Friday, July 4, 2014

Have Mercy by Shelley Ann Clark

The Basics:
Have Mercy by Shelley Ann Clark
"Erotic Romance"
Publication Date July 1, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I loved the forbidden romance quality in the blurb. 

Book Blurb:

In Shelley Ann Clark’s seductive debut novel, two damaged souls discover that when they’re together, their bodies hit all the right notes.

Rock diva Emme Hayes already broke up one band after sleeping with the lead singer, and she swears she won’t let sex screw things up again. The problem is, her new bass player—a lean, muscular, tattooed mystery man who makes her want to demand his absolute attention—has her so worked up she can hardly carry a tune. Emme promises he’s off-limits. She just doesn’t know how she’ll be able to confine the heat to her love songs.

The moment Tom McKinney lays eyes on Emme strutting around the stage of his blues bar—all curves, eye liner, and teased blond hair—he knows she’s one of a kind. So when she offers him a two-month paid gig to tour with her band, Tom can’t say no, despite family troubles and the bar’s precarious finances. Onstage and off, the music they make thrums in his soul, but Tom has too much going on to get involved—even if he burns to let Emme play his body like a fine-tuned instrument.

My thoughts:

Oh my! I needed to fan myself while reading this one. Have Mercy is one sultry hot book in some delightfully unexpected ways. For a debut novel, Have Mercy has such a strong and clear voice to it, I was completely won over. 

Tom and Emme are intriguing combinations of strengths and vulnerabilities. I found them to be very realistic - caught up in trying to live up to expectations they've unwillingly imposed on themselves, they each need help to break out of old patterns. They fit together so well, not only because they both get off on having Emme in charge in the bedroom, but because they need someone to truly care for and believe in them. 

And may I take a moment to say that the sex scenes (and all the foreplay and teasing in between) are amazing? I love that these scenes are all infused not only by the chemistry raging between Tom and Emme but also by their personalities. Yes, there's some serious sexual games going on here, but there's a sense of discovery, of love, of freedom that all heightened the physical stuff. I've only read a few erotic romances/eroticas that were decidedly female-in-charge (notably Charlotte Stein, reviewed here and here, and I'm really digging them. There were a couple of things I liked in particular: first, that Emme's learning as she goes, and she's very careful to only go so far until she knows more about how to take care of Tom, and second, that her struggle to really own the confidence she has (or wants to have) is so apparent on the page. So, so good.

I loved that it remains clear throughout that Tom is a 'manly man' - reasonably successful bar owner, taking care of his sister, super hot bass player, in great shape, no problem standing up for 'his woman' (while recognizing that she's fully capable of standing up for herself). Mmmmmm. 

Apart from the romance, there's some great material around the influence of the Internet on the music industry. The amount of power that the most popular blogs/websites have on the careers of indie artists and to shape public perception of those artists was really compelling. It underlines how important it is that we're all critical readers, particularly when reading anything gossipy. Even though everyone knows that if we read it on the Internet, it must be true, right? ;)

Bottom line:

If you like erotic romance, I hope you'll love this one too. Have Mercy has it all - loveable main characters, real problems, sultry sex.... Pick this one up!

5 stars
For fans of erotica, erotic romance, contemporary romance, musicians, men who know how to follow instructions.

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