Jan 22 2013 2:00pm

First Look: Charlotte Stein’s Addicted (January 24, 2013)

Addicted by Charlotte SteinCharlotte Stein
HarperCollins / January 24, 2013 / $2.99 digital

He's everything she never knew she always wanted.

Kit Connor has always led a safe, cautious life. But when her friend points out that her erotic writing lacks something, she decides to attend a Sexual Healing group to improve her knowledge. She expects to find the gritty underbelly of sex, and instead finds louche, laidback, sex-loving Dillon Holt.

He makes a suggestion to her: that he will tell tales of his sexual excess, and help her book get the realism it needs. She agrees, but hasn't the least idea of what she's getting into. Dillon doesn't have simple advice in mind...he has lessons to teach her. Lessons on everything she's never dared to experience, from kink to real passion.

Now Kit is never sure: is Dillon the addict, or is she just addicted to him?

Erotica came into my life during a period when I really needed it. It may seem baffling to romance readers fairly new to the genre, but back in the day, most romance novel heroines were virgins. Even in contemporary romance. When I started to seriously read the genre, roughly 15 years ago, this was starting to shift somewhat, although it was a slow, steady slog. If you had a heroine who wasn’t a virgin, and had more than one sexual partner in her past, there had to be a reason. She couldn’t just like sex and have some past relationships that didn’t work out in the end. No, she had to be psychologically screwed up in some way. As in, Daddy didn’t love her enough so she tried to fill that void by bed-hopping.

I am by no means Dr. Ruth, but I like to think women should be allowed to have sex, sexual fantasies and enjoy themselves because sex is fun. And if sex isn’t fun, you’re probably not doing it right. This is what discovering erotica gave me. It gave me heroines who knew it was okay for them to like sex, enjoy sex, and want sex. Certainly I love my dark, angsty erotica as much as the next girl, but I also like fun erotica. Authors who write the steamy stuff that is playful and still manage to make me laugh. It’s a short list, of which now Charlotte Stein sits near the top.

I normally don’t go for the repressed heroine who needs to be educated by the sexually adventurous hero, but with Addicted, Stein shows me the appeal of the story line. Probably because she doesn’t insult my intelligence. Kit isn’t a virgin, but her sexual experiences have left her wondering what all the fuss is about.

“The last guy I dated thought clitoris was an island off the coast of Greece.”

On top of that, she lives a lonely life. She’s desperately lonely, in fact, failing to make any real connection with anybody. When she meets Dillon that changes. She not only has mind-blowing orgasms and quickly learns exactly that all the fuss is about, but she starts to feel. She opens her eyes. She sees Dillon and realizes that for all her hang-ups, that she doesn’t really know this man at all. What is he hiding?

“Oh Lord. He’s talking about feelings. He’s looking at me with those eyes and talking about feelings. Shouldn’t a guy like him be mashing a beer can to his head while mooning the Prime Minister? I’m sure that should be his MO. But apparently it’s not.”

This is a story about two people who have a lot in common, have great sexual chemistry, and need to work their way around the emotional stuff. Neither of them is good with the emotional, but being together makes them both better people, and it is Stein’s tap-dance around this attraction, these growing emotional feelings, that makes this book achingly romantic.

It’s also breathtakingly funny. With Kit’s first person narration, the observations fly fast and furious, and her own hang-ups make for not only sad moments, but amazingly funny ones as well.

So in the end I settle for knees primly together.

Like a librarian.

A sexy librarian.

A sexy librarian who’s just realized she’s buttoned her shirt up wrong.

On the surface this would seem to be another story about a repressed librarian who moonlights as a frustrated erotica writer and gets schooled by the hot, studly, love machine hero. And truly, it’s very far from that. It’s about two people who are emotionally stunted. It’s about two people who need to learn to open up to each other or else they’re bound to screw up the best thing that has come their way in a long time. It’s sexy, it’s romantic, and it happily tweaks the current trend towards fabulously wealthy BDSM master hero to the heroine’s wide-eyed ingénue innocent would-be submissive. I had to force myself to not inhale it in one single gulp.

Note: The price listed has changed since we originally posted the First Look.

Wendy the Super Librarian also blogs at WendyTheSuperLibrarian.blogspot.com. So dig that library card out of your pocket and head for the stacks.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Torifl
I adore Charlotte like bacon and look forward to this one.
3. JacquiC
me three! She has a really quirky voice and her stuff is very HOT... can't wait to read this one. It doesn't currently appear on amazon, though.
Megan Frampton
4. MFrampton
@JacquiC, it can be very hard (no pun intended) to find Charlotte Stein's books--here's what I found.

6. Tina@Bookcrack
Really excited about 'Addicted'. Loved her novella 'Deep Desires'. Charlotte Stein is must have erotic author for me.
Julia Broadbooks
8. juliabroadbooks
I've only read a couple of Stein's books - Control and Sheltered - but I'm hooked. She has such a strong voice and can wrap me in her quirky characters lives. I can't wait to read this one.
Rakisha Kearns-White
9. BrooklynShoeBabe
OMG, OMG, OMG! How did I not know about this? Ever since I read Deep Desires, I've become such a huge fan. I bought 3 of her novellas and ate them up. (One, I so boldly told my husband to read.) I can't wait to read this. As a librarian, I like reading sexy librarian stories.
Nicole Leapheart
10. BoxyFrown
I have 2 of her books on my TBR, I need to get with the program!
Tara Gelsomino
11. Taragel
This is the second very compelling excerpt/review of this author I've read. Does she have any third-person novels or only first? Just curious!
12. Tammye
Read about this book on H & H and just read it last night. Wow!! I loved this book. The sex was hot but the story was very compelling too.
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