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KC Hall loves her family, her small East Texas town, and her best friend, Emma Reynolds. All of that takes a backseat when her lover beckons. Lonnie is blond, beautiful, and willing. She’s also married and a lifelong friend of KC’s mama.
KC knows the affair is a bad idea, but she just can’t help herself. When presented with the lush landscape of Lonnie’s body, KC subscribes to the philosophy of “orgasm first, think later.” Unfortunately, a secret that big is impossible to keep in a close-knit community where everybody knows everybody else’s business. The scandal would hurt her entire family.
Emma is KC’s exception, the one woman she loves enough to not have sex with. When Emma confesses that she’s loved KC since high school, KC is terrified. One wrong move and she could lose Emma completely.
Is she willing to let her family pay the price for her good time? Or will she turn to Emma to discover the true meaning of love and devotion?
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
LOVE & DEVOTION takes place in small-town Texas, where lesbians are as scarce as cow-tippers living in New York City. A town where drinking away your problems seems commonplace and necessary. It’s also a town where gossip flows faster than sermons at the local Baptist church.
The lead heroine, KC, is a womanizer and is described in very feminine terms. She appears to be very close to her family and has cheerleader trophies in her childhood room at her mama’s house. At first when I pictured her character, I thought of one of the actresses in the movie Thelma & Louise, but I later changed my image to Demi Moore when she is going through one of her femme-phases with long hair. Though I couldn’t really identify with KC’s life, I did identify with her need to drive around aimlessly when she needed to think with no clue where she was headed. I thought this line from one of KC’s sisters was humorous and summed up KC as a character:
❝You’re the Dalia Lama for lesbians now?❞
KC, shamefully, has been sleeping with a married woman for the past year, and (gasp) the woman is her mother’s good friend to boot. Lonnie, the harlot who is tramping around on her husband with KC, is a quintessential Southern Belle who oozes sexuality in a Southern Cougar style. I pictured one of the Sugarbakers from the 80s sitcom Designing Women. Not something that is personally going to get me going, but the image somehow popped into my head and stuck. I thought this quote from the novel summed up my image of Lonnie very well:
❝She kissed KC on the cheek and with her hand hidden from view, squeezed her ass fondly.
The damn woman got off on the duplicity of it all.❞
KC’s best friend is Emma, another ultra-femme character. This is probably how the Thelma & Louise picture originally got stuck in my head when trying to imagine the characters I was reading about. Emma has obviously got a big ole crush on KC, but KC seems oblivious to it and continues with sexing-up Lonnie in 5 minute rendezvous sessions. Emma and KC have an extremely tactile friendship, complete with cuddling each night in the same bed and kissing each other frequently in greeting. It’s obvious to the reader from the get-go that they belong together, and the rest of the story is pretty much the culmination of how their relationship will come together. A humorous line from the author about Emma:
❝Sometimes talking to Emma was like trying to extract stock advice from a schnauzer.❞
Before I go any further in my review of this novel, I must admit that though I am bisexual and had many girlfriends before I got married, the women described in this book are decidedly not my type. Unfortunately, that was slightly distracting for me and kind of made it hard to picture the characters in a titillating way without doing a lot of extra help from my brain to supplant the author’s descriptions. I’m afraid that’s my little caveat before I continue. Lipstick lesbians are not my thing, but I tried not to hold that against the plot of the book.
The sex in this book was a mix-bag for me. I found some personal humor from the author occasionally referring to anatomy as “naughty bits”, “sexy parts”, and even “girlie parts”. Then again, she also would got down and dirty with her descriptions. The first sex scene didn’t involve any oral sex at all, and I immediately questioned whether the author was actually a lesbian. I continued to question this when in a later sex scene involving KC donning a strap-on the author referred to KC coming inside Lonnie. The idea of that actually made me raise my eyebrow. However, after reading several of the other scenes, I canceled my confusion over whether the author was a lesbian. I enjoyed reading some very sexy scenes in the book including sex against the door, domination in drag, imminent fear of getting caught during sex, and lots of sexy dirty talk in very commanding tones. I’ve chosen a line from one of my favorite sex scenes to share below:
❝ ‘Good, let it go.’ KC nipped at Lonnie’s ear, punctuating each word with her teeth.
