By Christine Feehan, Sabrina Jeffries, Emma Holly, and Elda Minger
Published April 2002, Jove
Paperback, 373 pages
In these four new novellas by today's hottest romance writers, a Victorian widow auctions off her most prized possession: herself...a beautiful jungle explorer discovers her own wild side...a bloodthirsty beauty gives in to her darkest desires...and a young woman turns an all-male academy into a school for seduction.The fantasy theme was heavy with all four of the stories in the book. The first story is The Widow's Auction by Sabrina Jeffries. In this novella, a young widow is convinced that it is in her favor to auction off one night with her in return for a large sum of money that she can use to benefit her work with a all-boys' school. Of course, she secretly just wants to know what it's like to actually enjoy the bedtime act. In the realm of make-believe, this was quite the enjoyable mix of lust and romance with no negative consequences.
The second story is Luisa's Desire by Emma Holly. In this fascinating read, an immortal woman seeks an alternative to her need for blood to survive in a remote lamasery buried in the Himalayan mountains of Tibet. While she assumes that the answer is a particular form of meditation, what she instead gets is an aspiring monk who possesses a much more fleshly solution to her problem. Reincarnation takes on a whole new meaning in this short story, and I found the different take on vampires in fiction to be well-written.
The third story is Mr. Speedy by Elda Minger. In this plot, an ambitious young woman decides to make herself over into a man in order to sneak into and cover a male-only conference entirely about getting a woman to go to bed with the man. Her genius plan takes a left-turn when she discovers she is rooming with the city's most eligible bachelor coming off of a horrid divorce - whom she is overwhelmingly attracted to. The irony of this story is that the bachelor becomes increasingly interested in her before he is even aware she is in disguise. The humor of this story made it quite charming in a sexy sort of way.
The final story is The Awakening by Christine Feehan. The story begins her series, the Leopard People, with the tale of a young veterinarian lured deep into the jungle to track down her inheritance. Heavy lust and desire take over quite early in the story as the reader discovers that her presence there has been manipulated by a man of the leopard people who has already claimed her for his mate. The intensity and over-dramatization in the writing made this story less enjoyable for me than the others. I was also put off by the man's extreme obsession with the woman and his reluctance to tell her what was happening to her right from the beginning.
The Cover: The cover seems to only be a generic sexy image that could possibly apply to any one of the stories, though legs are not specifically focused on in any of them.
First Lines: "Isobel Lamberton, Lady Kingsley, could hardly believe her ears. The longer she listened to Justin Antony, the Marquess of Warbrooke, the more horrified she became. This was his 'brilliant' new plan for the Lamberton Boys' School? This... this outrageous proposal?"
Despite the fancy titles in this opening, I really had no idea what this story was specifically about from this opening.
Favorite Quote: "Damn it, she'd ended her sentence with a question. Men made statements, they didn't ask questions. At least that's what Jim had told her."
Read For: Strong Heroine Challenge