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Dear Ms. Rogers,
I saw Kamikaze listed as a free book and an introduction to your new self-published series, Last Call. The cover seemed eye-catching enough and the blurb promised smoking hot action. Sounds good to me. This read did exactly what it promised – it was short and physical. Unfortunately I struggled to connect to either character.
The premise for Kamikaze is a fun one. There is a bar called Last Call, where supernatural women can order a specific drink, and that drink telegraphs to the men in the bar what she is there for. I thought that sounded like a fun set-up, especially for a shorter work, and was intrigued. Zoe Bennett is the heroine of the story, and she is a werewolf who is in heat and needs a man. She doesn’t have one, so she shows up to Last Call and orders a Kamikaze: werewolf in heat, looking for temporary mate.
Connor O’Malley is a werewolf working on the security systems at Last Call. He sees Zoe and steals her away before the other men can stampede in their race to get to her, and convinces her to go upstairs with him. They go upstairs and have lots of sex.
That’s the entire storyline; there are no hidden depths to this story as it’s very short. It’s thirty pages long, and in actuality, this feels like both the story is too long and too short. It’s too short in the way of the characters. I don’t know anything about Connor other than he has an Irish name, is a werewolf, and works security systems. I don’t know anything about Zoe other than she’s looking for a man. Both characters are very vaguely sketched out, leaving me not much to root for. These two feel like strangers to me, and in the hands of an author with stronger characterization skills, it could have come across as part of the plot to see them slowly learn about each other. I just found these two boring.
The story also felt very long because the vast majority of it is sex. And after a few scenes of them having sex, it became dull for me. The sex was well written but lacking spark, and it should have been hotter. Also, other than the mentions of the werewolf nature of the two characters and the fact that Zoe is in heat, there are no supernatural goings-on in the story. I would have liked more, but there was only 30 pages to work with.
It was a free read, and I don’t regret reading it, but I’m going to have to say that your writing just doesn’t work for me. Which is a shame, because I like the concept of the series, and some of the later stories look fun. But after struggling to finish even 30 pages? I’m afraid I’m out. It’s not you, it’s me. This one gets a C .
Dear Ms. Jacob.
Readers: This book is hardcore, heavy-duty, almost-but-not-quite non-consensual BDSM. I hesitate to call it a romance and yet it really almost is. It’s total 24/7 dehumanization of the female submissive. It is NOT for everyone. I loved it and I heartily recommend it, but readers, please read my review before buying, because it’s unlike anything else I’ve reviewed.
Ms. Jacob, I’ve tried your As She’s Told and it’s just slightly too…squicky for me. I never enjoyed the pony-play parts of Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty series. Ditto Molly Weatherfield’s (aka Pam Rosenthal) Carrie’s Story when it gets into pony play. I have friends who adore pony play and it’s seriously beautiful, but I’m pretty uninterested. So the dehumanization and pony play of the contemporary set As She’s Told is…not my thing. It goes just a bit too far for me, no matter how well-written it is.
This story, though, takes those ideas and moves them to a hypothetical far future. Humans have colonized the galaxy and there are two sister planets, Henth and Raniz. Background is infodumped in Chapter 3, but the upshot of it is that Raniz is populated by small, entirely lesbian women and Henth is populated by huge, entirely homosexual men. Except for the few throwbacks. Heterosexuality is almost unheard-of and something to be ashamed of. If women on Raniz are convicted of a severe enough crime, they are offered the choice of rehabilitation, exile, or slavery on Henth. They have to choose to go to Henth and are then subjected to a month of intense attempts to convince them to choose otherwise. Once they get to Henth, they are sold to the highest bidder. There is intense competition among the small group of men on Henth who realize they’re heterosexual. When one manages to buy a pet woman, he can then choose to do to his new exotic pet whatever he wants.
