Aunt Penelope’s Harem by Chris Tanglen is an ebook published by Ellora’s Cave. This is a sexy romantic comedy despite whatever else the cover may imply and it’s a good one, too.
This purchase was an impulsive one. I’d read this author before (A Third Party). In that book, the story was about a woman whose boyfriend decides to act on her fantasy of sleeping with two men at once as a birthday gift.
So the two of them begin looking for their third and the funniest, laugh out loud parts of the book were the scenes showing them how they began their search as neither one had any experience with this and it was rather interesting, watching them go through the motions. Very funny ebook. I hadn’t read anything by this author since that book.
Now onto Aunt Penelope’s Harem. I know the title seems to imply that the story is about a woman who has a harem and enjoys wild animal sex on a daily basis. Well, that would be partially correct. Like I said earlier, this is a romantic comedy. Let’s get right to the plot summary. Melanie Clover is single and a homebody which = boring. It doesn’t take readers long to ascertain that she doesn’t have much of a social life. In her cramped single story apartment, her noisy neighbors have wild, passionate sex while she occupies her time with video games, like trying to reach the championship round in Milton Monkey’s Banana Quest.
Life throws her another curve ball. When she returns to work, Melanie discovers that she is the only one there. Did she miss a meeting? Well, no, not exactly. All of her co-workers have resigned after winning the lottery. Split twelve ways. Melanie never contributed to the pot and now she’s the only employee left. To cap it off, her boss asks for overtime while he copes with the loss of his entire staff.
Good news comes in the form of a death in the family (horrible way to say it, I know). Melanie’s aunt, Penelope Carlson, passes away. Melanie attends the funeral and learns that she has inherited money and a mansion and her cousin’s wrath (more on that later). She also learns that her 46 year old aunt enjoyed life to the fullest and kept a harem of 8 buff guys who are all 20 years her junior, to cater to her every whim. When Melanie learns that she has inherited a harem, she finds it revolting and asks the guys to leave. But then she is persuaded by her best friend, Dawn, to not be so hasty and invites her best friend down for vacation and the women let loose and have fun.
Out of the eight guys, Melanie is attracted and drawn to Carl. Although he doesn’t mind giving her pleasure along with the other guys, he demurs when she tries to reciprocate in public. It’s clear that Carl and Melanie have developed feelings for each other and that Carl privately wants her for himself. They have nice chemistry which tended to come off as tame despite the licking and sucking going on. I wanted the chemistry to be smoking hot and it may well be for you but it didn’t come off like that for me. The conflict between the couple revolves around Carl’s profession of being a paid sex slave. Melanie has doubts that he actually feels anything for her and is warned away from making their relationship permanent. Let’s not beat around the bush here, he is a paid sex slave which = a sure thing.
So while all of the occupants of the mansion are enjoying themselves and enjoying life and having fun, Melanie’s cousin, Gretchen, who makes a brief first appearance at the start, is the villain of the story. Let’s cut to the chase, Gretchen is a bitch. She feels slighted and her million dollar inheritance wasn’t enough to satisfy her. She wants the mansion and will use blackmail to get the deed done, too. She has an accomplice but then that felt forced.
This (male) author seems to write women’s fantasies fairly well. The dialogue is excellent as is the pacing of the story. I liked how Melanie transformed from this closed off homebody to someone who slowly started to come out of her shell. As short as this story was, the change was surprisingly believable. I skimmed and half-read most of the sex scenes in here. There’s only so much sucking and licking I can read. There are quite a few laugh out loud scenes in here. My favorite scenes included the losers Melanie’s best friend sets her up with her on her blind dates at the start of the story and the spontaneous outdoor activities and camaraderie that develops between Melanie and men.
Does this story work as a romance? I think it does and it was satisfactory, too. The only criticisms of the story would be the predictable outcome accompanied by a predictable villain because I had a funny feeling that we wouldn’t see the last of Gretchen. The epilogue was nice. Anyway, I really do need to read more from this talented author because this was such a fun read. B. The price of this ebook is screech worthy for such a short novel (topped off at 202 pages on my reader). Is it worth it? Can’t decide that for you. All I know is that I enjoyed this story and am not at all regretful of the price I paid for it, too. B. FYI, you can read an excerpt at the website and it’s only available in ebook (unless someone says differently).