When J.J. places an ad seeking a mature woman to show him the ways of love, he’s sure he’s got nothing to lose. He’s a loser already, a “buddy” guy that all the girls want to dance with and talk to, but when they’re done talking about their relationships or their lives, they head home with their boyfriends and leave J.J. drunk, frustrated, and back at his apartment once again by himself. He’s a simple guy from a simple state in the city at college with no skills when it comes to the opposite sex – though he knows he’s got the right equipment for the job.
It’s also fun that Mrs. Kaufman and Me is set in the days of bell-bottoms and frizzy haired hippies. It’s not a time period I see often in erotica.
At first, the ad gets him crank calls, a prostitute, and a guy or two offering to show J.J. the ropes, but among those calls is a woman who eventually reveals her name as Elaine. J.J. feels a connection to her from the start of these phone calls, and before long, they’ve met – and in a parked car on a public street, they begin his education.
For me, it’s Elaine that steals the show. For all that we’re following J.J., Elaine has more substance to her. She is a woman married to a professor at the college where J.J. attends, and her husband is a cheating gadabout who long ago stopped being interested in her sexually and has moved on to every young woman on campus who has need of a better grade in his class. Elaine’s attitude is plausible: she rationalizes that she’s “teaching” J.J., and that since he’s not married, her own husband is contemptible, and there is no depth of emotionality to the relationship, it’s safe to have some fun and – of course – sex with J.J.
The story grows in strength as it progresses. Narratively, the first quarter of the tale or so is Elaine and J.J. meeting up on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Elaine “educating” J.J. in various ways, positions, techniques, anatomy, and grooming. Their relationship grows a little tender, which was sweet, and J.J. begins to care about this lovely woman who sets him off so easily – and is teaching him not to explode at a single touch.
Elaine has laugh lines, and her breasts are not super-pert and her stomach is not flat – she has carried a child and her body, though good, is not in the realm of science fiction. I liked that. It gave her another realistic quality that I enjoyed. Similarly, although J.J. was an athlete in high school, he hasn’t made any of the teams in college, and admits he’s getting a little soft around the edges. These are not two gorgeous people having pornographic sex, they’re two regular people having good erotic fun together. The difference is palpable.
Their connection continues throughout the story – Elaine slowly unlocks her kinkier side and her fantasies become more public and exhibitionistic as the story progresses. She comes to life for a second time and her journey is usually an empowering one. She is often “in control” but also surrenders control sometimes as well. As for J.J., as grows his confidence – and his erotic repertoire – so grows his success with girls his own age.
I will admit that I thought I saw where the tale was going, and then it went in a completely different direction. J.J. is – hormones notwithstanding – a sweet guy, and when he starts to gravitate towards a young woman his age, I was waiting for the eventual parting of the ways between him and Elaine, and a denouement that was as sweet as it might be sad. Instead, things grew more kinky, threesomes became moresomes, and although it was a satisfying tale, I did feel slightly jarred. That said, if you enjoy tales of the young and aroused opening their minds more and more to the ideas of exhibitionism, group sex, toys, shaving, partner swapping and the like, you’ll not be let down.
The sex sizzles – and sometimes fizzles in a fun and fresh way. It’s refreshing to read about a young man who isn’t immediately a natural. The occasional “No, you’re doing that wrong” from Elaine is a nice touch, and all the more satisfying as J.J. figures it out.
Descriptively, there was one obvious omission – and this could just be the gay male reader in me – when a second man becomes involved in the group dynamic, we get no real description of him whatsoever, beyond his age. And when Elaine wishes to take on both fellows at once, there’s a laugh-out-loud moment where the guys don’t want their balls to touch, and a pillowcase comes to the rescue. Really? You were both just tag teaming Elaine a few moments ago – I imagine something brushed something else once or twice already.
