Saskia Walker's Along for the Ride is an erotic romp with a touch of romance. University student Georgie is picked by art professor Cal to model for his classes as well as private modeling for his work. Their attraction is mutual and soon Cal invites his photographer friend Jason to join them in a threesome. Georgie is bothered by a persistent ex, but it's Jason's cousin Gregory who plays the villain of the piece. Gregory knows that Jason's ex-girlfriend is a hot pop star and that Jason took nude photos of her. It all works out, of course, with everyone extremely well fucked (the bad guys in the bad sense of the term) by the end.
Since this is a romp, there's not a lot of depth here. Everyone is constantly horny and they act on it immediately. The more the merrier seems to be the guiding principle of their existence. If voracious sexual appetites are what you seek, then you'll find it in this story.
However, if you want erotica that holds to the same standard of writing as other fiction, you might find the constant telling rather than showing a bit annoying. Two of the characters fall in love but I never felt it. I was simply told that they were falling in love. Sex moves the plot in erotica, but it isn't characterization. Lacking any depth, the characters came off as exactly that - characters, not people. I'm still unable to figure out why the trio bothered to visit Georgie's home other than to set up a sex scene with food. That entire chapter did nothing to move the story forward or develop the characters.
The story is told at a breathless pace as it races from sex scene to sex scene without giving the story any time to develop. If it isn't sex, it's glossed over with a few lines of narrative.
I'm clearly not the audience for this story. The full fashion report at the beginning of many scenes bored me. No character mattered to me and their plights struck me as dull plot devices. Maybe this book was meant to be quickly devoured and quickly forgotten by voracious readers who plow through a lot of books in search of sex scenes. You'll certainly find that in Along for the Ride. But if you're looking for a quality literary experience, wait for the next bus.
Best Bondage Erotica 2012 is a sizzling collection of twenty one exciting, erotic bondage stories from a plethora of talented authors. Familiar names include the incredible Elizabeth Coldwell, the wonderful Kay Jaybee and the sensational Teresa Noelle Roberts.
It’s a superb collection that contains something for everyone from those who are new to the idea of bondage through to those who are seasoned professionals with a length of rope and a willing partner.
This is from “Melting Ice” by Shoshanna Evers.
Amanda stripped off her slacks and cotton button-down blouse, kicking off her low heels. Sitting tucked away in her underwear drawer was her favorite toy: a pink dildo with rolling beads in the perfect place, and an attached clit vibrator that looked like a bunny, the long bunny ears buzzing to life and the entire dildo rotating enticingly as she flicked on the wireless remote, checking the batteries. She shut it off. Save it, she thought. For the bondage.
There was no need for lube; she was so wet the length of the dildo slid inside her easily even as it stretched her. Next she pulled her tightest jeans over her naked cunt, trapping the vibrator in place against her flesh. Holding the grey wireless remote in her hand, she brought it with the handcuffs over to the bed.
Amanda in this story is eager to experiment with solitary bondage. Not knowing Evers as a writer, and because this story is first in the book, I thought there was an air of uncertainty and anticipation that comes with the narrative. To me, it felt like the same air of uncertainty and anticipation that comes with any bondage encounter.
Is this going to end well? Will Amanda be safe and satisfied? Rather than answering those questions and spoiling the tension of the story, it’s enough for me to say I shall now be looking out for more of Evers’s work.
This is from “Cumaná” by Helen Sedgwick.
First he lifted my left hand. I felt rope tighten against my skin. He pulled my arm up to the top corner of the bed, securing it somehow. I held out my other hand obediently, and he guided it toward the other corner, fastening more of the rope around my wrist. I lay there, waiting, tensing against the knots that secured my hands above my head. One by one he took my ankles and pointed my feet to the corners of the bed, spreading my legs wide open. Moving slowly, deliberately, he tied them down. I strained against the rope, but it was tight. He made no sounds, no more movements. My heart was racing.
Aside from illustrating the exquisite quality of writing, both these examples show that the core appeal to bondage is the relinquishment of control. Bondage is about an embracement of helplessness. Bondage is an investment in the trust of a sexual partner to deliver satisfaction. This is a recurrent concept illustrated in the following example from Valerie Alexander’s “Insurrection.”
I waited breathlessly for it then. Instead he walked around me, studying my body. Then he pulled up my bottoms, untied my wrists and tossed my bikini top at me, walking away before I’d even put it on. I showed up at his cottage that night and begged him to fuck me. Begged for real for the very first time, shameless, desperate and horny.
He’d just shrugged and smiled like sure, he’d do me a favor, and tied my hands behind my back. Then he pushed me face first into his sofa, lifted up my miniskirt, and fucked me from behind while I bucked and screamed with the hardest orgasm of my life.