‘ So I can push you down and do it all over again.’ ❞
I was definitely puzzled by KC’s and Emma’s friendship. I’ve already mentioned that they were very touchy-feely with each other. They were also constantly saying “I love you” to each other. I would have been very confused in a female friendship that was that close, trying to determine if the person loved me in *that* way or not. I think there was a lot of mixed signals. At one point, my mind started wandering while looking at their complex relationship of confusion, and I pictured KC cutting her hair into a Demi Moore’s G.I. Jane style and showing up, doing some one-armed push-ups for Emma, and then fire-arm carrying a squealing Emma in a naval uniform à la Officer and a Gentleman. Then I chastised myself and had to give my brain a lecture that this is not what the author had in mind. *big sigh* oh well. ☺
Overall I would give the book 3 stars. It was interesting enough to keep my attention for a Saturday afternoon. I thought the author had good writing skills and wrote interesting characters. There was some humorous and witty dialog at times. The sex was interesting to read, and certainly thought provoking. I could picture myself reading another novel by the author in the future.
The crunch-slide of tires on gravel was KC Hall’s only warning that she was about to have company. She barely had time to check her teeth for signs of the cold pizza she’d been eating and run her hands through her hair. Lonnie slammed through the door, leaving a string of curse words such as “fucking hell” and “damnation” in her wake.
“Lonnie, what’s going on?” KC sounded like she wasn’t happy to see Lonnie, which wasn’t true. She mostly wasn’t happy to see her car—a candy-apple red Mustang—slanted next to her beat-up Accord. No way her neighbors wouldn't recognize it as Lonnie's. There were a few other Mustangs in town, but hers was the only one with a FRONT STREET BAPTIST CHOIR bumper sticker on one side and THE PTA GETS THINGS DONE on the other.
Lonnie grabbed KC’s lapels and kissed her hard. She’d have liked it better if Lonnie had kissed her like she meant it rather than pouring off anger about whatever brought her to KC’s door in the first place. KC eased back a tad, teasing the edge of Lonnie’s lips with her tongue. This woman was melted-sugar hot, and the taste of her made KC weak. She still didn’t know why she’d arrived at KC’s door early on Sunday morning for God and all creation to see, but the longer they kissed, the less KC cared.
By the time Lonnie released her, she’d have let Lonnie add a bumper sticker that declared I’M FUCKING KC HALL.
“I’m going to kill that bastard.” Lonnie’s eyes were on fire, and not the good kind of fire that said KC'd touched her in just the right way. Nope, this was more of a spitting-mad kind of fire.
KC stepped away. She didn’t want to get caught at ground zero if Lonnie decided to give life to that temper of hers. Fortunately, Southern women were simple—a glass of whiskey and a little bit of time was the standard therapy session. She poured four fingers of Jack Daniel’s, added some ice, and passed it to Lonnie.
“Thanks, sugar.” Lonnie closed her eyes and tipped the glass. The lines of her face softened.
She waited until the first sip passed Lonnie’s lips, then asked, “Which bastard?” No doubt Lonnie was talking about her husband. KC liked to pretend he didn’t exist, but she asked the question anyway.
Lonnie drained the whiskey and handed her the glass before saying, “Forget about that. We don’t have much time.” Lonnie zeroed in on KC’s lips and kissed her in a way that made her think she was being substituted for the whiskey.
KC pulled away with a gasp and set the empty glass on the counter. Lonnie’s chest heaved and she reached for KC, trying to pull her back in.
The flush in Lonnie’s cheeks ran down her neck and covered her chest. KC wanted to touch, to ride the wave of Lonnie's labored breathing with her tongue. She moved closer to her, bent her face to Lonnie's neck, and inhaled deeply. The sweet subtle scent of honeysuckle and lavender surrounded her, drawing her in. She exhaled long and soft against Lonnie's skin. “Church starts in an hour.”
Lonnie tilted her head to the side, opening the line of her neck to KC. She gripped KC’s head, her fingers woven into her hair. “I know. Stop talking.”
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About the Author:
Jove Belle was born and raised against a backdrop of orchards and potato fields. The youngest of four children, she was raised in a conservative, Christian home and began asking why at a very young age, much to the consternation of her mother and grandmother. At the customary age of eighteen, she fled southern Idaho in pursuit of broader minds and fewer traffic jams involving the local livestock. The road didn’t end in Portland, Oregon, but there were many confusing freeway interchanges that a girl from the sticks was ill-prepared to deal with. As a result, she has lived in the Portland metro area for over fifteen years and still can’t figure out how she manages to spend so much time in traffic when there’s not a stray sheep or cow in sight.
She lives with her partner of twelve years. Between them they share three children, two dogs, two cats, two mortgage payments, one sedan, and one requisite dyke pickup truck. One day she hopes to live in a house that doesn’t generate a never ending honey-do list.
Incidentally, she never stopped asking why, but did expand her arsenal of questions to include who, what, when, where and, most important of all, how. In those questions, a story is born.
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