That’s my only real gripe, though, and overall I liked the progression of J.J. and Elaine – though I definitely enjoyed her narrative more. Randall Lang has brought a fun and sexy story here and turned the “older woman mentoring the younger man” trope just a smidgeon sideways in the process.
Naughty is such a great word. It conjures up visions of being a little bad, but in a fun way. The contributors to Nice Girls, Naughty Sex take the idea of a good sexual romp and run with it, laughing and looking over their shoulder with a "follow me," look in their eyes. What can you do but follow along?
The anthology is separated into four sections: vanilla, dirty martini, licorice whips, and oysters. This suggests that Vanilla is just a hint of decadence, Dirty Martini is a little more, well, dirty, Licorice Whips are the BDSM stories, and Oysters are the bisexual and lesbian tales. If you want to go right to the style that you know turns you on, head for that section, but by all means peruse outside your usual tastes. After all, vanilla is fertilized by hand and fermented under the tropical sun, so it can hardly be called ordinary, and haven't you always wanted to peek under the Sapphic covers to indulge in sumptuous girl on girl action?
Sommer Marsden's “A Technicality” starts off the anthology with a bittersweet tale of a woman and man who meet at a hospice. His wife is dying; her mother is. They draw together in an emotionally turbulent time. He won't cheat on his wife, although their definition of cheating is a technicality. They know it, but in their grief, they're able to find a connection that keeps them going. Absolutely beautiful.
In Rosalia Zizzo's “Siesta and Spanish Leather Boots,” a woman who has enjoyed many flings decides that maybe she needs something more permanent. Hot sex scene, great evocation of time and place.
I have never read a story by Venerato Petronius before, but if this is the only pen name this writer goes under, I plan to keep an eye out for it. Patience is the key word here. This tale unfolds at a leisurely pace. That doesn’t mean boring though. A man and woman talk about how it was back when they were teens, and manage to recapture some of the joy of the forbidden by breaking into an abandoned house and making love. Delicious payoff, but even before that, a finely wrought tale.
Jeremy Edwards is a name I recognize, with good reason. In “Eastern Daylight Time,” he proves that a writer's gender doesn't limit what he can write convincingly. His character Nancy is a lesbian who has just come out, and realizes to her dismay that coming out doesn’t equal a whole new life. She wants a lover but one didn't magically appear the moment she set foot out of the closet. When she's seduced by food and a woman who doesn’t fit any of her expectations of her first lesbian lover though, she realizes that she's exactly where she's meant to be.
Oysters and Chocolate is a classy website that draws many well known erotica writers, so it's no surprise that they were able to assemble an amazing line up of contributors including many well-known names. There were many names I didn't recognize too, which is always a delight. You might discover the writer you want to follow from now on. I did.
The Black Widow Trainer is an erotic novel about Misty. Misty is married to Rob but she doesn’t let that stop her. Rob’s job forces them to move to Captain Cook, Hawaii and, when Misty grows bored with the loneliness and lack of challenges, they separate. Sort of. She returns to her job as a fitness trainer and then decides to fill the emptiness of her life without Rob with sex.
Think of Xavier Hollander’s The Happy Hooker in a gym.
I’ve read many reviews online by readers who think this title is superb. And, although I’m usually shallow enough to want to go with the flow, I have to admit The Black Widow Trainer didn’t work for me.
The story seemed sufficiently exciting and coherently constructed. The erotic scenes were arousing, no more contrived than many other erotic scenarios being published today. In fact, in my opinion, the erotic scenes included the more smoothly written areas in the book.
But I found it difficult to engage with the characters. Perhaps part of this was because I thought the dialogue was unconvincing.
The bartender looked up from the glass he was drying and greeted Misty. “G’day, love. You look like you could use a coldie.”
His thick Australian accent made her smile. “No, I’m not a beer drinker. I’ll have your seven-year Flor De Cana, straight. So you’re from Oz, are you?”
He looked back and said wryly, “What tipped you off?”
“Well, you can take the Aussie out of the bush, but you can’t take the bush out of the Aussie,” Misty said flatly.
