Cari Silverwood is one of my favourite authors, and it's not just 'cos I'm her editor for her upcoming Lyrical Press release, Rough Surrender, but it's through our shared world of writing; I also consider her to be one of my closest friends.
Recently she co-authored a novel with Leia Shaw, entitled 31 Flavors, and I had the opportunity to proofread the story before it hit vendors' shelves. While BDSM erotica is not my primary choice in genre, much like any red-blooded female reader, I do appreciate a strong, narrative-driven erotica tale. 31 Flavors is one of those that totally gripped me. It's based on a true story and I found myself moved following Sid and Nick's tale of sexual awakening. This is a keeper and if you're curious about the BDSM erotica genre, this tale is a good starting point.
Recently, Silverwood told me, "Got an awesome bit of reader feedback: 'I just finished 31 Flavors and I just wanted to say that I loved it. In a way it was kind of hard for me to read because it so closely mirrors what the last year of my life has been like. I cried my eyes out when she was drunk and said she was sorry that she was so broken... I can't tell you how many times I have felt like that. The anxiety, tears, and struggle in the book was balanced with wonderful humor and such love. It was fabulous! Thank you both for writing such a great story. :)'"
Now isn't that something every author wants to hear from her readers?
But sometimes one needs a taste of the good stuff, so here's what the novel is about:
There are some things in life you have to try before you know how they will affect you.
After 5 years of awful sex, I was ready. Bondage and spanking had always featured in my fantasies, and one day, I convinced my husband to try them. That day was a turning point.
Ice cream comes in many flavors and that’s us too -- not vanilla, maybe not Rocky Road either. We can be a combination or make up our own and no one has the right to judge us.
But there will always be one question that tears at my soul: Will my husband, Nick, ever be happy with what I crave?
And here, for your reading pleasure, is an excerpt:
When he returns, he's carrying the coiled rope, the Throbbinator, and padded handcuffs.
"Remember you said something about shibari?"
"Uh-huh," I answer warily. I don't want to discourage him, but maybe I know more about it than he does? "Have you looked it up on the net?"
Nick tosses the handcuffs up the other end of the couch. "I can do knots. You know that. Just stand there. I have an idea."
Hm. This should be interesting. As the first loop goes around behind my waist, he kisses my shoulder, pulls me close using the rope and works his way up to my lips for a proper, thorough kiss – tongue shoved between my lips, my head pressed slowly backward by the force. Mmm, nice.
But, as soon as he breaks the kiss, my inquisitive, doubting nature makes me blurt, "You have to make sure the rope doesn't get too tight."
"Sid. Shh! Or do I need more cheesecake to stuff in your mouth? Let me work." He looks me over. "Maybe I should blindfold you."
"No! No blindfold. That'll make me all…" – I shudder – "squirrelly."
When his attention goes back to his work, I stick out my tongue.
But then I remain quiet. I'm over the moon that he's trying. And he actually said he'd keep doing this – this BDSM stuff that he doesn't need. He's going to do it for me. I grin as he winds more rope around me. I watch him work. The top of his head is below me as he ties yet another knot then does a loop that goes beneath my breasts. I shut my eyes to appreciate the rough scrape on my skin.
A few minutes go past. I've sneaked a few peeks but managed to not interrupt, despite my curiosity.
"Hmm." The doubt in his tone makes me snap open my eyes.
"What?" There's a strange mess of rope around my middle that resembles a macramé session done by a shortsighted grandma who's lost her glasses. Then the rope wraps around each thigh and back around to my waist – almost like a harness. Are we going rappelling? "Nick!" I giggle. "What did you do?"
"Oh relax. I can get it off."
"I thought you looked up how to do this."
Still staring at the rope, he answers, "I looked at a few pictures."
"A few pictures?" I'm struggling now to get free. "You expect to be able to do a thousand year old Japanese technique after glancing at a few pictures?"
"I admit it didn't come out exactly like I planned." I laugh and he arches a brow. "Ideas, Miss Smarty Pants?"
"Anything's better than this mess." I think while Nick undoes everything far faster than he did them up. "Something simple. How about..." Having to imagine this then say it out loud is surprisingly arousing."How about you start with the halfway spot on the rope at the back of my neck, take it down between my breasts...then between my legs."
His brows shoot up. "Okay."
As I speak, he puts into practice what I suggest. Heat swirls and comes to life in my groin when the rope taps on my clit. I can't believe we're really doing this. Not fantasy, not just in my mind. My voice is whispery. "Then bring it up my back and tie my hands together there."
Odd, but as I watch the slide of his hands down my body as he guides the rope, and the way my words come true before my eyes, somehow weaves all this into something…almost magical.
Topping from the bottom? Who cares! I know each movement, each twist of the rope under his fingers, is done because he loves me. This is Nick's way. His type of poetry. Not words, not studying the art of BDSM until he knows it back-to-front...just making love to me in the way that excites me the very most.
* * * *
Like that? The entire story is filled with little incidents. Sometimes there is humor, sometimes tears. All in all, this is a thoroughly satisfying read and I can heartily recommend it.
The 31 Flavors site
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Leia on Twitter @LeiaShaw
Cari on facebook
Cari on Twitter @CariSilverwood