fine flickering hungers
by Alessia Brio, contemporary (2005)
Phaze, $6.00, ISBN 1-59426-540-2


Alessia Brio's fine flickering hungers is a compilation of some of her erotic prose and poetry written under her Literotica online name impressive. I'm not sure whether these stories are first published on Literotica or whether they are still up on that website to be read for free. I tried to look up the list of Literotica authors to make sure but I have to stop after one too many profile of some man who loves to dress up in his wife's clothes but only his daughter understands him, sob sob sob.

About this compilation of assorted short stories and poetry, this is erotica in every sense of the word. Any morality and predetermined conceptions about fidelity and monogomy should be left at the doorstep. The stories here cover all kinds of couplings, straight or gay/lesbian, and it's not just games for two in these stories. I am expecting my membership card from the Society of Really Democratic People When It Comes To Free-For-All Erotica anytime soon.

The first story, Wetter Has Never Been Better, has this accounts manager in an advertising company, Stormy, heading off to Costa Rica to do some research for a project to promote tourism in that country during the rainy season. She first meets a hot older man, Charlie, in the plane, before hooking up with various beautiful and hot people, male and female, for threesomes as well as more conventional couplings all under the perpetual rain of Costa Rica. This story is hot, hot, hot, especially the love scene between Stormy and the local woman Mia, and it's not even safe to run outside and cool off under the lawn sprinkler because things get really hot here, after all, when it's wet all over the place. Forget the plot, the story itself is the actual advertisement for the best things in life that Costa Rica has to offer. The story continues in Topping Love where Stormy and Charlie meet the rest of Charlie's swinging - emphasis on the word swinging - clan. This story is more psychobabble than sexual but I really enjoy the author's quaint concept of love versus self-love and the meaning of love and lust presented as metaphors in the form of pizza toppings. I find myself wanting to read more of these dreadfully naughty people. Is Stormy even going to hook up with Charlie's sister-in-law? Is Richard even going to realize that his true love is his wife's vibrator? Okay, I made that last one up but it doesn't seem fair that everyone is having fun while he's just sitting there taking down notes.

It's All About Customer Service is a familiar fantasy of that ever-friendly service guy who shows up at one's doorstep ready to put a smile on the customer's face, so to speak. It's still a well-written sexy read, albeit an ordinary one after the previous two stories. Jake is more humorous than sexy as it tells the story of a woman very eager to go home to her lover Jake. Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun is a typical Holloween ghostly-seduction dirty story that, like It's All About Customer Service, seems a little too ordinary and even formulaic after Stormy's drenched-wet adventures in Costa Rica.

It's Just Sex! is a gem though. Father Antony Secco is so bored with the confessionals he has to listen to that, after getting unbecomingly aroused by a particularly naughty confessional, he decides to call up a sex-service agency and requests someone to come over and give him more sexy confessionals to enjoy. I must be a horrible person because I think the scene where Father Secco experiences his, um, crescendo in the confessional booth is one of the funniest and sexiest things I've ever read. "Thanks to be - oh - my - God!" never fails to crack me up each time I reread it.

Boiling Point and Say It With A Strap-On are linked stories about two female friends who eventually cross the line to become lovers when Carly decides to make a move on Jenna. Who says men are the only ones that practise forced seduction? The first story is about how Carly gets her woman and the second story deals with how the two women deal with the aftermaths of the event. Did I mention that both women are married (no, not to each other) with kids?

I never can appreciate poetry, a fact that my dear old English teacher back in school can testify since I never could stay awake through the sonnets of William Shakespeare, so I confess that I don't appreciate the poems here the way some people will. There are as many poems here as there are stories, however, so nobody is getting shortchanged here for $6.00. I find the stories wicked, sexy, and well-written with enough dialogues and characterization to provide ample depths. A big plus is how the characters are unapologetically sexual and revel in delights of the flesh with abandon without shoving tedious romantic erotica stereotypes at my face. No werewolves, no vampires, no space barbarians, no sex-mad secret agents or sheriffs, just people enjoying all kinds of hedonistic delights that the flesh has to offer. fine flickering hungers is a joy to read in every way that matters.

Rating: 85


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