If you’re an erotic romance reader you'll have heard of Lauren Dane. Lauren is not only a prolific e-book author, but she’s recently had work signed by Harlequin Spice, Berkley Heat, AND Black Lace. That sort of acquisition list gives a girl a reputation, one that demands you take notice. When I had the chance to get my hands on an advance reader copy of Lauren's forthcoming novella, STRIPPED, I was delighted.
STRIPPED is part of a four-author anthology called WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, published by Spice in May. Along with Lauren, there are stories by Jodi Lynn Copeland, Kit Tunstall, and Anya Bast.
Right from the start I was hooked. Anyone who knows me will know how important the setting of a story is for me, and I loved that this anthology is themed around a place. Mark has visited Las Vegas (and LA) but, alas, I haven’t. (I’ve visited San Francisco before, though, so we kind of have a set between us.) I also really liked the cover of this anthology, because it’s playful and fun, and it says so much about the place as well as the spicy contents of this book. I would also add that the book is different to what I’ve previously read on the Spice line. There's a lot of diversity on this erotic line, and the covers work really well to indicate the contents – this one is no exception.
STRIPPED is a kind of across-the-tracks love story about Dahlia Baker and Nash Emery. Dahlia is studying for her MBA and to make ends meet she’s working as a burlesque stripper. I really enjoyed Dahlia's character. She’s intelligent, sexy and strong, and yet soft and feminine at the same time. Her role made me reminiscent about an old movie favourite of mine, Gypsy, starring Natalie Wood as burlesque icon Gypsy Rose Lee. Dahlia's story is a different, modern-day take on that and if you enjoyed that movie, you’ll love this book. Dahlia is doing just fine when playboy Nash comes into her life. She tries to resist, but she can only do so for so long, and then a compelling combination of conflict and desire is unleashed between them.
Nash is just to die for. Yummy, sexy, strong, and increasingly smitten with Dahlia, he’s a hero who has a few lessons in store during his pursuit of this lady! :) In fact, they both do. I don’t want to give too much away about the plot, but I do want to say that when I finished reading this novella I had the satisfied feeling I usually only get after reading a full-length novel. The story also features great supporting characters who are cleverly portrayed, even if they are only onstage in the story for a brief time. That takes talent.
Lauren Dane is a really good writer. If she were a wine I’d describe her work as full-bodied, :) because of the richness of the story and the depth of the characters. STRIPPED is both hot and touching, it’s a true erotic romance, and I know that readers are going to love it.
To help Lauren and the other Las Vegas ladies celebrate the release of this anthology, I’m giving a copy away to one lucky reader. Just leave me a message here in the comments section. If you are a Lauren Dane reader, you can tell me which book of hers I should read next. Or you can tell you something about Las Vegas, if you have visited. Or you can just say hello, and I’ll add you to the draw. I’ll keep this contest open until the first of May, release day for the book. Please come back then to see if you’re lucky winner.