Mob boss Helen Byrne loves the new breed of women in the Roaring Twenties. She loves them every chance she gets. But when she finds herself attracted to bad girl Maria Falco, things change. Maria’s boyfriend is Franco Moretti, Al Capone’s right-hand man. Helen has vowed to protect the men in her gang, but her need for Maria is powerful. Is the imminent gang war worth it to her and her men? Can she convince Maria to leave the powerful Moretti for her? And if she does, how will she survive being the target of the most powerful mob in town? Maria and Helen burn hot, but so does Moretti’s firepower. Helen is determined to make Maria hers and hers alone. But at what cost? (goodreads.com)
I requested SPEAKEASY on NetGalley mainly due to the setting, because I like the 20s and the whole speakeasy/flapper girl era. While it’s not my first erotica read, it’s still within the first five so not much experience in that regard, plus it’s my first F/F erotica read so got a newbie on this one. Still, doesn’t mean I’m not going to try it out and it does’t mean I won’t know what does and doesn’t work for me.
It’s a short read; my copy was only about 150 pages but the writing is rather lackluster at best. I liked the notion of a female rum runner who runs a Speakeasy and a whore house and she’s holding her own with the “manliest” of men in Chicago at the time. Excellent concept. But the execution was rather dull and I found myself getting bored a lot.
The opening scene was a sex scene and it was pretty hot but by the third or fourth sex scene in the book following the same actions, the same speech and the same climax, it was old hat. It got to a point where I felt I had to suffer through another paint-by-numbers sex scene and I got to skimming just to get through it. Lick, lick, suck, suck, finger, finger, done. Every. Single. Time. Without flair, no less so it was repetitive, boring sex without any pizzazz. By the end of the book it almost felt like Williamz got bored with her own sex scenes and they became noticeably shorter as the story wrapped up.
Add into that the greater plot being little more than a recitation of events and the book was rough to get through. A 150 page book shouldn’t feel like work but man, it just kept going. There was very little detail in Williamz’s writing with next to no depth for the characters. I barely knew them by the end of the book and, frankly, that’s unacceptable. They shouldn’t be stick figures hopping from one scene to the next but they kind of were. The scene rotated between Helen’s office, an apartment and the speakeasies, whether it was hers or Franco’s. These people didn’t seem to travel outside of a three block radius and I felt that cabin fever as if it were me sweating it out.
If there was actual character development, a modicum of flair to the writing and a variety with the sex the book could have been enjoyable. As it stands it’s a chore to read, which is a feat for such a short title. But it’s such bare bones, very little having gone into setting the scene (a few slang words used repeatedly, a few references to clothing, cars and guns but nothing with substance), static characters and jerky, mechanical scene transitions there really wasn’t a lot here to enjoy. I wish there was because it had such potential to be something great. A female mob boss? Seriously, someone needs to get on that. But it fell so short in SPEAKEASY. It’s not worth it for the thin plot and it’s not worth it for the bland, repetitive sex either. Sure, the sex started off hot but keep serving me the same platter over and over again and I’m going to get sick of it pretty quickly.