Breath on Embers

Breath on Embers - Anne Calhoun A lovely, evocative title for a lovely, evocative novella. After losing her husband two years ago, Thea has deadened her feelings by moving to bustling, impersonal New York, blasting music at all times, and having hot sex with hunky Ronan. As a New York firefighter, Ronan has suffered his share of grief; his goal isn't to make Thea forget, but to show her that life is still worth living.Erotica with a Christmas setting often aims for a "naughty" vibe, and this erotic novella certainly contains elements that could be very raunchy: Thea showing up unexpectedly in a Santa'a Helper outfit to deliver a blowjob, sex in a store changing room (I had to seriously suspend belief for that one), a threesome. But during the sex scenes or out of them, the emphasis is always on the sensual: the feel of soft materials against the skin, the synergistic chemistry that makes a bland dough into something delicious on the tongue, the glow of candles driving back the darkness. I have very fond memories of New York, so I particularly enjoyed the setting, and the way it contributed to Thea's journey. Christmas is also very much a part of the story. At Thea's lowest point, she witnesses buskers singing carols, and is given a candle. "'Pass it along, folks,' the skinny kid who sang bass said. 'It's almost the darkest night of the year. Pass the light. We all gotta pass the light, you know?'" It's a message she needs to hear.(reviewed from e-arc provided by netGalley)