I’ve just finished reading Mistress of Night and Dawn by Vina Jackson. It’s an entertaining read. The story is competently told for the most part and the sex scenes are vivid, relevant and stimulating.
It’s a well-written erotic story that can be read as a standalone or as part of a series. This explanation is from Vina Jackson’s website discussing Mistress of Night and Dawn, as the sixth novel in the Eighty Days series:
Be reassured, the book is as sexy (if not more according to early inner circle readers!) as its predecessors, but we’ve attempted to add another dimension, as well as making it substantially longer. MISTRESS OF NIGHT AND DAWN is still set in the world of EIGHTY DAYS, and actually takes its lead from the chapter in WHITE where Lily is taken to a mysterious ball.
I have to admit that the inclusion of so many phrases in capitals makes me think I’m reading something about conceptual metaphors, but we’ll let that ride.
Mistress of Night and Dawn is an erotic story that introduces us to the central character of Aurelia and Aurelia’s involvement with a centuries old ball. The concept is intriguing and the execution is enjoyable.
“I interrupted you,” he said. “Please continue.”
It took Aurelia a moment to realise what he meant, but once she did, she complied immediately. It felt entirely natural to her that the stranger should sit alongside her as she masturbated. She had fantasised about that very thing almost nightly since the first time that their lips had met and she had tasted the sweetness of his mouth.
Her fingers travelled downwards and resumed their place, but this time it wasn’t enough. She could hear his breathing in the dark and the warmth of his body so close to hers served only to remind her more bitterly that her hand wasn’t his.
“Help me,” she whispered.
I haven’t read any of the previous titles related to this book but, having finished this one, I didn’t feel as though I had missed out on anything vital. The story is a raunchy romp that is completely self-sustained and doesn’t need the other titles to be enjoyed. That said, from what colleagues have told me, Vina Jackson’s stories are not so much continuations on a single story as explorations of the lives of subsidiary characters in the fiction world of Eighty Days and, according to my contacts, they’re equally enjoyable.
This is a well-told story that follows a lovely blend of fantasy and erotica. Aurelia’s journey is a saucy one that showcases a series of exciting intimacies. This title will be appreciated by all those who’ve read Fifty Shades and are now looking for something that similarly satisfies their needs.
He shuffled with his now-hard cock rubbing provocatively against her skin and he adjusted its downward stance, his knee nudging her thighs open and squeezed himself inside her. Aurelia’s heart seized; although she had been ready for him, the sheer bulk of him and the way he stretched her anew was a shock. Had he ever been so large before? He fitted inside her with the forced precision of a jigsaw piece entwining itself with another.
Noises outside the window faded alongside the rest of the whole wide world. Andrei was in her. He was fucking her. She was being fucked. And all was well. There would be another time for questions. She pulled her mental anchor up and drifted with the rhythm of his moments as he embedded himself deeper and deeper within her, spread, open, split, impaled but joyful.
My favorite story in Lucy Felthouse’s collection is the one in which nobody comes. “The Only Bitch for Me” is told from the perspective of a vet returned from Afghanistan, who meets up with his former lover in a pub.
“So you’re back then,” she said, eyeing me, as if looking for scars or wounds. I had none. Others hadn’t been so lucky.
“Um, yes.” I said, confused. Of course I was back, was I not sitting right in front of her?
“I meant for good. Back for good, smart arse.”
“Sorry. Yes. I’m back for good. I’m now officially a civilian.”
“So that means no more taking orders without question, huh? You have your own free will to do what you want, when you want.”
Before I could respond, I felt her foot slipping in between my legs. But this was no stocking-clad caress. She was still wearing her stilettos, and the pointed toe of one of them pushed against my cock, which had begun to swell within my underwear. I gulped.
“I guess not. Not in my professional life, anyway.”
She raised an eyebrow.
It soon becomes clear that what he wants—what they both want—is for him to be her worshipful slave. There’s no explicit sex in this brief tale, just a long, slow, agonizing tease, but it definitely got my motor running in a way most of the stories in this book did not. In retrospect, I believe I was reacting to the erotic tension in the piece, the steady and unrelenting build-up of unconsummated desire.
That tells you something about me and my tastes in erotica.
Most of the other tales in Multi-Orgasmic are less nuanced and more direct. They get right down to the sex, which frequently has a mildly kinky bent. For instance, in “Naughty Delivery,” a couple receives a long-awaited shipment of sex toys ordered on-line, only to discover that due to some error, their package includes a spanking paddle and bondage equipment rather than the vanilla toys they’d timidly requested. Needless to say, Ben and Sonia take this in stride, discovering that orgasms can be a lot more intense when prefaced by some bottom-walloping.
In a similar vein, “Her Majesty’s Back Garden” zeroes in on an exhibitionist couple having sex behind the bushes on a tour of Buckingham Palace. “It Takes All Sorts” shows the delightful changes that can happen to a marriage when the wife starts reading BDSM erotic romance. In “Heat Upon Heat,” a woman fantasizes about the handsome, well-hung young handyman she watches in the yard, then promptly brings those fantasies to fruition. “The Not-So-Blushing-Bride” features a limo chauffeur who meets a bride-to-be as eager to fuck as he is. Hot, shirtless employees and a vibrator help the heroine get off inside her sudsy vehicle in “At the Car Wash.”
These are all perfectly fine stories, but they didn’t push my personal buttons at all. I’m more interested in the emotional and psychological dimensions of sex than the physical ones. Ms. Felthouse’s tales, as suggested by her title, lavish their attention on the delightful activities leading up to orgasms. Her characters’ motivations are more or less taken for granted. There’s no suspense, no complexity, no guilt or confusion. It’s all about pleasure.
