I have been waiting eagerly for release day for this book, the first of a terrific new series of smart, funny, intense erotic romance novels from Samhain Publishing. The author, Katie Porter, is the pen name for the partnership of two edgy romance authors whose separate historical romances I have enjoyed, and I very much liked their joint foray into contemporary erotic romance. In other words, WIN.
Double Down is the first book in the Vegas Top Guns series. The core group of characters are United States Air Force pilots, assigned to the 64th Aggressor Squadron. Thanks to Wikipedia, I know that the 64th is a real squadron, actually stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas. Aggressor squadrons are teaching units; they “use enemy tactics, techniques, and procedures to give a realistic simulation of air combat (as opposed to training against one’s own forces).” (Wikipedia) The men, and woman, of the Top Guns know enemy tactics from having flown and fought against them, and although they are no longer deployed overseas, they are still taking risks in their high-powered aircraft. It’s a great setting for hot romance, because there’s a tension involved in the fighting, and in the need to train pilots well for their own protection, that goes beyond most domestic military deployments, but the characters are not under actual combat conditions. They have free time, and that time is spent in Las Vegas, a terrific place for anything-goes romance.
Erotic romance is tricky territory for me, but this book really hit my sweet spot (heh). Ryan has a thing for role-playing, but he is ashamed of his kink and does his best to deny it. Cass is looking to break out of her “nice girl” life, and pretending to be someone else helps her free up her naughty side. These two characters are hot together, and a sweet couple even when they’re having steamy hot sex; I wanted them to get together, but Ryan had a lot to overcome for that to happen. At one point I thought I was fed up with Ryan and his inability to accept his own sexual needs, and then a plot twist made his hesitation very real and believable to me.
The book really sucked me in; I kept finding myself torn between rushing ahead and savoring the moment. I liked the involvement and development of the secondary characters in the squadron, too; there was a real feeling of camaraderie and trust between Ryan and his friends, which felt solid in this book and made me look forward to the next. I liked these characters, and I enjoyed spending time with them. Plus the erotic scenes were not only written well, they were integrated fully into the development of Ryan and Cass’s relationship — not that I mind gratuitous sex, if it’s actually sexy, but this was even better.
Kudos to “Ms Katie Porter” for an excellent debut, and thanks for a great reading experience.