Saturday, October 5, 2013

Review: Control


Control by Charlotte Stein
Accent Press Limited, 2010
ISBN 9781907726491

As any devoted reader or author of erotica knows, complementary fantasies are a potent aphrodisiac. Dom and sub, voyeur and exhibitionist, butch and femme - whatever the pairing, it's an incredible rush to realize that by satisfying your personal kink, you're giving your partner exactly what he or she desires. Charlotte Stein's original and arousing novel Control uses this dynamic to wonderful effect. In Control, two rather quirky and twisted individuals gradually discover the erotic power of their mirror-image desires.

Madison is the introspective, insecure, perpetually horny proprietress of Wicked Words, a bookstore that specializes in erotica. She's a woman who lives as much in her mind as in her body, fiercely determined to chart her own course in life, yet puzzled by her seeming inability to commit to a relationship. When she hires shy, nerdy Gabriel Kauffman as a shop assistant, she tries to convince herself that it's an intellectual decision. After all, she could scarcely hire other applicant, Andy, who somehow managed to fuck her during his job interview. Despite Gabe's social awkwardness and bookish appearance, though, he stimulates Maddie's fertile imagination to the point where she can't leave him alone.

Gabe Kauffman is the most anti-alpha hero I've ever encountered. He's big and rather clumsy, with thick glasses, heavy eyebrows and tons of body hair. A thirty year old virgin, he was brought up so strictly by his possibly schizophrenic parents that he's been permanently warped. At the same time, he's obsessed with sex, a diligent student of dirty books who, as he puts it, is good at putting theory into practice. I adored him.

As Madison teases and flirts with poor Gabe, she begins to understand his desires: to be controlled, "forced" to do things he's afraid to try on his own, pushed beyond the limits imposed by his strange history. Meanwhile, she discovers that taking what she wants coincides almost exactly with giving Gabe what he craves. They're perfectly matched. Every encounter - even those in which cocky, ambi-sexual Andy plays a role - brings them closer. Yet Madison almost loses Gabe when she underestimates his deep-seated lack of confidence in himself.

The description above might suggest that Control is BDSM erotica. It's true that the book includes a bit of spanking, some humiliation, and lots of power games. The interactions, though, are not really typical of the BDSM genre. Maddie's far too much at the mercy of her emotions and physical reactions to be a true top. She really has no idea what she's doing; she's just following her instincts. Her scenes with Gabe rely on inspiration and intuition, and she's as much a slave to her arousal as Gabe.
Control is written in the first person present tense. The intimate perspective allows Ms. Stein mix sensory detail with minds-eye fantasy. Ms. Stein has a breathless, dizzy, stream-of-consciousness style that conveys a sense of urgency. Madison is a sharp observer, marking every subtle shift in Gabriel's behavior and mood. The sex in Control is fabulously complex and nuanced as a result. Madison is unbearably turned on, most of the time, and you will be too.

He doesn't try to fuck me, however. No - I guess he can't wait for that. He just ruts against me - first over my back and the firm swell of my arse, and then... oh then. He fumbles and finds the cleft between, and suddenly increases the frantic, jerking pace.

I just lie there, and let him. Mainly because I can't believe that the slick feel of his prick between the cheeks of my arse, rubbing and rutting, filthily, actually manages to thrill arousal through me. After that huge orgasm. Still.

'Is this OK, is it OK?' he asks, but it's a minute after he's started and his voice is so up and down that I can't take it seriously. I'm right not to, too, because almost at the same time as those words, his body locks against mine. He grunts so gutturally, it sets my hair on end.

And then I feel the hot spurt of his come, all over my arse and my lower back. Which feels so delicious and dirty, I bite my lip and try not to wonder when he'll be up for another round. I'm guessing it's not going to be soon, because a second after he's done it all over me, he apologises. He apologises for making a mess. For fucking...whatever it was that he fucked.

At which I definitely want to do it all over again. Immediately. Continually. For ever.

Seriously - when can we do it again, for ever?

The book has a happy ending. Madison and Gabriel declare their mutual love and even consider living together. Don't let the romantic elements fool you. Control is twisted, filthy, and deliciously perverse - in the tradition of all great erotica. For Maddie and Gabe, sexual connection leads to love rather than the other way around.

With Control, Charlotte Stein has penned an intelligent, funny, perceptive and hugely enjoyable novel. If you like steamy, messy, creative sex involving characters that defy the stereotypes, get yourself a copy today!

No comments:

Post a Comment