INVITATIONS TO SEDUCTION Vicki Lewis Thompson, Carly Phillips, Janelle Denison
Harlequin Blaze
ISBN: 0-373-8357-4-4
July 2003
Contemporary Romance Anthology

The three offerings in INVITATIONS TO SEDUCTION are by some of today's hottest romances authors.  Each tale begins at Divine Events, a chic planning business in Chicago.  Divine Events plans weddings, among other major functions.  In the lobby at Divine Events is a red leather book -- inside the red leather book are removable cards meant to be taken by the customers and enjoyed.  Each card has a different fantasy for the recipient to enact, and each heroine uses her card to enact her fantasy, change her life, or make the man she's yearning for see her in a whole new light.  Sit back, relax and enjoy your INVITATIONS TO SEDUCTION.

ILLICIT DREAMS - Vicki Lewis Thompson

For months Lindsey Scott has been listening to the sexual gymnastics of her oh so sexy neighbor, Hunter Jordan.  Hunter has starred in Lindsey's most erotic fantasies, but fantasies are all they will ever be.  Hunter's current girlfriend is centerfold material, and even if by some chance they did break up, Lindsey has vowed never to be the rebound girlfriend again.  She's been there, done that, and has the bruised heart to show it.  Despite her vow to avoid the sort of entanglements that leave her feeling used, when Hunter becomes a free man, Lindsey doesn't have the power to turn him away.  But can she really be satisfied with one night of intense passion, and is that what Hunter really wants?

Sizzling with sensuality, ILLICIT DREAMS is a charming, often humorous story about miscommunication, misguided thoughts, and mistaken assumptions.  Both Lindsey and Hunter are likable characters, and I enjoyed watching them interact. Hunter was especially fun with his bad boy libido and good guy heart.  A delicious combination readers are sure to enjoy.

GOING ALL THE WAY - Carly Phillips

Southern belle, and charity organizer extraordinaire, Regan Davis has been dumped.  After canceling the wedding, she spies a red leather-bound book on the table at Divine Events, the company hired to plan the wedding that is now off. After her fiancé, Darren dumps her, Regan feels more relief than anything else.  All her life she's tried to be the perfect debutante daughter, and agreeing to marry Darren is just one more example of how futile that is.  Regan is determined to become her own woman, to open up to possibilities and stop worrying about pleasing her family.  When a handsome stranger enters the lobby of Divine Events, just as she's ripped one of the fantasies out of the leather bound book, she decides to start the makeover of Regan with a wild fling with the tall, dark, and handsome stranger.

Sam Daniels is feeling jet-lagged and tired.  He's in town for the weekend to act as best man in his friend's wedding, and plans to go straight from his fitting to a nice quiet hotel for some well deserved rest -- that is until he sees the blond beauty sitting in the lobby.  Their eyes meet and it's instant chemistry.  After a brief discussion, they agree to a no-strings attached sexual fling and quickly escape the reminder of marriage for the privacy of Regan's apartment.  But what starts out as something simple for both of them, quickly turns complicated when the attraction appears to be more than skin deep.  Will Sam and Regan find a way to be together after their weekend fling is over, or will they satisfy the craving for each other, and each move on with their lives?

GOING ALL THE WAY is sensual and sexy, and told at a rapid pace.  The entire story takes place over a single weekend.  Regan and Sam meet, fall into instant lust and into bed together.  This is not the first story I've read about lust at first sight, or even love at first sight, but it's certainly the first one I've read where complete strangers go from wary lust to the forever kind of love in one brief, forty-eight hour period.  In addition to the all too brief time frame, neither Regan nor Sam shows much growth during their time together.  Sam starts off as a pilot who refuses to get involved in a relationship fearing the woman would expect him to change, to settle down and take a desk job.  Regan starts off determined to become more independent, to be more than just a charity fund-raiser and eye candy for a man's arm.  She plans to actually work, and support herself.  By the end of their brief acquaintance, Sam's feelings about giving up his job, which requires a lot of travel, haven't changed, and Regan seems destined to fill the same role in Sam's life as she has always filled, working for charities and willing to wait around for Sam to return from his flights.  Yet these two strangers, who've shared little more than hot sex and a few brief conversations, are ready to commit to each other.  Something about the entire scenario just didn't work for me.  Perhaps, lust with a stranger and love at first sight would have worked better had there been more growth shown in the characters. I realize that a novella's length limits how much an author can do, but in this instance, I think less sex and more character growth would have made the entire story more plausible.  Not a bad offering for the anthology, but certainly not up to the high-standards I've come to expect from this highly talented author.

HIS EVERY FANTASY - Janelle Denison

Leah Burton needs to make a decision.  Will she marry the staid and proper Brent, who is Mr. Right in some ways, but Mr. Wrong when it comes to inciting the kind of passion in Leah that she desires?  Only one man has ever excited and tantalized Leah in her fantasies -- Jace Rutledge. As long as her desire for Jace is unfulfilled, she can't make a decision on marriage.  Leah does the only thing she can do; she issues Jace an erotic invitation he can't refuse.

Jace Rutledge has kept his desire for Leah buried beneath their comfortable friendship for years.  He doesn't believe he is good enough for her, but when she asks him to teach her about passion, it's an invitation he just can't refuse.  Determined to be the best lover Leah has ever had, it's not long before he loses his heart.

HIS EVERY FANTASY is a delightfully erotic romance.  Jace and Leah are likable characters, and the attraction between them sizzles.  Ms. Denison packs a lot of story into this short tale and infuses every gesture, word and thought with enough sexual tension to make this an explosive and highly enjoyable read, and she seasons it with touches of humor that endear the characters to the reader even more.  For an intensely sexy, and romantic read, don't miss HIS EVERY FANTASY!

While each story in this blazingly hot anthology was enjoyable, Denison's offering of HIS EVERY FANTASY clearly comes out the winner on all counts.  Thompson's ILLICIT DREAMS works, in a lighthearted and humorous fashion, but the lack of emotional connection and character growth in Phillips's GOING ALL THE WAY definitely shows poorly against the other two stories. However, even though GOING ALL THE WAY didn't work for me personally, I'm sure others will have no problem with the less than realistic premise of the story.  Over all, INVITATIONS TO SEDUCTION is well worth the read and I recommend it, especially for those quick late night reads just before you fall asleep at night. You're ensured some pleasant dreams if you do. :)

Terrie Figueroa