Dirty Thirty by Cara McKenna

Why I read it: I won a copy from the author on a recent Twitter giveaway.  I needed something short as a “palate cleanser” and thought this might be just the thing.
What it’s about:  (from Goodreads)  Despite his scrappy punk packaging, Evan’s got a submissive streak in him that’s just screaming to be indulged. So on the eve of his thirtieth birthday, Evan’s wife Margie arranges for them to ring out his twenties by realizing his darkest fantasy-inviting another man into their bedroom. Margie’s found the perfect candidate for Evan’s birthday treat. Paul works as a bouncer at their favorite bar, and lucky for Evan and Margie, he’s every bit the sexual Dominant his intimidating body suggests. Evan isn’t a hundred percent sure he’s ready to go to all the places his kinks seem determined to take him, but one thing’s for sure-by the time he wakes on his thirtieth birthday, his fantasy will have become reality.
What worked for me (and what didn’t): This isn’t a romance – it’s an erotic short story. There is no courtship or HEA.  The couple are already living their HEA when the story begins.  I don’t read a lot of erotica but I do enjoy this author’s writing and the story sounded fun.  
What I liked best about it is that even in a short story such as this, a reasonable amount of time is devoted to establishing that Margie and Evan’s relationship is healthy and sexy and happy.  The reason they bring in a third for Evan’s birthday is not to fill a gap, but rather to fulfil a fantasy.  They talk about it, take time to plan it and are open to pulling the pin if things don’t feel right – their relationship is primary.  Margie and Evan’s connection to each other is apparent even when sexy Paul arrives to give them a good seeing too (and he does).   So, while it is an erotic story it is strangely romantic and I think that’s why it worked better for me than Don’t Call Her Angel which, for me, was a bit lacking in the relationship department (both were billed as erotic stories rather than “romances” so this is my own preference talking, not a failure of marketing).
I especially liked that Margie was not at all intimidated or offended by Evan’s desire to be sexed up by a man.  Her attitude made Evan much more comfortable with his own desires and her participation made it a fun adventure.
At the end of the story, I felt confident that Margie and Evan would continue to have a loving, happy and adventuresomely sexy relationship, perhaps with the occasional guest spot from Paul but maybe not.  Evan and Margie were presented as being enough for each other together but willing to explore fantasies and kinks that worked for them and that seemed pretty healthy to me.

Grade:  B

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