In fact, as luck would have it, it was while I was catching a few Z's behind the row of recycling bins that an erotic windfall would fall my way. Just as I thought my erotic adventures had tapered off to barely a trickle, much like an elderly fellow with prostate trouble trying to urinate in a public bathroom, a loud bang, like someone dropping something very heavy (a toaster oven? a body? a pair of roller skates? a fetal pig? a partial set of Encyclopedia Britannica bought on impulse from a deal offered at the supermarket), awoke me from my slumber. I waited for the fading footsteps before I crept from my sleepy hideaway and checked the recycling bin where the noise had come from. Well, the gods of eroticism had decided to shine down on me that day for lo and behold, there in the bin was a bagful of Harlequin Romance novels, a few racy covers facing up at me in all their lurid glory. Obviously, if my erotic encounters had to be curtailed, at least until my boss forgot my previous and, may I say completely misunderstood indiscretions with the more-than-willing love-starved tenants, I could feed my sensual appetite with these novels until I was back in business again. So without further ado, I commence with my first book review for these erotic journals, as I cast my critical and randy eye upon this book that I've never read.
The Dimitrakos PropositionFirst off, I'm a sucker for a foreign name. Stick that name in the title of a novel and you've got a captive reader, even if I do fall asleep halfway through the first page. Nevertheless, the title of this book insinuates intrigue, exotic locales and yes, propositions, although what kind of propositions remain a mystery, even after I didn't finish this book and in fact, dropped it in the bathtub a couple of times. Nevertheless, there are plenty of nefarious and erotic plot lines to sink your dentures into and it all begins with the rich international industrialist, Fred Dimitrakos. Born of a wealthy Greek family who, thanks to his great-grandfather, Norbert Dimitrakos, cornered the market in the frozen spanakopita business and nuclear missile guidance systems, Fred has everything a man could want, but does he, really? For Fred Dimitrakos is a deeply unhappy man. Hunkered down in his family compound on the island of Kitiakos, once the mustache-growing capital of the Mediterranean, Fred oversees the family business but his constant traveling has alienated his once-ravishing but now mole-covered wife, although she hides it well under her many layers of black cloaks, dresses, thick beard and kerchiefs. And when I'm talking moles I don't mean those pesky ones that dig up your lawn and turn your annual backyard barbeque into one never-ending series of lawsuits over broken ankles and bratwurst grease burns (even though the martinis and not the moles were probably more to blame), but those hideous brown and occasionally hair-sprouting spots that live only on unattended human skin. Add to the equation a hermaphrodite daughter and an ungrateful son whose only ambition is to be a dry cleaner/parrot breeder and who has a nasty habit of sniffing used vacuum cleaner bags while playing with his testicles and you can understand how Fred Dimitrakos is hungry for a new kind of love.
It is on one of his business trips to Paris that he meets the enigmatic and tempestuous Giselle, a raven-haired beauty with alluring crows-feet that bespeak both experience, wisdom, sensuality and too long between Botox treatments. They parry back and forth at a nuclear warhead and spinach pie business meeting (she is the heir to a nuclear warhead family fortune), and it's not long before the two of them are engaging in their own Last Tango in Paris but without the butter and the oinking. Instead it's goat bleating and feta cheese. And instead of a tango it's really more of a Watusi.
The author is quite adept in describing both the tumultuous feelings of the characters caught in their various conflicts and their subsequent fornicating although her prose leads one to believe they're making love rather than rutting like a couple of goats in deep mud watched by a group of men whose trousers haven't been washed since the Turks invented the ottoman. Take this passage for example:
"Oh," she said, in breathless surprise as he used his walking stick to trace the outer-edges of her black lace panties.
"Glyka mou," he commanded as the fires of hell burned through his loins. Her brazen dark golden eyes gazed up at him in anticipation as the liquid heat pooling between her thighs promised a soon unstoppable tide.
"I can't believe you want me again already," she murmured, the heat of her pelvis causing her to move on instinct alone. She felt no support for her buckling knees as her body hummed with an awareness that she found both disconcerting and exciting, like a hunter stalking a wary doe. But was she the hunter or was she the doe? More likely the doe since she had a better sense of smell but only time would tell.
"Yineka mou!" he barked. "Hot, hot, hot," he rasped, his long thick erection like a lance swaying slightly at the first sign of the gathering storm and then he fell upon her with scant ceremony and the voracious hiss of all-male satisfaction. Her glistening pink femininity lay fully exposed and she felt her nipples tightening much like the laces on a pair of shoes as you mount a long steep flight of stairs.