The narrator is a woman who has worked hard most of her life to get to the point that she’s given the choice to go to Henth. That is, she’s a malingerer and a random sabateur, hoping she’d finally do something awful enough to be convicted and offered the choice. Because she wants to go. She wants to be owned by a man, she wants to be a pet, she wants to have decisions taken away from her. When she gets to Henth, she’s bought by Garid who has worked hard for years to be able to afford a woman. With full awareness that his new pet is human, intelligent, with a mind and a will, Garid treats her like an animal. He refuses to allow her to learn the language, he trains her using trial and error and severe physical punishment.
The narrative tension is in the narrator’s loss of will. She narrates her complete and utter submission to Garid. The story is also told from Garid’s third person point of view, and from the perspective of one of Garid’s friends. The “romance” in the story is in the progress of Garid’s utter control over the narrator. There are set-backs and changes. There’s pony play and orgasm control and humiliation and group sex. But it’s all about how Garid becomes the narrator’s will:
My master had taught me a great deal, far beyond my childish imagination. One thing he taught me was that I had been completely wrong about what I had wanted. I didn’t really want my Ranizen fantasies. Behind every one of those was a mind and an imagination – mine. Every one had a star, bound, abused, and brought to ecstasy – me. I was the center of those fantasies; I controlled them. I controlled the outcomes. I made them safe and scary and sexy and orgasmic.
I had fantasized about losing control, giving up autonomy, always to a man who would want what I wanted and give it to me. It wasn’t losing control at all, it was choosing the plot by inventing my own cast of characters. Playing at helplessness. But my master didn’t give me what I wanted; he took what he wanted. And I was utterly, utterly grateful that it was so. All I needed to know was what he wanted from me. All I had to be was the instrument of his will and pleasure.
How many times had I been like that stupid animal at the vet, coming to the end of its chain and looking surprised? I didn’t choose. I was an animal – less than that – a slave of an animal that had less than an animal’s autonomy and less than an animal’s rights. Even pets get off the leash from time to time. I had no rights to attention, no rights to orgasm, no rights to anything at all. My master had bought every privilege I ever owned.
I had been halfway there, that night in the tool shed. I had reached the point of resignation. But now I think I’d reached the point of joy.
The brilliant thing about this book, the thing that made it work for me, that made it one of the hottest things I’ve ever EVER read, was the 110% consensual nature of what happens in the book. The narrator is beaten, humiliated, fucked, shared, turned into an animal with no will of her own, and she craves every single thing that’s done to her. Every woman discussed in the book is utterly happy with her situation. The rightness of the situation for the characters is written into every word of the story. So readers can have their non-con with an utterly clear conscience.
More quirkily, I especially loved how the men in this book are aberrant. Garid has to come out to his father about buying a woman. There’s a whole chapter early on in which Garid and his friend discuss how they figured out that they’re heterosexual and dominant, how it’s changed their lives, how their families deal with it — all the things gay people go through here. It’s a lovely conceit in the book.
Calling it a “romance” is perhaps a stretch. Although Garid thinks at the end that he loves his pet, and indeed wouldn’t want any other relationship, he would have bought any slave at that point because they’re so rare and he had the money. Neither of the main characters have much choice in who they “love” — it’s almost a fated mate story in that respect. But the focus of the story is still 100% on the growth of the relationship between them.
Readers, if you like hard-core dehumanization BDSM, then this story is for you. I loved it. I thought it was almost a “sweet” story, in some respects. Both main and secondary characters have personalities that feed into how the story progresses. It’s not merely a bunch of stroke scenes sewn together. There is narrative arc and emotional progress throughout the story, so it’s worth reading end-to-end, as well as picking out individual scenes for closer…inspection, shall we say.
Dear Ms. Callaway:
I was bemused and not particularly enchanted by your gothic paranormal novel Abigail Jones. Everything about it, from the demented sex-starved demonesses to the enormity of your hero’s penis, was over the top. Very little about the heroine, her plight, the hero, his predicament, or the eye-popping plot called to me to. Ultimately, I found the story silly and, despite the many erotic scenes, unsexy and unromantic.
