by Jennifer Leeland and Mima, futuristic (2010)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-781-1
Bound Among The Stars is a collection of two futuristic erotic romps by Jennifer Leeland and Mima. The two stories have nothing in common beyond the heat factor and the futuristic theme, though.
Jennifer Leeland's Commanded To Mate is a beauty and the beast kind of story. Sierra Pasquel's father liberated their planet from Earth Central, but with politics being what they are, Sierra now finds herself married off to a four-armed alien for the sake of everyone. Since this is an erotic story, those naughty Domrelian aliens like the honeymoon shag to take place before an audience. Terek Maji has two sets of eyes, two sets of arms, and gold-green scales all over his body. Clearly, this is going to be a wedding night to remember.
Oh, don't cringe. Commanded To Mate may seem terrible on paper, but this story is actually a well-written and entertaining story with a strong emotional core in its romance. The whole public consummation thing may seem like a contrivance for cheap erotic kicks, but when you read this story, you'd learn that the author has everything laid out and justified pretty sensibly, heh.
The only thing is, the author sort of copped out later in the story. I don't want to give anything away, so let me just say that I'm tad disappointed by how somewhat normal things turn out to be in the end. Also, the first few pages of this story can be confusing for readers who are unfamiliar with the author's Command series for this publisher. All things considered, though, this is a pretty good read to me, if somewhat disappointing in the payoff.
Mima is next with Bitter Gold, an interesting take on the old Rumpelstiltskin story. This is a more conventional story because the hero and the heroine do not have spare appendages or scales. In a faraway place called the Nanda Jurisdiction in 3010, Liese is a baker whose bright spot in her mundane days is the arrival of a customer, a cute guy who also happens to be a slave, every Tewsday. Rum Stillskin is tired, to put it mildly, of serving and servicing junkies in the den of debauchery where he is forced to work. He is hoping to impregnate one of the women he had to service so that he can exploit a loophole in the law. The law allows any slave who had a child to be freed from his or her servitude, you see. Guess who gets kidnapped and ends up a slave alongside him.
The sexual elements in this story are not exactly what I'd consider erotic due to the circumstances in which our two main characters find themselves in, but fortunately for me, there is a strong story here to keep things interesting. Stillskin and Liese have a romance that is sweet and even tender despite the sexual excesses surrounding them, and, for a short story, the romance here feels solid and real. The whole "Let's shag and get pregnant so that we can save ourselves!" premise could have been a tacky and campy excuse for the sex scenes to keep coming in another author's hands, but here, the premise fits into the plot nicely.
The two stories in Bound Among The Stars have strong emotional elements to complement the erotic elements present. There's sex, and then there's love. I like this.
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