"Koukla hara mou!" he grunted, his hard-packed urgency pushing and stretching her inner sheath and she could feel him stiff and pulsing like an alien invasion in her pelvis region. She bit down on her knickers to stifle her screams and he loomed over her, his boxers stretched tightly over his manly face and jawline. They were both now flushed with the hunger of their flesh as she gripped and scratched the bronze satin of his broad back and he lifted his athletic hips to surge deeper into her depths until there was only fizzing fireworks of passion and then the shuddering groan of completion followed by a few spasmodic jerks, their eardrums thumping like an angry concierge who has just discovered that someone has peed in the bidet of a Tuscan villa while she was on duty.
Whew! You've got to hand it to author Lynne Graham for such spicy prose. It's enough to give you acid reflux and an orgasm simultaneously. I remember my last orgasm as if it were yesterday, instead of some twenty odd years ago with a darling girl named Mitzi, a bottle of Crème de menthe and a misplaced artificial leg behind an animal shelter where the throes of our passion were fortunately drowned out by the barking and mewling of despondent and unadoptable beasts. After we had found our "completion", albeit still fully clothed and me, inexplicably, with an empty and greasy KFC Family Meal bucket lodged on my head (such are the curious ways of love), we lay together gasping for air like two trout on a riverbank, freshly caught and slowly suffocating in the sunshine, gills pulsing with pleasure and pain, our heads resting on the polymer leg and I brought up a little in my mouth from acid reflux but it was a good bring up rich with nutrients and the scent of our lovemaking and not the kind that floods your mouth with unwanted and unforeseen stomach contents and minute particles of undigested food that lodge in your teeth. Still, I have few bones to pick with the author about some choices of words, uses of metaphors and similes and the unclear motivations behind some of the characters' actions.
Number one, I don't like the idea of the male organ described as a lance. Especially one that is swaying. In the old days of damsels and knights when lances were all the rage and you could catch a good jousting match on ESPN pretty much 24-7 (much like curling today), a knight who let his lance sway was in effect saying, go ahead, stick a pole in my guts and watch me twitch and bleed to death in the horse-dung peppered dust while the victor makes out with Lady Guinevere over my unspooled intestines. Well, that's not for me and I tend to think of my "lance" or "sword" (enough with this penis=weaponry imagery), as more of a wind sock, sensitive and attuned to whichever the way the wind blows, and thus picking up on erotic vibes, not to mention helping planes to land and take-off in busy airports around the world. It flaps, it flops, it stiffens, it sags, it's unpredictable, much like the weather and the act of love itself. If you don't have a wind sock for a penis then I feel sorry for you but will feel no sympathy when you're lying dead in the street, your "lance" now broken and your body being devoured by raccoons and/or hobos.
Secondly, what is this strange language that Dimitrakos is speaking? I know from my extensive language studies at the local doughnut shop that it certainly isn't Greek that he's grunting out in the heat of the moment. Is the author laying subtle clues for us about his real origins? The alien invasion that Giselle is feeling in her pelvis--could that signify an actual alien being mating with her and planting its alien seed in her womb in order to breed a new species and create a race of half human/half alien creatures that will be used for an intergalactic sex slave market? Is this why Dimitrakos is wearing his boxer shorts over his strong, handsome face--a camouflaging of his actual bulbous, pulsating and heavily-veined head? And if that's the case, I would've thrown in a few tentacles and barbed reproductive organs for a more realistic approach. All I can say is Lynne Graham, you better step up to the plate because leaving these questions unanswered will only turn your eager big league erotic reader into a meager neurotic minor leaguer with a dry mouth and flayed strips of hot dog skin glued to his pallid and concave chest in frustration. On this topic, if we're talking some kind of interplanetary sexcapades, then goddamnit, be a man (even if you are a woman romance writer) and just come out and bloody well say what the hell is going on. It would certainly spice up the novel a bit more instead of having the reader try to decipher these little innuendos that do nothing for the plot nor the erotic juices that should be free-flowing from the page to the eye and then from the eye to the groin. There's a chain of command here, Lynne Graham. Use it!
