My First Smut

Guest Post: “It was fun and naughty and I wanted more”

My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short confessionals may include such details as: What book did you read? How old were you? Were there other people involved? What made the experience special? What role does smut play in your life?

This week, romance author Carla R. states what we all know is true: that reading romance can help you spice up your love life.

First romance novel you read:

Naked (Blackstone Affair) by Raine Miller

How old were you?

Late 30ish. I was a new mom just looking for something new to read.

How’d you get your hands on the book?

Searching for Ebooks on Amazon, and it jumped out at me.

What was the reading experience like?

I loved it, I couldn’t put it down and I immediately downloaded the next one.

What made the experience special?

I had read books with romance in them, but never books with descriptive sex scenes. It was fun and naughty and I wanted more.

What role does smut play in your life?

It’s an escape from everyday life. But it also gives me inspiration for my own love life sometimes.


Carla R. is a married, mom of two that loves to read a good love story. She got it in her head one day that she could write one too, and so she did. She loves to write about strong independent women and the sexy men that love them. When she’s not writing, she’s usually spending time with her hubby, kids and pets or binge watching The Office …again. She’s a stay at home mom with a caffeine addiction, a part-time hairstylist, and a full-time smart ass.

Connect with Carla: Instagram | Facebook

Thanks, Carla, for sharing! We are right there with you on sexy smut being super fun to read. We look forward to reading Carla’s recent release Badass in the near future – watch this space for a review coming soon!

Have an early smut experience you’d like to share with us? If you’d like to see your story featured, send us an email or fill out our questionnaire and we’ll post it in an upcoming week.

My First Smut

My First Smut: Read What Brings You Joy

My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short confessionals may include such details as: What book did you read? How old were you? Were there other people involved? What made the experience special? What role does smut play in your life?

This week, we hear from romance author Hallie Alexander, who was hooked when she read her first book by Lorraine Heath.

First romance novel you read:

Falling Into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath

What stage of life were you in?

Very much an adult. I grew up in a “literature only” house so there wasn’t any smut lying around for preteen-Hallie to happen upon.

How’d you get your hands on the book?

I picked it up on a whim at the library where I worked. I must have liked the cover. I knew absolutely nothing about romance except that it was a forbidden genre growing up.

What was the reading experience like?

I couldn’t believe books with happy endings existed! I plowed through all the Lorraine Heath’s my library carried. Then I tried my first Kristan Higgins (it was probably the next shelf down) and read everything of hers. For the first time in my life, I enjoyed reading!

What made the experience special?

We had recently moved 600 miles from family and everyone we knew. Escaping into those books gave me comfort.

What role does smut play in your life?

I know when I open up a book of smut I will get an empowering story full of hope, even if the H/H have to struggle to get there. They will get there. That’s the point. Where else can you find that kind of emotional journey with a guarantee that it will all work out in the end?

TL;DR: Life is messy. Read what brings you joy.


Hallie Alexander’s debut historical romance, A Widow’s Guide to Scandal, was published in 2020 by Soul Mate Publishing. It was a finalist in the 2019 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest. She writes steamy, feminist historical romances that take place in America with feisty heroines who become the heroes of their own story as their swoon-worthy partners work to deserve their love. She is a Northerner living in the South with her husband, three children, and Doodles of Mayhem™, Bruno and Willow.

Connect with Hallie: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Thanks, Hallie, for sharing! We are always happy to connect with smut enthusiasts, and are super excited to read A Widow’s Guide to Scandal. Watch this space for a review coming soon!

Have an early smut experience you’d like to share with us? If you’d like to see your story featured, send us an email or fill out our questionnaire and we’ll post it in an upcoming week.


We’re doing a giveaway!

To celebrate reaching 1000 followers on Instagram (how did we even get to be that fancy?!?!?) we’re hosting a giveaway. As a “thank you!” we’re giving away three bundles of three books to three winners (three is our magic number, after all).

Historical Romance Bundle
  1. Historical Romance bundle: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare, An Heiress to Remember by Maya Rodale, An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
  1. Contemporary Romance bundle: Finding Joy by Adriana Herrera, Love Hard by Nalini Singh, Hate Crush by Angelina M. Lopez
  1. Bananas Romance bundle: Soulless by Gail Carriger, Some Like it Plaid by Angela Quarles, Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon (or another Ruby Dixon of your choice)

To win:

Click this link and submit the entry form. That’s it! We’d love it if you’d follow us on Instagram if you aren’t already, but we’re most excited to spread the smut. #ReadRomance

The Fine Print:

No purchase necessary. Winners must live in the United States and be 18 years of age or older. Closed to entry Friday, August 7, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. One entry per person. Winners will be announced Monday, August 10, 2020. Giveaway sponsored exclusively by The Smut Report, which will select one winner at random for each of the three packages. Packages including paperback books will be mailed to winners; winner of ebook package will receive ebooks by electronic transfer. All entry forms will be deleted when the giveaway is completed. The giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram or WordPress or any authors or publishers of books shown.

