by Sasha White, Laura Bacchi, S Desires, JJ Massa, Beth Williamson, and Nix Winter; romantic erotica (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-59998-492-X
Secret Thoughts: Erotique is a compilation of short stories by Sasha White and as anthologies tend to go, this one is typical in that it is a mixed bag of uneven quality.
S Desires kicks off the anthology with a two-paged story called Psst... Wanna Know What Turns Me On?. Actually, I hesitate to call this... thing a "story" because it is nothing more than somebody telling me to run my fingers and poke them here and there all over her body and hair so that she can get her jollies. It's a way to set the mood for the rest of the anthology, perhaps, but this is one for the "What the heck is this?" hall of fame.
Next is Beth Williamson's Southern Heat, a historical short story. It's a really nice and naughty fantasy about a young woman who spies on a handsome hunk skinny-dipping at the pool. This isn't like the infamous music video for Zazie's Un Point C'est Toi, though, because the young lady ends up surrendering her virginity to this fellow instead of throwing herself into the pond in dismay. However, Ms Williamson wants to tell a story around this fantasy, one where the young woman in question, Emmeline Parker, is the Cinderella to her unpleasant aunt and cousin until the hunk in question, Beau Montgomery. The story doesn't really work when it's compressed into its short length. If this story starts with Emmeline spying on Beau and ends right after Emmeline and Beau have attained their sexual bliss, Southern Heat will be just perfect. Instead, the story has to be there and it ruins the mood a little. The sexual elements in this story are just nice. The story on the other hand ends up being a rather typical rushed and half-bake tale that serves to dilute its eroticism.
Unknown Wanton by Sasha White is next. The heroine Cerise has a fetish for anonymous sex. By this, we are not talking about one-night stands with strangers. Well, not exactly. Cerise is talking about having sex while she's blindfolded so that she will not know who the person doing things to her is. This story is pure erotica as it details a particular encounter where Cerise is blindfolded and ends up realizing that her lover is a woman. This particular story is exactly right: concise, on the dot, starts up right and ends just right. It tells a story of a spicy encounter and it does just that very well with no superfluous pretensions or unnecessary subplots. In other words, this is a fine story just right for the format and theme of this anthology.
Coming up next is Laura Bacchi's She's My Type. It's about artists Paul and Cara who are looking for typewriters to be incorporated in Cara's upcoming exhibition. Somehow the discovery of a bunch of typewriter ribbons turns these two on so much that they start going at it using typewriter ribbons as part of their play. I feel old because I know what typewriters are and I still have one right now in the storeroom of my house while these people claim not to have seen a real life typewriter until they specifically look for it. However, when these two start using those typewriter ribbons to wrap around throbbing parts of their anatomy and all, I cringe just thinking of the ink stains that will result. When everything gets wet, I don't even want to imagine the mess that will no doubt occur. It is quite amusing to imagine the mess though, especially if these ribbons are the dual red-and-black ones. On the bright side, I like how these two actually reverse their roles in their kinky play - while Paul is a man, Cara is the "man" in this particular coupling, if you know what I mean. It's just unfortunate that this particular sexual fantasy is ruined by my familiarity with typewriter ribbons and the memories of how I have to wash my hands thoroughly with soap to get rid of the stains every time I replace the ribbon in my old typewriter. I can't imagine how it must be like trying to remove such stains from various hard-to-reach spots in the body. Then again, maybe Paul and Cara will have fun scrubbing each other clean down there and back there afterwards. More power to them.
JJ Massa's Office Politics has Mark, our hero, getting kinky with his boss Jack Weaver. Mark always thought Jack is straight until Jack summons him into the office for a little private staff performance evaluation, so to speak. As a good employee, Mark naturally seizes this opportunity to make a good impression on the boss with both his hands and go all the way. I am actually disappointed with this story because when the author sets a sex scene in an office, it is a good chance to play to the fetish the reader may have for men in office suits and tie. After all, there are plenty of online paysites out there catering to people with a thing for men in office suits doing naughty things to themselves and to other similarly clothed men. This should be a good chance to play to that with descriptions of, say, Jack grabbing Mark's sweat-soaked shirt or the feel of the fabric of Jack's pants against Mark's spotty bare bum as the boss drives home the solid importance of dedication to one's work all the way into Mark again and again. Or something else that can make this story stand out in some way. I don't know. What I get instead is a pretty typical gay sex scene that doesn't have anything to make it stand out. This story ends up being rather generic and even unimaginative. Jack is a naughty boss that will be fun to work under (and above and sideway) though so I'm happy that Mark has a great time working on getting a raise from his boss.
Sasha White is back again with Diary Of A Virgin. Candance, our heroine, was a Catholic schoolgirl and now, at twenty, she's curious about what she is missing out when it comes to the games adults play with each other. She decides that while she's not ready to go all the way with a man yet, she isn't above learning how to go down on another person. Her teacher is a married guitar player of a band named Jim. I know, a rock band member cheating on his wife, how shocking. What is the world coming to? This story is pure erotica of the "I'm now a hummer slut and proud of it!" variety and I'm quite disappointed with this one as well due to the short length precluding a more lengthy descriptions of the things Jim teaches Candace.
