Another stellar anthology from Rachel Kramer Bussel!
When I see Rachel Kramer Bussel’s name on the cover of a book, I expect great things, and I was not disappointed with her latest offering.
This volume celebrates diversity in both character and content, but the most refreshing aspect for me was the way each female protagonist discovered something new about herself. Whether she found inner strength, a new appreciation for her body, or celebrated her desire without shame, reading about these characters’ emotional growth made me feel empowered.
This is exactly the type of erotica I would like to see more of: strong women unafraid to be themselves. No more shrinking submissives, billionaire worshippers, or ‘good girls’ who say yes but want to say no. Give me substantial chicks who know what they want and go after it, please.
Before I get to the stories I enjoyed most, I must admit that I’m picky about short-form erotic fiction. While I don’t expect the piece to start off with a ‘bang’, (pun intended), I don’t want a lot of backstory. In a novel, yes, but in a 9-pager? No. I would rather you drew me in with a good set-up that contains sexy details.
Speaking of sex, I adore writers who take care in describing physical sex acts. Who understand the human body and that limbs only bend in one direction. Who announce when people are getting naked because clothing does not magically dissolve. Who use snappy dialogue that tells me more about the character while moving the plot forward.
A few of the chapters failed the above parameters, but I refuse to mention which ones. Fiction is an art form, and art is subjective. What I love, you might abhor. Instead, I would like to highlight just a few (and I enjoyed a great majority of them) of the stories that stole my heart.
In order of appearance:
“The Birthday Gift” by Abigail Barnette
A perfect way to begin, this story knocked me out with its unique plot and likeable characters. Great flow, attention to detail, and just damn sexy!
“Watch Me Come Undone” by August McLaughlin
August McLaughlin did not waste a single word and captured more complex emotion in 8 pages than some writers do in 8 chapters. Simple. Elegant. Wow!
“A Stolen Story” by Leandra Vane
The first paragraph drew me in immediately, but it was the paranormal aspect that I loved most. A sexy ghost story? Yes!
“Guyliner and Garters” by B.B. Sanchez
Pure delight from start to finish. I love B.B.’s author voice and her effervescent characters. (I’m also a sucker for guyliner but that’s beside the point!)
“The Skin of Someone Else” by Charlotte Stein
Hands down, one of the best erotic shorts I’ve ever read, with an ending that brought tears to my eyes. Just beautiful!
“Infused Leather” by Dr. J.
A retired sex therapist, Dr. J. was the perfect person to conquer the subject of abuse and redemption, and she did it with great care and love. Uplifting. Joyous. Empowering!
I give Best Women’s Erotica of the Year Volume 3 a five-star rating and a very enthusiastic recommendation.