Butterfly Unpinned
by Bonnie Dee and Laura Bacchi, contemporary (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-535-1


Butterfly Unpinned is about BDSM, although it's not too heavy on the S&M part, and therefore there are times when I wonder whether I am the right person to read and review this book. I can't vouch for the authenticity of the psychology and sex acts depicted in this story, therefore, I'm just going by gut feeling here.

We meet our heroine, called simply Butterfly at the start so I'll stick to that name. Butterfly is one of the four willing submissives living in Master Gary Sanderson's Playboy Mansion-style house of whack-whack-whack funs, although as of late, Butterfly is feeling vaguely restless and unhappy. Her Master seems to have lost interest in her, and she wonders whether a younger rival's constant jeers that Butterfly bores the man hold some truth. Could it be that she is too submissive? Also, she is getting uncomfortable with the extent her Master uses her - getting her to answer the call of nature before an audience, for example, is not what she feels comfortable doing. Into the House arrives Bryan Lapahie, a sculptor hired by Gary to immortalize his four slaves in mahogany. As he spends some private time with Butterfly, they find themselves attracted to each other. Oh dear.

I find it hard to relate to Butterfly because I'm not into BDSM and therefore I don't really identify with how a submissive feels and thinks. At least, in this one, Butterfly's psychology is alien to me. Bryan comes off like a nice guy, but late in the story, he seems a little too overprotective of Butterfly for my liking. Still, these two aren't exactly Joe Werewolf and Jane Buffy down the street, so I try to keep an open mind and remember that these two people come from Planet BDSM. And to give the authors credit, even if I do not relate to Bryan and Butterfly, I find their more... normal (for the want of a better word) interactions charming.

Do I believe that they are in love? I believe I do, yes. This story is very readable and what I do "get" in these characters, I like, and that is the biggest reason why I have a good time reading this one despite the fact that I'm not emotionally invested in the story. I also appreciate the authors' attempts to flesh out the characters. This one isn't just about the erotic jollies, it's also about the characters finding themselves in the process.

Perhaps I should point out that Gary is the villain here and that our lovebirds have a more "normal" life in the end, with Butterfly finding enough confidence and self-esteem to patch up some things in her life as a result of her love for Bryan. If you don't like the way Butterfly's lifestyle with Gary gets portrayed as something negative compared to what Butterfly and Bryan have, you may have problems with this story.

Despite the compatibility issues between me and this book, I think our date turned out alright. I may not want to give this one a call, but I won't mind going out on a second date if the other fellow calls, in order to see whether we can click better than we did on the previous date.

Rating: 79


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