Well, it ain't that much easier than writing a book, to tell you the truth. But I'm giving it a shot. Be gentle, it's my first time.
Love Me by Kelly Jamieson
Available now from Samhain
How far does she have to go to get his attention? Another girl’s arms?
Melina Wenham is worried and frustrated. Lately, her boyfriend of six months seems to have lost interest in her. Yes, she knows he’s stressed about his big project at work, but jeez, it seems like he’d rather go solo than have sex with her. Sexy lingerie, a Brazilian…nothing seems to get his attention.
Gavin’s frustrated too. He’s under enough pressure at work, without feeling more from Melina every time he gets home.
Another night, another party, and Gavin is off talking to the boys. Feeling ignored yet again, Melina confides her troubles to an acquaintance, Abby, who suggests shaking him up by flirting with another guy. Hmm. Not a bad idea, except there are no flirt-worthy guys at this party.
Then Abby suggests a different tack—flirt with her.
Could a little girl-on-girl tango be the match that reignites romance with Gavin? There’s only one way to find out…
Warning: Hot girl on girl scene!
It will likely come as no surprise to you all that I bought this book strictly for the girl-on-girl action. And because this is a Samhain book, I was fairly confident the story wouldn't devolve into some stupid, porny, f/m/f, male fantasy (which, on examination of the blurb was a definite possibility), and figured it would at the very least be good for some one-handed reading. I'm glad to say, for a debut effort--and a short story at that--it surpassed my expectations.
The fact that this is the author's first release did temper my reaction to those little nitpicks that usually bother me--the odd redundancy, repetitive words, and the occasional feeling that what the author could have achieved with a deft brushstroke was instead applied with a sledgehammer. Most of those issues are editorial ones, however, and thus not to be laid solely on the doorstep of the author.
The heroine, Melina, was alternately sympathetic and annoying. Okay, mostly annoying. She knows her boyfriend Gavin is working on a stressful project at work, one that could make or break his career, but she frequently obsesses on how neglected she's feeling. Granted, when your man comes home late every night, leaves early every morning and acts like he'd rather jack off than take what you're throwing at him, that can't help but hurt a girl's self esteem. Luckily, we're in Gavin's head enough to know he's not a total ass, just your typical guy who does his best at work, beats himself up over his few failings, and maybe isn't the best communicator in the universe.
Things come to a head at a housewarming party for Kylie and Duncan, Gavin and Melina's BCFs (best couple friends). Kylie's cousin Abby is there--a player, if ever there was one--and she suggests Melina flirt with her to pique Gavin's jealousy and get him interested again. As she and Abby put on a subtle display on the sofa, Melina doesn't expect to be so turned on by flirting with another woman. And when Gavin fails to fall for the ploy and Abby wants to take things further, Melina is so aroused she succumbs to her urge to explore this new experience.
This is where things could have gone sour for me. It could have so easily become yet another "two hot chicks seein' to mah manly needs!" kind of story, and I have to say the author came through beautifully for me. The girl on girl is exactly that. It's all about Melina and her willingness to explore her desires. And even though Gavin is there for much of it, he's believably conflicted--yeah, sure, he's got a hard-on like a steel girder, but he's also kinda freaking that maybe his girlfriend secretly wants to bat for the home team.
And if this story isn't simply a male-centric, two-chick fantasy, it isn't the tale of a lesbian in straight girl's clothing, either. Melina embarks on this adventure as a straight woman, and that's what she is when it comes to a close. And the fact that the adventure fails to magically cure all that ails her and Gavin is refreshingly unexpected. No, it's gonna take more than a three-way to fix their relationship--she needs to grow up and stop acting like a spoiled princess, and he needs to start talking about the shit that's bugging him.
All in all, this was a very nice story, one that hits on many straight women's fantasies of making love with another woman. It doesn't get political or preachy or have a sexual orientation agenda. It's unapologetically sexy, and the f/f scenes--both the flirtation and the actual sex--were wonderfully nuanced and moving. I believed that Gavin and Melina really love each other, but at the same time, I never felt that Abby was being callously used. The scenes between Melina and Gavin afterward were equally intense--I was emotionally invested in their romance by then, and the payoff was pretty damn hot.
The sex, both f/f and m/f, was mostly vanilla, but no less scorching for that. A solid B for an author I'll definitely try again.