"A book club's first erotic read!"
Reviewed by Annie Tegelan
Posted October 19, 2012
Romance Erotica Sensual
I like the concept of this book -- a group of girlfriends
gather together for a book club. But lately the choice of
reading material has bored many of the members. This time,
the curious girls try their first historical erotica called
The Sexual Education of Lady Emma Whitehead to liven things
up a bit.
As they read, it would seem that marketing executive
Georgia Malone can identify with the main character.
Georgia has never felt intense passion even though she was
once happily married. Sex has never made her feel
enlivened, but on her latest campaign, her client, hockey
star Woody Hanrahan has stirred her repressed libido to a
I was intrigued by the premise of this book, but
unfortunately, it failed to hold my interest. Though the
writing is flowing and easy-to-read, I found that the
heroine, Georgia was difficult to like. She is uptight and
very serious and has never had an orgasm before. In this
new endorsement deal with the sexy hockey player, Georgia
seemed very judgemental and very uninformed about hockey.
This made it hard to really believe that she is a marketing
executive who is in charge of the entire campaign. One
would think she would do her research beforehand.
Furthermore, she delved into way too many stereotypes
concerning hockey that made it hard for me to relate to her.
Woody and Georgia jump right into the sex after meeting
each other for five minutes. This is hard to believe since
until then, Georgia was portrayed as a very uptight,
serious person. However, Fox does pen some intensely hot
sex scenes in this book. I would have just liked to see
them unfold under more believable circumstances. I also
very much enjoyed the interaction with the group of girls
and also the excerpts from the erotic book. More of this
would have perhaps made me enjoy this book a little more.
Unfortunately, I was not impressed by the characters in
this particular book but will give Fox another try and am
hopeful that she will persuade me to keep reading with the
next book I try.
Every woman who joined the book club expected to expand
their literary horizons. But when they stop reading the
classics and start exploring the steamy side of fiction,
they discover just how much fun reading can be…
When the book club makes their first erotic selection The
Sexual Education of Lady Emma Whitehead, marketing executive
Georgia Malone is surprised to find herself identifying with
the main character. Like Emma, Georgia is a widow who has
never truly experienced the joys of sex. But when she meets
the spokesman for her newest campaign, Georgia’s long-buried
libido is awakened.
Hockey star Woody Hanrahan is charming and cocky—the sort of
man Georgia usually avoids. But while her mind is saying
stay away, Georgia’s body is telling her to give in every
time Woody comes near. Now as her book club explores the
tantalizing extremes of fiction, Georgia is experiencing
first hand, and for the first time, the real pleasures of
the flesh, and fulfilling the desires that—chapter by
chapter—are getting delightfully dirty. Woody is hers to
command in a hundred deliciously wicked ways, but when it
comes to writing her own happy ending, this dirty girl
doesn’t just need his body—she wants his heart.
"It took me a while to get into it; then I was hooked."
Georgia Malone touched the cover of the trade paperback
lying in the middle of the book club's table at Rogue, a
trendy restaurant/bar near Vancouver's downtown harbor.
It was just after four thirty on a warm May afternoon.
The four club members had settled at an outside table and
ordered drinks and appies.
"The characters came to feel like friends," Georgia
added. "I like books that take me on an emotional journey."
Lily, who had selected this month's book, said, "I
enjoyed it too. Such beautiful writing."
Marielle gave a snort of disgust and shook back a
curtain of wavy dark brown hair. "You mean pretentious.
Masturbatory writing, where the writer's only stroking his
own ego and doesn't give a damn about the reader."
"Aw, come on, tell us what you really think." Kim's
near–black eyes danced.
"It won the Man Booker." Lily defended her choice, and
Georgia nodded in support.
In the three months the club had been meeting, it had
quickly become clear that the four of them were quite
different. That made for stimulating discussions, which was
what Georgia had hoped for when she responded to the "Want
to create a book club?" notice posted by Marielle at a
downtown coffee shop. Though Georgia loved her job in
marketing, the fast pace and hype meant that these chats
over appies and drinks were a welcome break. The four busy
women had decided that rather than commit to a whole
evening each month, they'd meet Mondays for a quick
get–together between the end of the workday and
whatever they had planned for the evening.
"I don't know what the Man Booker is," Kim said, "but it
sounds pretentious too." An art student from China, her
spiky black hair streaked with tangerine highlights, she
looked anything but pretentious.
Lily frowned and tucked a breeze–blown wisp of
short, stylishly cut blond hair behind her ear. "You didn't
like the book either?"