“Say, you’re a live wire, aren’t you, doll? My name is Sammy.”
Misty introduced herself and told him she was training a client at the club. She asked, “Say, were you ever a bartender in Sydney? You look familiar.”
“What were you doing in Sydney, sheila?”
“Went to visit last year on business. I stayed for several months. I really liked it there.”
“Sure, I’ve worked at most of the top bars in Sydney over the last few years, but I decided to come to the States. I’ve already sampled most of the beautiful women in Sydney. Wanted to broaden my horizon, if you catch me.” He winked again.
In discussions with other creative writing lecturers, I’ve heard many colleagues say that convincing dialogue is one of the trickiest areas for an author to capture. This is understandable. As I often point out to my students, anyone who can speak and read is already dealing in two separate languages.
We should all remember that fiction is an artifice of necromancy: an attempt to represent live reality on dead pages. The meta-relationship between fiction and reality is best exemplified in the written representation of dialogue. The author is trying to convey the sounds and rhythms of the spoken word through printed characters contained with speech marks.
It’s a difficult trick for most writers.
But understanding that it’s difficult doesn’t make it easier to read when it’s not done to a reader’s taste.
I’m happy to concede that this could just be a personal thing. As I said before, there are many positive reviews of this title and I haven’t seen any reader complaining about the stilted dialogue. Perhaps it’s because I’m based in the UK and the author is a US writer and writing for a US market.
“Yes, Gabriella, you have good taste in clothes,” Misty said, failing to strip all the annoyance out of her tone. “Do you enjoy picking out clothes for other people?”
Misty’s curtness was no lost on Gabriella, and Misty could tell she was a little hurt.
“Misty I was an only child and my mother always showered me with gifts. As you know, I am not married, and I don’t have children to dote on. I know it’s a silly need of mine. If it bothers you, I will try to resist the urge to buy you clothes.”
“I’m so sorry.” Misty was suddenly disappointed with her insensitivity. “I misspoke. I think it was a very thoughtful gesture, and I truly love wearing new clothes. Please don’t think I’m anything but grateful.”
When she saw Gabriella’s face brighten, she breathed a sigh of relief and added, “I am so looking forward to our day together. I can’t wait to experience San Telmo. You are such a gracious host.”
The Black Widow Trainer failed to rock my world but I’m just one reader. And, as the authors of previous unflattering reviews have pointed out, my opinion doesn’t matter a damn because I know nothing.
As Abraham Lincoln once said – people who like this sort of thing will like this sort of thing. And if you like this sort of thing – I guarantee you will love The Black Widow Trainer.
Ever since Fanny Hill, the lusty wench has been a stock character in erotic fiction. Starting from a state of relative innocence, she dives with reckless abandon into the "warm waters of sins of the flesh", eager to experience every variant of sexual pleasure. No one can resist her erotic enthusiasm. She attracts both men and women, less because of her physical attributes than because of her inexhaustible capacity for arousal. It is her sexual curiosity, responsiveness and openness that set her apart from ordinary women and mark her for a special fate.
Rita Holly, the heroine of K.D. Grace's highly entertaining novel The Initiation of Ms Holly, is a prime example of this literary tradition. Rita is a modern, independent, intelligent young woman, a transplanted American working as a journalist in London. She is attractive but not really sophisticated or elegant. An encounter with a stranger on a blacked-out Eurostar train stalled under the English Channel reveals her true nature: exquisitely sensitive, sexually voracious, and possessing the rare ability to completely suspend her rational self when in the throes of carnal delight.
