Review – Uncommon Pleasure by Anne Calhoun

Uncommon PleasurePublisher: Berkley Heat
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: Copy from Publisher

From a “fresh and imaginative” (The Romance Studio) voice in erotic romance come the tales of two women, each daring to challenge the boundaries of the toughest of men…But in these edgy, heated encounters, the greatest thing each woman will risk is her heart.

In “Over the Edge,” after a tragic incident during Ty Hendricks’ last tour of duty, he cut off all connection with anyone he cares about—until a night with Lauren Kincaid draws him reluctantly back into the world. Lauren sees a wounded man in danger of losing everything to his inner demons, but the sensual, no-holds-barred fight for Ty’s soul could cost Lauren her heart.

In “All on the Line,” Abby Simmons fell hard for Lieutenant Sean Winthrop, but he sacrificed their relationship when he deployed to Afghanistan. Now he’s home, full of regrets and intent on winning back the woman he never forgot. Abby gives Sean her body but holds her heart aloof, until one night of pleasure forces her to choose either her U.S. Marine…or life without him, forever.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

These two stories are closely related and flow well together nicely. I enjoyed the crossover between the two novellas, but was pretty disappointed with different aspects of each story.

The first story is about Ty and his inability to cope with being back in the civilian world. His last tour of duty put him in a bad place mentally and emotionally, and he hasn’t figured out how to cope yet. When he meets Lauren, he is looking for someone to have some kinky sex with and forget the next day. What he doesn’t expect is for Lauren to intrigue him enough to deal with his problems.

I like the idea of Ty being the tortured hero, and although he was a huge asshole at times, I still kinda adored him. He was a good guy lost in a bad boy frame of mind. He knew that falling for Lauren would bring him back into the land of the living, and he resisted at all costs. Likewise, Lauren knew that Ty was a gentle and caring guy deep down, and despite his ability to crush her, she knew he would be worth the fight. I admired her tenacity, until get willingness to go back time after time had me scratching my head in wonder.

The angst in this novella was off the charts. Poor Ty didn’t know if he was coming or going, and the level of crap he drug Lauren through was astounding. While I’m not a big fan of the way Calhoun had these two come to a head, I could understand why they put themselves into the situation. For as much as I was not a fan of that scene, I was glad it played out the way it did. My only big beef with this novella was that Ty really screwed up big time with Lauren, and he didn’t have to grovel enough to win her back. After what she went through, I thought he needed to do something bigger and better to win her back.

The second story is a second chance love story, and while I usually love that trope, this novella didn’t work for me at all. Sean is on leave and trying to decide what he wants to do next. He is determined to win back the love of Abby, the one who got away, while thinking about his future. However, Abby had her heart broken by Sean once, and isn’t looking for a repeat performance.

I like Sean. He knew what he wants, where he went wrong in life, and is determined to do anything and everything in his power to win back the woman he loves. If not for him, I would have quit reading this story midway through. Abby, on the other hand, annoyed the dickens out of me! I can understand wanting to protect your heart, but I just couldn’t get behind the way she went about it.

One of my biggest problems with the erotic romance genre is that if seems as if most authors feel the need to add a menage into the story in order to bring a couple together. I don’t understand that mentality, especially when the threesome doesn’t seem to jive with the relationship of the couple. Calhoun did this is one of her short stories not too long ago, and again here with Sean and Abby. The entire scene was ridiculous and didn’t feel as if it had any bearing on their core relationship. It felt like it was added in for cheap thrills, and I hated it. For that reason alone I couldn’t stand this story.

All in all the book was sexy as hell, but had quite a few problems that really got on my nerves. Although there were parts of each story that I liked, it seemed as if there were more problems I didn’t like. If I were to grade each of the stories, I would give the first novella a B- and the second a D. Overall, the two seemed to even out to just a so-so anthology.
I give Uncommon Pleasure a C-

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