Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: 'Mace' by Lane Hart

North Carolina author Lane Hart is a prolific erotica writer with a dozen steamy stories that have a committed following. Lane draws form her background - a Masters in Criminal Justice and having spent ten years working as a paralegal for a criminal defense attorney – to keep her stories gritty. Her range of topics is extensive – from paranormal to her favored martial arts and football players to cops to vampires – and in this book she manages to focus on sports. She is married to fellow author D.B. West.

Lane has a talent for character development, not a trait we often see in erotica writer. But just the opening paragraph gives us a strong impression of her main character Mason ‘Mace’ Reed – ‘My heavy eyelids have only drooped for maybe five seconds before the annoying, ear-splitting beeping startles me awake, making me feel guilty for almost drifting off to sleep. I shoot straight up out of the uncomfortable plastic chair and examine the row of machines, trying to figure out which one is the pissed off culprit this time. When none state the obvious alerts I’ve become all too familiar with (low oxygen, dropping blood pressure, or the IV bag needs to be changed) I reach over the bedrail and hit the red nurse call button just to be safe. It rings like usual, but there’s no follow-up voice asking how they can help me, or more specifically, how they can help my sister who’s been lying in a coma for three days. Knowing the sight will be more painful than a million punches to the face, I force myself to glance down at Mandy’s frozen form to check for changes in her condition. Her face is still too pale, with the majority of it obstructed by the clear mask connected to the intubation tube. I reach for her hand that’s cool and limp with IV lines jutting out of it. Like every time, I squeeze gently on her fingers, hoping the contact will invoke some type of response. Of course it doesn’t.’ So where are we and why? A dream and one that propels the body of this installment forward.

Lane loops us out of the initial chapter and into the ring of her favored mix Martial Arts fighters in her synopsis to meet Mace and Haley – and some f the other characters form the first books in this series: ‘Mace: I fell for Hailey the moment I laid eyes on her, before I knew about the three King Kong size battles I would have to fight to be with her. By the time Linc warned me that his gorgeous sister with legs a mile long was off limits and “emotionally fragile,” it was too late. There was no turning back. Then there’s my friend Senn, who had a one-night stand with Hailey. He’s trying his best to get a repeat performance during the week of Claire and Linc’s wedding. Sorry buddy, bros might come before hoes, but they don’t come before sweet southern belles. And last but not least, the IFC insists that if I want a million dollar contract and a championship title fight then I need to keep up my playboy image to fuel all the female fans' fantasies. But for Hailey, I’ll do whatever it takes to make her mine. Hailey: Smooth talkin’, sexier than sin, Mason Reed came out of nowhere and stole my heart. I’m not supposed to fall for the “little” brother of my soon to be sister-in-law, or be fantasizin' about lickin’ his tattoos the week of her and Linc’s wedding. Mason’s seven years younger than me, and infamous for his so called “harem.” Not only will he likely end up hurtin’ me, but he’s also…rock blockin' Senn, my former hot fling. After I find out just how close Mason is to landin’ a huge IFC contract if he keeps performin' his magic tricks for all the ladies, I refuse to let him give it all up for me. I had no idea how much I would miss him or how much it would hurt when I finally succeeded in pushin' him away.’

The manner in which Lane takes what seems to be a straightforward MMA story and transforms it with her special powers of making women so important in sports roles is only part of the reason her books work so well. The rest – erotica, action, and psychological alterations – is all there as we’re growing to expect. Top-drawer novel! Grady Harp, January 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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