Saturday, April 27, 2013

Booknote: Serving Him

Bussel, Rachel Kramer, Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission. Berkeley (CA): Cleis Press, 2013.

Find it at Cleis Press (if you wish to purchase)
Find it on WorldCat (if you wish to borrow from a library near you)

ISBN: 978-1-57344-925-0

Genre: Erotica
Subgenre: BDSM, D/s, Short fiction

I finished reading this two nights ago, and I have to say this is an anthology to savor. Whether you sit down with a cup of hot tea, a glass of wine (which could be my choice), or maybe a nice bourbon (hey, I live in Kentucky. Feel free to choose some other national drink), you are bound to soon get hot and bothered with these stories. This is definitely not a book to rush through. Take your time, enjoy the experience and the sensory stimulation from the stories and scenes.

The strength of this book lies in its diversity. The authors explore a broad spectrum of the erotic dance between the strong, seductive dominant male and the strong woman who thrives and blooms when she submits. The dance takes many forms in the twenty-two stories that the editor has carefully chosen for us. As a reader, you can tell this book was put together with care given the selection of well written stories with a variety of plots and kinks. There is something for every reader of erotica who enjoys D/s and BDSM as well as those who just enjoy very sexy tales. The excitement and intensity of the tales go from subtle and delicate to direct and strong, even a bit rough at times. I will dd that if you have a significant other, whether dominant, submissive, curious, or in between, then this is a book you can share. Who knows? You may learn a new trick or two or find a little inspiration. Or you may just live vicariously as a voyeur through the adventures and trysts of the characters. You will find well planned scenes and quicker interactions. There will be spanking, ropes, bondage, showers and all forms of delicious games in this collection.

I would like to take a moment and highlight some of my favorite stories. It was not easy to pick stories out given the excellent selection in the anthology, but these are ones that stuck with me at this time. If I read the book again, I might make different choices.

  • Kristina Wright's "Coffee Break" right away appealed to the coffee drinker in me. Granted, I am not much of a chain coffee shop consumer, but as a reader and writer, I find the ambiance of a good, cozy coffee house appealing. A great setting for a story that starts with the man ordering his woman over the phone to go to the counter and order a coffee, a very specific cup of coffee because our heroine is "as far from vanilla as they come. . . "(11). As in other stories, we see it is not only the thrilling sex, which we have here, but it is about trust. Plus, in this story we see our heroine submitting knowing she will get what she wants, and he knows exactly what that is. 
  • Errica Liekos' "Chattel" caught my eye because of its twist. It is a story that reminds us not to get complacent nor underestimate our partners. Sasha will discover that she indeed does have the perfect man,  a man worthy of her because of his confidence and high expectations. 
  • Teresa Noelle Roberts in "Under Direction" seems to turn the dynamic of dominant and submissive upside down as she asks if one always has to be on top of the other or not. This story features a monogamous couple, a kinky one, who "never ruled out the possibility of an adventure if the right opportunity arose" (27-28). Just remember that adventure can take various forms. And in this tale, the dominant reminds the submissive not to be greedy when it comes to serving. 
  • Cole Riley quotes Camus, who described submission as "giving up control to another person." However, in "Breaking Point," we are asked the question, "how far can you go?" Normal may well be relative as boundaries are pushed, and a good dom knows how to take his sub to the edge and over that event horizon. 
  • Bex vanKoot, in "Shining in the Dark," shows us how the dom cherishes his sub, often training and nurturing her to shape her into a masterpiece, a shining star. The art theme makes this a favorite tale for me, seeing the beauty of the woman in the artistic vision of her dom. 
  • joy's "Paper Doll" carries this theme of art and nurture as well. There are reasons the dom treasures, cherishes and takes pride in the sub he has chosen, even if she does not see those reasons right away. In the dance, the dom brings forth the best from the sub. 
In the end, the erotic dance of BDSM is one of fortune. As the editor tells us in her introduction, both dom and sub know how fortunate they are to have the other, but it is also about choice and trust, safety and consent. Without those elements, the dance cannot occur. So we have stories that will warm you up and move you tenderly. Others will have surprises, or they push just to the edge, giving you a bit of a rush maybe even a little fear. Regarding the stories, the editor writes that she feels "lucky to share them with you." I feel fortunate I was able to enjoy them. Overall, if BDSM and erotica are what you seek expert or just learning, then choose this book and share the good fortune as well.

(Note to keep The Man happy, a.k.a. compliance with FCC rules: Book was provided by the editor for review purposes in exchange for an honest review). 

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