There are some Hot Romance Novels that scatter the rocking the headboard around the plot, taking you through the story and using the sex scenes as an accompaniment. Then there are books like In the Flesh, by Portia Da Costa, that use the opposite tactic: you move from sex scene to sex scene, with a little plot thrown in for fun.
The basic story here focuses on Beatrice Weatherly, the so-called Siren of South Mulberry Street due to her posing nude for some racy photos, and Edmund Ellsworth Ritchie, a wealthy rake who is utterly captivated by her. Ritchie proposes that Beatrice become his courtesan, and in exchange, he will cover the debt her brother has incurred. Beatrice figures why not; everyone thinks she is a woman of loose morals, thanks to those pictures, so she might as well shed her virginity and hop into bed with Ritchie. Within minutes of meeting each other, Ritchie has her skirt up and his finger You Know Where, and we are off to the races.
A side story involves Beatrice's brother, Charles, who enjoys not just women, but men. Yes, kids, we have a threesome! I'll say that the threesome scene is pretty hot. Sadly, there is only one.
Most of the sex scenes involve Ritchie and Beatrice, as he brings her to "crisis," as Da Costa calls it. In one of their first assignations, Ritchie actually achieves "crisis" in his pants. Each is nervous; in fact, it takes a while for Beatrice to actually see Ritchie's throbbing male member, the reasons for which somewhat relate to one of the plot threads, and she has to overcome her own sense of feeling self-conscious. Still, Ritchie is bewitched by her: "Last night she'd been delicious and responsive and he knew she could and would be just as willing soon. Yet still she seemed nervous about exposing herself.
How strangely contrary. You'll pose unclothed for photographs that are circulated to hundreds of avid men, yet you won't show your naked puss to me in private. You're a conundrum, Beatrice Weatherly, a veritable mystery."
The man behind the pictures also becomes a plot point, as Da Costa tries to shake up the monotony of puckered nipples and aching erections with story lines.
In terms of literary merit, In the Flesh can be found wanting. But in terms of hot sex scenes, it's pretty good. The headboard rocking got a little repetitive, but the threesome scene? THAT was hot.
Thanks to NetGalley for a preview. This review also appears on cupcake's book cupboard.