Kim shrugged. "I couldn't get into it. It was dense, too
literary, and depressing. I'm so not in the mood for being
depressed." Although mostly the women talked about the book
they'd chosen for the month, personal information
occasionally slipped out, and Georgia had the impression
things weren't going well with Kim and her boyfriend.
A ponytailed waitress in jeans arrived with calamari and
yam fries to share, and drinks for each of them: a martini
for Lily, a fruity cocktail for Marielle, a fancy lager for
Kim, and a cup of coffee for Georgia. "Sure you only want
coffee?" the waitress asked.
Georgia nodded. "I have to work tonight."
"Bummer, George," Marielle said. Two or three years
younger than Georgia, she worked as a temp and her social
life was her top priority.
"No, it's good. A new assignment, and I'm excited." Her
boss at Dynamic Marketing had just appointed her, not her
competition, Harry, as account manager on a major new
campaign. She'd worked her butt off to win this opportunity.
The initial meeting with the client was tomorrow
afternoon, and she had meetings all Tuesday morning, so
that left only this evening to prepare. The client,
VitalSport, was an American company that manufactured
sports and leisure wear and equipment and was about to
expand into the Canadian market. Her boss, Billy Daniels,
had recommended a figurehead campaign. The
figurehead—a Canadian hockey star—had just been
signed. Billy had given her a video of an interview with
the man and said, rather ominously, that he hoped she was
up for a challenge.
Of course she was, and she was happy to put in a long
night of preparation. At least she could work at home,
where she could peel off her tailored office clothes, free
her hair from its businesslike knot, and curl up with her
Marielle took a healthy sip of her cocktail,
said, "Yum," then, "I agree. The book was depressing."
"Is there a rule that says a book club can't ever read
anything fun?" Kim asked.
"Exactly," Marielle agreed. Then, her attractive
coffee–colored face lighting with mischief, she
said, "Or sexy. What's wrong with sexy? I just started a
cool book." She reached into her large purse, extracted her
iPad, and clicked it on.
A moment later, she turned it around. "Here."
The other three of them peered at the image. "You're not
serious," Georgia said. The cover had all the romantic
clichés. A blond woman with flowing locks, clad in a lacy,
old–fashioned undergarment, was being untied down the
front by a black–haired man, naked to the waist, his
rippling muscles on full display.
"The Sexual Education of Lady Emma Whitehead," Kim read
the title. "Now, that looks like fun."
"It's historical erotica," Marielle said. "Lady Emma's a
twenty–year–old widow. Her husband was an old
guy who sucked in bed. Her father arranged the marriage.
Emma didn't love the dude, but at least she had some kind
of life. Now she's supposed to be in mourning, she's
running out of money, and no handsome, sexy young guy's
likely to marry her when he could get a lovely young virgin
with a dowry."
"Groan," Lily, the only married member of the club, said.
Georgia could relate to Emma, at least a bit. She was a
young widow too, though in her case her husband had been
her soul mate. She'd married at age twenty–one and
lost Anthony in a horrible car accident—one she'd
survived almost injury–free—before she turned
twenty–five. In the three years since, she'd learned
to be happy living alone. From what she'd seen, few
marriages were as wonderful as hers had been. A man like
Anthony—and a connection so deep and
special—was a rare thing. Maybe one day, if she was
lucky, she'd find another soul mate, but she couldn't
imagine it happening soon. For now, she'd focus her energy
on her career. And, like Lady Emma, she'd be celibate. Sex
without an emotional connection didn't attract her in the
Marielle continued. "A married girlfriend invites Emma
to spend a month at her husband's family's country home,
and she's thrilled to escape her boring rut. The first
evening she's there, the family entertains friends and
neighbors for a musical gathering. Emma discovers that
there's another houseguest." She clicked her iPad.
"Don't stop there," Kim said.
"No way. But it's better if I read it."
Emma was late arriving downstairs due to the maid's
insistence on ridding her demure gray widow's weeds of
their travel creases. She entered the noisy, crowded music
room nervously, unused to being alone at a social
gathering, and gazed about for her friend and hostess.
Margaret, Lady Edgerton, sat talking with two
middle–aged women, and Emma hurried to join them.
Marielle's normal speaking voice had a slight Caribbean
lilt and it was fun to hear her attempt an English accent.
Once seated, she surveyed the room. A group of pretty
young girls gathered in a corner, and with their fluting
voices, silvery laughter, and colorful dresses, they
reminded her of a flock of tropical birds. What had
captured their interest?
The crowd parted and a black–haired man walked
from among them. Emma's breath caught in her throat as the
man strolled over to speak to Lord Edgerton, Margaret's
husband, with the flock of chattering girls trailing him.