You open the book with a poem by the famous Pre-Raphaelite painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
Of Adam’s first wife, Lilith, it is told
(The witch he loved before the gift of Eve,)
That, ere the snake’s, her sweet tongue could deceive,
And her enchanted hair was the first gold.
And still she sits, young while the earth is old,
And, subtly of herself contemplative,
Draws men to watch the bright web she can weave,
Till heart and body and life are in its hold.
The rose and poppy are her flower; for where
Is he not found, O Lilith, whom shed scent
And soft-shed kisses and soft sleep shall snare?
Lo! as that youth’s eyes burned at thine, so went
Thy spell through him, and left his straight neck bent
And round his heart one strangling golden hair.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The poem has a literal significance to your tale: the villain of this gothic romance is the Lilith, first wife of Adam, Mother of the Demons, and Queen of the Night. As the hero, Hux, explains:
According to ancient Semitic scriptures, she was created by God as the first wife for Adam. Though her beauty was unparalleled, she was querulous and headstrong. When she refused to take a subservient role, Adam complained to God. God gave him another wife, Eve, and Adam cast Lilith aside. Enraged, Lilith set the earth aflame and fled amidst the smoke of burning poppies. She has ruled the darkness ever since.
She’s done nothing but become more evil over the centuries and now, at the height of Victoria’s rule, Hux says, the Mother of Demons has a horrific goal.
Lilith is building an army, and when her power is great enough, she plans to overtake our world. To create her own empire of everlasting hell.
Our hero, Lord Lucien Langsford, Earl Huxton (Hux to his—none of which exist in this book—friends), has been tasked with defeating Lilith. He has this burden because when Hux was young, he was blamelessly responsible for a horrible injury to his brother John who subsequently took his own life. Years later, while living in Italy, Hux met a woman. He describes the encounter to Abigail:
“Her name was Isabella Del Blanco. We met at a masquerade in Florence. She was the young widow of a wealthy merchant and the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I still remember the dress she wore that night: layers of white and gold that floated around her. I thought her an angel descended into our midst.”
He was looking at me, but his eyes had that distant focus again. I knew he was seeing his wife as he had that first time. Reliving that moment forever imprinted upon his memory.
“I had to know her. But she was surrounded by admirers, and I—so used to the attention of the fair sex—I could not get her to notice me. So I bided my time. I waited until I saw her slip out to a balcony, and I followed her there. I pressed for an introduction. But it turned out she knew me already—she had heard of my exploits from her friends, she said, and she wanted to know if the rumors were true.”
“Rumors?” I could not help but ask.
A dull flush spread over his cheekbones. “About my … stamina. ‘Twas a trifling matter grossly exaggerated.” He cleared his throat. “At any rate, she seduced me that night. Then and there, on the balcony overlooking a piazza brimming with revelers, she took me as no woman ever had. I had thought myself experienced in carnal arts, but she overwhelmed me completely—with her beauty, her lack of restraint. I had never felt this way with another woman. The next morning, I asked her to marry me. Within a week, we were wed by special license.”
Isabella turned out to actually be Lilith and, after making Hux’s life a torment and murdering their son, she abandoned him. Hux, unable to overcome his grief over his son’s death, was about to hurl himself out the nursery window when he was visited by another paranormal creature, this one on the side of good, Michael, Captain of the Army of Light. Michael told Hux that if Hux could defeat Lilith and her slutty offspring, the Lilin,
God would pardon my brother’s sin and let John be at rest at last. Michael gave me a blessed sword and knowledge of the words and ritual to cast a demonic force from its humanly shell.
This back-story is too bent for me. First of all, the idea that Hux is so good in bed—it’s already been established he’s hung like an elephant—that the Queen of the Night finds him just to try out his goodies, sticks around to make him miserable, gets pregnant with his son, and then suffering a post-partum depression caused by the fact she really wanted a girl, kills the kid and dumps Hux all seems beyond far-fetched to me. Add to that, a mystical messenger from a mean God—Hux, who is completely innocent in his brother’s suicide, has to take on the Biggest Bad because God is keeping John is some sort of nasty purgatory and he won’t let him out unless Hux rids the world of Evil—and a bunch of hell-bitch women who are horrifically horny and trying to destroy the world one cock at a time and you have a story so lacking in credibility, it’s ridiculous.
