Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Booknote: Dirty Dates

Rachel Kramer Bussel, Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples. Jersey City, NJ: Cleis Press, 2015.  ISBN: 978-1-62778-145-9.

If you wish to borrow it from a library near you, you can find it via WorldCat.
If you wish to purchase it, you can visit the publisher (or you can use that big online retailer).

Genre: fiction
Subgenre: erotica, BDSM, short fiction
Format trade paperback
Source: Provided by the editor in exchange for an honest review. 

From the book's description:

"What happens when date night involves a blindfold, a corset, handcuffs, or a spanking?"

Readers get an answer in this solid and very good anthology from Rachel Kramer Bussel. The anthology focuses on couples who combine kink with their romance. Couples in the stories may be casual lovers or committed couples. What they share in common is their hot passion and their very kinky desires and play times. As the editor points out in the introduction to the book, kink levels can vary. Some couples are very open about their BDSM lifestyles, and others do their best to hide it. Some take pride in showing it off, and others take a thrill in wondering when they might get caught. The kink experience is a diverse one, and the stories in this anthology reflect that.

The book features the introduction by the editor and 21 stories that the editor has chosen playing on the theme of kinky couples. In her introduction, the editor sets up the collection, and she gives us some small teasers about the stories about to follow. The stories are very good in terms of quality and variety. Like many anthologies, you as a reader may like some stories better than others, but overall I would say that the majority of the stories in these volume are very good, and they are likely to inspire an idea or two for some couples. Kink and BDSM have many flavors and varieties. The ones I do not enjoy as much may be the ones that really get you going, and vice-versa. Part of the fun may be reading to find your favorite stories. Odds are good you may end up revisiting the book now and then with your special someone. This is certainly a collection of stories that you can read and share with your special someone. It is a collection for both couples who are already kinky in one way or another as well as for those who are not (but may end up finding out they want to try a thing or two).

In the end, the editor summarizes the feel and goal of her book in this passage from her introduction. It captures what the book is about and the feel that you can get from reading it, so please allow me to share it with you:

"There's a sensual beauty to these stories that I believe will speak to those who practice kink in their lives and those who don't, because in some ways the tenderness, the charge, the power shifting back and forth between partners, transcends kink. It speaks to ideals of worship, wonder, adoration-- from both sides. Even the most sadistic men and women whose worlds you're about to enter clearly value those they are asking to give them their bodies, their minds, their words, their beings. They are living out their most vivid fantasies with the person they most cherish" (viii-ix). 

And we get to read their accounts, and maybe even get moved to try something now and then.

Before I conclude, let me make some notes on some of the stories. It was not an easy choice, but I am making some notes on stories that caught my eye to give readers a small taste of what comes ahead:
  • The anthology opens with "The Corset" by Dorothy Freed. This story sets the tone for the volume nicely. It's the story of a Dom who gets a special corset for his sub in order to show her off at a kink party. Freed makes great use of detail, and you can visualize the sub in her corset as you read it. She may be able to "hardly describe how hot it was to be put on display in the midst of that party" (7). However Freed captures that hotness with her descriptive detail and the interactions between Dom and sub. 
  • Valerie Alexander's "The World in my Pants" is the story of Trey, a "conventionally gorgeous" man prized by his mistress. He makes the mistake to annoy his mistress. She does extract her revenge in a bar restroom For me, this is one of those kink stories that I have mixed feelings about since being mean for the sake of being mean is a bit of a turn off for me. On the other hand, Trey is basically the male version of a "dumb blonde" who got what was coming to him. Fans of femdom stories will likely enjoy this story where Trey is taught a lesson and reminded of his place. 
  • "Lying Down" by Kathleen Delaney-Adams is the story of a married couple who have a steamy, kinky encounter first thing in the morning. I really enjoyed the attention to detail in this story as the tension and arousal rises until the husband takes what is rightfully his. As he says in admiration and love and lust: "She is beautiful, splayed before me, and all mine. I don't need words to remind her of this; my possession of her was understood between us even before she became my wife. Mine." (50). 
  • "The Rabbit Trap" by Nik Havert. In this tale, it is Easter, and Ian finds that the Easter Bunny (a.k.a. his lover Tina) has left some eggs and treats for them to play and enjoy. This is a short but very hot and steamy story where the bunny gets captured and gets all she deserves. . . and then some. It is a cute and hot selection. 
As I mentioned, these are some but not all of the stories that caught my eye and stayed with me.  You may find other stories become your favorites, and if you do read this book, please feel free to come back and let me know which story or stories you liked or not as well. Overall this was a book that I really liked, and it is certainly one I will share with the Better Half down the road. I should add that though the subtitle says "for couples," solo readers can enjoy this book as well. Please if it moves you, and you are on your own at the moment do feel free to pick it up as well. Kramer Bussel always puts out solid and enticing work, and a new anthology by her is a book I always look forward to. As an additional note, I will say for the public libraries that collect erotica and erotic romance, this would make a pretty good selection. Yes, it is steamy, but it is also a collection of well written stories that those readers will enjoy.

4 out of 5 stars

This book qualifies for the following 2016 Reading Challenges:

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