Rita never has the opportunity to see Edward's face, but his touch, smell and taste set her on fire. Before long, she learns that he belongs to an ancient sexual society known as the The Mount, which hides behind the facade of an exclusive London restaurant and dance club. A mysterious vow requires him to wear a mask in her presence, but he introduces her (in the most physical sense) to other members of The Mount's High Council: golden-haired, androgynous Alex, who teaches the tango and other dances of passion; stern but succulent butch Aurora, who serves as waitress and enforcer of The Mount's rules; grizzled, solid Leo, in his bush helmet and khakis, looking like he just returned from safari; curvy, elegant Lorelei; exotic Morgan, his body tattooed with leopard spots; and the impossibly beautiful and elegant Vivienne, the head of the Council. Edward convinces Rita to apply for membership in the elite society and she is accepted as an initiate despite Vivienne's opposition.
Most of the novel recounts, in loving and lascivious detail, Rita's undertaking of the various tasks and sexual rites of passage devised by the Council members. Needless to say, Rita passes every test with flying colors. A week as a pet in a human zoo, an explosive coupling bound to a motorcycle, "forced" oral service to both males and females, whippings and spankings, public exposure, a week as a slave to the vicious Vivienne, nothing can stand in the way of Rita's desperate need to know who Edward really is. Even as she questions her own sanity, she is a more than willing participant in the many flavors of debauchery to which she is subjected.
The Initiation of Ms Holly is erotic fantasy at its best. The sexual scenarios are wonderfully varied and imaginative, and unfailingly arousing. I flew through the book, devouring one luscious sex scene after another, as eager as Rita herself for the next trial.
The book includes a variety of D/s activities and given my usual preferences, I would have expected these scenes to be my favorites. However, the interlude that Rita spends in Leo's "zoo" turned out to be the most arousing section of the novel for me. Leo treats his beloved pets as animals, but they are not used, abused or forced to "serve" their masters, as "pets" sometimes are in BDSM tales. Indeed, pets are not allowed to have sex with humans. The thrill in the zoo is the way its denizens drop their human pretensions and give full rein to their animal nature. For a week, Rita does not speak. She uses the senses of smell, taste and touch to communicate with her fellow pets, and glories in the permission to enjoy sexual pleasure without any of the societal baggage we humans carry. Ms. Grace describes this experience in a vivid, visceral way.
This novel does require considerable suspension of disbelief. Despite its fantastic plot, though, the characters are distinctive and moderately realistic, except for their prodigious sexual capabilities. Vivienne, the gorgeous bitch who emerges as Rita's adversary, is particularly well drawn. The scenes in which she imagines taking Rita's role show a significant level of psychological insight.
I found the resolution of the novel slightly disappointing, relying as it does on a mater ex machina. However, I might have been influenced by the fact that all the delightful carnal games were drawing to a close. Appropriately, the novel ends with an orgy as Rita becomes a full member of The Mount and Edward removes his mask. Of course, an abundance of orgasms are enjoyed by all.
Overall, The Initiation of Ms Holly is great fun, following in a time-honored literary tradition.
This excellent collection is not for the faint of heart. Here you will find aliens, vampires, fire, famine, revelations, dictatorships, corruption and desperation. Under these circumstances (where there is either total anarchy or extreme social control), a surprising amount of the sex is consensual. Some of it is even satisfying. And there are no zombies in sight, unless the cover illustration of tired-looking, greenish humanoid figures (“Train Commute, Tokyo Series 1 of 5” by Rebecca Meredith) is meant to suggest the living dead.The editor has included a list of “trigger warnings” with a brief introductory explanation:
Being ‘triggered’ is when someone has experienced psychological trauma in the past, and as a result, experiences psychological distress in the current time when they read, see, or hear about something similar to their experience.
Readers who are susceptible to being “triggered” should probably read the list before reading this book.
In most of these stories, the origins of the apocalypse are vague or unexplained. What matters is that old concepts of what is “normal” no longer apply, many people have died or will die, and the survivors are desperate. In the opening story, “We Angels Eat Roses” by Gigi Brevard, the central character (known only as “D”) has broken into a pharmacy to steal a drug called Adderall to keep his panic at bay. The reader can sympathize.
