Masterful storytelling that doesn’t get in the way of generating incredible heat.

In the Know 'Zine

It’s hard enough to find erotica for lesbians and harder still to find depictions of what we do that are realistic. To find a collection of exceptionally written short stories that convey sex, love and romance the way that most lesbians actually experience it is beyond treasure.

There’s no whips, chains, humiliation or degradation in this book. If that’s you’re thing, go read one of the best of “lesbian” erotica series featuring lots of the above, including straight women, men and women who want to be men. I’m happy there are plenty of depictions of the above people having great sex. But as a lesbian, it’s just not what I want to read about.

If you want realistic, hot, steamy, tantalizing stories about lesbians who like sex with other lesbians, the kinds of women you could know, doing things you’ve either done or would like to try, this is it. Karen has pulled out all the stops with this one. Every single character is real. Each story has a plot or personal revelation at the core that I could relate with. Nearly every one turned me on, one made me cry, several made me laugh, and by the end I just wanted more. The range is sweet, easy and sexy to edgy, hard and incendiary. All feature full consent and nearly all are between loving, long-term or soon-to-be couples. In short, it’s full of stories about most of us.

What’s not to like about two women getting dressed for a costume party as Janeway and Seven, only to get sidetracked when a handcuff key goes missing? I adored the pirate story, with two long-term girlfriends exploring some role play. The story about the surgeon who gets a massage (and more) from her artist lover, in spite of constant interruptions rang so true to life, too. That the butch lover gets flipped is great proof that butch does not mean stone to many of us. The long-term couple stories were, in fact, my favorites all the way around. No lesbian bed death here! Not when one couple finds their way to the land of O in a car wash on their way home. Karin really knows how to show trust and love in just about any power dynamic.

The best part, for me, was the consistency of the quality of writing and the delightful way the stories intersect with humorous and poignant results. This is masterful storytelling that doesn’t get in the way of generating incredible heat. I’ll be reading parts of this book for years.

In the Know ‘Zine, August 2006

18th and Castro – Karin Kallmaker

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