All Hands Below | Matt’s Audio Smut Vault

Welcome back to the Vault! The holiday season is here, there’s no running from it now, and we must submit. Crippling anxiety and seasonal depression aside, we won’t let that stop us from getting nasty! This week we’ve got an audio copy of an erotica novel, which is a Smut Vault first! There’s a lot on the line to make an erotic story sizzle using only the spoken word, so let’s see if they’re up to the challenge. Prepare for imminent docking, it’s a maritime edition of the Smut Vault y’all!

All Hands Below, written by Lelani Black and narrated by R. Allison Martin is a full length romance novel with a very large commitment to erotica style sex scenes. Some of the public opinion on the text version laments this high level of sex given it’s tone…but fuck ’em, that actually sounds right up our alley. Evangeline Spencer or “Evie” has had a pretty hard luck run in the love department. Twice a widow, she’s experienced more life than she deserves, but it’s time to start making her own rules. Evie is looking for “roses and forever,” also known as the true Hallmark Channel Movie Dream. Hallmark Channel must have a new creative director as she’s going about this mission using the PornHub approach. Booking passage on the good ship Sea Sapphire for a Christmas season cruise, Evie is making it her mission to find not only her true love of a man, but maybe also a baby daddy as it’s also getting close to crunch time for her biological clock. I don’t think it’s a pregnancy quest on this cruise specifically, but the rest of the mission is clear: she’s gonna find Mr. Right by getting properly dicked-down below deck.

The love interests on the boat are minimal, and despite the setup, Evie isn’t being just trying to pretty up a “slutty” excursion. After getting settled in she zeros in on a man who she believes to be the real deal…the ship’s captain. Jesus Christ Evie, what the hell? Liam Rossi is more than willing to fuck a hot needy woman however she needs it, but “roses and forever” would be about the furthest thing from his mind. With this singles cruise quickly turning into a wanton sex pit of shameful indecency, maybe this won’t be the romantic success she’s hoping for. But more important for the time being: did the ship pack enough condoms?!

Alright so we’re dealing with an audio book, and that adds a whole extra layer to the experience. Clocking in at over five hours we’re in for the long haul with our narrator, and R. Allison Martin is giving it one hell of an effort. With this being a cruise ship, there are characters from every walk of life and from every corner of the globe. No accent or character tick is shied away from, we get it all. From bold to hilarious to frankly concerning (the French/German chef is a personal favorite) the narrator must be commended for their bravery for breathing life into all the personalities on the author’s boat full of crazies. Even when something misses the mark, it doesn’t take away from the message of the story, and the main characters are honed and characterized properly. I’ve even been told (unconfirmed) that this is the first novel narration for this voice actor, and as such should be praised for this effort. Martin is a natural at the sexy scenes to their credit, and the passion injected will probably benefit the more amorous listeners looking for an extra special listening experience. The author’s light hearted writing style helps here as well, so to summarize it in one of the character’s own words: “trouser bulge, RISING.”

Verdict: All Hands Below written by Lelani Black and narrated by R. Allison Martin is a fun, churning romantic erotica adventure that works equally well written down or read into our ear. The love story is heartwarming and devastatingly steamy during some very intense moments. The narrator’s style will entertain, sometimes to the point of frustration, and some minor missteps are present. But for the important moments the reading is equal parts engaging and monocle-popping as the characters are insatiable sex fiends…and we’ve got a front row seat for the whole show. With the captain and the hottest woman on the ship so repeatedly indisposed, it’s amazing we avoided certain disaster. We have only to be thankful that the calm seas were iceberg-free for the novel’s duration, as at the end of the day The Sea Sapphire was the only thing that wasn’t going down. Clear the deck, it’s All Hands Below and we’re badly needed in the Captain’s Quarters. Ahoy!

Special thanks to Lelani Black for supplying an audio copy of All Hands Below to TehBen.com for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Author’s Twitter: @lelaniblack
Purchase Link: Audible

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