Nov 1 2011 10:30am

Possessed by Maya Banks

Men Out of Uniform by Maya Banks, Karin Tabke, and Sylvia DayI just read a new Maya Banks erotic novella called Soul Possession, which is part of the Men Out of Uniform anthology. Talk about a scorcher; the last Banks romance I read was part of the sexy, suspenseful Kelly Series, and her latest Highlander book was just released. Both of those are sexy, but they’re not nearly as highly-charged and erotic as this novella.

One thing I’ve discovered over the years is that sometimes I’m in the mood for something…more. Sort of like when my husband and I watch NCIS with our son during the week, but catch up on Dexter by ourselves on the weekend. I’m intrigued by the imagination of an author who can spin a good yarn, yet cast it with such a wide array of intensity. Sometimes, I like a little erotic fantasy in my romance.

And I’m pretty certain I’m not alone. Let’s look at three of Ms. Banks’s other erotic stories.

Sweet Possession by Maya BanksSweet Possession is your classic pop star-bodyguard scenario—on steroids. Lyric Jones is a “spoiled pop star who loves hard and fast, always outrunning her past and the nightmares that haunt her.” She’s into groupies and lots of folks in her bed; quite frankly, her life sounds exhausting. Connor Malone is her bodyguard and a one-woman man. He’s not thrilled with babysitting her and “relishes taming Lyric and showing her what it’s like to be possesses—body and soul—by one man.”

When everyone had left, Connor turned and planted his palms on the table in front of her. “Let me get something straight. You didn’t hire me. You can’t fire me. You have nothing I want or need. I don’t give a shit if you like me. I don’t particularly like you. It’s my job to keep you safe, and I’m going to do just that. Which means you’re going to listen to everything I tell you.

How utterly ridiculous that she flinched when he’d baldly said he didn’t like her. Like that should come as a surprise? Nobody liked her. People tolerated her. They used her. But they didn’t like her. Why should Connor Malone be any different? Why did she want him to be?

I’ve always been of the opinion that great sex should accompany a great story rather than a mediocre story filling in the gaps between explosive bouts of acrobatic, crazy sex. Real life is messy, sloppy and physical; literature should be, too. The passage above makes Sweet Possession worth the read to me. It gives me a point of connection with the characters and the story, something I can relate to and something that compels me to find out what happens in the end. I suppose from an erotica perspective, it’s pretty vanilla since it’s just one man and one woman, and no bondage—but again, I found it easy to relate to and a story that sparked my imagination.

Four Play by Maya Banks and Shayla BlackFour Play is a twofer of books from Maya Banks and Shayla Black. The Banks story is called “Pillow Talk,” and is about a woman named Zoe Michaels. Zoe’s boyfriend Chase is a firefighter, just like her other two roommates, Brody and Tate.

Then one night, Chase reveals his number one fantasy: for Zoe to perform an everything-goes striptease in front of his buddies. A turn-on for them means a turn-on for him. And for Zoe? It proves to be even more, and it opens the door for a secret desire of her own to come true.

Are you already fanning your face like I am? The opening line sets the tone:

“Zoe Michaels climbed on top of Chase Hilliard, their sweat-slicked bodies humming with arousal.”

But it’s when they decide to voice their fantasies, and actually play them through, that set me to squirming.

“This is the only time I’ll say it. I don’t want to ruin your fantasy with the intrusion of reality. This is for you. All for you. If at any time you don’t want what we’re offering, if you want us to stop for any reason, just say so. We’ll push. We’re more than willing to push you as far as you want to go, but you get to say when, okay?”

She swallowed and nodded, and then he leaned in and kissed her. His tongue swiped gently over her lips and delved inside, tasting her, offering reassurance for what was to come.

She loved him for this. For being secure enough in their relationship to give her something she’d only fantasized about and for taking such care in the execution.

This line sums up what trips me up about these types of fantasies:

“Were you getting jealous? I mean, did it bother you to see me with other men? Because …”

I like how Banks leaves us hanging for a minute. Even her characters have to face that moment of “Well …” The journalist in me wants to find these characters and find out how they would really deal with the emotional side of having a permanent third (or fourth) body in bed. The wife in me thinks I might need to step up my A-game.

And have a look at this passage from Soul Possession:

He and Rick dated separate women. It wasn’t like they went around all the time looking for a threesome. But they’d both looked at Jessie and neither of them was going to bow out. So the only recourse they had was to seduce her together. Which, well, was weird, but hell, he wasn’t going to step aside so Rick could put the moves on her.

Really? That was their only recourse? Ever heard of a fistfight out in the parking lot? Rock-paper-scissors? Dibs? Oh, to be the woman so stunning that two hunky, testosterone-laden cops brandishing big guns would decide to share you rather than giving up a part of you? Sigh …

I think women have come a long way, and erotic romance proves that we have an active fantasy life just like the boys do. But I do think some actions, just like some words, can’t be taken back. But women’s erotica can give you a wonderful, guilt- and STD-free fantasy. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something to share with your partner. Or partners.

Dolly Sickles is a Southerner with a lifelong penchant for storytelling. Her Secret Squirrel identity is Dolly Sickles, but she also writes romance as Becky Moore, and in the spring of 2012, her first children’s book will be published as Dolly Dozier. She’s an avid reader of all literature, but she takes refuge in the romance genre, where despite the most grandiose, exhilarating, strange, and unlikely plot that’s out there, every story has a happy ending.

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Rita M. Dozier
1. Rita M. Dozier
I really depend on your profiles of new books to get an idea of what's out there available to read. I'll be looking for Myra's newest book, "Soul Possession". You've got to love a series called Men Out of Uniform!
Dolly Sickles
2. Dolly_Sickles
Thanks Rita! I'm always happy to find another reader with similar tastes, too! And I agree with you on the title ... hubba, hubba!
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