Back in August, I had the chance to read the debut novel in Katie Porter’s new contemporary romance series, Double Down, and ever since I’ve had the 64th Aggressor Squadron (Ryan, Jon and Leah) stuck in my head. When I got in the mood for a steamy contemporary romance, I knew exactly what I had to have – the two follow-up novels, Inside Bet and Hold Em. The way I figured it, if Double Down had hit everything my mood required back then, than I was betting that Inside Bet and Hold Em would as well. I have to say that I was right.
In the first novel, Double Down, we’re introduced to Ryan and Cassandra – two people who just happened to have a chance encountered right when they needed it. There’s no denying that there is some very hot chemistry going on between Ryan and Cassandra in Double Down, but I have to say, what really got my attention with their story was what their sexual kink was. I read romance and erotica, but it’s not the main genre I read, so my exposure to the different kinds of kinks has been a bit limited to the typical ones – mild BDSM and menages. And when I say mild-BDSM, I’m talking the “let’s try tying each other up” and that’s about it. So it was really great to see a story using the role playing kink (I’m talking the whole dressing up “Oh hello professor”) in action. It wasn’t just to add heat to Double Down either. Oh no. While both Ryan and Cass really got off on it (I did mention steamy scenes, right?), it was also a hurdle they both had to overcome (aka the plot).
That’s the one thing I really need in a romance novel of any length – a plot – and Double Down managed to fold one in as well as having some really hot and steamy scenes. If there’s not a plot, I don’t care how fabulous the sex is, you’re going to lose me with anything longer than a short story, but I didn’t have to worry about that with Double Down.
Inside Bet (Jon and Heather) had a lot of the same characteristics as Double Down, but it was still it’s own story. The sex scenes were just as steamy and a plot was woven in pretty well. Although this time, I don’t really think there was one specific kink that Jon and Heather liked to play with. I could be wrong, but it just seemed to be more of a “let’s be wicked”. Not to say it was any less hot, but again, it was nice seeing something that I haven’t encountered much before. The plot this time around played more on Jon and Heather’s own upbringings and it was interesting to see how to two managed to overcome their hurdles to make this relationship work.
The last novel out until April, Hold Em rounds out the initial members of the 64th Squadron that we’re introduced to. Leah and Michael have a history already, so when he’s transferred to her unit, there’s already sparks flying. Again the sex remains spicy and it was nice to see a female in the Dom role and the male as a sub. Most of the novels I’ve read have had the roles reversed, so it was a good change of pace.
However, I do have to say, of all three novels, Hold Em was really the only one where I had a few complaints, or should I say disappointments. The blurb is kind of misleading, in my opinion, in the fact that it kind of emphasizes that Michael has a problem with female authority figures in the military. He doesn’t like reporting to females and doesn’t think they should be in positions of combat. He’s old fashion in his thinking like that, but he comes by it honestly with his upbringing. My disappointment, however, comes from the fact that it wasn’t a bigger part of the plotline. I was expecting some Air Force confrontations that added some hurdles to Leah and Michael’s romance, but they weren’t there. All of the hurdles came from Leah, and while we’ve seen she does have a few issues, they didn’t seem as center-staged as Ryan and Jon’s stories. Even with the conflict focus not being where I thought it was, the story was still solid and there was some tense scenes, but I guess my expectations were a little higher due to the blurb.
Overall, I do have to say that the Vegas Top Gun series by Katie Porter is definitely worth the time to read. Especially if you’re like me and have flirted with erotica rather than dove in head first. Double Down, Inside Bet and Hold Em has fantastic characters that have very spicy and hot sex lives, all while trying to overcome some very personal issues. All three of these novels were exactly what my romance loving mood needed and I so can’t wait for the fourth novel, Hard Way, to come out in April.
Hard Way (April 9, 2013)
Bare Knuckle (October 2013)