EROTICA
Best Women's Erotica of the Year
Vol. 4. Cleis. Dec. 2018. 256p. ed. by Rachel Kramer Bussell. ISBN 9781627782487. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781627782494. EROTICA
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OrangeReviewStarThis fourth volume of a solid classic series develops the theme of outsiders and risk. Excellent opener "Take the Shot" by Mica Kennedy sees wry yet reserved professor Nina stepping way outside her comfort zone by posing for an erotic calendar—with Josh, the gorgeous teaching assistant she's been crushing on, no less. In Calliope Bloom's seasonal "O Captain! My Captain!," a bisexual unicorn gets the chance to fulfill her friend-crush fantasies with Sophia (aka Maid Marian) in what evolves into a delightfully dirty yacht sexcapade. In Tamara Lush's "Words with Benefits," a 52-year-old professor reluctantly downloads a flirty game app and ends up exploring nautical bondage aboard charming Gabriel's houseboat. Meanwhile, a sneaky shopper succumbs to her untapped voyeuristic streak when she overhears a dressing room quickie in Alessandra Torre's scintillating "The Dressing Room." The entries range from tenderly seductive—Alyssa Cole's sf human/android tale "Essential Qualities" proves a true standout in this regard—to playfully raunchy, with everything in between. This anthology's inclusion of diverse characters in terms of age, race, kinks, and ability is refreshing and much-needed in erotica; each writer finds a way to adhere to the collection's theme while blissfully breaking the mold.
VERDICT An exceptional volume of quality quickies; highly recommended.

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