The Taste Of Her by Jess Lea is the first of a two-part collection of erotic short stories that revolve around the theme of power and control—women who have it, those who want it, and those who love to watch. It’s a naughty, sexy romp through the ages, as lesbians, from shop girls and poets to uptight nuns, learn lessons on lust and longing that they’ll never soon forget.
The power plays are, in turn, fun, illicit, and incendiary—fleeting, stolen moments in store rooms and changing rooms, writers’ festivals, and monasteries. There’s a wisp of domme/sub roles playing out in some of the tales and the idea of a naughty reprimand appears more than once.
But The Taste of Her is not about domination in the usual sense. It’s about experiencing the thrill of power without rules. It’s impromptu, daring, and chaotic, playing with ice queens and their admiring acolytes. There are a lot of blurred lines being crossed. Humor is dolloped throughout, too.
There is an exception to all this—the cabaret story set in the days before World War II. It’s surprisingly wistful, and touches on a woman’s longing to escape the darker world she senses closing in. Amid the absurd spectacle on stage, we see the veteran star’s hopes bleeding away along with her greasepaint. The underlying bitter-sweetness beneath the eroticism is a testament to Lea’s writing range.
Some characters are stronger than others, but several are so well drawn that they’re utterly compelling. My favorite is the always controlled, eternally disappointed Regina in Severina. She’s the upscale lingerie shop owner who crosses lines with her shop girls in the name of discipline. She’s oh-so naughty…and that seems to be just how her staff like her.
The Writing Style
Jess Lea’s talent is obvious. It’s not just her ability to toy with the DNA of power, but also her use of humor. Her pacing and comic timing is superb. And the author deserves an extra nod for her extensive research. The historical stories have a ring of complete authenticity.
If you love ice queens or power dynamics, this is the book for you. The erotic components of this collection are pure, ovary-quivering sizzle. This is an exciting collection from a debut author, which should leave many a reader’s pulses racing and counting down to part two.
Excerpt from Severina in The Taste Of Her by Jess Lea
The stranger stood six feet tall in her black leather boots, their thick silver zips and chunky buckles gleaming under the store’s lights. Her dark hair was shaved close to her head at the back and sides and spiked on top. Her black T-shirt and jeans looked like they’d been tailored just for her, and her jacket carried with it the tantalising scent of leather and cologne. A silver identity bracelet glinted on her left wrist. She wasn’t Emilie’s usual type at all—but Emilie couldn’t deny she wore those things well.
Intrigued, Emilie hesitated—which was her downfall. Before she could approach this new arrival, Regina had already stepped forwards, her right hand outstretched, and asked in her silkiest voice, “May I help you, sir?”
Emilie opened her mouth, wondering if it would be ruder to correct her boss or let the mistake continue. Then she caught Regina’s knowing gaze as the stranger shook her hand, and suspected her employer knew exactly what she was doing.
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Bits and Bobs
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing
Jess Lea Online
Note: I received a free review copy of The Taste Of Her by Jess Lea. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books. I also write books for the same publisher as this author but had no hand in its editing or any part of its production.