Abigail’s role in the novel is equally preposterous. The young, virginal, grey-eyed heroine has all her life suffered from scandalous and wicked visions. When she touches certain objects, she is transported into the experience of another. These experiences are all sexual and usually depraved. As a girl, she lived with her aunt who, aware of Abigail’s affliction, kept her away from much of the world. But, beloved Aunt Agnes passed on three months ago and Abigail threw herself on the mercy of her aunt’s oldest friend, Mrs. Beecher who is, of course, Lord Huxton’s housekeeper. Abigail, who has no experience at doing anything but reading—she’s a whiz with all things bookish—becomes a chamber maid in the Earl’s home, the dramatically named Hope End. Mrs. Beecher, from page one, warns Abigail to stay far away from the Earl, who is known for his voracious sex life and mysterious past.
Abigail tries to obey Mrs. Beecher, but, one night, when she, Abigail, can’t sleep, she sneaks off to the Earl’s library where, while she is hiding under his desk, hoping he won’t discover her, she watches him stroke his massive member. He, in the throes of passion, kicks out his foot, and knocks over Abigail’s hidden candle. He stops playing with his “truncheon”, hauls Abigail out, and, by the next day, has asked her to become his personal secretary. Next thing you know, she’s in love and trying to get him to relieve her of her chastity and he’s in love and trying to behave like a gentleman—which for him means he can do stuff to her and, after he protests, she can do stuff to him and his truncheon, but they don’t have intercourse.
Furthermore, there’s the Lilin who keep showing up and whom Hux keeps having to seduce and kill which is no fun at all. As he reassures Abigail,
“My encounters with the Lilin have never resulted in the usual outcome.”
Not understanding, I tilted my head.
His mouth took on a wry bent. “When I say there is no pleasure in it for me, I mean it in the literal sense. I use sexual means to entice them, yes, but I do not participate for myself. To be blunt, there is no conclusion for me.”
My brow furrowed as I tried to grasp what he was telling me. “You mean you don’t—”
“I do not spend, Abigail,” he said succinctly. “It has been several years since I have experienced that particular pleasure with another person involved.
As Hux wages war on the Lilin—through a series of one-night stands—Abigail realizes that her visions are somehow connected to the Lilin. She worries she could be one of them and yet she knows she’s not an evil, humanity destroying ho. Plus, there’s this magic necklace she wears that somehow protects her from the Lilin….
It all seemed to me to be completely absurd. Neither Hux nor Abigail is remotely credible, and their deep love for each other didn’t have any basis other than lust and a desire to rid the world of evil sex-obsessed demons. Reading this book made me long to watch Buffy and Angel kiss and kick some ass—and I wouldn’t mind it being those of Hux and Abigail.
It’s fair to infer, from the Author’s Note, this book was inspired by Jane Eyre. I like Jane Eyre (hate Wuthering Heights) and, as I read this book, I could see the effort put into replicating that sort of eerie Gothic tale. But the storyline here is so crazy, the leads so extreme, and the morality so discomfiting, I couldn’t enjoy the ambience of the book. I’d give it a D.
Dear Ms. Dean—
When you sent Dear Author a teaser for your novel Teach Me, you described it as an historical novel set in the early Victorian period. In describing the book, you wrote “romance will be the focus of the story with erotic elements. Sex and language will be hot, graphic and plentiful.” You weren’t joking about the sex. In fact, I wouldn’t describe your book as an historical romance; I’d call it erotica set in a very imaginary Victorian London.
