Monday, May 25, 2009

Review- Restless Spirits by Christian Black

Restless Spirits
by Christian Black
Contemporary/ Paranormal/ Lesbian/ Bi-female/ f/f/m Menage / Erotica
Short Story- 16K

Buy it Amber Quill Press- $3.00

Rosemary Waters is alone, but not lonely. A successful professional woman, she believes her life is complicated enough without a lover. But just because she isn’t looking for love, doesn’t mean it’s not on the hunt for her. And Cupid’s quiver contains not one arrow, but two...

John Raynor, a wealthy Hollywood orthodontist-to-the-stars who looks like a young Sean Connery. He seems too good to be true, and Rosemary soon finds out why. There’s another woman in his life...Amanda. The fact that she’s been dead for five years, however, doesn’t stop Amanda from intruding on John and Rosemary’s most intimate moments.

Enter June Ameday, an artist who also happens to be a psychic specializing in “cleaning” haunted houses. Rosemary recruits June to help with her ghost problem, but soon finds that the fiery redhead stirs up passions in her she’d thought she’d forgotten.

Torn between conflicting desires, Rosemary is delighted when her lovers express a willingness to share. But their triangle is thrown out of balance by a fourth point—the ghostly Amanda. The restless spirit is jealous of their earthly passion and unwilling to let go of this world without a fight…

Restless Spirits is one of those surprisingly quick, juicy reads that even with some unbelievable bits, still managed to leave me with a good feeling.

Rosemary, although having a Masters degree in communications, is basically a baby sitter for a top box office actor who likes to get into trouble. One night trying to keep track of him, she gets the help of a very suave man, John, who just happens to be the actor’s orthodontist and knows what a pain he is. Although not wanting to date really, Rosemary finds herself attracted to John who asks her out.

Back at John’s place while John is servicing Rosemary orally, the bloody spirit of a woman appears, telling Rosemary to piss off and scaring the crap out of her. This being a major buzz kill to Rosemary, she decides to leave, agreeing to meet up with John the next day.

In the meantime, Rosemary calls up June, the sister of an ex-boyfriend and a psychic and June agrees to see what’s up with this ghost. While at John’s house trying to provoke the ghost, June psychically sees something freaky that John is hiding. It's something which pisses Rosemary off and she ends up going home with and into the arms of June, who is also a lesbian. Feeling bad about blowing John off without explanation, she gets with him again the next day but finds that she wants June as well. What to do? There’s still the matter of the pesky ghost whose rage at John being with Rosemary has manifested in trashing John’s house.

This is a rather cute threesome story in which I felt these three would actually manage to work it all out. I liked the fluidity of all the characters and how they’re all open to at least trying to be together.

Rosemary is basically heterosexual, but has had some past experiences with women, which she enjoyed. She’s really got the hots bad for John but is disappointed to find that he’s a pervy player until she meets up with him after spending a night with June and he proves that he’s changed and is not that person anymore.

June and Rosemary have a very intimate and sexually intense night together and this opens up Rosemary again to her feelings for women. What I like here is that while June is a lesbian and doesn’t really get what the turn on is about men, she wants to be with Rosemary enough to accept John and be open to him as well. And John, also wanting Rosemary, is accepting of June, and Rosemary’s need of her. What was good here was that while John is really turned on by the idea of both women having sex, his feelings take him beyond it just being sexual and into respecting them.

This is not a long story so that’s about it. The only weird thing here for me was that in just one evening with John, and then only one evening with June, Rosemary supposedly has these strong feelings for both of them like one would normally have after a few months together. That bit was the least believable part of this story.

Still though, it’s a positive ménage story and it does end with them all working out the ever changing dynamics of a ménage and that was kind of cool.

The ghost part of the story was a nice focal point for all them to come together and added some entertainment value, but wasn’t such a big part.

Restless spirits is a definite recommended read for those who like a light, but fairly realistically written, f/f/m ménage in which all parties really like each other and want to stay together.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- nicely written graphic vanilla f/f, female 69, f/f/m, and minor anal. Also a very minor m/m scene, not graphic.

Grade: B+


Cathy in AK said...

While I can appreciate the writing of a "straight" contemporary, I prefer to have something other worldly or some sort of mystery/suspense/thriller plot to bring things together. But that's just me.

Also, I always wonder about menage stories whether all three (or whatever) characters could truly find happiness. Perhaps I'm just affording a bit too much realism to fictional characters tho, hm? : )

ver. word: bangenm--yep, it sounds like all three characters were bangenm in this one ; )

MB (Leah) said...

