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C Review C REVIEWS Contemporary Romance Erotic Romance

Review: Real Online Fantasy: How Down Under by Cate Ellink

Publisher: Momentum
Where did you get the book: e-arc from publisher
Release date: Out now

Can an online fantasy ever become real?

onlinefantasyWhen Condamine connects with Esquire in a chat room, neither expect their mutual pleasure and close friendship will become something far more intimate and real. But when the opportunity to meet Esquire in the flesh comes up will Condamine – Caitlyn, in real life – be bold enough to act out her deepest fantasies, or will she hide away from the world behind the comfortable glare of her computer screen?

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

When Momentum books contacted us about some of their titles, I accepted this for review because the premise intrigued me. In blogland, a lot of friendships are created online first, and then the meet in real life happens. So I wanted to see how an erotica/erotic romance played out from meeting online. I would definitely say this is more erotica than erotic romance. There’s not a lot of depth of emotion and the sex is the main focus of the story.

Condamine and Esquire have been chatting online for quite a while, and have struck up a friendship. They also engage with each other about their sexual fantasies. During one chat, Esquire tells Condamine that he wants to meet with her and live out their sexual fantasies for real. Condamine feels the same, but is unsure if what they have online can become something solid in real life.

Firstly, I liked the author’s writing. It had a natural flow, and the pacing worked for most of the story until the end. Condamine’s feelings about meeting Esquire are jumbled and unsure. Is she crazy for agreeing to this? She doesn’t know this man in real life, yet she feels as if she knows him from their online chats. She’s caught between bringing what was safe online into the real world. If the heroine didn’t have these troubling thoughts, I would have chucked the book away because of how stupid the heroine would have been.

Whilst I liked Condamine, I thought Esquire came off as too creepy. I don’t think the author meant for that to happen but because we didn’t get his POV, we saw him through Condamine’s eyes. To me, Esquire comes off as pushy. He doesn’t seem to realise the dangers of meeting someone from online, especially for a woman. There are some lines that straddled the line between creepy – for example:

ESQUIRE: SORRY, DID I SCARE YOU AGAIN?
CONDAMINE: YES. I’M TOTALLY HOPELESS. I’M THINKING COFFEE AND YOU’RE THINKING SEX. SEE, THIS WILL NEVER WORK.
ESQUIRE: IT WILL IF YOU START THINKING ABOUT SEX AND STOP WORRYING 🙂 SOME DAYS YOU HAVE NO TROUBLE DOING THAT.

He seems to put sex above anything else and it came off as creepy. And he suggests meeting up in a motel room for this first time. NO. NO. NO. I was mentally screaming at the heroine then. Always meet in the open with someone you know that is watching you. The heroine, on one hand, is sensible but on the other hand I have to question her intelligence in agreeing to meet a man for sex online without knowing his sexual history – and whether he’s a crazed person.

When the meet happens, I was actually hoping that Esquire would turn out to be someone Condamine knows but was too shy to ask out. But no. This book is what the premise is: An online fantasy that turns real. Whilst I have reservations about Esquire, the story kept me hooked. I think the shortness of the story sort of ruined Esquire’s character for me because we don’t get his POV. So in some cases he comes off as creepy because he’s the lead aggressor in pushing for sex on the first date. Condamine feels the same but she is more hesitant.

The smexy scenes are definitely on the erotica side, but there were some lines that had me giggling. For example:

“Closing his lips on my clit, he hums lightly and I soar. So high I don’t know where the rest of me has gone. I’m my clit. There is nothing else of me.”

Yeah, this is a line that should have been cut in edits. You are one with your clit?! I think that’s the first time I’ve seen a heroine be one with her clit.

Condamine and Esquire connect to each other on a sexual side, but I wanted more emotion and a POV from Esquire so I could see his character. The story ends just when it gets started and it’s quite jarring. I give it a C.

Kindle eBook

By Lou

One thing that Lou loves most is her HEA in romances.

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