Your heroine, Elizabeth, the Viscountess Rocksley, is at twenty-eight a very curious widow. She married young to a man she perhaps loved but never experienced passion with. (He was the stereotypical Victorian and would only make loved under the covers, clothed, quickly, and with no conversation.) The whole time Elizabeth was wed, she wondered if there wasn’t more pleasure to be had and, after her husband died and she finished her mourning period, she did have three discrete quickies at social events with a very nice rake whose hurried thrusting made her feel something stirring, although not quite thrilling. So, what does she do next? She asks around for the name of a brothel—this seemed ridiculous to me; a woman of her status could no more fish about for the name of a house of ill repute than discuss erotica at a dinner table (which Elizabeth does later in the book and doing so gets her in all sorts of trouble with her respectable social set). She contacts the madam of La Belle Jeune Fille Pieuse and requests an education in carnal pleasure. Elizabeth wishes to know sensual joy, to learn to give and receive it.
When Elizabeth goes to the bordello, she expects to encounter Mrs. Lydia Morcom, the madam. It’s never explained what sort of initial conversation Elizabeth had with Mrs. Morcom, but Elizabeth is expecting her training to be verbal and to be done by the madam. Instead, when she arrives for her first session, she’s met by an icy, gorgeous, arrogant peer, the utterly sexually depraved Earl of Malvern. Elizabeth, initially nonplused, quickly finds the idea of being educated by the Earl damn alluring. He tells her, after having her take off her cloak and checking out her body, that he is willing to teach her all she wants to know.
“I shall show you carnal pleasure, madam. As you say, both to receive and to give. However, pregnancy should be avoided at all costs.” His eyes flickered, the first sign of something resembling emotion crossing his face. “I will not marry you, no matter the circumstance.” Well, of course he wouldn’t. She wouldn’t wed him either. In any event, conception was not a concern for her, not after a marriage that had never yielded— Good Lord. He spoke of practical application. He spoke of touching and kissing and— Was it warmer in here of a sudden? He continued with barely a pause. “Actual penetration will be avoided. While many people extol the virtues of withdrawal, I remain unconvinced. We will discuss methods of contraception during your education, but the most effective method is always avoidance. You are in agreement?” Still confused but now with cheeks aflame, Elizabeth nodded. In all her life, no one had ever spoken so frankly. This, combined with his matter-of-fact manner and lack of emotion, banished any lingering apprehension and left only the excitement. Glorious, thrilling excitement.”
The two agree that Elizabeth will come to his townhouse—discretely of course—three days hence. Elizabeth leaves the brothel in a tizzy—she’s never been so turned on in her life—and James, the Earl, goes to ask Lydia, a woman he’s fucked many a time, why she decided to offer him the “mousy” little widow. Lydia says she thought her present would appeal to his “degenerate soul” and that, since she’s just gifted him, she’d like him to gift her with the reward of his cock which he, without much interest, does.
Three days later, Elizabeth finds herself in the Earl’s home, where the two go over the basics of their arrangement. They will meet twice weekly at five in the evening—this hour is somehow more discreet than other times. The Earl asks Elizabeth to detail her sexual history. She, who has never talked about sex with anyone, is unable to answer. So, because Elizabeth isn’t really mousy at all, she asks him instead to tell her his sexual history.
“My first physical encounter was with a prostitute my father engaged for me at the age of twelve. She instructed me on the basics, at which I became quite well versed in our time together. I took a second lover at fourteen, a third at fifteen, and further extended my knowledge. As a side, I found it amusing to play them off against each other.” He’d had more than one lover at the same time? Before he’d reached his majority? He must have been able to keep them all satisfied—what did he mean he’d played them off against each other? Did they compete for his affections?
Well, not his affections, the man appeared to be made of stone, but, well, what did he mean?
“By the time I left Oxford, I had become quite versed in carnal pleasures, and embarked upon a career exclusively devoted to catering to my whims. There is little I have not undertaken.”
She couldn’t help but stare. He was so very different from anyone she had ever encountered. He just said things—things that were inappropriate and lewd, and not fit for a lady’s ears. She loved it. “Like what?” His brow rose. “What variations upon the basics?” Almost afraid to breathe lest he stop, she nodded.
