by Lesley E. Hal
Reviewed by: Michelle Bishop
Lesley E. Hal gives us a good little page-turner in Pleasure Principles. Set in Dallas, the opening scene gives us a quick glimpse into the mindset of our protagonist, Bianca Brooks, owner of the up and coming catering/event planning company, Pleasure Principles.
Bianca has a sexual appetite to rival the entire Dallas Cowboys football team and a certain recklessness that puts back roads racers to shame. An already interesting love life turns downright chaotic when Bianca finds herself sexing both her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s high-profile husband. Neither one knows about the other nor how Bianca’s relationships with the two of them are punctuated with sexual adventures with her neighbor, his girlfriend, and more. The sexual high jinks start strong from the first pages of the book with a story that keeps us reading to the very end.
Unfortunately, there is a slightly apologetic note to Bianca’s character when her sexual proclivities are repeatedly blamed on her being left at the altar by her high school sweetheart. Despite her best efforts to give Bianca full sexual freedom, Hal allows her lusty female lead to be characterized as a whore by the other characters as often as possible despite their own cavalier sexual behavior. The irony in the characterization is that she’s the whore all of them want in their lives. It makes us wonder whether or not that irony was intentional.
Pleasure Principles is nothing if not entertaining with sexual trysts, back-biting, slaps and punches, flaming gay sidekicks, and a mystery to boot. Moving toward the end of the story, the sexual tension lets up a little more than we like for erotica but given the change in circumstances, it is a logical transition that we cannot fault Hal or her characters for making. What matters most is that in the end, Bianca does herself proud and gives honor to the title, whore, with which she is so often bestowed by getting to have her cake and eat it too.
While there are a few editing and storyline missteps, Pleasure Principles is a solid erotic novel with an overall reasonable storyline and likable characters. There’s some confusion toward the end of the novel as though Hal had to scramble to create a reason for the villainy that creates the mystery. And, one wonders why it seems that nearly every Urban novel simply must have a crack head in it. Nevertheless, we root for Bianca throughout the book and, although we are not entirely surprised by the ending, we find ourselves hoping to read more of the sexual adventures of Bianca Brooks.
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