by Opal Carew
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on February 26, 2013
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Cops, Erotic, LGBTQ+, Menage
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What began as a steamy weekend fling is about to change their lives forever.
When Lindsay receives a mysterious invitation to live out her most illicit fantasies, she thinks it's her best friend playing a joke. Little does she know, the invitation is from someone else. Someone who knows her deepest desires…and intends to fulfill them.
Erik is a man of many secrets, and he intends to keep it that way. When he invites Lindsay to his mansion, he thinks it's just for a steamy weekend fling. But from their first night together, there's an inexplicably deep connection that shakes him to his core. And with Lindsay in his arms, he feels both thrilled and unnerved. As Lindsay brings his fantasies to life, he's unwilling to let her go. But can he tell her how he knows her deepest desires, and will she stay with him if she learns the truth?
This book is INSANE and I’m not embarrassed to say that I liked it. Sometimes I get in the mood for an over-the-top read and Opal Carew has become one of my go-to authors for that.
I ran across Illicit on Goodreads. I saw that the reviews were very mixed, so I read some of the spoilers to get a better idea of the plot. It sounded wild, so I decided to read it. Hence, I knew what to expect and I wasn’t shocked by the actual premise of the book.
Disclaimer: the official plot summary does not give you an accurate depiction of what the book is about. The official description leads you to believe that it’s a strict m/f romance, but in reality it’s an m/f/m/m menage relationship with strong m/m/m elements. Considering this, I can see why so many people rated the book low because they weren’t expecting all that other stuff going on. I went into the book knowing what to expect, so I was fine with it; however, I can see how many readers felt misled. I think it was a curious choice on the part of the publisher not to disclose this upfront, especially since the multiple partners aspect is such a huge part of the story.
The heroine, Lindsay, recently broke up with her boyfriend when she discovered him in bed with not just one other woman, but two. Adding insult to injury, her ex said she was “boring” in bed. Needless to say, Lindsay’s self-esteem takes a big hit.
Not long after her breakup, Lindsay meets Erik in an elevator, along with his two buddies, Travis and Connor. Lindsay feels an instant attraction to all of them (because they’re all gorgeous, naturally), but she feels physically drawn to Erik most of all. After this brief but intense meeting, Lindsay confides in her best friend, Jill, about meeting the sexy guys from the elevator.
Soon after, Lindsay receives an unsigned invitation to meet for a decadent weekend in which not one–not two–but three! Three men!–will fulfill her every fantasy. At first, Lindsay thinks that Jill is playing a prank and really has a girls’ spa weekend or something similar planned for them. So, Lindsay decides to go.
Lindsay is surprised when the three guys from the elevator are there to meet her. That sounds really creepy, like it’s about to turn into an episode of Law & Order: SVU, but I swear it doesn’t come across that way. The guys are actually pretty nice and sweet–although Erik is the definite alpha of the trio.
I should also mention that Erik, Travis, and Connor are in a triad relationship with each other. They are all bisexual and have shared a woman in the past. They had a bad breakup with a woman they shared, so Erik in particular is hesitant to enter another committed relationship outside of the other two guys.
So, I can pretty much sum up the rest of the book by saying that it’s about 90% sex and 10% plot. This is not a diss–Opal Carew is a great erotic romance writer, in my opinion. Just don’t go into this book expecting much plot.
Having said that, the reason I didn’t love the book 100% is because there’s a paranormal element that I thought felt out of place. Also, I had trouble liking Erik since he can come across as a jerk at times. Given the nature of his job as a cop, he has to be assertive and dominant, but in the relationship I didn’t really care for his personality the most. My favorite of the guys was Travis, who’s sort of a brooding, sensitive type; then Connor, who’s the comic relief of the group. But I didn’t find much about Erik to love, which was unfortunate since he ends up being the main guy for Lindsay.
In fact, that’s a good way of summarizing the arrangement–ultimately, they all end up in a relationship with each other where Lindsay is kind of the Hugh Hefner in this scenario and Erik is the “main” boyfriend. Travis and Connor are the spares, poor guys.
To sum up, this book definitely is not for every romance reader. It’s super smutty to the max, but if that’s your thing, I say go for it. Personally, I enjoyed the book and recommend it if you’re looking for something really over-the-top and extreme.
Rating: 4 stars