Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thursday Thirteen - 53 - 13 Reasons to Read Dance of the Plain Jane by Lillian Feisty

I just realized that this 53rd Thursday Thirteen means I've been doing this meme for a full year now. I adore Thursday Thirteen. I really enjoy working on every one of them. For Christmas my cousin gave my husband a Thursday Thirteen hoodie which he loves and wears all the time. And I got a T13 hat and mug. T13 all the way, baby.

Continuing with my e-book review series, today I'm showcasing Lillian Feisty, a fellow blogger. I always enjoy her sassy commentary. And check out her site graphic.

Last year she held an unannounced movie quote contest on her blog, and lucky me! I won a copy of an anthology she appears in, Seasons of Seduction I. Besides her own blog, Ms. Feisty is part of a group blog called Naughty and Spice.

1 - Dance of the Plain Jane is Ms. Feisty's story in a collection of six sizzling tales in the first of the Ellora's Cavemen series.

2 - The other stories in the anthology are:
Her Lance-Alot by Delilah Devlin
Club Vamp by Allyson James
Choosing Madison by Sherrill Quinn
Come Howling by Denise Rossetti
Lyrael's Sacrifice by Jory Strong

3 - Dance of the Plain Jane is a contemporary story taking place in San Diego, California. The hero is Michael Sky, a Navy SEAL who heads out for some chow at the Bombay Cafe with the guys. Between bites of Tandoori chicken he gets an eyeful of the belly dancer performing for the patrons.

4 - We meet Jane Holliday, 9-to-5 engineer by day, seductive belly dancer by night. She's had a crush on the hottie from her neighborhood for awhile now, watching him from across the coffee shop and wishing she could get up the nerve to speak to him. And now here he is in the restaurant where she dances. Tonight, she's dancing just for him, no matter how many other patrons fill the room.

5 - Ms. Feisty plays around with the reality of fantasies in this story. For Jane, Michael has been her object of unrequited desire, and now here he is in the flesh. Ms. Feisty has a knack for starting a scene as longed-for wish fulfilment, only to have it unravel into awkward reality. This puts a sardonic spin on 'careful what you wish for.'

6 - Michael's attraction to Jane makes him all the more desirable to me as a reader. What average woman wouldn't want an Adonis to flip his gourd over her? He's somewhat confused as to why he's so smitten for a woman who's not even his type. That makes his pursuit of her all the more arousing - especially when he just has to have her.

7 - Dance of the Plain Jane is a delightfully hot erotic short novella. What Ms. Feisty does so well is include wry character introspection even during the scorchy encounters. Jane's POV is filled with her impatience at being 'plain'. Her character is almost ready to believe that Plain Janes deserve to have fun, too.

8 - The short novella length keeps the plot moving, yet Ms. Feisty's world is so solid, I couldn't help wishing it was a full-length novel. Jane's relationship with her friend Abby is so well-drawn, I wish we could have spent more time with the two of them. Plain Janes usually have a beauty or two lurking about in their social networks. For Jane this is Abby, but there's no rivalry in Jane's heart for her friend. Abby is supportive and loving, and their scenes together keep the dream-come-true story grounded.

9 - The erotic aspects of this short novella propel the character development for both Jane and Michael. Jane goes to places that have been only fantasy to her as Michael pushes her boundaries, forcing the Plain Jane to be the woman he saw inside her when she danced. Jane acts as an opposite force for Michael. She makes him rethink his globetrotting job, his nomadic existence. For Michael, her siren song is home.

10 - Ms. Feisty really knows how to end each chapter with a hook. Like this, for example:

" 'You were working me out there. You had me so hard I almost lost control in front of a roomful of strangers, not to mention my team.'

Jane smiled to herself. 'I'm sorry.'

'No you're not.' He stopped pacing and placed himself directly in front of her. 'But you're gonna be.'

With a hand on each knee he opened her up and stepped between her legs. 'What's your name, anyway?'


Slowly, he lowered his mouth to hers. She waited for a forceful kiss, but instead he brushed his warm lips against hers, and when she leaned forward, frustrated and needing something more, he pulled back.

'Well, Jane,' he said with just a hint of a smile. 'It's time you got a dose of your own medicine.' "

11 - Ms. Feisty has strong POV voices for her hero and heroine. Jane's Everywoman persona is very accessible. When the story switches to Michael, his masculine voice is pronounced. I feel closer to Jane, however, whose doubts and insecurities are balanced by a newfound boldness she's developed along with her belly dancing.

12 - Jane's sexual fantasies - like anyone's fantasies - are comfortable because the fictional partner fulfills every need. When Michael volunteers to bring her fantasies to life, the tension level shoots way up. He's shown us what sort of man he is, commanding and accustomed to success. Is this the person with whom she should place herself in so vulnerable a position?

13 - I leave you with an excerpt. Enjoy!

" 'Oh, sweetie, what happened?'

Jane's eyes began to burn.

'Another obnoxious jerk at the restaurant?'

She sniffed. 'Yes.'

Abby put an arm around her shoulder. 'Come upstairs, tell me what happened and I'll fix you a drink. Have you eaten?'

Jane smiled. For all Abby's bombshell looks she was really an Italian mama at heart, and twenty minutes later Jane was seated at Abby's pink kitchen table, drinking Cosmopolitans and eating leftover lasagna.

'Can you please tell me what's wrong with me?' Jane whined after she had relayed the story to Abby. Well, most of it, anyway.

She refilled Jane's glass. 'Nothing is wrong with you.'

'We were just about to have sex and then he takes a phone call!'

'That is slightly strange.'

'Oh my God!' Jane slammed her glass onto the table. 'I know!'

'You know what?'

'I know why he took off.'

'You do?'

'It was my ass!'

'Your ass.'

'Yes. He had me bent over the table, with my butt in the air and when he saw how fat it is he booked it right out of there.'

Abby held up her hand. 'Whoa, sister. You had your ass in the air?'

Jane traced a line on the table. 'Mmm.'

'You naughty thing! Was he going to spank you?'

She took another healthy gulp of her cocktail. 'I'll never know, will I?'

Abby sighed. 'Jane. I'm sure he had an important reason for leaving.'

'It certainly was an
immense reason.'

'It was?'

'Yes. My ass.' "

- Lillian Feisty, 2007

I've had fun with my book review series of Thursday Thirteens, featuring Gabriella Hewitt, Renee Field, Stella MacLean, Christine d'Abo, Red Garnier and Lillian Feisty. I'll be posting a review for You Had Me at Halo by Amanda Ashby in two weeks, on May 15th.

Next week I've got an application deadline to make, so I'll have a romantic couples Thursday Thirteen for next week. Happy reading!