This has some of the hottest sex scenes I've ever read -- in fact, my favorites may actually be the kisses in the first couple of chapters, where the make-outs don't even get to orgasm. This is surprising, because usually I find erotica hottest in the context of characterization, and the love interest, Brandon, is really sparsely characterized and mostly seems to be the perfect, self-confident, accepting-of-narrator's-confusion-and-occasional-asshole-behavior guy; Dustin, the narrator, has a little more characterization, but not much.
I am really bothered about the focus on the bitchiness, manipulativeness, and emotional abusiveness of the two major women in Dustin's life, his(soon-to-be-)ex-wife and his mother. There are other women in the story who are fine, and in fact the ex-wife never appears on the scene (although we hear a lot
about her from Dustin), but, the absolute Eeevil Horribleness of these two squicks me out. It's not that women can't be abusive or manipulative, it's that these women are absolute misogynistic caricatures, and Dustin having a sister he likes and a female best friend don't make up for the bad taste in my mouth. This is especially true because we never get a single thing good about either woman (even though Dustin claims he still loves his ex in some ways, and sometimes they had good times) and--this is what makes it so sketchy to me--Dustin never reacts to them in a childish or immature or emotional way when he's talking to them. It's not like abusive -- or even strained -- relationships bring out the best in most of us, you know? I know I'm not the only one among my friends who reverts to a bratty thirteen-year-old when having unhappy conversations with my parents. Dustin is just -- kind of perfect. Forebearing. And shows no major emotional damage from these relationships. Which all just emphasizes how these women are SO AWFUL so that the relationship with Brandon feels SO RIGHT.
But those kisses, man. I read them in the Amazon sample and had to get the book. Scorching.