Merry widow Sophie, Lady Atherly, and her lover have made a game of shocking each other with their wanton encounters. Sebastian is currently in the lead, but she has a plan to even the score: a threesome with her friend and previous lover, Edward. Sophie still entertains fantasies about Edward, and the idea of having both men at once promises pleasure beyond anything she's experienced before. Sebastian is ready to play along, but with one condition: that Sophie submit completely to the two rogues' commands...Published by Harlequin on September 2012
Genres: Erotica, Threesome/Ménage à Trois
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I had hopes for this short story, hopes of some hot guy-on-girl-on-guy action in Regency clothing (or, rather, out of it). At the same time, I expected the language to get a little purple given the setting and prior experience reading historical romance. While there were some very sexy ideas in this story, the phrase “You’re turning violet, Violet!” comes to mind when I think about the writing style used in Sophie’s Rogues.
The attempt at period-accurate narration did more to take me out of the story than it did to set it up. It was just too much use of flowery prose that made me think of the Dharma & Greg episode where Dharma tries to punch up Kitty’s bodice-rippers. I found myself laughing at some of the word choices even before the sexy times were under way (“Anon, one of his eyebrows quirked, but he retained a staid composure” and the two times that Sophie’s nipples “furled”). As the breeches and underpinnings came off, the descriptions developed an aubergine hue, as the authors might describe it. They would come close to sounding perfectly fine and befitting the narration style, but would end with some overly flowery description that had me rolling my eyes. An example from the scene where Sophie engages in some double penetration with Edward and Sebastian that started off okay but went quickly off the rails:
“She milked both of their lengths. A tight fist of ecstasy grasped them in the clutches of her sex with wave after wave of gratitude and love and passion.”
One detail that really bothered me was the description of how Sebastian got his tatau: “…he’d received it on an island in Oceania, where he’d been marked by the native tribal savages.” Faithful to the language of the period, it felt incredibly unnecessary to include and frankly, pretty gross. I get that you want to make your characters seem sexier with the addition of tattoos, because tattoos can be pretty damn sexy, but the racist language made me cringe. Hard. The authors could have worded that differently and still retained the same overall tone of the piece.
What I did enjoy was that they included a negotiation of sorts prior to the clothes coming off and all parties were seemingly on board with the fact that Sophie would be submissive to both men and, more importantly, that she wanted to be submissive. There was a scene where Sophie is being prepped for double penetration. I’m not sure that using a woman’s personal lubrication would be the best choice for first time anal, but at least lube was mentioned. Another choice moment featured Edward with Sophie situated in his lap and his cock inside of her. Sebastian tied their thighs together in order to give Edward control over her legs. Of course, after Sebastian orders Edward to do so, there’s a bit of unnecessary Latin comparing her to Venus, *sighs*. Yet another time when the authors missed the mark with the overly ornate language. Later, Sophie wonders what I had been hoping for when I read the description of this story – if this position would bring some kind of interaction between both men. Sadly, it was only speculation on both our parts and the guys kept their distance as much as possible when buried balls-deep inside the same woman.
The characters were more developed than I had expected for such a short story, I will give that to the authors. I may not have particularly liked any of them very much, except for maybe Edward, but I could picture them in my head better than I could with the last short erotica story I reviewed. The two men’s interactions with Sophie were decidedly different: Edward more reserved, yet loving (which, for some reason, Sophie did not like despite their prior relationship) and Sebastian more commanding and somewhat icy.
Something that bothered me about Sophie in particular was her reaction to Edward’s sudden departure after they finish. She seems genuinely sad that he wouldn’t stay, despite their agreement that things wouldn’t change between them, and then when Sebastian comes around, her focus reverts back to him as though nothing had happened. Nothing else is mentioned of Edward, the story ends with a suggestive line from Sebastian. Perhaps it had all been just another part of Sophie and Sebastian’s sexual one-upsmanship, but with her reaction to her former lover leaving so suddenly, it didn’t feel like it was just that for Sophie.
Sophie stared at the door for several heartbeats. Nothing changed? How could their relationship ever be the same after this night? For better or worse, she knew that she would never be the same. Nothing would. If friendship was the only thing he could offer her, she would take it, and hoard this memory for a long while.
A good premise that was bogged down by far too much purple prose and an abrupt ending that left me feeling more confused than wanting to read about the further Sexy Adventures of Sebastian and Sophie. Though I might have to borrow that thigh bondage idea for my next story.