|Title: Spanked: Red Cheeked Erotica
Author: Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Publisher: Cleis Press, Inc.
Genres:: Erotic Art
Reviewer: J. Arathoon
Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Reviewer: J. Arathoon
The title gets straight to the point: this is a collection of short stories about spanking, and if you like spanking, you will probably like this collection. As always, Rachel Kramer Bussel does an excellent job of pulling together a set of well-written stories that explore a breadth of sexual experience and emotion while remaining sizzling hot.
Despite the somewhat narrow focus of the collection, the stories in this book manage to avoid becoming overly repetitive. In part, this is accomplished by judicious selection and positioning of stories to provide a nice balance—there is a varying mix of male topping and female topping, and gay sex mixes cheerfully in with hetero (though straight sex is more frequently featured throughout). Spanked:RedCheekedErotica
The stories are at their best when they’re exploring the intensity of the emotional connection that can be formed between a spanker and his or her spankee. Power play doesn’t have to be just a kinky party trick; many people in these stories find it to be a way to connect with their lover on the deepest of levels, a way of strengthening the trust and loving bond they share. Sometimes this is just a fleeting moment in an otherwise thoroughly kinky story—in Sage Vivant’s “Game, Set, Match,” for example, there’s an almost throwaway half-sentence mention of “a few moments of spooning to reestablish their bond of intimacy” before the couple is back to their kinky routine. “Daddy’s Girl” by Teresa Noelle Roberts, on the other hand, delves much more completely into how a couple can use power play to break through emotional blocks—and the joy that can come from being able to retreat into fantasy at will, rather than out of necessity.
There are stories with a darker side, too. “Page By Page” by Laura Bacchi shows the mental manipulation that goes into convincing a professional sub to break her “no touching” rule—and the extreme heights she experiences as a consequence of that decision. Rachel Kramer Bussel’s own “The Depths of Despair” has no compunctions about showing how mental domination can be used to batter the heart as effectively as a hand can batter a bottom—with equally intense results.
There are stories ringing with humor and some feature characters that jump off the page with vivacity; Rosalind Christine Lloyd’s “Logan” certainly fits the latter bill. Overall, this collection manages to present stories that all have the same general focus, but a complex variety of execution. Spanking fans should snap it up. Even if you aren’t particularly interested in spanking, by the time you finish this collection, you might having second thoughts.
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