Monday, September 12, 2011

Icing on the Cake by Shayla Kersten

TITLE: Icing on the Cake
AUTHOR: Shayla Kersten
PUBLISHER: Ellora’s Cave
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 19k)
GENRE: Gay contemporary erotic romance
COST: $4.45

Slated with getting the last minute cake for his best friend’s wedding, uptight Jeff is taken aback by his visceral response to the bald and tattooed baker he’s supposed to hire. He’s thrilled when Ollie is interested in him as well, but when he discovers Ollie wants him to give up his control, he’s not so sure the exchange will be worth it…

I’m only labeling this an erotic romance because of the HFN that gets tacked onto the end of this novella. For the vast majority of the story, it’s just plain erotica. Hot erotica.

Jeff is an uptight businessman who is playing maid of honor for his best friend’s whirlwind wedding. She gets called out of town at the last minute and asks him to get the cake sorted out, citing a specific bakery she wants him to use. He goes down and is greeted by the bald, tattooed, biker-type baker, a man that throws his libido into overdrive. It’s obvious very quickly that Ollie, the baker, is interested, too, and their flirtation expands into a consensus of sex, at least until Jeff sees the dungeon set-up the man has in his bedroom. Ollie is determined to make Jeff lose control, however, and Jeff, for all his anxiety about doing so, can’t seem to walk away.

There’s not much more to describe. The men have a lot of sex, with Ollie admitting first to himself and then to Jeff that maybe it’s time for him to start think about serious dating again. Jeff is a fly-by-night kind of guy, though, and all the talk about “substantial” freaks him out. Not enough to say no to a second night, though. The novella benefits from the fact that the sex is mostly hot. It reads swiftly, and except for the occasional snort-worthy phrasing (like …his come rushed to freedom), succeeds at what it intends. If this was sold as straight erotica, it would likely rate higher, because my expectations for characters and the ending wouldn’t be quite as stringent. As it is, though, the author clearly strives for the HFN, but can’t get there for me, mostly because her two heroes are more archetypes than fully-fleshed characters and little time is spent doing much of anything but having sex.


8/10 – Hot with only a few phrasing things that made me snort

Hero #1

5/10 – Little is known about him except he’s uptight

Hero #2

5/10 – More of a type than a character, though I do have a soft spot for that type

Entertainment value

7/10 – I got lost in the heat of it which helped since the HFN is weak, reads more like erotica than a romance

World building

5/10 – The food stuff is excellent, but very little is done about everything else



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