Amara Simmons is a successful real estate agent who hasn't dated or even been with a man in the four years since her ex broke off their relationship to marry another woman. Even though he still wants her as his fling on the side and she is tempted by his dogged pursuit, Amara wants to find someone who will love her and make her feel special. The only problem is that she has a thing for very well-endowed men, and that isn't something she can really ask about on a first date. During a fun girl's night, one of her good friends suggests that she try the dating website betterthan8.com where all the male members are eight inches or larger.
Amara is intrigued but more than a little skeptical at first. However, when she decides to throw caution to the wind and give it a shot, she is surprised to find that the first guy she sees on the site is a total hottie. She is even more shocked when he is one of the first men to contact her. For the next three months, Amara and Sevastien share a fun, sensual online relationship, until she realizes that she seems to be the one keeping it afloat. Not wanting to seem needy, she decides to let him make the next move, but when two months go by without a word from Seva, Amara is heartbroken and deeply misses him. Never in her wildest dreams did she expect to finally meet him on the opposite side of a bargaining table for a multi-million dollar real estate deal, and she finds him even more potently tempting in person than online. But will Amara be able to accept his reasons for dropping out of sight for so long, or are they destined to have nothing more than one night together...the most amazing night of her life?
*****Spoiler Alert: This story contained an overall sense of intrigue surrounding the romantic entanglements. Normally I don't do spoiler reviews, but in this case, I didn't feel like I could express my thoughts sufficiently to do justice to the story without discussing certain elements that were a part of that mysterious nature. Therefore this review might be considered "spoiler-ish" by some readers.*****
I have to admit that I went into reading Better Than 8: Fantasy feeling a little skeptical about whether I would like it or not. First, I had never read a menage a trois between main characters (only secondary ones), so I wasn't certain if this was something I would enjoy or not. Thankfully, this ended up not being a problem at all, which I'll address shortly. Second, and perhaps more importantly, I'm not fond of the size of the hero's "manhood" being specified in my romances. I tend to prefer more vague terms such as "well-endowed" which leave it up to the individual's imagination as to just how large that is. Anecdotal evidence would seem to indicate that the majority of women (myself included) are less interested in how big a man's "package" is than whether he knows how to use it well, so IMHO, keeping that information more generalized makes romances "one size fits all" (pun intended;-)). However, I'm quite willing to concede that some women have a fetish for extremely well-endowed men, and without this being one of the heroine's little quirks, there wouldn't have been much of a basis for the story. I was also quite pleasantly surprised that this wasn't as big of an issue for me as I initially thought it would be either, so all in all, Better Than 8: Fantasy ending up being a fairly enjoyable read.
Interestingly enough, Amara is pretty much the complete opposite of me. She's fashionable, organized, confident in her looks, and a driven successful entrepreneur, not to mention her "big" fetish, yet somehow in spite of the major differences between her and myself, I actually found myself liking her. I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that she had the perfect balance between not letting others best her, while not running over anyone else to get what she wanted. Everything she had achieved had been through her own hard work, intelligence and ingenuity. I admired her confidence and how she stuck to her principles, even when her extremely tempting ex-boyfriend was trying everything in his power to seduce her. I did however, have to question the wisdom of her remaining friends with someone like Adrian with whom she had such an intense sexual relationship and who was still pursuing her in spite of having a wife. It almost seemed like she was playing with fire. Other than that one flaw though, Amara was a pretty likable heroine.
The two heroes of this story were both quite yummy, physically attractive, successful, totally into the heroine (and each other), and they can cook. What more could a girl ask for?;-) Sevastien was my favorite but probably only because I felt like I got to know him better, since he was introduced earlier in the book. He was a scrumptious lover both virtually and in person, and I think the reason his size wasn't as off-putting as I expected it to be was because he was always gentle with Amara and certainly one of the guys who knew how to use his "asset" well. I did have my doubts about him when he seemed rather reticent and then disappeared for two months. Thankfully, he did have a good explanation for his actions. Renaldo was very nice too, but he kind of came from out of nowhere after Amara had already established a relationship with Seva. Because of this, it took a little bit for me to warm up to him. I initially felt like he was just thrown into the mix and I didn't know him at all. Ultimately, I did end up liking him too, possibly because he seemed to be more the beta to Seva's alpha, but both men were incredibly sweet. I just wish I had been able to get to know them a little better, but a lack of development in other characters often tends to be one of the drawbacks of a book with first-person narration.
Amara happens to have a bunch of friends and colleagues who made for an incredibly varied secondary cast. Probably the most prominent would be her ex, Adrian, who was very seductively charming. Still, I couldn't quite bring myself to like a man who would dump one woman to marry another and then continue to pursue the first one fully intending to cheat on said wife. I'd have to say this man deserves a swift kick and a wake-up call.;-) Amara's female friends come in a wide variety of sizes, ages, races, and personalities, some of them being about as different as night and day which made for some fun bantering. According to the author's website, Stacey, the stubborn 40 year-old redhead, gets to be the heroine of the next story in the series, Better Than 8: Morality.
Even though the things I thought might be problematic for me weren't, the book still had a few things, other than what I've already mentioned, which in my opinion, could have been better. Although Amara's menage fantasy was alluded to in the synopsis, she never even thought about it until faced with the decision of whether she really wanted it. Much like Renaldo, it kind of came from out of left field, making her easy acceptance, especially of a long-term relationship with these two men, not entirely believable. Second, while I do like to know what the settings and characters look like, the author has a tendency to almost bring the storytelling to a halt in order to accomplish this. The descriptions Amara gives of herself and her friends in the beginning sound like she's writing a personals ad for all of them. Then there were other times that she describes what they're wearing in great detail which seemed unnecessary. I felt that these things just didn't always flow well within the context of the narrative. Lastly, the book did have a number of editing issues such as repetition, incorrect wording and numerous typos that could be a little distracting.
On the upside, I'd say that Erin Jamison is definitely an author who knows how to write a good love scene (several in fact;-)). Whether it's self-pleasuring, cyber-sex, in person, or a manage a trois, they were all hot, steamy and very sensual. One of the reasons I ended up enjoying the menage was because all three characters exhibited just the right amount of tender emotion to make me believe that they cared for and accepted one another which made it seem more plausible that they could make an alternative relationship like that work. Also, everything was extremely tastefully written in my opinion. Ms. Jamison seems to know how to make good use of a little explicit language to heighten the sensuality without overdoing it. For an erotic romance, it had a surprisingly sweet tone which I really enjoyed. Better Than 8: Fantasy may be Ms. Jamison's debut story, but overall, I would say that it exceeded my expectations and has left me interested in reading the next tale in the series when it is released.
Note: This book contains some explicit language and (obviously;-)) explicit sexual content including menage a trois and male/male action which some readers may find offensive.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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