An enjoyable way to spend several hours. This spicy historical erotica will make you wish that you had more time to spend with Penny, Will and the ladies of Penelope's Pleasure Emporium. But read this one for the heat and the amusing plot, not the characters. Confined to 110 pages, the characters read as though they are on fast forward. Their lack of space to flourish, his disrespect for her and her willingness to forget her past accomplishments, keep this story from being fully rounded.

Will's dominant nature comes off as chauvinistic. Penny is a sharp shooter with an excellent reputation, but any time she acts as though she is more than a wilting flower, Will gets angry and carts her up to his bedroom. His anger and fear manifest as the need to dominate Penny sexually, but he never comes to respect her for all she is able to do. He frequently repeats his desire to see Penny "barefoot and pregnant" on his ranch, rather than treating her as an equal partner in the business that they inherited.

Penny's character also suffers from a lack of good characterization. Before we meet her, she has been living her life as a man and is proud of all her skills. However, within days of meeting Will, she has decided that just because she has no experience raising children, she shouldn't try. This reviewer found it disorienting that Penny, who had maintained that she did not want to marry Will was suddenly worrying about child-rearing.

However, fans of historical erotica will enjoy the story for its cast of supporting characters, the fast-moving plot and its variety of sexual encounters. Will's dominant sexual nature lends itself well to the BDSM play while Penny's spunky nature keeps the plot full of excitement outside of the bedroom.

When Penny's inherits her mother's brothel, Penelope's Pleasure Emporium, she must return to her childhood home and take up the family business. Penny has been living as P.J., a male stagecoach driver and notorious sharp shooter, and is not sure if she wants to settle down in one place. However, when she arrives home she is surprised to learn that her mother has also given partial ownership to the brothel's fix-it-man Will. Sparks fly as Will and Penny negotiate their new partnership. But when Will convinces Penny to let him tutor her in the bedroom arts, he finds himself trying to negotiate Penny into a different partnership all together: marriage. Penny is not sure she is ready to make that kind of commitment – can Will convince her that theirs is a partnership of pleasure that will last a lifetime? (Ellora's Cave, May, dl. $10.40)

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Reviewed by: 
Whitney Kate Sullivan