D narrowly escapes being shot, and meets a gorgeous woman who defines herself as an angel sent by God to gather the righteous. In a version of Miami where all the cool people wear clothes soaked in the blood of their victims, Sex was a luxury afforded only to those badass enough to take a life. D had resigned himself to celibacy. D, a young man in his early twenties, learns that sex can be heaven on earth, but it requires a certain faith. He also learns that human dignity and an actual name are achievable.
“Lifting the Veil” by Kit O’Connell shows sexual ecstasy as analogous to the chemically-induced version. A new drug, XDMT, is the gateway to communion with mysterious otherworldly beings as well as with a loved fellow-human. As the central character comes to realize, the new high is also a means of understanding that the world is coming to an end.
Miraculously happy endings (or landing on a “Get Out of Hell” space in the game of Last Days) make several of these stories more bearable to read than they could have been, even though there is usually something ironic about the good news. In “man/woman” by M.J. Nicholls, a future British government reminiscent of the totalitarian regime in George Orwell’s 1984 issues a general warning:
The following is a transmission from the Subspecies Control Bureau. It has come to our attention certain rebel groups have been faking their heterosexual relationships in order to attain cheap housing as couples in the Safe District. We do not tolerate homosexuals posing as heterosexuals and we will not house couples pretending to be in love.
In an environment rigidly divided between the Safe District and “the wilds,” Francis (male) meets Frances (female). Each has reason to suspect the other of being an undercover agent of the Subspecies Control Bureau, which enforces gender roles, but Frances and Francis need each other’s help to survive.
There is very little sex in this story, but the determination of two powerless people to join forces for mutual support is heart-warming. By the end of the story, the man and woman who can’t change themselves into stereotypes have formed a bond which will help the next generation.
In “An Apple a Day” by Maxine Marsh, a young woman who has not eaten in six days is literally willing to do anything for food. The older man who takes advantage of her need and her unawareness of a food source seems at first to be a soulless predator. As the young woman comes to know him, so does the reader. We learn that his need for human companionship is at least as intense as his need for sex or her need for nourishment.
This story neatly dramatizes a traditional credibility gap between men and women about “the oldest profession;” men accuse women of manipulating men for material support, while women point out that men exploit women when they monopolize the means of survival and demand sex in exchange. The relationship in this story, like that between Adam and Eve, comes to include a level of tenderness and mutual understanding.
All the stories in this collection are worth reading, and each interprets the concept of apocalypse in a different way. In “Everything Is Chemical” by Robin Wolfe, the “chemistry” is provided only by hormones, not illicit drugs, and a drastic ending of life as we know it is only implied in the incestuous attraction of a man and a woman who are related by blood. In “Sparks” by M. Birds, sexual attraction between two young women is treated as nothing strange when the world is being consumed by fire.
General corruption is a major theme in “Playing at Savior” by Archimedes Flum, in which an expatriate American sacrifices himself to save a young woman who would otherwise be doomed to live (briefly) as the sexual toy of armed men in an Asian dictatorship. An insane lust for personal power has corrupted the central character of “Slave King Fuck Star” by John Burks, arguably the most disturbing story in the book.
In “Come On Down” by Susan Read, survivors watch television reruns and try to remember the world as they knew it. Forced to cope with present conditions, the narrator discovers that sex and an exchange of blood both facilitate shapeshifting.
“Blood Plague” by B.G. Thomas is a more conventional vampire story in which true vampires are more beautiful and powerful than mortals, while the “nosferatu” (like the “revenants” in Anne Rice’s vampire novels) are simply reanimated dead bodies with a craving for human blood. This story concludes the book on a hopeful note as the male narrator thinks about Gabriel, his immortal lover :
I thought about it. Could I love this… this man? Did I already? I guess only time would tell…
And for the first time, I believed there just might be time to find out.
This anthology is an outstanding example of a hybrid genre, horror erotica. The stories are memorable, and the authors show their ability to write beautifully about extreme ugliness. Brace yourself.