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Synopsis: “Enjoying pain with your pleasure is something you either get, or you don’t. If you get it, then you don’t really need it explained, because you know how good it feels, and if you don’t get it then no amount of talking is going to convince you it makes sense.”

But sometimes you have to explain the unexplainable, especially if the love of your life needs to understand, or she’ll leave you. Jason Schuyler is one of Anita Blake’s best friends and favorite werewolves, with benefits. J.J. is his lady love, an old flame from childhood who dances at one of the top ballet companies in New York. She’s accomplished, beautiful, and she’s crazy about him, too. Neither of them wants to be monogamous, so what could go wrong?

J.J. is enthusiastically bisexual, with an emphasis on the female side of things. She plans to keep sleeping with women, because Jason can’t meet that need, just like she can’t meet Jason’s need for rough sex and bondage. J.J. doesn’t understand why Jason isn’t content to go elsewhere for a need she can’t fulfil, so Jason asks Anita to help him explain.

Anita is having her own relationship growing pains with her only female lover ever, Jade. Jason suggests that J.J. might be able to help Anita with her girl problem, while she helps him with his kinky explanations. With some encouragement from a few other lovers in Anita’s life she reluctantly agrees, and J. J. makes plans to fly into town for an experience that none of them will ever forget.

Well, at least Hamilton admitted this one is all about sex. And since she did, this one’s better than the last, what- ten or so offerings in that it’s finally what it’s supposed to be: Porn with Plot. But still not much plot.

Roll Call: Anita, Nathaniel, Envy, Domino, Jason, Jade, JJ.

The first chapter is RSVP’d for yet another bout of Richard-bashing and Micah-glorifying. Richard, now marginally back in the fold since Shutdown, has been occupying himself with Envy- one of the Red Tigers who arrived in Bullet- as well as some unknown human woman, which doesn’t give him much Anita time. But now that Richard’s embraced his wolf side he likes it rough, too rough for Envy who can’t get him to ease up so she’s done with him and Anita can have him back. Jason empathizes since he’s having problems getting his main squeeze JJ to indulge his edgier needs but feels there’s more to it with Richard. Being such a golden boy Alpha Male deep down Richard resents that the Three Mini-Me Stooges- Jason, Nathaniel and Micah- get more of Anita than he does, and it rears it’s ugly head during rough sex. Nate and Jason actually conclude that Micah could take Richard in a death match between Alphas- because Micah’s so much more ruthless than Richard is.

I’ll let you all absorb that one before moving on.

Meanwhile Jade is also having difficulty since she wants more from Anita but Anita’s not really into her. Anyways, it all comes down to Anita & Co. helping JJ with her BDSM issues and since JJ’s more into women than men, she can help Anita concering Jade. JJ flies in for their group get-together and cue the bow-chicka-bow-wow music.

As far as the frisky stuff goes- it has it’s moments but they get lost in the shuffle of all the talking and angsting about everyone’s relationships, statuses and issues. You’re gonna start skimming.

The only real development of note is an almost throwaway admission about the nature of the Ardeur. Envy observes that the Ardeur is “like a date-rape drug that doesn’t go away” (sic), and Anita herself agrees that it “makes people sick with desire”, quipping that in this case “‘Addicted to Love’ isn’t just a song lyric.” So now it’s official: those exposed to the Ardeur are addicted to it. And we all know addicts will die without their fix. Nothing ambiguous about that.

Almost three hundred pages of rumpy-pumpy and a three chapter preview of the next book. Not like we haven’t seen worse around here.

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