Emma could understand their fascination. This was no
conventional English gentleman. There was a . . . je ne
sais quoi . . . about him, from his stylishly cut
Continental clothing, almost indecent in staid old England,
to the cocky tilt of his head and his persuasive smile as
he spoke to his host.
Lord Edgerton nodded, and moved away purposefully.
Sipping her coffee, Georgia thought that Woody Hanrahan,
the hockey player she'd be dealing with, likely had little
in common with the je–ne–sais–quoi man in
the book. Hockey was big in Vancouver, but the appeal
totally escaped her. She didn't know one hockey player from
another, so she'd studied the biography Billy had given her.
Woody—Woodrow—Hanrahan was born in a small
town in Manitoba twenty–eight years ago. He'd played
hockey from a young age and been mentored by a friend's
father, who became his agent. Woody had been drafted into
the NHL at age seventeen by the Atlanta Thrashers.
Vancouver had traded for him seven years ago and, along
with a couple of other players, he was credited for turning
a second–rate team into one that had won the Stanley
Cup four years ago and lost out by a single goal last year.
This was his third season as team captain. He'd also played
on the gold–medal–winning Team Canada in the
It all sounded relatively impressive—if athletes
impressed you—but Billy had warned her that she'd
need to transform a sow's ear into a silk purse. Obviously
there was more—or less—to Mr. Hanrahan than
appeared in his bio.
Realizing she'd become distracted by thoughts of work,
Georgia focused again on what Marielle was reading.
The cosmopolitan man gazed about the room, a sparkle in
his dark eyes as he glanced past the pretty girls, on to a
group of men rather loudly discussing politics in the
corner, and then to Margaret, the two middle–aged
ladies, and Emma.
For a moment, his eyes met hers. She felt something
extraordinarily disconcerting: a quick flush of heat, not
just in her cheeks but all through her body; tingly
prickles across her skin as if someone had stroked her with
a feather; a pulse that throbbed in her throat, at her
wrists, and—oh my!—at that secret feminine
place between her legs.
The man's gaze moved on, leaving her hot, prickly, and
throbbing. Oh dear, was she coming down with an illness?
And yet, she didn't feel ill, exactly. More . . . unsettled.
"Oh, good God," Lily broke in, rolling her
"No, it's just getting good," Kim said. "Go on,
Marielle. You can't leave us hanging here."
Marielle grinned. "I told you her husband sucked in bed,
right? The poor woman's never had an orgasm, and she
doesn't even recognize arousal."
Georgia focused on the yam fry she'd lifted to her
mouth, not daring to look at the others. Though she'd loved
Anthony with all her heart, and intercourse with him had
been emotional and wonderful, the truth was she'd never had
an orgasm either. Nor was she all that familiar with
arousal, or at least not the purely physical kind Marielle
was talking about. For Georgia, sex was about an intimate
sharing of heart, mind, body, and soul with a man she'd
committed her life to and who had committed his to her.
Though she'd dated a couple of men since Anthony died,
she'd quickly realized there was no real connection and had
broken things off.
She was glad she wasn't a very sexual being. Celibacy
Marielle began to read again.
Margaret leaned over and whispered to Emma, "That, my
dear, is Comte Alexandre de Vergennes from France. He will
be staying here too. He arrived this afternoon, while you
were resting after your journey."
"I didn't know there was to be another guest."
"Nor did I," Margaret said tartly. "I am not best
pleased, but in this I will bow to my husband's wishes.
They are old friends, although I cannot imagine why. The
Comte is, to use the most polite word available, a rake."
Emma's mouth opened in a silent "O."
Margaret's lips kinked up and her eyes sparkled. "I must
tell you the most delicious secret. The Comte was caught in
the bedchamber of a married woman. Her outraged husband
challenged him to a duel, and instead of doing the manly
thing and fighting, the Comte fled the country. He sought
refuge with my husband."
Across the room, bottles of champagne had arrived and
were being opened. The Comte, usurping the role of host,
handed glasses to the colorful young ladies. "He is making
free with your husband's hospitality," Emma commented.
"Actually, he brought the champagne with him. Cases of
Margaret tsked as bright laughter rang out. "I see it
will be my task to ensure that none of our innocent
maids—or," she added as two young married women
headed over to join the fun, "married ladies—fall for
the Comte's charms and jeopardize their reputations."
"Surely no one would be so foolish." Charm was such a
Besides, there wasn't the slightest chance the Comte
would wield that charm on her, a drab widow.
Marielle stopped reading. "You know they'll end up in
bed. Won't it be fun seeing how they get there, and what
happens when they do?"
"I vote for this book," Kim said promptly.
