My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Let’s just start by saying that I have a love-hate relationship with CJ’s writing. When it works, it works just fine. When it doesn’t... let’s just not go there, shall we? But I know she’s a very talented writer when I read The Spare couple of years ago, the fact why I keep picking up her novels. It only shone through this collection of short erotic stories.
These stories read rather like ideas or excerpts, yet I won’t say it hindered my enjoyment in any way. The settings are mixed, both historical and contemporary, genres too. These are narrated from first person POV. Don’t expect any traditional HEA; IMO these are way too short and rather oddly contrived. My rating is holistic for all 5 stories, each review written right after I finished that particular story.
Inigo the Magician
The narrator, who is unnamed, goes to a late night magic show with her fiancé, Jonathan. Unfortunately, he’s killed by a demon conjured up by the Magician. Then the narrator is raped by said demon. In the middle of the act, she finds out just how much the demon is controlled by this pervert of a Magician. In the middle of the act, she coaxes out a promise from the demon in exchange of another promise...
Some months later, the demon comes to visit her. He had kept his promise but will she keep hers? The narrator, somewhat appeased by the turn of events, accedes, only to find that the demon wants something much more binding, much more disturbing than what she initially thought.
There is the mention of rape in this story and might be troubling for some people. Apart from that, the entire time I kept thinking how lathery the demon’s black skin felt and how big his *coughd!ckcough* was. My point being, CJ has achieved what I was expecting from the story quite precisely. Sex was hot (demon sex after all)! :p The ending left me rather surprised, though I’m not sure why the story was named after the eeevailll magician. :/
The Demon Lover
In this mid-Victorian era story, we find Zoe, the h, is resigned to her spinster state. She lives with her widowed father, a good man. Though they’re not rich, Zoe thinks she can be content to stay this way. If only...
She may not attract a lot of male attention being rather on the plain-side, but Zoe is a red-blooded woman who craves a man’s touch just the same. And the only man who seems to have attracted her attention is a widower called David Nataniel, a friend of her father’s. Unfortunately, this man is also rumored to be a notorious womanizer, the instigator of all things wicked, thus a big no-no for an innocent girl like Zoe. If only!
On a rainy day, fate plays its part. After an enigmatic exchange, Zoe later finds herself in a costume ball given by David...
As you can see, there was nothing demonic in this one but I wanted MOREEEE! I mean it just ended, and Zoe’s last line left me hanging with too many possibilities swirling around. This could’ve been a great novella-length story if those possibilities were explored to the fullest.
My Goblin Boyfriend
Violet just kicked out her cheating ex. She’s rather horny, missing what she was getting from the a$$hole. The craving is purely physical and there’s no apparent solution in sight.
An 80 something neighbor, who visits her on a regular basis, stops by with her usual blabbering of all things fantastical and supernatural. Violet finds herself being entertained. She likes this old woman who believes that elves, fae, goblins etc. are real and living among us. But there are interesting information too that instantly catches Violet’s interest with words such as ‘goblins’, ‘big body’, ‘great lover’ and ‘big c*ck’. In that precise order. Things that Violet loves; who cares it’s a goblin, right? And we certainly don’t need to know how that old woman came by that information. No Siree!
Then Violet is treated with a visit from a goblin too. Their introduction might have been less than spectacular but that doesn’t mean things can’t get hotter in the sack... *wink*
Umm, I know what you’re thinking but I’m not even sure how to define their relationship. The story, indeed, delivers what the title tells you, with hot goblin sex. There are some funny dialogue and moments, had me laughing. But what I spend more time on, was imagining said goblin’s ‘junk’ (and his facial structure, failing rather spectacularly). Call me a pervert but I think goblin sex is hotttt!
The story is set in the late 19th or early 20th century I think. The narrator, Nathan, has always hated this pinched looking young woman called Constance, she being the epitome of what every lusty man would deem a ‘fun killer’. Cold, drab and distant, no wonder she’s still a spinster, though coming from a rich and honorable family. No one really notices her. She dresses drab, always staying in the shadows as if trying to blend in them. Nathan is a lusty young man who loves all things women, and Constance has no place in his world... or his thoughts.
That was until one drunken night with a couple of friends at Edgar’s home. Edgar is Nathan’s good friend; a beautiful and intelligent man and incidentally, Constance’s cousin. Nathan doesn’t understand why Edgar , who can have any woman at his beck and call, is so secretive about his conquests, if there are any that is. When they’re left alone, talks inevitably turn to Constance... with a certain disconcerting revelation on Edgar’s part. Not only that, Nathan is also left to deal with some dreadful information, hints Edgar delivers regarding Constance, which might explain why she’s so cold and aloof.
Now, Edgar has a plan for Constance and an offer for Nathan. The question is, can Nathan deliver what he’s asking for in return?
This, by far, is the most WTF-ery story in the collection, though I still have one more to read. There is the mention of incest and it fair made me cringe. Horrid, plain horrid! I felt for Constance, and I agree that she remains a victim, even if Nathan tells us towards the end that things turned out to be very positive for her. I didn’t know what to think of the whole situation because ultimately, Nathan doesn’t get Constance but she leaves a very lasting impression on him. Funnily enough, I was picturing a ménage here, which IMO, would’ve been rather interesting. I did wish there were more.
The narrator goes on camping in the wilderness with his recent girlfriend (or so I thought) because she wanted to find out how ‘rough’ she can handle, if you know what I mean. The narrator is more than a little enthusiastic about it since he’s a werewolf (?), something the girl wasn’t aware of beyond the fact that he’s way too interested in wolves. He can’t wait to introduce her to the ‘rough’ side of him! The rest is just... sex, rough sex with a little bit of ILU mixed with it.
This was my least favorite story in the collection. If I thought Constance was WTF-ery, this was pure ‘WTF-did-I-just-read’. I didn’t quite get the whole thing, maybe me never remotely being interested in anything that spells ‘werewolf’. The story read entirely like an excerpt so I was left scratching my head. There is the mention of bondage and the insertion of foreign objects in the girl’s body (among other things) so might be disturbing for some people. But it was hinted that everything was done with the girl’s consent cause she finds pleasure in that pain. Me? A wooden stick, found in the woods, is NOT going anywhere near my private parts, no matter how nicely it was prepared for the purpose. No Siree!
Overall, a great quick read if you don’t mind the things I’ve mentioned throughout my review. 4.5 stars, can’t wait for Collection No. 2!