And the theme of control is illustrated equally well in the psychological bondage demonstrated in Billey Thorunn’s excellent story “Pawns.”
She was his for two hours. No quickly checking her email, no getting a glass of water, no nothing without his permission or instruction.
So now she was in the kitchen, wearing red patent-leather pumps and a checkered blue apron over a clingy black teddy. She’d done up her makeup as she would if she was “getting slutty to go out,” and Gabriel had done her hair that morning, standing in front of her while she lay on her back in bed. He’d pushed into both her and the mattress, back and forth until he came, leaving both her hair and the sheets sweaty and disheveled.
Every story in this collection is hot, passionate and exciting. Each of them explores a facet of bondage in a way that makes the whole idea of sexual torment and restriction sound irresistible and appealing. For anyone who has never experimented with the thrill of restraint, this collection of stories provides a taste of every risk you’ve been missing.
In the foreword to this book, Midori asks:
But what’s life if not lived with some risk? Behind every reason for avoidance of erotic adventure and sensual fulfillment lies fear. What do you fear? Does the thought of unbridled pleasure frighten you?If the thought of unbridled pleasure does frighten you, then avoid this book at all costs. If however, you’re intrigued by the prospect of relinquishing control and enduring unbridled pleasure, Best Bondage Erotica 2012 could be the ideal way to start the New Year.
“Will you tell other women stories about me when we are over?” she asked Alexander.
He wanted to be truthful and say no, but already she knew him too well. He was who he was, and aware that the temptation would be too strong not to talk about her, to improvise tales of beauty and fury, of lust and longing, songs of adoration and missing.
This self-referential quotation encapsulates Maxim Jakubowski's latest novel – a book of tales about women, lust, love, and loss. Although ostensibly focused on the relationship between Alexander, an introspective British author, and Ekaterina, a wild-hearted Italian journalist decades his junior, Ekaterina and the Night spends at least half its time tracing these two characters' travels through the lives of other lovers and sex partners, before and after their brief, intense connection.
The novel begins with sixteen year old Ekaterina's decision to seduce her handsome, urbane tennis instructor. She considers that it's high time she discarded her virginity, but she changes her mind when confronted with the grossness of male lust.
The scene shifts to Alexander's early explorations in the world of women. Both sensual and sentimental, Alexander finds astonishing variety in the female body and soul. His heart breaks more than once as he treads the torturous paths of pleasure. Although he recognizes his own susceptibility, he still cannot resist falling for the women he fucks.
Twenty-year-old Ekaterina meets Alexander when she interviews him for an article. No sparks fly, at least at first. A creature of words as she is, he woos her long distance with missives both tender and obscene. When they arrange an encounter, in the terminally romantic city of Venice, passion has snared them both.
Even from the beginning, though, both protagonists seem to believe their love is doomed – by geographic and social distance and even more, by the gap of age and experience that separates them. They call themselves Lolita and Humbert, although in fact they have little in common with Nabokov's creations. The fantasy scenario of the innocent and the beast inflames them, inappropriate as it is.
Over the course of several years, they meet, infrequently, in fabled cities – Paris, Rome, New York – share a few days of ecstasy, then part. Because they expect their love to fail, it finally does. Ekaterina cuts Alexander out of her life completely. Alexander, who craves women like an addict craves drugs, moves on to other conquests. Time marches forward – but decades cannot completely erase the marks the two have left on each other's souls.
Ekaterina and the Night offers a third major character in Emma, the personification of the night referenced in the title. Emma is a harvester of souls, a sort of emissary or assistant to the angel of Death. Several chapters follow her as she arranges the demise of individuals she has been assigned to harvest, some of whom are minor players in the lives of Alexander or Ekaterina. Emma is extraordinarily beautiful and strangely compassionate despite her role in the universe. As the novel progresses (if one can use that term for a book that jumps back and forth in time the way this one does), Emma's trajectory has near misses with those of the other two protagonists, until finally she arrives for her appointment with the aging Alexander.
I found myself surprised at the book's rather sudden conclusion. I read it in ebook form; one characteristic of ebooks is that it's not always obvious when you're nearing the end. Based on the blurb, I expected a three-way encounter among Emma, Ekaterina and Alexander. That never happened. Instead, Ekaterina fades out of the book completely, despite her prominence in the title.
In fact, I should warn readers to ignore the blurb and the cover (a shapely, boot-clad foot with a steel cuff around the ankle), as both are totally misleading. There's no BDSM to speak of in this novel, and there's nothing particularly shocking about Alexander's and Ekaterina's relationship, as claimed by the blurb. I blame the publisher for this; I suspect people who purchase the novel based on the marketing information will be annoyed when they discover how different the reality is from the hype.