“I have experimented with numerous positions, with cunnilingus and fellatio. I have had two mistresses pleasure me at the same time on numerous occasions, and have had the reverse occur as well. I have attended orgies, tied my lovers up, spanked them, dominated them, been dominated, watched others as they performed, been watched, fucked men, women, anything in the course of obtaining pleasure.”
“Fucked?” The unfamiliar word sounded delicious on her tongue.
“Had sexual relations, intercourse.” All said so factually, so calmly, as if his words weren’t of infinite fascination. “Language will also be part of your tutelage.
Are my qualifications suitable?”
Elizabeth finds his qualifications to be so suitable she almost comes on the spot and the education of the widow Rocksley begins. Within a few visits, Elizabeth has become a pleasure addict—she really likes orgasms, having her body caressed, and hearing the Earl say truly naughty things. Within a few more visits, the Earl—now James– has become an Elizabeth addict—she’s not only a great plaything, she’s sweet, funny, and, instantly adept at both hand and blow jobs. But while Elizabeth is fine being obsessed with James, James is uneasy with his attraction to Elizabeth.
Their visits in the first half of the book have James and Elizabeth either having wild, non-penetrative sex that leaves them both stunned with pleasure or having James lecture Elizabeth about sex in ways that bore him and her. When the latter happens, Elizabeth tends to chatter to James about her life—she comes from a big family, full of love and hurt. (Her bitchy older sister Bella takes every chance she can to criticize Elizabeth; her father drinks too much and defends Elizabeth staunchly.) James, much to his horror, listens to her and, even worse, thinks about her. She becomes not just a plaything, but a person, someone he, were he a different sort of many, might possibly like.
From the beginning, he has been determined for his encounters with her to be something that would amuse him and nothing more. His insistence on the lack of intercourse is clearly about wanting to emotionally distanced from her rather than any real fear of impregnating her—he’s actually quite adept at birth control. He believes his childhood—his dad held non-stop orgies and his mom, once she’d popped out James, became a nun—has made him a man with no heart. He takes little pleasure in his debauched life but can’t see any other sort of life, especially one with relationships, as possible for him. He truly doesn’t care for anyone—there’s a scene where he has one of his mistresses abruptly thrown out of her house simply because she wouldn’t accommodate him when he dropped by. James is a cold son of a bitch and he finds being drawn to Elizabeth almost distasteful.
But, he just can’t stay away and by the time the two kiss for the first time—her idea—he is losing his vaunted control around her. Two months into their assignations, he has managed to keep from penetrating her girl parts, but he’s no longer penetrating anyone else anywhere and he finds all the things he used to do—hanging out at his club, participating in orgies, drinking himself into a stupor—don’t appeal to him. All he wants to do—and this really bothers him—is spend time with Elizabeth. He tries being mean to her, being shocking to her (he suggests they put anal sex on the curriculum for “Thursday next;” she declines), being intentionally tedious to her. None of it works—she really likes him and, has become quite adroit at getting him to fondle her instead. The two grow cozier and cozier and James, a man who sees intimacy as an affliction to be avoided at all costs, must choose between the happiness he finds in Elizabeth’s company or the solitary, debauched life he’s sure is his fate.
This book bored me. The first half of it is erotica based on torrid encounters between the iceman who’s done it all and the (relatively) inexperienced woman who comes at the drop of a hat. The sex scenes are repetitive—I found, by the time I’d read about it for the fourth time, I didn’t care Elizabeth found having her nipples pulled at arousing—and predictable. Elizabeth and James represent female/male archetypes in a hackneyed way: she represents emotional connection; he, relational diffidence. It was clear, from the moment the two first gazed at one another, that each would be the other’s salvation. The second half of the book, focused on James’ fear of intimacy, made me impatient. James is a dick, but he’s a smart dick. He knows what he has with Elizabeth is worthy of attention and of, on his part, change. It seemed to me to be a manufactured cop-out for him to abandon her and his feelings for her just because he was scared he didn’t know how to be someone other than the cretin his father had told him he’d be. James may be a man in bed, but, in the rest of his life, he’s an immature cad. I found myself envisioning a better ending for Elizabeth in which she took all the knowledge she’d gotten from James and found an adult to share her skill set with.
