Web of Deceit by Delores Swallows
Funny thing about sex. Talking about it is sometimes as much fun as actually indulging. Verbally sharing fantasies can serve as fabulous foreplay, a way to ramp up the heat before you get physically down and dirty.
In fact, real-world sex may turn out to be disappointing when compared with the illicit thrill that comes from confessing taboo desires. In fantasies, nobody ever chickens out. No one gets tired or ends up sore (unless that's part of the turn-on). There are no worries about flagging erections or inadequate lubrication, or even the basics of safety and hygiene. Most importantly, fantasies free the participants from guilt—not just guilt about behaving in ways that violate society's norms but also guilt about betraying one's real-life partners.
The Internet has made the exchange of sexual fantasies ridiculously easy. But cybersex isn't "real" sex, right? It doesn't count as cheating. It's just make-believe, an enjoyable outlet for the imagination, without consequences.
That's the theory, anyway.
Web of Deceit, an arousing and disturbing erotic novella by Delores Swallows, explores these issues. Chloe has been living with Damien for four years. They plan on marrying soon. Although they love one another, and have a fine sex life, for some reason Chloe feels compelled to visit an on-line chat room and engage in smutty conversations with a stranger.
Large sections of the book are devoted to these cyber-conversations, and believe me, they're steamy. Each of the participants describes, in vivid detail, erotic experiences, dreams and desires they've hidden from their real world partners. Chloe—"Love Echo"—and "F2XS" encourage one another to more and more extreme admissions. It doesn't take long for Chloe to decide she wants to act out some of these scenarios in the real world, to show her on-line partner she's every bit as slutty as she claims.
Webcams and wireless are all it takes to produce one's own amateur porn. Cyber-seduction slips over into something darker and more perverse. Chloe becomes addicted to the thrill of exposing herself, in both a physical and an emotional sense. She revels in the freedom to be as filthy as she wants. Only gradually does she realize the price she pays for this liberty.
I don't want to say too much more about the plot, because it has several surprising twists. I will advise you, however, to skip this book if you're looking for a feel-good, happy ending. Web of Deceit is hot, well-written erotica, but it made me squirm—not due to the sexual content (though that might squick some readers) but because of Chloe's blithe disregard for both her partner's feelings and her own safety. To be honest, I found her selfish obsession a bit difficult to believe. Would anyone really be that callous?
Don't worry. This isn't a Victorian novel, where the wages of sin are death. Though I'd categorize Web of Deceit as "dark erotica", Chloe doesn't come to a violent end. She doesn't end up as a down-trodden, disease-wracked prostitute, or an unwilling sex slave. Still, her continuing fascination with on-line fantasy and off-line performances somehow diminish her. She has amazing sex, but love eludes her. She has traded a life of realized fantasies for the mundane but satisfying pleasures of human connection.
The scary thing is that she hardly understands what she's missing.