Saturday, February 15, 2020

Food of Love Box Set by Justine Elyot

Highly Strung

If music be the food of love, no wonder orchestral life is so passionate.

The new violinist with the Westminster Symphony Orchestra knows she shouldn’t have a crush on its glamorous leader, Milan Kaspar, but Lydia just can’t help wanting a piece of the arrogant Czech virtuoso. Capturing his attention by refusing to play along with his plans for the orchestra, she soon finds herself drawn into his bed—a bed he shares with lovers of both sexes. But Lydia wants more than wild and inventive sex—she wants to get behind Milan’s sophisticated veneer, to find the man inside the performer. She seems doomed to failure, until a trip to his home country changes everything…

Musical Beds

Can hope come from heartbreak? Music and passion rule the lives of Milan and Lydia, building bridges between them even when all seems lost.

After Lydia leaves a grieving Milan behind in Prague, their tempestuous relationship seems to be over. But chance throws them back together again when Milan is given the career opportunity of a lifetime.

Lydia is thrown off course by his self-destructive behaviour and, as much as she loves him, she can't be sure that she will ever be able to live with him. Then the issue is further confused by the arrival of a handsome and intriguing conductor from Germany… Meanwhile, Lydia's friend Vanessa is finding herself strongly drawn to her percussionist colleague—a man young enough to be her son.

Affairs of the heart run riot through the Westminster Symphony Orchestra. Will they ruin an important television broadcast, or will the musicians find love and peace at last?

Close Harmony

How do you choose between two perfect men? It's like choosing your favourite music—certain pieces suit certain moods. Which mood is Lydia feeling the most?

The autumn season of the Westminster Symphony Orchestra finds Lydia unable to choose between passionate Milan and dominant Karl-Heinz—so she decides to give them both a chance. She hops from one bed to the other, trying to weigh up her options. Milan has a hold on her heart, but has never been reliable. Karl-Heinz is a good man, but what is the secret behind his strange repression? Old rivalries and new jealousies are kindled while Lydia works hard at having the time of her sex life.

No trio has ever practised quite as hard as this… But there is trouble in paradise for Ben and Vanessa, too, as a face from Vanessa's past makes an unwelcome appearance and all seems impossible to resolve.

Amid turbulent emotions and orchestra rehearsals, the musicians work hard to negotiate a path to happiness. Will music prove to be the food of love, or a poison, infecting the future?

Reader Advisory: These books contain BDSM, ménage relationships and bisexual characters, exhibitionism and voyeurism.

Add to Goodreads –

Books 1 – 3
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is a really enjoyable series, with a great thread of orchestral adventures, as well as very hot and steamy romances circled with more decadent liaisons, and somewhat scandalous behaviour. I was certainly grateful that I did not have to wait between books, as I would have been frustrated otherwise!

Book 1: Highly Strung

This is a great start to the Food of Love series – we get to meet the newly appointed violinist, Lydia, and see her fall down the rabbit hole that is Milan Kaspar. It is made clear early on that this is entirely normal, and something done by men and women alike, much to his delight. I love that Lydia, despite being fairly young and naive, sways from realising that a relationship is impossible, and that deep hope that she will be the one (or partly the one). She allows herself to widen her experiences – just a bit! – and is loyal, patient, and hopeful. Her friendship with percussionist Vanessa enables her to explore the other side of the story, and retain her good sense and ethics – especially with the conductor.

Even Milan starts to be a kinder character as he basks in Lydia's attention, even if he needs more than just one person to boost his ego. He is the epitome of sensual and selfish – but by the end, events take a turn which threaten to destroy him. He is undoubtedly a musical genius, but it would seem that Lydia is the one doing much of the teaching, as she patiently sticks by him and helps him revisit his roots whilst on tour in Prague. I was very glad that I read this book as part of a series, with the next book ready at my side, as I had to know what happened next.

I read a lot of music romances which tend to be rock band based, I really enjoyed the orchestral setting – with many more people, giving opportunity for factions, backstabbing, romance, and in this case, an inner circle of Milan acolytes.

Book 2: Musical Beds

Follow on from the tragedy in Prague, this book gives us another big surprise, as Milan gets his way in the orchestra and is given the chance to conduct and be lead violinist – his scheming has paid off. However, he behaves very badly and truly Lydia deserves far better. Again, Vanessa as a sounding post helps her settle her feelings, and even consider moving on.

The musical shenanigans and politics are once again a key part of the story, as clearly egos need to be fed and loyalties challenged. I shall be inventing much racier backstories for members of the orchestra at every concert I attend from now on! It is a great plot device as it enables Lydia to be once again beguiled by the new arrival, whilst still struggling with her feelings for Milan. Vanessa is a good sounding board, although her new romance is also a feature of this book – creating a brilliant juxtaposition of the very much besotted, loyal, and intense Ben with the men in Lydia's life.

Karl-Heinz gives something different to Lydia, and she gets close to him as Milan goes off the rails. Given how she thinks of herself, it is confusing her that she gets so much attention, but then maybe there are reasons of betrayal and revenge that are at work – I don't know how she managed to concentrate on playing her violin!

Book 3: Close Harmony

As Milan realises that he needs to work harder if he really wants Lydia, and Karl-Heinz stakes his claim, the now more worldly-wise Lydia decides to play them both at their game. She is open about the fact that she is going to enjoy them both, until she can make a decision. This more liberal minded woman is undoubtedly the result of the crazy that has gone on before, but it is hot and fun watching her come to the solution which will bring about the very best conclusion. Getting there is a lot of fun, and results in a wonderful climax to the trilogy.

None of this comes easily of course, so we get a great journey with a dramatic side romance for Vanessa and Ben. For Vanessa has neglected to mention a prior claim on her, which manifests itself in a new member of the orchestra. Thankfully her relationship with Ben is strong and if she can take the next step, all will be good. Her willingness to be wild and free on some occasions, and so cautious at others is beautifully written, and Ben is the perfect quiet hero. Such a difference from Milan and Karl-Heinz that is impossible to miss.

Justine Elyot is a UK based writer of erotic romance and erotica. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies from Black Lace, Cleis Press, Xcite and Constable & Robinson. Her first full-length book, On Demand, was published by Black Lace in 2009.

Connect with Justine

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Food of Love Box Set by Justine Elyot to read and review.

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