Don’t get me wrong—I have nothing against pleasure. I’m just one of those people who like a bit of mystery in my erotica, the intensity of wondering whether those forbidden desires will be satisfied, or remain cherished but unrealized.
The characters from “The Only Bitch for Me” return in a later story, “Without Question.” It’s a delicious femdom scene, but it didn’t affect me nearly as strongly as the prelude. I did like “Why I Love Her,” though, which has a neat twist and also features one of my favorite fantasies. (I won’t tell you what it is, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise.) I also enjoyed “The Unexpected Submissive,” in which a man comes back exhausted from a business trip to find his cleaning woman masturbating in the bathtub. I know I’m predictable, but I’m always aroused by the tacit complicity between serious dominants and submissives.
Erotica is a big tent. If your tastes run to naughty stories full of fellation, cunnilingus, spanking and fucking, you’ll definitely enjoy this book. There are more than enough orgasms to go around. If, like me, you believe eroticism begins in the mind—if you’re more aroused by the experience of desire than its physical gratification—you might be a bit disappointed.
In Named and Shamed, magic has returned to our world, and that spells disaster for humans. The protections from folklore work – but only against certain magical beings. No one dares go out at night. The countryside is a deathtrap, and the humans who remained have gone a bit feral. This is a fairytale, but in the old sense.
Even our hero Tansy who studied the arcane before the magic came back has trouble negotiating the tricks and traps of different types of fae, trolls, goblins, ogres, and witches. So when her car ends up in an impound lot as night is falling, she knows it’s dangerous even in the city to be out and about, but she doesn’t want to cause the death of another human, so she must get into her car. If only she could break into the lot and grab what she needs, but she can’t, until a sexy stranger offers to help. Tansy knows he’s trouble. She knows any bargain she makes with him is bound to turn out bad. But she can’t help herself. He’s hot and she hasn’t had a good fuck since the fae abducted her boyfriend two years ago. So she strikes a bargain.
This tale immediately plunges into a tale so imaginative and mind-bending that you know you’re not in for your usual erotica fare. On one hand, the plot is a classic quest in the sense of the ancient Celtic fae tales. You could enjoy it on that level alone. But it also incorporates all the sex that was implied but never overtly shown in those tales. The sex scenes in Named and Shamed reminded me of those old Blue Moon novels – over the top and deliciously obscene. There are even illustrations.
The only thing I didn’t like about this novel was the title. And that is how hard it was for me to find a quibble. Named and Shamed is rampant fantasy fun in a solid story well told.
If you’ve already read the first two novels in KD Grace’s The Mount series, you probably don’t need to read this review, and have most likely already devoured this novel. I haven’t read them, and I even skipped the introduction section of the book out of a desire to let the main text reveal itself to me with no preconceptions except that of knowing KD Grace to be a first-rate erotica writer, so bear in mind that my early knee-jerk reactions were based on ignorance of the bigger picture. Still, there’s something to be said for knee-jerk reactions, so I’ll take you on this ride more or less the way I experienced it.
My first reaction: An olfactory superpower that lets her even catch emotions and hidden desires? Hmm. Well, okay, could be interesting, if done well. My second: Okay, with descriptions like, “There was no denying it was the primal smell of male. It was the smell of desert lightning, of sage and juniper and thick, dark night,” it’s being done well. In fact the most memorable parts of the book for me were the way the central character Liza describes what she smells. An angry stranger smells like “mustard and a wet dog.” Nervousness has a citric tang. Hot metal goes with a predatory nature. Curiosity is a blend of cinnamon and nutmeg, while coriander signals skepticism. Cinnamon and vanilla figure strongly in sexual situations, along with various metallic tones, and so do honey and butter and tidepools and the ozone produced by lightning. Once in a while it occurred to me that in my experience some of the scents of human sensuality can’t really be compared to anything besides themselves, but what the heck, this is fiction, and if we readers can believe in the incredible sexual stamina of the characters, we don’t need to quibble about what’s possible and what isn’t.
To say that sexual situations and their panoply of aromas figure prominently here would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. Even apart from the sniff-fest aspects, the sex is varied, intense, and written with skill and style. The story’s plot line involves an elite perfume company in Rome creating an irresistible scent based on what Liza tells them about what she smells during sex, her own and that of others she monitors, so sex in all its various couplings and contortions isn’t just recreation, it’s research.
My third knee-jerk reaction: Just when I was getting really engrossed in the story, an apparently what-the-fuck ploy made me roll my eyes. Liza, arriving as a journalist writing a story about the perfume company, is sent to the depths of their building into the lair of the security officer, Fidelia, an over-the-top lesbian dominatrix (or at least she role-plays the part.) Somewhat later, cryptic references to The Mount and Fidelia made me roll my eyes—surely the story didn’t require a stereotypical secret sex club! If I had read the introduction, however, I’d have realized that The Mount was the central feature binding together a series of novels, and, as it turned out, was of importance well beyond its convenience for the aforementioned research.
The plot also involves a business rival’s attempts to destroy the perfume company and incriminate Liza, a story line not by any means as interesting as the sexual and romantic and olfactory elements, or the lovely and striking descriptions of the beauties of Rome itself, but it does provide dramatic tension at almost the end. The very end, of course, is reserved for a tour-de-force of celebratory sex and scent that builds and then satisfies all the tension a reader could hope for. This reader, in fact, is downright envious of all the research the author must have done for such a scene. No fair skipping to it, though—it’s worth the wait.