Best Kept Secrets by Evangeline Anderson

SECRETS
Best Kept Secrets by Evangeline Anderson
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (90 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Cassandra and Josh are xenobiologists. Traveling around the universe searching for new forms of life is exciting and Cass is never lonely because Josh is there. He is sweet, funny, kind and handsome…everything Cass has ever wanted in a man. But he’s also her stepbrother. There’s never been anything but normal affection between the two of them…until they encounter the truth plant of Svortza 6.

The truth plant is said to have strange properties—it forces all who come in contact with it to act on their deepest emotions. Cass is skeptical of the rumors until Josh is sprayed with the plant’s secretions and begins having fugue states where he is a mindless creature bent only on satisfying his sexual hunger.

Now, trapped on an alien world, Cassandra is learning a lesson in submission and forbidden lust. She knows she must keep Josh’s actions secret from him or he will hate himself forever. But some secrets are just too big to keep…

Often the most taboo desires are the hardest to ignore. Cass and Josh have been together for years. Her mother married his father and then almost immediately died in a horrible accident. Since Cass was only seventeen, her step-brother Josh made sure he took care of her. In the years that followed the two have mostly been alone flying through space and researching various plants. When Cass finally develops into a woman, her ill-fitting clothes start to cause problems for her step-brother. However, both Josh and Cass are determined that nothing come between their familial bond, not even their own desire for each other.

Best Kept Secret is a fun read but it’s total erotica. The plot revolves around Josh being infected by a plant toxin that brings out true feelings and thoughts. Thus he turns into the “beast” and basically ravages Cass when he gets horny. She puts up a few weak protests but justifies that she has to give in because it’s the best thing for her step-brother. I found this rationalization weak and ineffective. Josh basically rapes Cass but it’s okay because she secretly wants it. But when he’s himself, she has to hide what they’ve been doing and pretend nothing’s changed. It’s a plot device that is well used and most readers should have no problems with it, myself included. It just doesn’t make for a compelling and well-written story is all. The back and forth didn’t generate tension so much as a silly way of keeping the two from having sex immediately and the story ends.

I thought the sex scenes were pretty hot and that’s what saved the story for me. The end scene where Josh and Cass finally have sex was honestly kind of laughable. I rolled my eyes several times at the dialogue and pretense, which carried on through the entire act making it neither hot nor erotic. That said I didn’t mind the book so much once I just ignored the silly plot. The sex scenes were plentiful and entertaining and since clearly the book was more erotica than erotic romance, I was ok with that. It’s not a well-written book unfortunately but I had set my expectations low and wasn’t disappointed.

This is definitely not a book I’d read again but I have to say I didn’t mind reading it. The characters are flat as a board and not well developed in my opinion. I also didn’t think their relationship was all that taboo. They spent literally no time as brother and sister, there was no growing up feeling that way and they live alone on a spaceship with just the two of them. So I felt the attempt at tension in this area lacking. There really was nothing stopping the two of them from having a relationship at the very beginning. That said, I enjoyed the erotica and would recommend this only if the reader knows going in that it’s hot sex but not a great story.

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