by Alessia Brio and Will Belegon, contemporary (2006)
Phaze, $3.00, ISBN 1-59426-498-8
Do take note that Artistically Inclined was published only a few months ago by Venus Press and the authors have merely switched book publisher after Venus Press starts experiencing perplexing mysterious issues like telephones and emails that never work without making any changes to the story.
In our story, Cyndi is in a relationship with Kevin. She's an artist while he sells sport equipment and all, so this could either end up in pieces or work beautifully to the grand finish. Currently, however, she feels that their sex life has fallen into a rut and, inspired by a sexy work she's been working on for an anonymous client, she decides to spice up things between her and Kevin this Valentine's day. They will exchange a list of five sexual fantasies and if they have any same sexual fantasy in their lists, they'll do that one come Valentine's Day. Boy, this could be asking for trouble, especially if the other person comes up with a list that includes not just his ex-girlfriend or Dakota Fanning but also his mother, the family bulldog, or something he's seen in a Japanese dirty cartoon involving tentacles.
Artistically Inclined is not a bad read at all but I feel that the payoff isn't as good as the build-up. For one, I'm intrigued by the painting Cyndi did since it was supposed to be sexy while at the same time fit for display in, say, a church or in a school. What is it that she ends up painting, I wonder? Also, the story has Cyndi thinking about how she'll only let Kevin do the backdoor thing to her if he's willing to take it backdoor as well or how Karen, Kevin's secretary, has a thing for Cyndi so I'm really looking forward for all kinds of mind-boggling permutations and combinations one can have for two guys and two gals in a bisexual free-for-all. However, the payoff is pretty mundane in comparison to the build-up since the sexual fantasy Kevin and Cyndi opt to carry out doesn't even cover a fraction of such possibility. I won't spoil what they end up doing, but Artistically Inclined doesn't push the envelope as much as it seems to promise me at the start of the story.
Perhaps if this is a longer story it would deliver all the graphic and naughty things it promises to in its set-up, but in its current short length, all it does is to set my expectations high and then leaves me hanging high and dry. That's not a very nice thing to do, I must say.
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