Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bonded by Ann Wesley Hardin

TITLE: Bonded
AUTHOR: Ann Wesley Hardin
PUBLISHER: Red Sage Publishing
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 14k)
GENRE: Contemporary erotic romance
COST: $2.99

A fantasy weekend at a luxury hotel doesn’t go quite as planned for ad executive Sela Wilson. First, her “hero” turns out to be a dud, then he shows up in her room, ready to make it up to her. Sela’s willing to give him a second chance, but only because she doesn’t realize he’s Daniel Bond, owner of the hotel…

I knew from the blurb and the brief excerpt that this was going to be light and sexy. What I didn’t expect was for it to be so laugh out loud funny. For the first two-thirds of this short story, I was amused, charmed, and thoroughly engaged with these smart, witty people. Sela is jaded enough to take a wry look at her almost absurd surroundings, and because she sets up that mood from the start, it’s easy to accept the outlandish scenarios that follow. I loved her smart mouth. I loved the chemistry she set up with Daniel. Their banter is hands down the best part of the entire story. The sex was more playful than hot as a result, but I was fine with that. For me, it was enough to be fun. If it exceeded that, all the better.

I only wish the story had ended better than it did. As soon as Sela leaves the hotel, still not knowing for sure who it is she slept with all weekend, the story’s charm vanishes, like the fantasy of the weekend is now gone. Sela in the workplace wasn’t nearly as interesting as Sela on a weekend getaway, and the late attempt to try and reach an HEA crumbles under its own weight. As a romance, I would rate this much lower, but thankfully, the vast bulk of the story is spend on those inventive two days, with Sela and Daniel forgetting about real world contrivances and simply letting loose. It’s a lesson for all of us, which seems a little odd to find in a short erotic romp. But it’s there. And even in spite of the ending, I don’t regret a second of it.


9/10 – Brisk and funny


7/10 – Charming and funny, much more believable during the weekend than the aftermath


8/10 – Smart, quick and caustic

Entertainment value

8/10 – Within the context of the weekend, wonderful fun.

World building

7/10 – I’m not so sure about the business world the characters reside in, in real life, but then that’s not the focus of the story



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