Nix Winter's story is The Art Of Love. I don't know how to describe this one other than to say that if S Desire's story is a silly teenaged girl pretending to play grown up as she gives what she imagines to be titillating sex talk to her first boyfriend over the phone (she can't see him in person because her parents have grounded her for coming home late), this story is the girl's older brother who is in film school and cannot tell a woman he's trying to pick up in a bar that he wants to get laid without dropping pseudo-intellectual babbles like "a day of monotony and disharmony" (translation: "I have blue balls"), "a million little tearing things at us" ("I've run out of Kleenex and my mom is not happy that I keep monopolizing the bathroom"), "bound by ribbons of doubt and fear and anger, irritation, and ribbons of pent up need" ("Oh god, does this mean I'm never going to get laid ever?"). It's the same thing as S Desire's "story", only this time a guy is telling the reader how the reader can get herself off to release some tension in times of, er, doubts and fear and anger or something. However, the author doesn't specifically go into details of how one can improve self-loving and take such activity to new heights, so this story is all babble and no substance.
Laura Bacchi is back with Sanchez Shake-Down. No, we haven't graduated from typewriter ribbons to milkshakes, don't get too excited. Our heroine, Sandra King, is the librarian at the Sanchez County Correctional Center for Men. She gets the hots for the officer Rob Mendoza and he her so they get down to business in the library. This one has some light whipping on the behind (predictably, he's the one doing the whacking) and some anal sex. Pretty ho-hum conventional things for a story of this sort, really. Just when things are starting to get interesting - Rob is going to get his hot brother to join in the fun - the story ends. Hmmph!
Dark, Dangerous, And Menacing is JJ Massa's story that is told in second person. Which is to say, the author is using "you" as the heroine of the story. So this story is about how my "vee" is supposed to go woosh in a heated meltdown because a hunky fellow says hi to me in the bar. Oh, if only things are so simple - I'd be in the bar every day if this is the case with a sign around my neck that says, "Hello. Be a dear and say hi to me!" And then, just when I am thinking that this is going to get really good because this fellow is going to shag me right there in the bar, right in front of that cute bartender who may be persuaded to join in the fun, the story chickens out and moves to the fellow's place for some mundane one-on-one fun. Hmmph!
S Desire is back with a reprise, this time around the thing is called Burn and I'm supposed to a guy and the author is begging me to give it to her hard. Who let this person back in? I'd give it to her - a big shoe on her behind as I kick her back out the door, that is. Shoo!
Laura Bacchi just refuses to go away as she comes back with a vengeance with The Waiting Game. The unidentified hero is a sub at the Villa di Piacere or the Villa of Pain but the antics he gets involved in are very vanilla and therefore this mundane story pretending to be some BDSM tale is not something that I'd find memorable.
Beth Williamson's Behind The Hedge is a contemporary story. At 38, Ryka is feeling a little lonely since she has no nice man to play with but when she ends up in a maze at an English countryside during a party and stumbles upon a hunky fellow in only shorts asleep on a bench, she is most tempted to head over and say hello. However, she stays put where she is and watches as he first plays with himself and then, when his boyfriend shows up, get all kinky with that fellow. It turns out that the cute guy is the boyfriend of one of the fellows in the party. Another party-goer, Marina, shows up and plays with Ryka while Ryka watches the two men play. Everyone is happy at the end of the day and Ryka realizes that she likes tuna more than bananas when it comes to her diet. Good for her, but Behind The Hedge is a little too stilted and the naughty scenes have a self-conscious trying-too-hard feel to them. Since the author's heterosexual sex scene in her previous story is nicely done, perhaps same-sex scenes are something Ms Williamson needs to work on a little bit more to make them come off as well as her heterosexual scenes.
Sasha White's The Gym is about a heroine explaining why she loves to go to gym. She describes in a detail a sexual fantasy she has about this good-looking guy that also goes to the gym. When it comes to keeping fit, this is as good a reason as any to go to the gym, but this story is too short to be more than a naughty little interlude. I think it's a bit of a mistake putting this story at the end of the anthology due to its truncated length that leaves me wanting more - perhaps if it is switched with the previous story which at least has a decent closure to its story, I won't be left wanting more when I am done with this anthology.
The stories, as I've mentioned earlier, are not equal when it comes to quality, but when the stories work, they are very effective naughty stories indeed. Even the weaker stories are readable yet forgettable instead of being actually poorly written or awful - these weaker stories don't work with me but I can imagine them working very well with other readers because of this. Therefore, I find Secret Thoughts: Erotique an above average erotic anthology. If you for a naughty quickie read and don't mind the fact that not all the stories here have a romantic bent to them, this erotic anthology will more than suffice in my opinion.
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