Finally, and I have to thank my friend, Ed Smeeley Jr., roofer, loving divorcee and life coach, for this insight and I quote, "What kind'a woman would want to get involved with a married guy who has a hermaphrodite daughter and a vacuum cleaner bag sniffing son. I mean those things aren't just everyday anomalies, they're in the family DNA. If the lovely lady in question has any hopes of a future with this Dimikakas fellow and might want a kid or two of her own to raise and help her to shave and sort buttons and boil chicken feet in her old age, she's gonna haft'a think twice before reproducing with this fool. Good chance their children will turn out to look like dust bunnies with multiple male and female sex parts not to mention hairy and/or lint-covered breasts that, I have to admit, wouldn't look too bad on a centaur, but that's not the point. I mean she'd want a kid you wouldn't be embarrassed about taking to school and, well, you show up with a dust bunny with horse's hooves and hairy tits and sporting a penis and a vagina, maybe even two or three, and some of them maybe even stuck to its hairball of a forehead and well, odds are there go your chances of being invited to the PTA casino night fundraiser in the gymnasium or the bridge tournament at the Sunshine Travel Lodge & Motel convention room where the first two drinks are free and if you're lucky, you might meet yourself a desirable little filly and spend the night 'cause there's ten percent off the $39.95 room for bridge tournament attendees." Ed Smeeley Jr., you are a genius is all I can say because where I was willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt to this already far-fetched plot line, good old Ed cleared up a few points with his astute comments and really called into question the whole frozen spanakopita, nuclear warhead, international industrialist and alien sex slave themes that the author bounces off one another as if they and the characters were on trampolines. If only Ms Graham had injected a little nude trampolining, well then, maybe we wouldn't be having this discussion.
I could go on and on about the further intrigues (and indignities) that this book spits out with all the finesse of a watermelon seed from a post three-hour root canal patient's mouth, but that would ruin it for you. Here are a few teasers though, sure to fuel the fire in the loins of your mind (mind loins, I call them), and guaranteed to tantalize your erotic yearnings, a kind of amuse-bouche for the taste buds of the groin. I don't want to give away the entire thing but Fred Dimitrakos, after considerable mating episodes with his mistress, finds that they are selling missile guidance systems and nuclear warheads to opposing countries. And one of those countries, to add insult to injury, also happens to despise spanakopita. Now there are two things you should never bring up during a dinner party or while fornicating and one of those is politics. The other is how a festive jello mold should be introduced to a less-than-formal table setting but I don't want to open that can of worms right now. So, Fred and Giselle call it quits and Fred goes back to Greece to his mole-covered wife and freakish but loving kids, but not before he learns that Giselle is pregnant with his child. Dimitrakos refuses to have anything to do with the son born of this dalliance and instead, back on the island of Kitiakos, begins an affair with the daughter of the quality-control foreman at the frozen spanakopita factory, but she, in turn, begins a romance with Fred's hermaphrodite daughter after having discovered she likes her bread buttered on both sides, so to speak, and then things really get complicated.
The cast-off son, Melvin Botchner (he changed his last name from Le Peigne de Queue to avoid any anti-French feelings once he began his own frozen food dynasty), is soon out-selling his father in not only the spanakopita department, but branching out into calamari and something of his own invention that he calls "cock's comb wieners." In as much time as it takes to produce a urine sample behind a flimsy curtain in a busy hospital, Melvin has driven his neglectful father's business into the ground. The two finally meet in a showdown, Giselle looking on in a pair of stunning anaconda skin boots and after a lot of poignant and telling emotional stuff is said between father and son along the lines of "I should've made your mother abort you the minute I heard she was pregnant," and "You're just a fading old spanakopita fart-bag with sagging testicles and nasal hair so thick it's a wonder you get any oxygen up there," there is a fight to the death between the two at the Acropolis in Athens (the one in Greece, not the Acropolis Greek Restaurant in Athens, New York, which I think would've made a far better setting as the other is much too obvious and you can pretty much see it coming the second the author starts describing Fred Dimitrakos's erection as a Doric column three chapters back). Who wins this battle of the frozen food father and son titans? What happens to the sensual Giselle and will she ever parade around proud and nude again in her anaconda skin boots, stopping traffic wherever she goes, whether it's in Paris or a Des Moines Costco parking lot? I leave these questions for you, dear reader, to discover for yourself as you plunge into the torrid romance and eroticism of The Dimitrakos Proposition. For me the jury is still out on this one. I felt aroused but as if I were pulling my own erotic plow through fields of turgid prose and although I don't mind doing a bit of work myself, sometimes a man wants to put down his plow, wipe his brow, drop his trousers and let the propositions come to him for a change.