At the end of the novel, James is, somewhat unwillingly, trying to live in Elizabeth’s world—a world that involves thinking about someone other than himself and how much he needs Elizabeth. He comforts himself by thinking about the first year of their marriage where it was just the two of them alone, in a villa in a small town in Italy. His fantasy made me cringe. It’s not enough for him to have Elizabeth as his—he’d like for the two to be everything to one another, others be damned. For me, no matter how great in bed he is, no matter how much he loves Elizabeth, his passion is one that limits her in ways he doesn’t seem to even be aware of.
As I finished the book, I was reminded of the quasi-wisdom of a trite 1970’s phrase: “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” I can’t see James ever letting go of Elizabeth and, really, that’s rather sad.
This book was for me, at best, a C.
Dear Ms. Thomas,
Your work was recommended to me as an ‘out of the box’ self-published erotica writer that has a lot of fans, but whose works are not for everyone. I flipped through your works and settled upon The Auction because the blurb mentioned that she was bought by a monster. I was hoping for a Beauty and the Beast type of story. This is not even close. Instead, it’s a D/s story about a woman that is purchased by a dragon-like man and made to service him and his brother.
Belle is a young woman in the city on a planet that is vaguely dystopian. From the worldbuilding, readers should infer that this is a planet that has been cut off from almost all society and the little colony lives a simple life. It made me think of the Shyamalan movie The Village in that aspect. At a certain age, all women are auctioned off to a man that they will belong to. Some women are happy to be auctioned off, but Belle believes in hedging her bets. She blows a lot of men behind the community center in the hopes that one of them will purchase her and secure her future. Instead, she is bought by a monstrous looking man – one of the ‘monsters’ on the outskirts of the city and sent to live with him. There, she exists in sexual slavery to him and must decide how she will cope with being owned by him.
While your writing is very easy to sink into, I had a number of problems with this story, and perhaps it is me not being a fan of Master/slave, it’s hard to tell. I found Belle rather unlikable. She waffles back and forth between hating Master (the only name she is allowed to call him) and adoring him. She’s quick to toss down blowjobs to secure a far-off future, but when her future is here, she’s suddenly reluctant to be owned by the man she was blowing, or her new master. She runs away even though it’s dangerous and she has nothing to run back to. I found this difficult to root for.
The ‘Master’ was a character that was very lightly sketched. All I knew about him was that he had sex toys on hand, a really high body temperature, and a big package. I cannot speak to his personality, and I think that’s a lot of the problem of this story – it feels as if corners were cut. I am not against his character, but I’m not for it either. I simply don’t care either way, because as the reader, I’ve been given nothing but a horrifying description (he looks like a cross between a dragon and a man and has a forked tongue) and am told he likes to dominate his human.
The titillating scenarios presented here beyond the slavery were edgy but I did not find them particularly erotic. Perhaps it’s the first person point of view that was throwing me off, and the constant addressing of the camera that broke the fourth wall. Either way, I found it annoying. I had the same problem with this book that I did Annabel Joseph’s Odalisque – the characters are presented in this emotional scenario (Master/slave) but they come across as cardboard and weak and ultimately emotionless.
I enjoyed your writing and found this to be a very brief, mostly grammatically clean read. It was 57 pages according to the Amazon webpage, and I think with double the pages, you could have made the sex a little more erotic, the characters a little more nuanced, the world fleshed out. As it was, this felt like it skimmed the surface. There was one scene that I found a distinct turn off, and I have to chalk it up, again, as not my kind of story. This will be an author I won’t be picking up in the future, I don’t think. The voice was very readable but the story ultimately lifeless.