark past springs into their present happiness. He wants to shelter Laurelyn but keeping her untainted by his previous life proves impossible when yesterday’s sins insist on returning to haunt him. Will it be possible for them to find happiness in their forever with a past like his?
Initial Thoughts: I’m honestly surprised I haven’t seen/heard this book talked about more in various online book groups that I belong to because it seems as thought it would be something right up my alley when it comes to erotic romance. It should be noted that this is the last book in the trilogy, but that the first one is also nominated (and I’m sure that I will read the middle one somewhere in between listening).
Beauty from Pain – Georgia Cates – Narrated by Bunny Warren and Robert Black
They agreed on three months…but their love knew no boundaries.
Jack McLachlan is a winemaking magnate and easily one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors. His success and wealth make him no stranger to the complications of romantic relationships and that’s why he goes to extreme measures to avoid the hassle. He prefers simplicity in the form of a beautiful female companion with no strings attached. He arranges relationships like business deals and they’re always the same. No long term relationships. No real names.
It’s his game and his rules. He’s content to play as usual, but when Laurelyn Prescott enters his life, his strategy must change because this player is like none he’s ever encountered. His world is turned on its head after he begins a three month affair with the beautiful American musician. Nothing goes according to plan and as he breaks more and more of his own rules for her, she’s exceptionally close to becoming something he never thought possible. His ultimate game changer.
Initial Thoughts: This is the first book in the trilogy by Georgia Cates, from reading spoilers of the third one (mentioned above), I know how some things are going to play out (darn it) – but since romance/erotic romance is about the journey, seeing how they get from point A to point B could be fun. I will admit that I tend to be skeptical of Australia romances written by US authors (as this one is) because they never seem to be well-researched/not believable, but a girl can hope right.
Carter Reed – Tijan – Narrated by Lucy Rivers
Emma decided to skip the gym and went home early. It was the last easy decision she made because she found her roommate being raped by her boyfriend. She had two choices. Call the cops and be killed by his family’s mafia connections or kill him first and hope to survive. There was no choice to her. She killed the bastard first and went to the one person who could protect her. Carter Reed. He’s a weapon for the rivaling mafia family, but he’s also Emma’s secret. Not only was he best friends with her brother, but she’s the reason he became that weapon in the first place.
Initial Thoughts: I’ve been on a huge mafia romance kick recently, since I discovered Roxie Rivera’s stuff a couple of months ago. I’d admit that based on descriptions this is the category nomination that I am most looking forward to listening to. It seems like it could be right up my alley – but I’m hoping that the story is as strong as the erotic elements. And once again another new narrator to me (yay!).
One Dom to Love – Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob and Isabella LaPearl – Narrated by Christian Fox
Raine Kendall has been in love with her boss, Macen Hammerman, for years. Determined to make the man notice that she’s a grown woman with desires and needs, she pours out her heart and offers her body to him—only to be crushingly rejected. But when his friend, very single, very sexy Liam O’Neill watches the other Dom refuse to act on his obvious feelings for Raine, he resolves to step in and do whatever it takes to help Hammer find happiness again, even rousing his friend’s possessive instincts by making the girl a proposition too tempting to refuse. But he never imagines that he’ll end up falling for her himself.
Hammer has buried his lust for Raine for years. After rescuing the budding runaway from an alley behind his exclusive BDSM Dungeon, he has come to covet the pretty submissive. But tragedy has taught him that he can never be what she needs. So he watches over her while struggling to keep his distance. Liam’s crafty plan blindsides Hammer, especially when he sees how determined his friend is to possess Raine for his own. Hammer isn’t ready to give the lovely submissive over to any other Dom, but can he heal from his past and fight for her? Or will he lose Raine if she truly gives herself—heart, body, and soul—to Liam?
Initial Thoughts: Initially I was confused by this book – I thought it was going to be an anthology with the three authors contributing, but rather its one story written by the 3. I’ve read dual author books before (Ilona Andrews being one that I can think of off the top of my head), but none with 3, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Many of the reviews that I skimmed said lots of sex (not that that is bad). And another new narrator in Christian Fox for me, although a friend of mine who listens to lots of audiobooks was raving about him recently – so i’m looking forward to listening.
1. Carter Reed – Tijan; Narrated by Lucy Rivers
2. Beauty from Pain – Georgia Cates; Narrated by Bunny Warren and Robert Black
3. One Dom to Love – Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob and Isabella LaPearl; Narrated by Christian Fox
4. Alpha – Jasinda Wilder; Narrated by Summer Roberts and Tyler Donne
5. Beauty from Love – Georgia Cates; Narrated by Bunny Warren and Robert Black
**predictions are complete random based on book descriptions, and personal opinion of authors/narrators