"I vote against," Lily said. A doctor, she could put on
a brisk "I have spoken" tone.
It didn't daunt Marielle. "We went along with your last
choice. I say it's time to get dirty, girls."
"Oh, for heaven's sake," Lily said. "George, back me up."
"Let's read it." The words just popped out.
"Hurray! Three votes win," Marielle said. "Thanks,
"Now," Lily said sternly, "can we please get back to
discussing this month's book, before we run out of time?"
As the blonde rattled off what sounded like a review
from a literary journal, Georgia wondered at her own quick
agreement with Marielle's choice. Historical erotica? She'd
never felt the slightest desire to read erotica. Yet the
short passage had intrigued her. It might be fun to read
something that was such a complete departure from her
Off balance—literally, since the one–inch
heel of her sensible pumps had snapped off in a sewer grate
five blocks away—Georgia opened the door to one of
Dynamic Marketing's conference rooms early Tuesday
afternoon. She stepped inside to see a good six and a half
feet of naked male back.
Back, and backside. Naked backside. Naked,
extraordinarily well–muscled back. And a tight, taut,
Well, all right, not entirely naked. She noted a
thin "T" of black fabric. What self–respecting
heterosexual man wears a thong?
No, wait. Shouldn't the question be, Why am I gaping at
a near–naked man when I've obviously entered the
wrong room? She should be retreating quietly and sliding
the door shut before anyone noticed her.
She was about to do exactly that when the naked giant
said, "No straight dude's gonna wear a fucking thong. I
didn't fucking sign on for this."
"Woody," a much calmer male voice started, in a
placating tone, "now, just—"
"Woody?" Georgia exclaimed. This was
"George?" That was her boss, Billy Daniels's, voice. She
hadn't even noticed he was in the room.
"George?" the naked man said.
She was dimly aware of the calm–voiced man,
someone she didn't know, joking, "Is there an echo in
here?" But only dimly aware, because the giant had swung to
Her eyes widened. He was leaner than she'd thought a
hockey player would be, but oh, my, did he have muscles.
Shoulders, arms, torso, legs. Abs.
Her gaze traveled south and fixed on the front pouch of
that skimpy black thong. She had never, not in ads or
movies much less real life, seen a man who filled out his
underwear so impressively.
The giant crossed powerful–looking arms across his
broad chest. "Who's George?"
"I'm George." Her voice came out breathy because, let's
face it, the sight of him had stolen her breath. She forced
air into her lungs and went on. "It's a nickname. I'm
Holding her hand out to offer a firm handshake, she
stepped forward, forgetting that her right heel was no
longer there. Her ankle wobbled, her knee buckled, her
briefcase slipped, and she tumbled ignominiously toward the
floor—only to be caught by one large, firm hand
grasping her elbow.
"You're a woman," he said disbelievingly.
Woody Hanrahan no doubt intended to steady her. Instead,
her heart jerked and her pulse raced like she'd been zapped
by an electrified fence. Or a Taser.
Except, the heat that rushed through her, the tingles
that darted across her skin, the pulse that throbbed at
every pulse point, felt incredibly good, in a way she'd
never experienced before, yet somehow recognized. Why did
she— Oh, there'd been a similar description in the
passage Marielle had read yesterday.
"George, are you all right?" Her boss's voice was sharp.
"Yes, of course." She answered automatically, belatedly
realizing she was mere inches from that six and a half feet
of muscled nakedness. From that black pouch, its skimpy
fabric doing its best to contain all the masculinity inside.
His package. That was one of the less crude terms people
used for male genitals. A package, wrapped in
black—was that silk?—and just begging to be
No, wait—what was she thinking? Georgia Malone,
the girl who had, without a moment's hesitation, sworn
chastity vows as a teen, did not think about unwrapping
men's private parts. Not unless there was a wedding night
involved, which wasn't likely to happen anytime
soon—and less likely with this guy than with any
other she'd ever met.
"Should get that shoe fixed," Woody said.
"Right." Striving to find her balance—in all
meanings of that word—she stepped away from him. "And
I apologize for being late. I left my last meeting a few
blocks away, and that's when my heel snapped off." She
hated to look unprofessional. This marketing campaign, her
first as account manager, was a critical step on the path
to her ultimate career goal: to have enough clout to choose
the campaigns she worked on, or to set up her own agency.
While she loved putting all her expertise and energy behind
products she believed in, a few campaigns had made her feel
like a snake oil saleswoman.
She set down her briefcase. "Let's try this again. My
name is Georgia Malone, and as Mr. Hanrahan so astutely
observed, I'm a woman." She limp–walked, trying for
as steady a gait as possible, toward the third man in the
room. "You'd be Marco Sanducci of VitalSport?"