Hmmm... in this story the ghost was the impetus for all getting together, but was really in the background. It was a short book so I don't think too much could be developed.

But I agree there needs to be a focus other than just the three coming together. Probably one of the issues I had with Writing Skin, which had no plot really.

Yeah, I agree with you about menage. Most of the stories with menage in which the three at least try to commit to sticking together leave off at the beginning of their relationship so we don't really know how it goes further down the line, but that's usually the same case with a general romance. Doesn't go much past the we're getting married and we all know that the best marriages are going to have issues after a while IRL... LOL

In this case the author did have the characters having some issues to deal with and that one of the three is the main focal point which does bring up issues. But I felt in this case that the author did manage to leave me with the feeling that these characters are at least open and are willing to try and that was good enough for me.

Cathy in AK said...

I think what gets me about a menage is that much of the time there is an established pair who bring in a third party. Would they be more dominant, making most of the decisions on who does what? Could the new person really get equal footing? Can you have a successful trio that way, or is it better to start from scratch, as in this story? I don't read menages, really, so who am I to question : )

Would a menage that has been together for a while think about "shaking things up" by going back to pairs? Just wondering ; )

MB (Leah) said...

Cathy, you bring up good points about menage. I think it would be harder to bring in a third person into an established couple. I'm sure it's possible but I think at any given time, one person would feel a bit out of it, especially the third party brought in.

But if all three are emotionally independent, meaning that they don't need to be with their partner all the time, then maybe it could work.

I think when three people all start out new with each other it's probably easier because the relationship dynamics start out that way. There's less adjustment I would think.

All in all, I love the idea of a f/f/m threesome but don't think it's easily workable IRL.

I know couples who have an open marriage who are basically together but have another partner they go to once in a while and it works for them. But that's different than all three living together all the time.

Kirsten wrote a really believable f/f/m in Bound by Steel. I thought that Lianon, Gil, and Kaela really did love each other and that it would work out. But I think it's very hard to portray that believably.

kirsten saell said...

All in all, I love the idea of a f/f/m threesome but don't think it's easily workable IRL.I don't think any menage would be easily workable in real life. I know the type of woman I am, and I know I could manage a menage (hehe, I'm a poet) if I found the right two people. Actually finding them would probably be the most difficult part.

I've heard from a lot of women that f/f/m doesn't appeal to them because they think it would descend into two women fighting over one man. That said, I don't believe that an f/f/m would be any more difficult a balancing act than an m/m/f. I think those women are speaking from their own POV as women, and because they aren't men, they can suspend their disbelief when it comes to m/m/f and m/f/m, even to the point of two alpha men sharing one woman--which I'd assert is implausible at best.

Women are no more inherently jealous than men, and if the women are truly into each other, I believe it could work. In fact, I can almost see the man being the fragile point of the triangle--because in my experience, men tend to be more hierarchical than women are, and less likely to set aside their emotional and sexual needs for the good of a group.

The politics of a RL menage would certainly be interesting to observe in the long term.

Both my menages begin with a committed couple (m/f+f, and m/m+f). It wasn't easy to convey that both original relationships were strong and fulfilling, while at the same time inviting a third party into the mix. Dealing with jealousy, insecurity, and the guilt feelings involved when two of the three get it on while the third is absent, was really challenging. But it was fun, too. :)

Remittance Girl said...

I know this probably isn't the place to do it, but I just wanted to thank you for the link, and let you know I would reciprocate. Love your blog. Nice to see people focusing on interesting genres.

MB (Leah) said...

In fact, I can almost see the man being the fragile point of the triangle--because in my experience, men tend to be more hierarchical than women are, and less likely to set aside their emotional and sexual needs for the good of a group.Heh, in this book it was interesting because one of the women was the focus of both the man and the other woman because one of the women in this threesome is a straight up lesbian. Although the author wrote in passing at the end that she did come to feel comfortable enough to have sex with the man.

So it was the lesbian woman and the man vying for the attention of the bi woman. Most of the f/f/m I've read it's usually both women are bi or one woman is mainly straight who accepts another woman.

And I know you are right Kirsten that men can be and are just as jealous as women and that women could find it easier to work out their issues a bit easier leaving the man out.

MB (Leah) said...

Remittance Girl- Hello! Actually, I just re-found you and need to fix the link to your blog. I noticed you not posting for a long time and then it was through twitter that I found you had moved. Slow here. snort.

Both Kirsten and I really enjoy your stories and it's nice that you do write all kinds including f/f and f/f/m, which of course, we love. :D