cover image Femme Tales

Femme Tales

Anne Shade. Bold Strokes, $16.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-63555-657-5

Shade (Deepest Desire) twines together three sensual novellas, each based on a classic fairy tale and centering black lesbian love. “Beast” sees Ebony “The Beast” Trent—a former hip-hop star turned music producer with a reputation as a tough, intimidating womanizer—fall for her mother-figure’s take-no-nonsense live-in nurse, who refuses to be cowed by Ebony’s prickly exterior. Both women’s tempers run hot but their chemistry is just as combustible, making for a fast-paced, steamy love story. “Awaken,” the collection’s weakest entry, focuses on Ebony’s best friend, Harlem chef Chayse Carmichael, whose crush on one of her regulars, Serena, takes an unexpected turn when she learns the woman has been attacked and fallen into a coma. Frequent visits to the hospital bond Chayse with Serena’s family long before the women can develop a strong connection themselves, making it difficult to believe their instant love when Serena wakes up. In “Stiletto,” Ebony’s business partner, Cass Phillips, takes a forced vacation to the Caribbean where she meets shoe designer Faith, who is there to scatter her mother’s ashes and evade her con artist stepfather. The women instantly connect, but a misunderstanding following a passionate night together leads Faith to flee, leaving behind only a pair of red stilettos. The fairy tale connections put a fun, creative spin on these quick outings. Readers looking for sweet and spicy lesbian romance will be pleased. (Mar.)