Brandon Bettleyoun left his reservation decades ago, driven by the message in his early life of “You’ll never be anything, because you’re Indian.” He cut off his braids and dedicated himself to success. […] When a college student from the nearby college comes to interview him, she begins to awaken in him feelings he had forgotten in his striving to be more than he believed he could be. Can this beautiful young woman from a small reservation in Idaho be the one to fill the emptiness he has endured for so long?

This erotic romance short story was was recommended to me in my post asking for recs for good self-published books as an antidote to all those romances with stereotypical Indians ravishing white women, usually with “Savage” in the title (and sometimes containing plagiarized material from, among other things, scholarly texts on black-footed ferrets.)

I did enjoy the story. It’s well-written, engaging, and sensual. I can’t speak to its authenticity, but the characters and setting felt believable. There are definitely no noble savages here. I can see why the reccer thought I’d like it— I particularly enjoy protagonists starring in genres in which they don’t often appear, and I have never before come across a genre romance (as opposed to a mainstream novel with romance in it) in which both hero and heroine are Native American. If you know of others, please comment to inform me.

But it’s tough to do a romance in a short story and not have it feel rushed— I think you usually need at least novelette length. It left me wanting more, in the “has Eagleday written anything longer?” sense. Alas, no. There are other short stories out, though. (Link NSFW – they’re erotica, several involving Native American traditional stories.) I’d love to see “Sioux Billionaire” expanded into a complete novel. But in the meantime, I did like it as a short. You might too.

Sins Of The Sioux Billionaire
Disclaimer: The author is [personal profile] oracne, a pal of mine.

On the eve of WWI, English chemist Lucilla, who has been working in Germany with mostly-unfriendly male colleagues, gets trapped in suddenly-hostile territory. She teams up with Fournier, another scientist, a French man ten years younger than her, in order to escape. They end up in a room with only one bed. I’m sure you can guess what happens next, and is repeated periodically during their escape to France. While I had trouble suspending my disbelief that there would be quite that much sex when their time would be better spent running for their lives, the romance between two misfit geeks is very sweet and sexy.

Meanwhile, a number of English soldiers, with secrets ranging from being gay to being a werewolf, arrive in Germany to fight. They, Lucilla, Fournier, and others get enmeshed in a complicated tangle of romantic relationships, spy missions, battles, and a quest to take down a German scientist’s secret werewolf laboratory.

This unusual erotic novel reminds me of really excellent fanfic from some alternate universe in which there’s a TV show about werewolves in WWI. As fanfic, it would make complete sense: plotty, well-researched, and full of sweet character moments, interspersed with sizzling m/m, m/f, and m/m/f sex scenes.

As an original novel, it’s oddly situated in terms of genre: much more sex than one would expect in fantasy, and much more plot than one would expect in erotica. But taken on its own quirky terms, it’s highly enjoyable. The characters are likable and rather diverse (first Jewish hero I’ve ever encountered in erotica), the sex scenes are hot and varied, and I absolutely loved the werewolves.

The early scenes with Lucilla and Fournier turned out to be the only time when I didn’t really believe that anyone would have sex – the other scenes take place either when the characters get a break from the action anyway, or it’s psychologically plausible that they’d make a desperate grab at feeling alive when they think they might get killed at any moment. (My favorites, for the record, were the threesome and the foxhole frottage.)

I wish the book had been longer, and had a higher ratio of plot and character to sex, as it sometimes felt rushed and breathless. But I applaud the “everything and the kitchen sink” approach to story and character, and it’s better to be left wanting more than wanting less.

Since I know the author, I will take advantage of that to ask a question, since I got quite fond of the characters: they all miraculously survive the war, right? More or less in one piece? Right?

The Moonlight Mistress
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