"Indeed. A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Malone."
They shook hands. While her boss, Billy, was
mid–thirties and metrosexual, this man was perhaps a
decade older and more casual in appearance. He looked fit,
vigorous, and attractive with silver–streaked black
hair, tanned skin, and the right kind of wrinkles around
his eyes and mouth. He wore nicely tailored pants, a sports
jacket, and a blue shirt open at the neck, no doubt
VitalSport designs. As a visual symbol for his company, he
made a great impression. Pity he wasn't the person the
campaign would center around.
She forced herself to turn back to Woody, and finally
studied his face. Yes, she saw a resemblance to the video
clip Billy'd given her of an interview between the periods
of a hockey game. Except, in it, Woody's hair was stringy
with sweat, his face flushed and angry, and his eyes
slitted as he spat out obscenities that challenged the
censor's bleeper. As the crowning touch, a slash high on
one cheek dripped blood down his face.
Now his mahogany hair was clean and glossy, his face
sculpted, and his eyes the deep blue of a lake in summer.
The slightly crooked nose and a scar cutting one
cheekbone—from that same slash?—saved him from
being a pretty boy. His hair needed styling and the
overgrown beard had to go, but he could be made to look
good in an ad. That was a relief.
Billy's market research indicated that Woody was not
only Canada's favorite hockey star, but one of the
country's most recognizable athletes. Recognizable even
though, unlike many players, he'd stayed out of the media
limelight and he hadn't done product endorsements. Snagging
him for the VitalSport campaign was a coup.
Briefly, she wondered why Woody had signed. Hockey
players made an obscene amount of money. Did he really want
more? Had staying out of the limelight been a ploy to win
him even bigger bucks when he finally agreed to an
endorsement? She shook her head. Motivation didn't matter.
He'd signed and he was locked in.
And she was the account manager and this was supposed to
be her meeting. A meeting, so what was the hockey star
doing in his Skivvies?
"Gentlemen," she said crisply, "I understood this was to
be an initial discussion of the marketing campaign for
VitalSport's Canadian launch." She raised her brows in
Woody's direction. "I assume there's an explanation for
your state of undress."
"Not a fucking good one," he grumbled.
Trying not to look below his neck again—the view
was too distracting, and the fact that it was distracting
annoyed her—she said, "Perhaps you'd like to get
dressed; then we can discuss the explanation, or lack
"First good idea I've heard." He hooked his hands in the
sides of the thong as if . . .
Oh my God, he was going to take it off! "Stop!" She
raised both hands, almost losing her balance again.
He grinned. It was a thoroughly wicked, extremely sexy
grin. "Got a problem with nudity? You wouldn't survive in
the locker room."
She frowned. "No, I do not have a problem with nudity,
in appropriate circumstances." Like between two people who
were in love. "And why on earth would I want to be in the
He snorted. "Right. A lesbian. George. Figures."
It wasn't the first time her nickname and tailored style
had led to that assumption. Her sexual orientation, like
her gender, was irrelevant in the workplace, so she didn't
bother to correct him.
Also ignoring Woody's comment, Marco Sanducci
explained, "Journalists visit the locker room. Sports
reporters. Women as well as men."
"Oh." Women mingled with a whole team full of men like
Woody, in various states of undress? The thought struck her
that her mother'd be in seventh heaven. But Georgia was
nothing like Bernadette. In fact, they had a standing
joke—one neither of them found very funny—that
she must have been swapped at birth.
"I'll turn around while you get dressed, Mr. Hanrahan.
Let me know when you're decent."
She was about to turn when laughter, in three different
male tones, stopped her. Fine, that hadn't been the
smartest thing to say. Her brief research had told her
that "decent" wasn't a word typically used to describe
Woody. On the ice, he was a forward, captain of his team,
and known not only for high scoring and being a good team
player, but for collecting penalties and never backing off
from a fight. Off the ice, he had the reputation of
being "forward" too—in other words, he was a player
in a whole other sense of the word.
Woody picked up a ratty hockey jersey with the logo of
his Vancouver team, but, rather than pull it over his head,
he stood there, holding it. Like he was thinking about
something—and thinking was a painful process.
It dawned on her that she'd seen a lot of those
chocolate–and–caramel jerseys on the streets of
Vancouver recently, but she'd never paid particular
attention. Now she studied the stylized logo: a little
brown creature up on its back legs, with a big tail, bright
eyes, and two huge front teeth.
For her first solo campaign, she had to transform a man
named Woody, who was captain of a team called the Beavers.
Life just wasn't cutting her a break.
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