Friday, October 30, 2009


Mandy stands to inherit the family legacy--a famous Philadelphia adult toy store and museum called Erotique--but she first has to meet the terms of eccentric Aunt Vivian's will and spend the night on the next full moon. With the help of her best friend, Bruce, she soon discovers the exhibits are VERY educational and her feelings for Bruce run deeper than she realized.

WARNING: This book contains Venetian courtesans, haunted artifacts, and a dung dong. No erotic antiquities were harmed in the making of this book, though some may have been subjected to extremes of light and temperature.

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EXCERPT after the cut...
"You've gotta be kidding me!" Bruce took the proffered legal document and scanned it. "That's just so ... so Scooby Doo."

Mandy snickered as she dove into her taco salad. "Wanna hear the best part? I have to do it on the next full moon."

"Amazing. Just amazing. Where is this place, anyway? If it's in a rough neighborhood, I'm going with you."

"Oh, come on! Don't tell me you've never heard of it? It's only the most celebrated sex shop in Philly, maybe even on the entire east coast." Mandy fished in her backpack and pulled out a glossy catalog. "This," she said, proudly handing it to Bruce, "is Erotique."

"Oh! Okay, I'm a little slow. I just put two and two together. So, your great aunt is ... was the notorious Miss Vivian? I'd no idea."

"Yup. I come from a long line of lusty ladies who've used sex--in one way or another--to succeed in this man's world," she winked. "The shop's been in the family for generations. My great-great grandmother opened it in 1897 as a treatment center for 'hysteria.' It was one of the first places in the city to have electricity which, of course, powered the equipment. Once upon a time, there were eighteen electro-mechanical vibrators in operation from the time the shop opened in the morning until it closed in the evening. She made a small fortune. Booked months in advance. Regular customers, too, from affluent families. They just kept--pardon my pun--coming."

Bruce just shook his head, still absorbing the news.

"As more and more households got electricity, she gradually shifted from selling the service to selling the actual merchandise for home use. And, she made sure her products were always cheaper than the model Sears advertised as 'a device for anxiety and female tension.' Those mainstream promotions disappeared in the 1930s, when the porn industry made it impossible to overlook a vibrator's true purpose. Even so, a few of the 'climax closets'--as Aunt Viv called 'em--stayed in operation clear through World War II. Her predecessor, my great-great aunt Sophie, even accepted ration coupons in payment: sugar, coffee, gasoline, shoes."

"Whoa! Slow down," Bruce interjected. "Where'd you get all this information, anyway?"

Mandy shrugged, "I grew up with it. Some of it was bound to sink in. It's fascinating stuff, huh?"

"And it's all yours now--the whole enchilada? That makes you a very wealthy woman."

"Not yet," Mandy reminded him. "First, I have to meet the terms of her will and spend the night in the shop--alone."


  1. Mandy has just gotten news that she stands to inherit her aunt's shop. This is not just any normal shop; it is an adult toy store with a museum of toys from days long ago. There is a catch though: she must follow instructions left by her aunt to fulfill the requirements of her will. Most of them are standard requests except for the last one. She must spend the night there and do it on the full moon. Along for the ride is her best friend, Bruce. By the time the full moon arrives, Mandy will come to realize that her shop is truly one of a kind and Bruce might be more than what she realized.

    Erotique offers readers a short story that is both unusual and imaginative. The idea behind the museum was one that opens the reader's mind with some insight into the history of toys. Although, there is no guarantee that the history told here is true, I enjoyed the extent that Alessia Brio went to in order to make her story original and believable. Mandy is a woman that knows she would one day be the proud owner of the little shop, Erotique, but is not prepared for it to be so soon. She meets the challenge head on. Bruce offers a stable addition to Mandy's life and a relationship worth experiencing. Alessia Brio has earned 4 Angels for her imaginative tale of toys!

    - Jessica for Fallen Angel Reviews

  2. Alessia Brio's Erotique demonstrates sometimes why actual erotica can be more romantic than those stories marketed specifically as romantic erotica. Sometimes romantic erotica is constrained by various limitations like how the heroine has to conform to some antiquated definition of "virtue" or "innocence". In Erotique, the heroine Amanda Long is the one who isn't sure of committing herself to a relationship because she'd prefer to have a man in her life for uncomplicated recreational sex - friendship with benefits, if you will - while her good friend Bruce is the one who'd like to get them to move beyond friendship into something more. This doesn't mean that Mandy has serious family issues or sexual hang-ups like most heroines of her nature will have in truckloads in a more typical romantic erotica: Mandy is refreshingly normal in the sense that she's just what she is with no weird psychological complexes to justify to readers why she shouldn't be tarred and burned at the stake for being "selfish" or "immoral".

    What isn't normal is the sex store Erotique in Philadelphia that Mandy hired from her dear departed Aunt Viv. Mandy is now the latest in the long line of Long women who maintained and run the store since pre-WW2 days. Over the years, Erotique has expanded: a museum displaying a wide selection of sex toys like whale-bone vibrators to religious relics of sex gods of various cultures has been added along with a spicier version of Starbucks. Mandy learns that Aunt Viv's will has an unusual condition for Mandy's inheritance of Erotique: Mandy has to spend the night of the next full moon alone in the store. The reason for this is that Erotique isn't just a store: some of the items on display in the museum wing can project visions of events in the past associated with their use onto people who touch it. Mandy will have to experience firsthand just how unusual Erotique is before she becomes its new owner. Who knows, her experiences in Erotique may just bring her closer to Bruce.

    The best way to describe this story is that it is a naughtier episode of The Twilight Zone. What I like about this story - apart from the normal yet sexual characters - is the fact that Erotique comes off as an authentic store instead of some typical lingerie/sex shop that some silly virgin will inherit in a Brava novel. Which is to say, the descriptions of some of the items here make them come off as actual and real items that one may actually come across in a sex museum instead of something for the heroine to blush and shriek silly at.

    Erotique is a short story at 28 pages and the $2.00 cover price of the book reflects that. Yet within that short length, there is enough camaraderie and natural banter between Mandy and Bruce to suggest that they'll be alright in the future. The sex scenes here are pretty spicy as well. This book therefore makes a pretty entertaining short and sexy read if you can overlook the Return Of The Living Dead cover.

    Rating: 81


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