by Doreen DeSalvo, Boonie Hamre, Angela Knight, and Susan Paul

December 1996
ISBN: 0-9648942-1-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Red Sage Publishing
Trade Paperback

While reading Red Sage Publishing’s “Secrets, Volume 2,” a compilation of four novellas, I found myself disappointed. I picked the collection to read because there were a lot of reviews extolling the series. After reading this particular volume, I wondered if the reviews were about the other six or more volumes in the series.

In Doreen DeSalvo’s “Surrogate Lover,” we meet a surrogate sex therapist whose job is to help Sarah, his patient, figure out why she doesn’t like sex and help her overcome that dislike. The story flows slowly as we watch the therapist, Dr. Adrian Ross, start to enjoy his therapy too much and fall in love with his patient. Sarah is elusive and seems to be unaware at first of the implications of this and she doesn’t believe him when he tells her he’s in love with her.

“Roarke’s Slave” by Angela Knight is a futuristic, Sci-Fi love story. Elise Morrell, starship captain of the Star Raker, is cruising through space on behalf of the Coalition when Michael Roarke, captain of the Liberator and loyal subject of the Rebellion captures her. They are archenemies and have a past together, a very sensual past. Captain Elise surrenders her ship (and soon her body) to Roarke on the condition that none of her crew is hurt. Just when they are ready to surrender to each other it seems, they realize that there is a betrayer in their midst whose aim is to destroy Elise.

Susan Paul’s “Savage Garden” begins with what was intended to be rape by a stranger, but turns into willingness by the would-be victim. Set in revolutionary Mexico, the story tells of French aristocrat Lady Raine LeFleur, daughter of a French major who is in Mexico to thwart the revolution. Miguel Chavez is a leader of the revolution who blames Lady Raine’s father for the death of his family. I admit that after reading that he intended to rape a woman, I could not like Miguel and this colored my opinion of the entire story. It didn’t matter to me that he changed his mind and decided to “seduce” instead. Nor did the fact that he himself saved her from rape by stagecoach bandits later on make me more amenable to him.

The Earl of Howden is weary of single women’s plots and scams to get him to the altar. So it is with heavy skepticism and disdain that he looks at Sarah Wilder when she shows up on his doorstep with an infant in the middle of a snowstorm. She and the child (her niece) are half frozen and must recuperate at his home. Within 24 hours, he seduces her and she acts as if she has no choice in the matter. He wants to marry her and she refuses. This is all found in “Snowbound” by Bonnie Hamre.

While all of the stories are lusty and sensual in “Secrets, Vol. 2,” “Roarke’s Prisoner” is the best in terms of plot and story line.

Reviewed in September 2003 by Lisa.