by Jaid Black

December 2005
ISBN: 0-425-20245-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Trade Paperback

The first story in this anthology is titled Naughty Nancy. On her way to a friend’s costume party, Nancy Lombardo encounters a rather odd old lady all clad in black that speaks nonsense… and ends up landing in another world in the hands of her very alien hunky soul mate.

This futuristic erotic romance short novella is part of the very popular Trek Mi Q’an series that Ms. Black first introduced several years ago. As a matter of fact, Naughty Nancy was initially part of a now out of print anthology from another publisher. Having read the first version, I did notice that there were no substantial changes for this reissue, except for some tweaking to make this story fully a stand-alone. It was and still is one of my favorite erotic romance short novellas and I have re-read it several times. I found it as amusing and sexy now as I found it to be the very first time I read it.

Nemesis is the second novella in the anthology. Diane Sullivan worked as a waitress for 13 years, waiting for her big break as an actress. Now, at 31, she finally admits to herself that it is not going to happen, and is about to embark in a short term job that will turn her into not much more than a whore. For 7 days she will have to work on a pleasure cruise ship for wealthy men, wearing nothing but her birthday suit. All that keeps her going is her little daughter Jenna. Diane’s life hasn’t turned out to be what she had dreamed … and now, on top of everything else, she is about to face someone from her past, her high school nemesis, Garek Ennis.

This time Ms. Black brings the reader another high-intensity contemporary set erotic romance that literally had me squirming on my seat. Although the scenario is most definitely a fantasy, the erotic encounters are so hot that I thought I did see smoke coming out of every page of this story. Add to that a hero that is the epithome of an Alpha male, and you get a high octane erotic read.

Last but not least, Ms. Black brings us Barbarian. Lady Elen Goduart finds herself the captive of Viking chieftain Ivar Hrolf, after a bloody battle in which Elen was the one actually defending her family’s keep, as her older brother was injured. Though Ivar had intended to turn her into his bed slave, he can’t help but be charmed by Elen.

Barbarian is a historical erotic romance set in the Middle Ages. Though the characters are attractive, I found this story to be the weakest of the three. I was somewhat distracted by the heroine’s behavior at times. It was also the least arousing one for me.

Overall, Strictly Taboo is a very nice sampling of erotic romance as I have come to enjoy it. All the stories are highly explicit, the love scenes are numerous but are weaved smoothly into the storylines, and they all read like wonderful fantasies, each one in a different setting, making this book an excellent read for those of us who, like me, appreciate variety in their reading material. Ms. Black became my first favorite erotic romance author for a reason, and she remains at the top of my list.

Reviewed in January 2006 by Mireya.

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