by Lucinda Carrington

Septemeber 1999
ISBN: 0-352-33432-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Virgin Books
Mass Market Paperback

For those readers unfamiliar with the Black Lace series, they are erotic novels written “by women for women”, and contain very explicit sexual material. If you blush easily, I suggest you find a quiet corner to read them in – a very quiet corner - even though this is one of the milder ones.

Lucinda Carrington sets her story in England and South America; Dr. Jacey Muldaire has worked for the government before in various capacities, so she is not surprised to find herself on a plane for a small South American country with instructions to scope out the political situation there. Jacey’s past has taught her that love only leads to pain and agony – she has developed a personal mantra to protect herself. “Good sex and plenty of it; no emotions allowed” is now her motto, and she lives up to it whenever she can. The private hospital to which she has been assigned seems to cater to Jacey’s preferences – a tour around the facilities leads to an intimate encounter with attractive fellow physician Peter Draven on an operating table (it must have been very cold... brrr). But he’s ‘white bread’ to Jacey, whose desires definitely run to the more exotic. Of course, this being South America, there are a lot of would-be Antonio Banderases running around looking for quickies; but none better than the powerful and sadistic Nicolas Shlemann, second only to the President and a great deal more ruthless. Nicolas seduces Jacey with little effort – after all he’s her prime political target – and the two of them begin an impersonal series of sexual encounters, which become titillating to Jacey who doesn’t seem to mind going without underwear or being treated like a cheap whore! I guess this is sexually stimulating! (Are there “expensive” whores? I thought they were call girls.) Of course, Nicolas isn’t the only one to reap the benefits of Jacey’s active libido, and the story progresses through a series of sexual encounters with a variety of different men – from the naive but gorgeous young virgin who develops a taste for bondage, to the gruff but handsome environmentalist.

At least there is a plot working here, to frame all the sweat and sex, and it’s not a bad one. Unfortunately, Jacey as a character is not terribly likeable. There is a natural tendency on the part of the readers to place themselves into the story, and Jacey doesn’t act the way many of us would act under similar circumstances. (Well, OK, not too many of us will end up having oral sex with a petty dictator in a converted South American jail, but still....) It would have been more satisfying had Jacey begun some kind of healing process through these experiences; she’s a smart woman, well educated, and clearly aware of her psychological hang-ups. I was left with the feeling that she was using her issues as an excuse to go screw around with whomever she wanted whenever she wanted.

I’d like to have seen her take a little more responsibility for her decisions and be a little less self-serving in her thoughts and actions. Just because fiction is billed as “erotic” doesn’t mean it can’t end on a positive note. This story had the plot but not the character – I’m afraid the “climax” didn’t live up to it’s potential (sorry about the pun!).

Reviewed in March 2002 by Celia.

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