SUMMER SWEAT Summer has arrived, bringing with it a bunch of sexy new erotica titles. Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach read or some inspiration for those warm summer nights, there are delicious original stories for just the occasion. Rocker Mal Ericson falls for the honesty and charm of a small-town girl in Kylie Scott’s Play, the second in her “Stage Dive” series, while Lisa Marie Rice’s Breaking Danger keeps the reader’s blood pumping with its suspenseful zombie apocalypse and lots of spice. In Mastering the Marquess, naive Louisa learns the ropes (literally and figuratively) of passionate sex with an anonymous lover who might just become more than the Regency equivalent of a one-night stand. And make sure to check out When She Was Good, Cleis’s most recent anthology of stunning lesbian erotica from renowned queer authors and new ones alike. This is definitely the season for keeping things hot!
Bound for Trouble: BDSM Erotica for Women. Cleis. Jul. 2014. 232p. ed. by Alison Tyler. ISBN 9781627780278. pap. $15.95. EROTICA
Cleis Press has nailed the erotic anthology yet again with this collection of sexy shorts. An array of talented authors put unique twists on the tried-and-true themes of bondage and dominance—one couple try out some new material in Annabeth Leong’s “Paper Chains,” while another incorporate an unconventional third partner in Heidi Champa’s “I, Robot.” Stories range from fun and flirty (Carrie and Mike playfully stumble upon a newfound bondage kink in Saskia Walker’s “Discovering Her Wrists, Bound”) to soulful, sensual romance in which dominance is key (Kiki DeLovely’s “In Her Sights”). One highlight in particular includes Graydancer’s quixotic, poetic piece, told from an unusual perspective: “I am the rope that binds.” The variation in style and composition infuses a broad, well-visited theme with a refreshing sense of diversity and accessibility. Though the book depicts almost exclusively couples or twosomes, there are queer and straight representations throughout. Verdict A quick, quality read for bondage fans, as well as a fun source of inspiration for spicing up this familiar fetish.
Kent, Lavinia. Mastering the Marquess. Loveswept: Random. (Bound & Determined, Bk. 1). Jul. 2014. 288p. ebk. ISBN 9780553394160. $2.99. EROTICA
In the debut to Kent’s e-original “Bound and Determined” series, young, virgin widow Louisa mourns her husband and childhood love, John, but knows she must, and will, marry again. In order to avoid bringing shame upon her late husband’s reputation, Louisa enlists the help of Madam Rouge to arrange the “wedding night” that she was never fortunate enough to consummate. With her own identity concealed, Louisa (as “Grace”) spends an unforgettable night of lust with “Charles,” the handsome, experienced, masked man who gives her all that she desires and more. Both regret parting, but feel constrained by their own societal expectations to enter respectable marriages. “Charles” is soon revealed to be Geoffrey, the Marquess of Swanston, who is widely known as the uptight son of the jovial, irresponsible Duke of Mirth. Lord Swanston recognizes Louisa as his late friend’s placid, pretty wife but is surprised to find that she stirs more than the distant appreciation he knew of years past. In an odd sort of reverse-courtship, the two enter a tentative marriage of convenience. Though the pair are wholly unaware of the passionate experience they shared only months before, it is only a matter of time before their darkest secrets and desires emerge. This steamy novel meanders a bit in the middle, with the amount of time leading up to Louisa and Geoffrey recognizing each other pushing belief, but Kent’s (The Last Real Duchess) lively prose keeps the reader drawn in from start to finish. Verdict A well-paced period tale that has a great balance of porn and plot.
Rice, Lisa Marie. Breaking Danger. Avon Red. (Ghost Ops, Bk. 3). Jul. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780062121875. pap. $13.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062121882. EROTICA
What could possibly be more thrilling than a zombie novel? A zombie novel with a healthy dose of sex. California is plunged into chaos when an unnatural disaster strikes—Arka Pharmaceuticals has unleashed a deadly virus that’s turned most of the state’s population into rabid, brainwashed cannibals. Jon Ryan is one of the elite Ghost Ops team, sent to rescue Sophie Daniels, the brilliant young scientist who is trapped in her apartment with the only known vaccine. The two hit it off immediately (yes, immediately), finding love and solace in each other’s company while the world crashes down around them. While some of the novel’s description is prone to exaggeration (Jon is described as simultaneously unfathomably beautiful, hulking, and masculine and also otherworldly, being equated with a Nordic god multiple times in the span of a few paragraphs), but the sensational nature of the erotic scenes complements the legitimately dark mood of the situation. The book effectively blends fairly traditional romantic and erotic tropes (big, burly hero saving the beautiful scientist) with unexpected contemporary disaster, resulting in a fast-paced dystopian tale with equally intense sex scenes. Verdict Rice (I Dream of Danger) is skilled at bringing the drama and the heat. Highly recommended for readers seeking action, of all types, and for fans of previous “Ghost Ops” installments.
Scott, Kylie. Play. Griffin: St. Martin’s. (Stage Dive, Bk. 2). Aug. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781250052377. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466854239. EROTICA
Rock and roll romance triumphs again in this perky sequel to Lick. Scott has succeeded in creating another fun, relatable protagonist in the form of Anne Rollins, friend of Lauren (Ev’s warm-hearted best friend from the “Stage Dive” series debut). Anne finds herself alone, broke, and imminently homeless when her user roommate Skye ditches her and their apartment but not before taking most of her things. Anne attends a party, at Lauren’s insistence, hosted by the prominent band Stage Dive, and it’s there that she meets Mal Ericson, the eccentric drummer for the band who makes messes more often than he makes sense. The two end up entering a false relationship in order to clean up Mal’s image but quickly find out that the hardest part of the deal isn’t coping with the lies; it’s handling the truth. Though the premise is rocky (Anne comes home one day to find Mal moving into her apartment, with no prior discussion and extremely faulty logic that includes a drunken exchange qualifying as a promise of courtship), the novel is an enjoyable enough ride that it doesn’t really matter. Scott has a special skill for crafting humorous, genuine characters, with great rapport and sizzling chemistry in the bedroom. Readers should note that this title veers toward the side of erotic romance, with a handful of sex scenes that might qualify as tame, or “vanilla,” in comparison to most erotica. Verdict Though a bit over the top and less plausible than its predecessor, this is another fun title in a great series. Recommended for fans.
When She Was Good: Best Lesbian Erotica. Cleis. Aug. 2014. 266p. ed. by Tristan Taormino. ISBN 9781627780698. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781627780810. EROTICA
A domme brings her work home with her, much to her date’s delight, in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s “Domme’s Games,” while Tamai Kobayashi’s “Different Girls” speaks to the fumbling awkwardness of blossoming young relationships with equal power and arresting language. Though vastly different in content, these stories share the same thread of powerful, vivid attraction between women. There’s sweet, pretty love (two women from different lands speak with their bodies instead of words in Shanna Germain’s sensuous “Native Tongue”), frantic, desperate sex, as well as everything in between. It comes as no surprise that this bold, unapologetically hot collection is edited by Taormino (Down and Dirty Sex Secrets), a well-known talent among the queer erotica circuit. She has compiled a group of fantastic, fearless writers whose stories depict “the real lesbians I’d been looking for my whole life,” as Ali Liebegott declares in her introduction, which is just as stunning as the anthology’s contributions. Verdict This fantastic collection of distinct voices and a beautifully wide array of identities, pairings, and fetishes will appeal to many who find diverse representation in mainstream erotica woefully lacking.
Ashleigh Williams is Editorial Assistant, School Library Journal