Janelle Reston’s Best Lesbian Erotica: From Sweet to Spicy is exactly what the title states. It’s a collection of nine erotic lesbian short stories, ranging—yes—from sweet to spicy, but the range of these stories also covers from down-to-earth to whimsical, vanilla to edgy, and possible budding love to role play games. If you enjoy erotica, there’s something here to satisfy all tastes. And erotic these stories definitely are.
In “Body Shots,” a college freshman is invited to a party thrown by the women’s rugby team and learns how to play a completely different game.
In “An Amish Girl Experiments with Chemistry,” Rachel Yoder learned, growing up Amish, that love is best expressed through baking, which is what makes her bakery so successful. When she needs to hire extra help, it isn’t only Rachel’s cinnamon rolls her new assistant is interested in tasting.
Two women explore lust, and maybe the possibility of love, on a long-distance bike ride in “Bicycling Puts the Fun Between Your Legs.”
“Water and Air” is the story of Miranda, a young woman that resents that the magical powers that run in her family seem to have skipped her generation, and Hazel, one of the water witches that descend on Miranda’s lakeside hometown every summer. When Miranda realizes that letting go of her bitter feelings about these seemingly frivolous sorceresses might help her get into Hazel’s panties, other things in her life begin to change as well.
In “Making Snow,” an erotic take on the German fairy tale “Frau Holle” (“Mother Hulda”), the manager of a ski resort falls through the ice and learns where snow really comes from.
“Dance for Me” is the story of a college senior who discovers her submissive tendencies under the strict discipline and demanding teaching methods of her dance professor. But after graduation, she learns that not any Domme will do and returns to offer her submission to the only one who knows exactly what she needs.
“In A Pinch” explores a couple’s first shift from their customary vanilla sex into something more.
In “Alien Vibes,” a couple combines their enjoyment of role play with their obsession with The X-Files for a wild night of fun and games.
In “Wordless Surrender,” a deaf dominant plays with the submissive female partner of her dreams in a scene that tantalizes beyond the senses.
While many erotic stories—particularly short stories—don’t delve very deeply into the development of the characters, I’m happy to say that isn’t the case in Reston’s work. She gives the reader more understanding of the characters than simply what gets them off. In “Dance for Me,” one of my favorites, the development of Myra’s character is wonderfully done. As the story progressed, I felt like I knew her well enough to truly grasp the intensity of her draw to her dance instructor, Professor Lacey. Also, in “Making Snow,” the emotional makeup of Jolie, the main character, is deftly handled, not only in helping the reader enjoy the sexual elements of the story—which, of course, is first and foremost in an erotic piece—but also in understanding her frustrations about her situation as manager of the ski resort.
The erotic short story structure inherently presents some difficulties to authors in the development of characters simply due to the fact that the primary interest for its readers, and therefore the primary focus for the writer, is the erotic component, which doesn’t leave as much room for character development as in other story structures. But some authors can still pull off a deeper read within it, and Reston is certainly one of them. Her characters are vibrant, colorful, and can be fully felt in both the buildup of the story and the sensual focal points. This book offers a group of interesting, intelligent, sometimes humorous, and definitely sexy women with whom to share some hot and spicy escapades.
The Writing Style
I love Reston’s writing style. It’s clean and direct, while at the same time, allows for a smooth flow that enhances the sensual nature of erotica. She doesn’t waste words, and her language choice is spot on. She says what she means and says it well. I once had a creative writing teacher who said, “The difference between the exact right word and a word that will do is like the difference between a strike of lightning and a lightning bug.” I found myself thinking of that often as I read these stories.
The biggest pro of this collection for me is the variety of both the stories themselves as well as the erotic content. You can see from the short synopses of the individual stories above, cumulatively, they cover a wide range of tastes and interests, but what really struck me was the diversity and creativity I found in the actual sex scenes within the stories, too. And each scene went so well with the mood, flavor, and ambiance of its story.
The only con, if it can be considered one…I would’ve liked more. Maybe there’s a Volume II, Ms. Reston?
If you like lesbian erotica, and particularly if you enjoy variety within the framework of the genre, this collection is for you. The range of sexual fantasy types and styles that it explores makes this book stand out as much as does the quality of the writing style. As anyone who reads short story collections knows, there might be one or two that don’t do it for you, but even with that, I found something interesting and impressive about each and every one of these stories. Give it a try.
Excerpt from Janelle Reston’s Best Lesbian Erotica: From Sweet to Spicy
Throughout callbacks, I’d pretended I was dancing for Professor Lacey. It was a trick I used frequently in auditions. Picturing her eyes on me, hearing her thumping cane with each beat—they both soothed my nerves and made me perform better than I thought possible.
I had to tell her. I had to thank her. Even if I wasn’t a necessary fixture in her life, she had changed mine for the better. Thirty seconds later I was outside, running to the subway, zipping toward Manhattan and my alma mater.
Running back to her.
The building was open when I got there, students milling in the halls. But the studio was empty, and her office door closed.
“Who is it?” It was her voice, clear and self-possessed as always.
A chair screeched against the wooden floor. A lock tumbled. The door opened.
Professor Lacey looked exactly as I remembered her—leotard snug to her subtle curves, the purple silk scarf from that night at the bar, a skirt wrapped around her boyish hips.
She also looked nothing like I remembered. The expression on her face was one I had never seen before—pained and straining, like she was fighting back hope. She held herself rigidly, inflexible as the dance cane that leaned against the wall, its spherical brass handle glinting in the window’s light. “Myra, come in.” Her breath was fast, shallow. She gestured for me to sit on the couch and locked the door behind me. “It’s good to see you. Surprising, but good.”
I didn’t sit. I couldn’t. Adrenaline pounded in my veins. “Professor Lacey—”
“Call me Hannah. You’re not a student anymore.” That kind of invitation ought to be filled with warmth, but her voice and eyes were cold.
“Hannah. I got a musical lead. Off-Broadway. And I wanted to thank you, because I never did—”
Her cold demeanor evaporated. She threw her arms around me—the first time she’d ever done so—and pulled me close. I felt her breasts against mine, her heart beating against my ribcage. She kissed my cheek. “There’s nothing to thank me for. You did all the work.”
“I only did the work because you dared me to.” I tried to shrug the kiss off as a meaningless gesture, but my body didn’t get the memo. It thrummed with electricity and desire. I turned my face instinctively, pressing my lips against hers.
She responded immediately, opening her mouth, sucking hard on my bottom lip, then tugging it between her teeth. I moaned, clutching my hands around her shoulders like she was a life preserver. Soon she had me pressed against the desk, her hands curling into my ass. My hips stuttered. Something fell clattering to the floor.
Hannah startled back. “Myra—” She was breathless.
“Don’t stop kissing me.” I tugged at the ends of her scarf. She stepped toward me—not unwillingly, but not eagerly, either. Her face was a question mark. “Please, Professor…Hannah. I’ve wanted you ever since I stopped hating you.”
Her mouth quirked into a smile. “You really did hate me for a while, didn’t you?”
I nodded. “Until I realized I needed the guidance of someone who was willing to break me.” I looked into her dark, unblinking eyes. “I still do. Do you want to do that for me, Hannah? May I submit myself to you?”
“Oh, god, yes.” She surged toward me, closing the last inches between us, her delicate dancer’s fingers on my jaw and neck. “I’ve wanted that with you since before you stopped hating me.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781642310047
- Publisher: Hot Drinks Press
- Janelle Reston Online
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