Melanie Abrams
Julius Addlesee
Shelley Aikens
A. Aimee
Jeanne Ainslie
Fredrica Alleyn
Rebecca Ambrose
Diane Anderson-Minshall
Laura Antoniou
Janine Ashbless
Lisette Ashton
Gavin Atlas
Danielle Austen
J. P. Beausejour
P.K. Belden
Tina Bell
Jove Belle
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Ronica Black
Candace Blevins
Primula Bond
Lionel Bramble
A. J. Bray
Samantha Brook
Matt Brooks
Zetta Brown
James Buchanan
Louisa Burton
Angela Campion
Angela Caperton
Annabeth Carew
Julia Chambers
Dale Chase
M. Christian
Greta Christina
Valentina Cilescu
Rae Clark
NJ Cole
Christina Crooks
Julius Culdrose
Portia da Costa
Alan Daniels
Angraecus Daniels
Dena De Paulo
Vincent Diamond
Susan DiPlacido
Noelle Douglas-Brown
Hypnotic Dreams
Amanda Earl
Hank Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
Stephen Elliott
Madelynne Ellis
Justine Elyot
Aurelia T. Evans
Lucy Felthouse
Jesse Fox
I. G. Frederick
Simone Freier
Louis Friend
Polly Frost
William Gaius
Bob Genz
Shanna Germain
J. J. Giles
Lesley Gowan
K D Grace
K. D. Grace
Sacchi Green
Ernest Greene
Tamzin Hall
R. E. Hargrave
P. S. Haven
Trebor Healey
Vicki Hendricks
Scott Alexander Hess
Richard Higgins
Julie Hilden
E. M. Hillwood
Amber Hipple
William Holden
Senta Holland
David Holly
Michelle Houston
Debra Hyde
M. E. Hydra
Vina Jackson
Anneke Jacob
Maxim Jakubowski
Kay Jaybee
Ronan Jefferson
Amanda Jilling
SM Johnson
Raven Kaldera
J. P. Kansas
Kevin Killian
D. L. King
Catt Kingsgrave
Kate Kinsey
Geoffrey Knight
Varian Krylov
Vivienne LaFay
Teresa Lamai
Lisa Lane
Randall Lang
James Lear
Amber Lee
Nikko Lee
Tanith Lee
Annabeth Leong
James W. Lewis
Marilyn Jaye Lewis
Ashley Lister
Fiona Locke
Clare London
Scottie Lowe
Simon Lowrie
Catherine Lundoff
Michael T. Luongo
Jay Lygon
Helen E. H. Madden
Nancy Madore
Jodi Malpas
Jeff Mann
Alma Marceau
Sommer Marsden
Gwen Masters
Sean Meriwether
Bridget Midway
I. J. Miller
Madeline Moore
Lucy V. Morgan
Julia Morizawa
David C. Morrow
Walter Mosley
Peggy Munson
Zoe Myonas
Alicia Night Orchid
Craig Odanovich
Cassandra Park
Michael Perkins
Christopher Pierce
Lance Porter
Jack L. Pyke
Devyn Quinn
Cameron Quitain
R. V. Raiment
Shakir Rashaan
Jean Roberta
Paige Roberts
Sam Rosenthal
D. V. Sadero
C Sanchez-Garcia
Lisabet Sarai
R Paul Sardanas
R. Paul Sardanas
Elizabeth Schechter
Erica Scott
Kemble Scott
Mele Shaw
Simon Sheppard
Tom Simple
Talia Skye
Susan St. Aubin
Charlotte Stein
C. Stetson
Chancery Stone
Donna George Storey
Darcy Sweet
Rebecca Symmons
Mitzi Szereto
Cecilia Tan
Lily Temperley
Vinnie Tesla
Claire Thompson
Alexis Trevelyan
Alison Tyler
Gloria Vanderbilt
Vanessa Vaughn
Elissa Wald
Saskia Walker
Kimberly Warner-Cohen
Brian Whitney
Carrie Williams
Peter Wolkoff
T. Martin Woody
Beth Wylde
Daddy X
Lux Zakari
Fiona Zedde
Dark ObsessionDark Obsession
By: Fredrica Alleyn
Virgin Black Lace
ISBN: 0352345241
June 2009

Reviewed By: Ashley Lister

I have to admit I'm still reeling over the demise of Black Lace.  One moment the UK boasts a prestigious publishing house of superlative erotic fiction, written by women and written for women.  The next moment, the doors are being metaphorically closed and the publisher is explaining that the list will be closed for at least twelve months.  Knowledgeable industry insiders have already pointed out that this is as good as the publisher's putting up a sign saying they've closed the shop for this particular imprint.

There have been some authors who argued that the Black Lace ethos of only publishing female authors was somewhat sexist.  Regardless of whether a body is discriminating against men or women, it's still discrimination.  To that end I can sympathise with that point of view, even though I think, in this instance, it had its advantages.  Black Lace was an icon of female-friendly erotica and, in a society where women are still undervalued in the battle for equality, I was always in favour of a publisher who thoroughly supported female authors and offered a comfort zone of erotica that female readers knew had been written specifically and exclusively for them.  Maybe it did have overtones of political correctness taken to a ridiculous extreme.  However, if it gave just one reader an opportunity to enjoy well-written erotica through providing a safety-net of assurance that had been produced by a female writer, then it's served a valid purpose. 

Dark Obsession by Fredrica Alleyn is a perfect example of why Black Lace should not have closed its doors.  Dark Obsession is an erotic bildungsroman novel that explores Annabel Moss's journey from work-obsessed young-womanhood to sexual understanding, awareness and maturity.  The content is explicit, arousing and stylishly written. 

We open the story with Alleyn building background as Annabel is introduced as the rising protégé of two successful gay interior designers.  Annabel is young, attractive and solely focussed on her work.  She is trying to shy away from the responsibility of taking on the Leyton Hall contract but her employers believe she is more than ready for the challenge that this will present.  Consequently, Annabel is shipped off to a large country estate where all manner of sexual shenanigans are taking place. 

The hedonism within Leyton Hall is representative of the hedonism that the Black Lace imprint perpetually exuded.  The sex takes place in a variety of decadent locations, from stables through to stylish stately-home bedrooms.  There is a suggestion of borderline incest between the incumbent brother and sister-in-law that borders on being a revisitation to Wuthering Heights but with orgasms.  There is an air of cool distance between the reigning couple who head the household, reminiscent of something from John Updike.  And there are a wealth of salacious romps between minor characters as they revel in the general bonhomie of being centre stage in a well-written erotic masterpiece.  Again, if we're going for a literary precedent, lets put this in the milieu of John Cleland. 

As the story progresses, Annabel succumbs to the atmosphere of sexual egalitarianism that abounds at Leyton Hall.  Because the majority of us mature into our sexuality it is only fitting that the character in this story develops her awareness of her place as a valid member of society through her developing interest and exploration of sex and sexuality. 

As stated previously, the sex is constant, exciting and exquisitely written.  Fredrica Alleyn knows how to press buttons.  Fredrica Alleyn knows how to put a light to the blue touch paper and then stand back so we can enjoy the fireworks. 

For those who've never encountered a Black Lace novel before, Fredrica Alleyn's story would have previously been described as an ideal place to begin.  However, now that Black Lace is no longer there, Dark Obsession  has to be described as one of the last remaining chances to see the superlative standard this publishing house used to produce.