Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Susan Lyons - Sex On The Beach

The Story

An exotic wedding turns into an erotic escape for three unlikely couples who find lust – and maybe even love – on the white sands of Belize. Get ready to get wet!

War of the Sexes

When wedding planner Sarah McCann learns that the groom’s best friend, Free Lafontaine, intends to save his pal from the mistake of marriage, it’s an all-out war between the sexes. Turns out, the prize could be much more than either of them expected, and this war just might have two winners.

Sex With The Proper Stranger

Model Tamiko Sato comes to the wedding as arm-candy for the groom’s deep-in-the-closet uncle. What’s she to do when resort manager Ric Nunez proves far too tempting? Ric might be the man who can help her heal the wounds left by past abuse, and open her heart to love.

Sexy Eyes

Giovanna Moncrieff and her ex, James, mix as well as Italian olive oil and English tonic water. How-embarrassing and -exciting!- to find that their passion for each other still burns hot and heavy. Is it possible to find true love the second time around?”

First of all let me start by saying that I am not a big fan of short stories and anthologies, although it is a great way to taste the writing of a “new” author, for me those short stories always feel rushed and they usually lack depth, somehow they just don’t work for me. But the blurb grabbed my attention and I liked Susan Lyons previous book Sex Drive very much so I decided to give it a go. And to my surprise I loved it, for Sex On The Beach is a captivating read.

Susan Lyons is a gifted writer, not only does her writing read very smooth and pleasant, she knows how to write a great romance with scorching hot love scenes in a beautiful setting. Her stories are light-hearted at first sight yet always have a deeper meaning when you read carefully. She also has a knack for creating characters you instantly like and root for, not to mention that her male characters truly are very hot.

One of reasons I liked Sex On The Beach is that it is not a compilation of separate stories, there is an overarching storyline, the wedding of Danny Trent and Bella Moncrieff. The three stories show us the events that occur in the last week before the wedding day, only we get to experience them from different points of view. Susan Lyons has skillfully connected these three stories, it feels and read as one story; still every story has its own unique vibe and issues to deal with.

Both the leading characters as the bride and groom come with emotional baggage, their past and insecurities influence their every-day-life, their actions and decisions. Throughout these stories you can see all characters grow, heal, learn from their past and accept what they cannot change. They all grow to be better and whole persons in the end.

In “War of the Sexes” Sarah and Free have total different points of view about marriage due to what they experienced as kids. While Sarah strongly believes in marriage and true love, Free does not believe that mankind was made to be monogamous; he is a no-strings-attached kind of man. But they both cannot deny the strong, immediate attraction between them or the hot sex they have. And one of them seriously has to change his/hers point of view when it comes to making a serious commitment.

“Sex With The Proper Stranger” has a complete different vibe; it addresses issues as accepting yourself as you are, trust, healing and profound friendship. Zane and Tamiko are very good friends but no couple. Zane is this macho writer who has to protect his tough image, but he is really gay. Tamiko is a model. Zane encourage Tamiko to have a fling with Ric, the owner of the resort. Tamiko was abused in her past and has to provide for her mother and younger sister. She is attracted to Ric and he is the perfect man for her, gentle and patient. He helps her to start the healing process and shows her she is more than just a pretty face. But Ric also has issues to deal with; he is divorced and he takes care of his daughter. He lives in Belize and Tamiko in New York so there really is no future for them. At the same time Tamiko is trying to convince Zane to come out of the closet to be with his one true love. This story really pulled at my heartstrings.

Finally “Sexy Eyes” made me smile, Giovanna and James were once married. They are the parents of the bride but they do not get along at all. Giovanna is outgoing, exotic and sexy. She is always dressed perfect to a tee. James is a history professor at a university with no sense for fashion at all. He is introverted and focused on his work. They are polar opposites. Now they forced to get along for their daughter’s sake and once again their passion flares up. But can they overcome their past? I love the humor and the verbal sparring in this story.

Important side characters are Ellie and Bill, an elderly couple; they come to the resort every year to celebrate their wedding anniversary. They have the kind of relationship everyone is looking for, true love and an unbreakable connection. Ellie and Bill have these casual chats with all characters, providing them with great views.

Susan Lyons has delivered three witty, warm and passionate romances. Her characters are real and profound, her stories read like clockwork and the sex is sizzling and tropical! Sex On the Beach is romance at its best; it will heat up every fiber in your body!

4 stars