Breathless
by Bonnie Edwards 
(Aphrodisia, $12.95, R)  ISBN 978-0-7285-3828-3 
**
Breathless is a combination of three sexy stories from Bonnie Edwards.  A woman puts on a corset and travels back in time to meet the doctor of her dreams; another needs her old boss to protect her from a possible stalker; and finally a subdued art teacher uses her sexy carpenter to help her tap into her creativity.  They bring forth the sexy in this semi-erotic anthology, yet the combination of lust and some purple prose-like descriptions of such sex acts left me searching for something more.

In “Breathless,” Blue McCann wishes for something more in her life. Found in a dumpster as a newborn, she has always been sickly and never lived her life to the fullest. When she enters the TimeShop run by Faye Grantham, Faye’s decades-dead great-aunt ghost, Belle, helps Blue time-travel back to the year 1913 because of a magical corset Blue tries on.  The whole future may possibly change for both Blue and Faye. When Blue awakens, she is in the body of Stella McCreedy, a respected midwife. Stella is known for not being on the best of terms with the handsome doctor, Colt Stephens. Blue loves being Stella because she’s now healthy, vibrant and now very attracted to the good doctor who seems very interested in her also.

Blue decides to seduce Colt as fast as she can because she’s afraid she’ll travel back to the future at any moment. As she and Colt engage in a steamy love affair together, Stella’s sister comes to her with unexpected news that will force Blue to confront her relationship with Colt.   She can either marry him or figure out a way to go back to her own time.

Security expert Stack Hamilton receives a call from his former employee in “To Die For.” This phone call is very unexpected because Tawny James walked out on him after three years for no reason he can think of. Now she’s calling for help because she may have a possible stalker after her. Stack comes to her aid and won’t let her run away, because even though Tawny hides an incredible body under the baggy clothes she wears, he desires the woman she is, as well as the friend he misses.

Tawny lusts for Stack, but after catching him having rough sex with another woman in his office, her hope for a relationship between them died. She doesn’t trust men because of the way her grandfather was very abusive to her grandmother and mother. But now that some pervert is sniffing through her laundry and watching her every move, she has no choice but to turn to Stack, who is the only one that can protect her. Stack won’t let Tawny hide from him and he forces her to admit their passion for one another, leading to some smoldering love in the bedroom. When Tawny’s mother comes for a visit, Tawny learns why her grandmother married such a horrible man and why she is being stalked.

Mariel Gibson is sick and tired of being tedious and boring in “Body by Gibson.” She enjoys her job teaching high school art, but wants to tap into her artistic ability and enter a contest to show up one of the judges, who treated her poorly and almost destroyed her dreams. Her answer comes in the form of her sexy carpenter, Danny Glenn, who is building her deck. Perhaps he can help her channel her inner muse? Danny thinks Mariel is anything but mousy and is open to help her with her art through sex and desire. He pushes her to the limits and won’t let her hide. Soon their passion has overtaken Mariel’s every thought and she feels guilty for using Danny this way. But Danny doesn’t think Mariel is using him and will prove to her that they can have a future together even after the contest.

These three erotic novellas have their moments of fun and some smoldering love scenes but overall I found myself bored. I think this was in part because of lack of real depth. “Breathless” had an interesting premise, but the overabundance of purple prose  descriptions of sex fell flat for me. The way the characters acted, especially during the time setting of the early 20th century, didn’t fit and there was no real excitement to the overall story.

“To Die For” was a bit better and had some fun reading moments, especially when Stack and Tawny hit the sheets. Tawny’s reasons for dressing the way she did set up an emotional response in Stack and his reaction to seeing the woman under the bulky clothes was pleasing to read. The mystery sub-plot had an interesting twist and Tawny’s mother is one character who had some insight on Tawny and why they are targets.

“Body by Gibson” was appealing because I love the rugged, hands-on type of character Danny portrays. He’s very understanding when it comes to Mariel and because of him Mariel becomes a better person in the way she thinks and feels about herself. Their love scenes simmer and there are some interesting uses with paint, especially when Mariel uses it on Danny’s body.

For an anthology, Breathless was an okay read but I was wishing for a bit more. There just wasn’t enough plot or dimensions to the characters due to the length of each story. After reading, I felt less than a twinge of satisfaction when I should have felt a bit more of an explosion, especially if this is a erotic romance. There simply wasn’t enough excitement and after I finished reading, I really couldn’t remember too much or even care. 

--Catherine Anne


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