Longing Lust and Love: Black Lesbian Stories edited by Shonia L. Brown (Dec. 2007 Pick of the Month)

Publisher/Date:  Nghosi Books, Jan. 2007
Genre(s):  Short Story, Romance, Erotica
Pages:  300
Website:  http://www.nghosibooks.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

First comes longing, the wishing for that special woman to come into your life.

When she arrives, then comes lust, that craving to express your feelings to her with more than words.

Finally, love takes hold, deepening with every passing moment in her presence.

Ladies and Studs seeking pleasures between the covers can look no further than LONGING, LUST AND LOVE: BLACK LESBIAN STORIES.

Written by 25 new and established writers, this collection of 28 sultry tales, edited by Nghosi Books founder Shonia L. Brown, traces the varying stages of black lesbian relationships – from the art of tease to tying the knot. Every story finds women in various forms of infatuation, pursuit and devotion.

Take for instance, in “Heartfelt” by Nikki Rose, longing is shown through the eyes of Taris, who immediately becomes attracted to a co-worker’s sister, Kai, who doesn’t give her the time of day. Taris, an aggressive businesswoman, isn’t used to getting the cold shoulder and determines to break down Kai’s icy demeanor – and manages to do it one rainy night.

Lust becomes desperate in “Look at Me When You Come” by Tasha C. Miller, as Alexis falls for an extremely sexy stud who grants her every bedroom desire. Married and miserable, Alexis abandons her unsatisfying relationship for a few gratifying hours with Taylor – but eventually Alexis wants something more than just passionate exchanges. Is her stud charming willing to give her what she wants?

Finding and sustaining love are two different things, but Brown’s own tale, “From Friends to Lovers” makes it look effortless between acquaintances Erin and Serita. Meeting at a party two years prior, the pair never quite found their way to one another. A brazen phone call one night unlocks the mystery of where their attraction could lead – from being distant to being together – without any distractions.

Longing, Lust, and Love takes women there and still keeps a realistic tone with every word. Brown has chosen a well-rounded concoction sure to have you melting, laughing and yearning for love, lust and longing – everything a woman wants.

Reviewed December 2007

At Midnight by Terry B.

Publisher/Date:  nHouse Publishing, L.L.C., Aug. 2007
Genre:  Romance
Pages:  272
Website:  http://www.nhousepublishing.com

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

No one could convince me that men could write a lesbian novel with depth, but author Terry B. made me a believer with Dancer’s Paradise. That book told the story of dancer Debrena Allen as she came to terms with her sexuality.

AT MIDNIGHT picks up where Paradise left off, only this time the narration is through the eyes of Choice Fowler, the man Debrena abandoned to follow her heart. While she finally gives way to falling in love with best friend Lorrie Cunningham, Choice is still enamored of Debrena, seemingly unable to shake the hold she has over his soul. He knows if he sees her again, he’ll lose it.

In the meantime, Choice needs a makeup artist for a big assignment, and Lorries is the best in the business. While it doesn’t sit well with him to face the woman who stole his dream girl, it does grant Choice the chance to have some connection to Debrena. When the former flames finally do come face to face, Debrena designs a way to get him more involved in her life than he bargained for.

Debrena and Lorrie have what seems like a solid relationship. But as happy as she seems with Lorrie, Debrena wants more. When she runs into Choice, she sees him as an opportunity to test Lorrie’s love for her — a move that involves all three of them. The question is now, who will Debrena give her heart to?

Terry B. has a page-turning story, one that you can breeze through easily. At Midnight makes a great transition from Paradise, and provides a thorough background of Choice Fowler and the heartaches he’s suffered. The characters were real and engaging; they make you realize how selfish and insecure some people can be when it comes to love.

Reviewed December 2007

Every Dark Desire by Fiona Zedde

Publisher/Date:  Kensington, July 2007
Genre(s):  Erotica, Supernatural
Pages:  327
Website:  http://www.fionazedde.com

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Vampires run wild in Fiona Zedde’s third novel, EVERY DARK DESIRE, which chronicles the death of Naomi McElroy and her rebirth as vampire Belle.

Naomi’s life in Jamaica was mostly uneventful, until the night her desire for women takes her to a place she’s never been before — and leaves her lifeless. She then mutates into Belle and becomes one of them…

Belle is now a blood-sucking, cold-blooded vampire, recruited by a clan of men and women just like her. The ringleader, a sexy beast named Silvija, makes sure Belle learns the ropes of hunting for blood, fighting enemies and satiating her sexual cravings. It’s far from easy, what with Belle missing her daughter, Kylie, and the life she left behind. Taking orders from a taskmaster like Silvija isn’t helping matters.

And it especially doesn’t help that Belle’s falling for her.

Their encounters are extremely wickedly hot, but Belle can’t seem to get a good read on whether their affair means more to the unattainable Silvija. To a group of vampires who lack human characteristics, it’s hard to tell whether Silvija’s carnal desires are real, or just a part of the hunt and chase.

Zedde’s Desire is evident in every page. You see the growing yearnings Belle has for Silvija. The author’s trademark sex scenes leave nothing to the imagination, as you can visualize thrust and lick. However, I wish this same attention to detail was given to the plot. In reading I felt like the sex came every chapter, and the ending of the novel felt rushed. With that being said, Zedde is an excellent writer I would read again, as her previous works — Bliss and A Taste of Sin — were enjoyable.

Desire kept my pulse racing, but left me wanting more — whether that’s a good thing is up to you.

Reviewed December 2007

Strapped by Laurinda D. Brown

Publisher/Date:  Urban Books, Oct. 2007
Genre(s):  Romance, Street Life
Pages:  223
Website:  http://www.ldbrownbooks.com

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

When it comes to STRAPPED, the latest novel from Laurinda D. Brown, several things come to mind.

Strapped to the childhood pain that carries into adulthood…

Strapped by an identity that you’re not quite sure is you…

Strapped and ready for anything that happens…

All this and more consumes the story of Strapped, which follows Mo from Brown’s 2006 novel, Walk Like a Man. Mo used to be Monique, until a life-changing moment strips her previous feminine identity in favor of the studded-out persona Mo adopts to help her deal. Leaving her family behind, Mo takes on the streets and finds the world accepts her as a man. It gets confusing when she finds love with Laquita, and Mo has to eventually reveal her true self.

Compounding issues is Mo’s mother, Elise, who lives in deep denial about the tragedy’s in both her and Mo’s life. It’s only wearing Mo down when she doesn’t have a mother she can turn to. They each have her own healing to do, especially when Mo’s thuggish ways get her landed in some hot water; she needs her mother more than ever.

Brown’s Strapped has some major issues going on: sexuality, abuse, and parental responsibility. She has clearly channeled Mo’s pain and anger, but also her confusion about her sexuality. It’s a debate many lesbians have had amongst each other: is your sexuality intrinsic or born from childhood tragedy? While many would disavow Mo’s lesbian confusion, Brown paints the picture that this is the reality for some women.

Strap up readers, cause this is definitely a dramatic ride.

Reviewed December 2007