Of the 8 books, short stories really, featured here I only managed to finish one. That would be Stranded with the Wolf because it actually put some effort into developing characters. Yet, they all have something in common. Even if the book itself doesn't advertise it (and some do), all the books seem to have this idea of an "alpha" in common. Now, if you read regular urban fantasy, you will be thinking that means like a leader of a pack. Well, in these types of books, it does and it doesn't.
An alpha apparently means a boss man who is one step removed from being a rapist (at least in the legal sense) and overcomes the woman. It isn't seduction at all. It isn't erotic, at least by my definition.
I know fantasies are fantasies. That what one dreams or imagines doing (or even does in play) isn't the same as really, actually doing it. But I have also read enough theory (feminist and otherwise) that argues (and does so very well), that rape fantasies are not so much about the woman's desires but about the man's or what a man tells (thinks, believes) a woman desires. Reading these, even the one I finished, it's hard not to agree with that.
Before I go on, I should point out that in one area all the books stand out and that is in the use of curvy heroines, and in a few cases overweight heroines (not on the covers, however). While this does becomes slightly problematic in terms of a "message" (such girls only get this type of guy), it does make a nice change. Additionally, there is, in some of the stories, a feeling of fanfiction or Mary Sue. In other words, the author is playing with an idea they wish another work had used or done. Furthermore, the ones featured here, while not having the best writing and being somewhat dull (or more telling than showing) do not have the glaring errors in word usage and basic grammar that many others do. There was some level editing beyond using Spellcheck. In very few cases, the basic editing was better than that of 50 Shades.
But the Alpha idea is quite frankly disturbing. I know it's smut, but still. I mean there is smut that doesn't use it the same way (I know because I've read some). Even the ones with bear and cat (solitary non-pack animals) shifters are about the alpha and the search for the mate. For the mate, all the guy has to do is smell the girl (and in most cases the girl is far younger than the man. The one where she wasn't, she was written as if she was). Furthermore, in all of the books, the man is in a position of power over the girl (and yes I am using girl not woman for a reason). This is true even of the one book where she hires him. There is something off about such complete domination. While the idea of a man recognizing a woman's true beauty regardless of body type is wonderful, this is undermined slightly by the fact that it is because of her smell, because of fate. In other words, he is moved by biology more than anything else.
But okay, it's smut and we don't really want a plot that makes sense or good world building. Perhaps, but the domination thing is the problem. It isn't just superiority in the sense of his money, his intelligence, his magical shifting, but also in his mental toughness and his wants. At no point in any of these books did I get the sense that if the girl said no, the man would back off. In fact, in "Red and the Wolf" she has been groomed for him. We should just be glad he waited until she graduated college before he made the moves on her. Not that there were that many moves before huffing and puffing. The books aren't about a woman's desire and her sexuality but about a girl (regardless of age) who is being dominated by a man because that is what happens. Even when reading the "erotic" senses, and despite the mentioning of the girl's moans and screams in organism, it still seems to be about the man. The girls are always very tight, even if they aren't virgins (and isn't that disturbing for another reason) and more detail is given to his being pleasured than hers. In all the books here, the girl never, ever has any control over anything - not over what she eats, what she wears, who she loves - SHE HAS NO CONTROL.
There are books that are different, but if these are from the pile, what does that say about the pile?