Maxim Jakubowski's style offers a refreshing change from more commercial erotic fiction. His prose is simultaneously dispassionate and full of sensory richness. One has the impression of looking through glass, imagining the smells, sounds and tastes rather than directly experiencing them. Indeed, I think the author is gazing through the lens of recollection, evoking cherished scenes from the past and filling in the details from oft-rehearsed memory – telling his favorite stories, as Ekaterina intuited that Alexander would.
As in previous books, Mr. Jakubowski lovingly describes the geographies in which his characters come together. Indeed, cities, cafés, and hotels are practically minor characters, each one distinct with its own individual personality. Occasionally I found his metaphors jarring (such as a comparison of a woman's nipple to a pizza crust), but overall his literate, observant prose is a pleasure to read.
And is Ekaterina and the Night erotic? Arousing? Yes, and no. The novel includes a great deal of sex – some tender, some raw, some brutal, some boring. The encounters range from transcendent to banal. After Alexander and Ekaterina break up, for example, she falls on hard times economically. To support herself and her lover, she works providing remote sex shows by web cam. There's a long scene in which, on camera and in return for a large amount of money, she allows herself to be taken anally for the first time. There's no pleasure or joy in this scene at all. Other chapters offer accounts of similarly disastrous, uncomfortable, or unpleasant sexual activity. These sections of the book detract from the delicious eroticism one finds elsewhere in the book.
Do not misunderstand me – this is not incompetence. I don't believe that the author intended these scenes to be arousing. Since they do not contribute much (in my opinion) to either the plot or the character development, I'm really not sure why he included them.
And did I enjoy the book? Again, I feel ambivalent. At its best, Ekaterina and the Night is a melancholy, nostalgic evocation of lost love and vanished youth, a meditation on the transforming power of sex and the connection between romance and death. At its worst, it is a set of barely connected vignettes that sometimes arouse and sometimes disgust the reader, but all too often seem rather pointless.A reader who's looking for a traditional plot, with a core conflict, rise in tension, climax and a resolution, should probably avoid this novel. Someone seeking a more subtle emotional and intellectual experience may well enjoy it. Ekaterina and the Night isn't really a story. It's stories, plural, braided together and united by a wistful sense of remembered joy and a consciousness of mortality.
Oh super. More frat boys. Just what the world needed.
Okay, that sounds harsh – and I suppose there’s some bitter in there, too – but in the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that my own personal experiences with a frat were anything but erotic. Frustrating, discouraging, and outright mean would be closer to the truth. It will likely surprise no one that in the long run I didn’t end up in a frat – though to be fair I made some good friends in the process. But when I got a copy of Frat Boys, I cringed. To me, frat boys are about as sexy as Big-C Conservatives (which are Canada’s answer to the republicans).
Now, I’ve definitely been one to have my preconceptions slapped around before, so I opened the book – and tried to do the same with my mind – and delved in.
First story? Jeff Mann.
There’s nothing like finding a story from Jeff Mann to make me sit up and pay attention. If you haven’t read Fog – his most recent erotic novel – I insist you stop reading this review and go order it somewhere first. I’ll wait here.
Ordered? Okay, good.
That novel you just ordered is full of Mann’s astounding ability to pull erotica from violence, bondage, or the edge of things usually left to the realms of fear and pain. So imagine my surprise when I read his story, “Blue Briefs,” and found myself suffering from a bittersweet heartache and the sniffles. It was the perfect way to lead off the anthology – a story that brought me to a place I’d never expect to end up in an anthology about frat boys: somewhere bittersweet (after a brief stopover in the world of sublimely sweaty and hairy bondage, of course). The ending was startlingly unexpected, and all the better for it.
As was the collection. It’s in these surprisingly fresh tales that Allison’s anthology shines.
Gavin Atlas brings forth another of his trademark style: a tale of an insatiable bottom who struggles with how he enjoys the humiliation and dominance of his frat brothers in “The Laius League.” This is another story where I wasn’t sure where the author was taking me, and even though I know and love Gavin Atlas stories, I didn’t quite see the ending coming. Again, that’s a good thing.
Rachel Kramer Bussel’s “Stripped” was another great story – a pledge colliding with a she-male stripper that the frat has hired mostly to humiliate him, and the dawning self-worth and self-realization that the meeting inspires. I loved this story, not the least of which for turning the usual frat boy tale on its head and slapping it around with some gender fluidity. Thank you Rachel Kramer Bussel.