Let's Talk Tropes

Let’s Talk Tropes: Best Friend’s Sibling

This week we’re doing a bit of housekeeping by focusing only on the Best Friend’s Sibling trope. What that means is, Erin read a bunch of books and wrote a bunch of reviews, but we all keep reading new books and writing reviews, so a little binge is in order. Why not use a little theme week for a trope Erin finds it hard to resist?

To begin, all of the Smut Reporters share their thoughts on Best Friend’s Sibling…

Bottom line: Do you like the Best Friend’s Sibling Trope?

Erin: I am a total sucker for this trope, even though it’s usually ridiculously predictably tropey. More so for the men being besties than for the women being besties. Much more drama that way.

Holly: I can take it or leave it. It’s not a trope I actively seek out, but I’ll happily read a book that features it.

Ingrid: I have a serious soft spot for it…selectively.

What do you think is fun about the trope?

Erin: It’s an excellent melting pot for a scoop of angst (I shouldn’t! But I want to!), a splash of seduction (Let’s succumb to this burning desire!), a pinch of sneaking around (Sibling can’t find out!), and a healthy dose of she’s-worth-fighting-for (not gonna lie, I need it sometimes).

Holly: I do really like it when protagonists already know each other when the book begins. What’s fun about the Best Friend’s Sibling is that they know each other already – but they get to know each other in a completely different way.

Ingrid: I love that there’s a “forbidden” element without necessarily being too…angsty. The ones I like are often rom com, and I love the whole “seeing a whole new person in someone you’ve known your whole life” thing.

What do you find problematic about the trope?

Erin: Some authors are able to create a less problematic dynamic of “Let’s not mess up important relationships with someone we both care about,” but most of the time, this trope involves mad caveman behavior on the part of the sibling, especially if it’s a man/man friend pairing. Independence, good judgement, control – they all get in the mix with caveman sibling behavior.

Holly: There are two popular iterations of this trope: the best friend’s yummy older brother who I’ve been crushing on forever, and the best friend’s pesky younger sister who is suddenly hot. The second one is more problematic for me, mainly because the best friend / older brother also gets involved and is weirdly overprotective of his sister. Bro, if your friend is too lame to date your sister, maybe he’s too lame to be your friend. Just sayin’.

Ingrid: Obviously you walk a fine problematic line of possessiveness. Ideally, the sibling should end up being really happy their two favorite people are hooking up, and those are often just…yummy. However, I absolutely detest when the older brother is a clunky, irrational caveman about the whole thing or when the hero acts like the heroine is someone who needs to be protected from her own urges. That’s gross.

Does the trope work better in a specific sub-genre or time period?

Erin: Given that the primary conflict in this trope tends to be that the sibling (brother) won’t approve, it’s a bit easier to stomach without having wayward thoughts of “wrong!” in historical romance, given that women’s rights and social understandings of equality have evolved in Western civilization over the past couple centuries. On the other hand, having a contemporary sister lay into her brother about his caveman behavior can be pretty entertaining.

Holly: Thinking about this in terms of the problematic side of things, the overprotective brother works better for me in historical romance – it feels less gross caveman and more about acknowledging the economic insecurities of unmarried women. 

Ingrid: Historical certainly takes the edge off the caveman approach, but I have enjoyed it in a historical and a contemporary context.

What’s one book you loved that features this trope? What’s so great about this book and the way it handles the trope?

Erin: I don’t know! 

Holly: Being Hospitable by Meka James. This is a sexy f/f novella where a young woman moves in with / seduces her older brother’s best friend. There’s definitely the dynamic of “Oh, yeah, you’re still the pesky young’un” that allows the characters to banter and play with the boundaries between them, but the brother is not an impediment. In fact, the heroines worry about it for a hot minute, and then Charley calls up her brother (alone – she wants to stand on her own two feet in her relationship with her family), tells him she’s dating his best friend, and…that’s the end of it. 

Ingrid: Charming as Puck, by Pippa Grant. This is the first Pippa I ever read, and I absolutely adored the way she executed the whole thing. Humorous perfection.

Wrap Up

July Wrap Up: Our Favorite Smut This Month

Happy Friday! If you’re looking for something to read this weekend (summer staycation, anyone?) here are our favorites this month.

Erin’s Choice: Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Erin is STILL gushing about this book. Someone else please read it so she stops texting Holly and Ingrid all the time to talk about it.

Ingrid’s Choice: A Good Man by Rosanna Leo

The TL;DR version of Ingrid’s review of this book: she loved it and can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Holly’s Choice: Hate Crush by Angelina M. Lopez

This book is sexy, emotional, and suspenseful, and might have convinced Holly to care about wine making.

Honorable Mentions: The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite and Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean and Letters and Lies by Colleen L. Donnolly and actually we read a lot of really excellent books this month and it was really difficult for us to each pick one.

Other Posts:

Coming Soon…

Here’s some of what we’ll be reading in August: