Evan’s Heaven by Nicki Bennett
Actor MacAlester Kerr wanders into a whole new world of pampering and pleasure when his director sends him to Evan’s Heaven for a pedicure. When Mac meets the spa’s owner, Evan York, he finds himself head over heels and up to his eyebrows as Evan spoils him like no one ever has before.
Whether it’s a paraffin manicure, an herbal body wrap, or even a sugar waxing, Evan makes every treatment special with his own brand of kinky accompaniment. But when Mac wants to take things farther than Evan ever expected, will it lead to trouble in paradise?
Reprint: This novella was originally published in the Dreamspinner Press anthology Size Still Matters.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Evan’s Heaven has a cute premise and will appeal to those wanting flirty, fun sex and nothing but. While EH has some good points, what totally kills the story for me is that it’s entirely one sex scene after another. At just over 100 pages, I fatigued on the non-stop sex halfway through and had to put down the book. I wouldn’t have picked it up again if I didn’t have it for review sadly. It’s not bad per se, it’s just sex, sex, and more sex with little to no characterization and no attempt at anything but more sex. So if this sounds like the kind of thing you’re looking for, than EH could deliver well for you.
The novella is made up of several memories as Mac, away for work, remembers how he first met Evan in the spa and then various sex filled treatments that stand out over the past year together. The setup is cute and sweet and the memories move from an innocent pedicure leading to sex to kinkier memories later on. It’s a nice, smooth progression and does show Mac and Evan with deepening feelings. Their relationship feels honest and based on more than just sex. Unfortunately nothing but the sex is shown. The narrative is told in the first person from Mac’s point of view and this really limits the story both in its characterization and entertainment.
Part of what lost me about halfway through is that all the prose and story starts to become repetitive. Mac goes in to see Evan, Evan gives him a spa treatment, almost immediately Mac equates that to getting horny and sex ensues. Each memory starts to feel remarkably similar even as the sex gets kinkier with a touch of D/s. I wanted to see more of their relationship and what built it to the place it is at the end. I wanted more than just sex, sex, and more sex. There is variety in the sex scenes, kind of, but not enough to keep me entertained and interested unfortunately. I can see though that those looking for a fun, cute novella all about sex could enjoy this for what it is.
Another issue I had is with the non-existent characterization. Mac seems to be rather empty as a B-list actor with a walking hard on. He has a lot of potential with his job and clear adoration for Evan but since all he constantly thinks about is sex with Evan, I had no sense of what kind of person he is. Both men come across as flat and uninteresting with their one track minds and unfortunately often exaggerated. Evan is seen as a near god. Mac thinks Evan is perfect and thus we’re told repeatedly how much Mac loves him, adores him, and desires him. Evan never makes a misstep, always knowing what Mac needs, always being a perfect lover. These are the story’s exaggerations, not mine. Evan shows a hint of insecurity at the end but this is glossed over and forgotten very quickly.
Overall this isn’t bad if what you’re looking for is a lot of sex scenes wrapped around some fun premises like spa treatments. The quick pace may make this novella fly by for those readers but if you’re the type that wants more to your stories than sex, you’ll likely be disappointed. It’s too bad this isn’t more obvious in the blurb that the story is pure erotica and then perhaps readers will have the right expectations.
Get it HERE!