That said, there are also some well-written stories that delve in the more typical arenas of the frat boy trope. Hank Edwards gives us “Old Glory” – named for a glory hole “stall” the frat has set up in the basement where the guys bring their very drunk ladies for some through-the-hole pleasure. That the young man in the tale ends up inside the booth is no surprise, but the story itself teases in just the right ways. C.C. Williams steps outside the frat for his main character, Noah, who has been watching frat boy Jerry from afar in “The Pickup Game.” The sparks – and the meddling of Noah’s friends – had a genuineness to them that was charming. “Lessons in the Library” by Rick Archer tells us the story of a young man who came out – and the fallout was terrible from the frat he was pledging – and how the scars might heal. “Lessons” showed a more plausible side, from my experiences, and I appreciated its inclusion.
All this to say that I was surprised – pleasantly surprised – by Frat Boys. There are some very original ideas in the book, and even those stories that aren’t exploring new ideas are told with verve and definitely sizzle. For the Jeff Mann-Gavin Atlas-Rachel Kramer Bussel trifecta alone, this anthology is a worthy grab, but the rest of the tales aren’t filler, either. It’s a sexy book, with some great surprises, and an overall variation to the theme that keeps it from being just another collection alongside Daddies, Jocks, and Twinks.
And when you’re done, you’ve already got Fog on order, too.
Have you ever been seduced by suggestive words? Have commands been implanted in your subconscious mind by one who knows how to bypass your conscious fears and doubts? Would you like to have this effect on someone else? As the author of this novel explains in an epilogue:
Although pop culture mostly portrays hypnosis as a way for a villain to control innocent victims, people have found a staggering variety of ways that hypnosis can enhance sexual pleasures, including reducing inhibitions, increasing arousal, amplifying orgasms, and of course, engaging in erotic power exchanges.
The hero of this saga is a mild-mannered former professor at the University of Arizona whose career and reputation were both destroyed when a female student wrongly accused him of sexually harassing her; to avoid “taking sides” in an apparently unprovable case, the administration expelled them both. Dr. Darren Braid was then ripe for recruitment by the FBI to investigate a recording company which seems to be involved in the disappearance of a stream of attractive young women. Are they being brainwashed or kidnapped and sold as sex slaves? Only someone on the inside can find out the truth.
Darren writes and records erotic stories intended to hypnotize women into states of arousal and (in some cases) into subspace, an intense desire to submit. Enter Lamarr and Tony, two sinister black men at the head of Luv Bandit Music. They are interested in trying out Darren’s recordings on a “focus group” of bodacious babes.
What follows is a thriller in which the investigators try to outwit the bad guys, and vice versa. Darren finds himself hopelessly attracted to a shapely and competent studio manager, a light-skinned black (or African-American) woman named Latoya (groan).
Can he afford to trust her? Meanwhile, a hot-blooded Latina named Marisa undergoes a drastic change of personality when she “goes under” and seems likely to remain lost in her role.
The action never stops as Darren and Latoya embark on a dating relationship featuring hot but frequently interrupted sex as they are each called away by the demands of their jobs. Latoya is clearly no fool or easy victim. When Daren learns that her sister went missing, he wonders if Latoya could possibly be part of a slave training operation or if she too is looking for answers.
Darren is out of his depth at the launch party for a new hip-hop artist, but his quiet charm and the effectiveness of his recorded stories never fail to impress everyone around him. In fact, Darren seems to be a Gary Stu: a larger-than-life version of the author.
In a brief bio, “Hypnotic Dreams” explains:
My name is Daniel. I’ve been an amateur hypnotist since the 1990s. I write, voice and produce hypnotic/erotic audio stories for women. The recordings mentioned in this book’s first chapter, Hypnotically Seduced and Obedient Desire, are just two of the erotic hypnosis recordings I have produced for women. I have also written and produced a few femdom hypnosis recordings for men. All are available from my web site www.hypnoticdreams. A select number of my recordings are also available at Amazon.
This novel is thus shown to be a marketing tool as well as one of the author’s products.
Suspense is an important part of the plot of this novel, and I wouldn’t want to give away any revelations. Suffice it to say that the slave-trading operation is real, and Darren the hypnotist redeems himself by being in the right place at the right time.
Like a predictable Hollywood movie, this fairly short e-book features ethnic stereotyping, mindless bimbos, petty thugs working for a smarter, more ruthless thug, and U.S. government intelligence that lives up to its name. It’s an entertaining fantasy, and the writing style is smooth enough not to break the spell.
This book is just the right length to read on a plane flight of a few hours. If you’re a male traveller sitting next to a hot babe, however, don’t read it aloud to persuade her to take off her clothes.