After a while, erotica starts to look a lot a like. There’s so many collections I have that.. I do not care anything about. There’s maybe three that really stand out and Red Velvet and Absinthe is one of those. I mean, the idea of paranormal erotica is pretty cool and I expected werewolves and vampires — which I got — but some of the more ghostly and unusual ideas were really memorable.
So, of course, werewolves and vampires are heavy in this book. The first few stories I read were only about werewolves. I wasn’t reading them in order so it almost seemed as though the editor has purposefully shied away from vampires because, you know, Twilight sucks.. There are also some vampire stories, including one with a lesbian slant. Ghosts make their appearance in this book and there’s one extremely interesting voodoo doll story. All in all, if you like the paranormal or are turned on by the unusual, I can’t recommend this enough.
My favorites include Dolly with the aforementioned voodoo doll, in which a young woman makes her doll and with it brings to life a person/creature and begins a sexual and romantic relationship that ends with an interestingly sweet twist. Anna Meadows paints a picture worth a thousand years in her story Painted about a young man’s fixation with a painting of an alluring woman. I could practically feel the walls shaking as I read through a thunderstorm scene. La Belle Morte is not a story with a happy ending for the protagonist, a young woman who is on death row, but the author somehow manages to cause the reader to forget the fact as the women escapes into sexual fantasies with a strange visitor. An angel even makes an appearance in the very last story, Benediction.
There’s a few caveats, though, and I suspect these issues won’t be problematic for everyone. The focus here is on quality writing and story-telling rather than erotic happenings so if you’re the “want it now” type, you might find some of these to take too long to get to the good stuff or don’t spend enough time on it. I did skip a few longer stories because I usually prefer them short. With that said, I also went back to read stories that I’d skipped when I wasn’t trying to get off because I found the material to be interesting. People who don’t necessarily read erotica to get off will probably like the caliber of the writing in this book.
Secondly, Red Velvet and Absinthe focuses on romance. The sex is either between committed partners or implies commitment despite the paranormal circumstances in a til-death-do-us-part-and-sometimes-not-even-then sort of way. One night stands aren’t really part of the repertoire. Still, the romance is done in a dark and Gothic sort of way, with vampires turning their beloveds so that they can spend eternity together or one story which takes place in a prison cell. Danger is common-place as mere mortals dally with werewolves and other beastly creatures. It’s quite thrilling.
Really, that’s why I found myself both getting off and continuing to read just to see what happens next. That’s pretty high praise and I can say, without doubt, I’d love to reread the stories in this book.