Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day Review: DOUBLED by Charlotte Stein ~ 5 of 5 stars!

Book Stats: 
  • Genre: Erotic Romance
  • Steam Level: Ménage (m/f/m)
  • Length: Short Novel (88 pgs)
  • Publisher: Ellora's Cave
  • Publisher Line: Moderne
  • Book Type: Ebook
Book Blurb:

Bobbi has been friends with the Hoffman twins for one long, glorious year. They’re sweet, funny and kind, but there’s a problem…they’re also hotness personified. Times two. And when they lure her into a kinky little game involving a blindfold and some rather unexpected fondling, she finds them much harder to resist than she’d imagined.It seems they want to be something other than just good friends. They want a hot, steamy ménage, and all Bobbi has to do is decide if she’s up to the challenge. One big, gorgeous guy is enough for her.Two might be more than she can handle…

My Review:

Before I begin, can we just gush about this cover for a second? The more I look at it, the more I love it. 
  1. I love the font of the title and how its mirror-image is below it, playing on the word's meaning. 
  2. The female model is a total Doppelganger for Christina Ricci and just has a classic beauty to her that makes her sexy and alluring. 
  3. The twins in the book are swimmers--as in, swim team swimmers--and I really appreciate that Ellora's Cave kept that in mind and went with these two "hotties with the swimmer bodies" and not the typical "beefy-boys" gracing most of the genre's covers (Note: I am NOT knocking the "beefy-boys." I happen to love them just as much as the toned and streamlined.) 
The cover alone gets 4.5 stars of 5! (The only reason I've deducted a half-point is because I'd prefer for the one twin to be mostly-headless like the other one. That's how I like my cover models because the eyes make a man too specific, so I like them shown only from the nose down.) So I say "Bravo, Ellora's Cave" on a great cover, which we all know is so crucial to our stories.

And now on to the review!

I think my favorite part about this book is Bobbi's internal dialogue. Stein does such an amazing job making Bobbi a down-to-earth character we can love and adding in an awesome sense of humor. The book grabs you immediately with Bobbi guessing correctly--and very nonchalantly--which twin is which after they've secretly switched clothes and hairstyles during their weekly poker game. She's the only one who can always tell them apart, and it both intrigues and baffles them.

"I think you could come out of there naked with Twizzlers up your
asses and I'd still know who is who." ~ Bobbi to a frustrated Sebastian
But it also frustrates the hell out of Sebastian and as he hates losing at anything, insists on trying things to see if she can still tell, until it eventually leads to Bobbi being blindfolded to see if she can guess when she only has her sense of touch to rely on...which is when things get interesting real quick. ;)
In any book with twins, the personalities are going to be vastly different. Only an idiot would write about two people who are essentially the same person. But what I absolutely loved about these boys is how their personalities completely reverse in the bedroom.
Ordinarily, Sebastian is the twin who takes center stage with Tobias following comfortably behind. Not that Tobe is a wuss who needs his brother to forge ahead for him. Not at all. He just prefers to hang back and observe, until such time he needs to step in and check his brother when Seb gets a little too blunt or over-eager (which Tobe feels is often).
"We want to make love your brains out." ~ Sebastian to
Bobbi after Tobias tells him not to 'fuck-talk' her.
However, once they get into the bedroom, Bobbi discovers new things about her best friends that she'd never known. Like how Sebastian loves to draw things out and tease his lovers until they're ready to explode, whereas Tobias is more hungry and aggressive like a starved tiger who's just been thrown a steak.
But this is not only a book with amazingly great sex in it. It also brings a new dynamic to the male/female/male menage scenario that's very real and very human. This relationship is NOT formed out of some base need to get college-kinky, or a crazy bet or experiment gone wonderful. In fact, of all the m/f/m books I've read (and I've read a LOT) this is the ONLY story where the guys haven't done a threesome before. In every other book (of the ones I've personally read) threesomes are old hat to the guys. There are of course different reasons as to why (which could be an entire post all on its own), but the point is, they've done it more times than they can count.

Their first night of fooling around is a result of the number two reason people hook up spontaneously: classic Heat of the Moment (with the number one reason being alcohol)* We've all been there. You reach that place where Reality takes a back seat in the stretch limo (cuz it's waaaaaaaay back there) and oh, looky, Fantasy is riding shotgun and he's throwing Rules right out the damn window. Stein is great at showing Bobbi's conscience pop up often to poke her and basically say, "Girl, what in the eff are you thinking?!" which adds that humor I mentioned earlier.

Of course she'd occasionally thought of them since, in a halfhearted wouldn't it be nice if they accidentally rammed into one of my boobs sort of way, but nothing with this intensity. ~ Bobbi on her feelings for the twins

Steamy sex aside, I adored the inside look we get of Bobbi's struggle with coming to terms of what a permanent relationship with the twins means and how she'll handle it when people find out about their unconventional trio. And even though the book is told strictly from Bobbi's POV, Stein does an excellent job at showing us where the twins are coming from and what motivates them to take a chance on starting the whole shebang in the first place. It absolutely broke my heart when Tobias quietly states, "I wish we were one person," during one of the glimpses we get of their predicament of being so identical and yet so different, causing them to put the woman they love in an uncomfortable situation within society.
In conclusion, I read this book twice and eagerly give it 5 of 5 stars. It has all the usual qualities of a great read--relateable characters, realistic motivation, internal conflict, and steamy sex--plus a snarky heroine, witty twin banter, and rev-your-engine dirty talk. Run, don't walk, and get your very own copy. I guarantee you won't be sorry.**
* This is not based on actual facts, but rather a quick assumption made at 4am as I write this.
** This guarantee is not actually backed up by anything. If for some insane reason you are sorry you purchased your own copy of DOUBLED, we probably can't be friends anymore. (Just sayin')

Charlotte Stein has written over thirty short stories, novellas and novels, including entries in The Mammoth Book of Hot Romance and Best New Erotica 10. Her collection of short stories was named one of the best erotic romances of 2009 by Michelle Buonfiglio, and her first novel, Control, was recently called "...a non-stop crazy hot sex book". When not writing non-stop crazy hot sex books, she can be found eating jelly turtles, watching terrible sitcoms and occasionally lusting after hunks. She lives in West Yorkshire with her husband and their imaginary dog, and can be found here: www.themightycharlottestein.blogspot.com

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