Unbound by Cara McKenna: Femdom Romance That Gets It

femdom romanceWanna know how you can take the tropes and rules of the genre of romance and make a well realized self discovery setting with flawed but pleasant characters, and write a femdom story that is believable? Tired of erotica aimed at sub men and looking for something written to please a female dominant?

Unbound, by Cara McKenna is one of my more pleasant surprises for 2016. Holy shit, is it a tightly little packaged example of a good, realistic femdom romance. You know how you really want something to exist, and you bemoan that you can’t seem to find it, and BAM, there it is, better than anything you could write?

I have a moderate romance novel habit, usually enjoying the so-bad-its-good and the occasional just plain good read as I do my daily commute to and from work. I’m usually a big fan of historicals, but Amazon gave this to me as a suggested read. Judging a book by its cover, it’s another shirtless headless dude with a vaguely kink hinting title, and I admit I was all prepared to hate read my way through a hideous M/f train wreck someone dashed off to pay the internet bill. I admit I am a snarky, mean reader. Then by a few pages in the author managed to make me go from predatory reviewer to tentatively intrigued:

There’s nothing in summary to make you expect something different. Our heroine, Merry, is off to do a hiking adventure in the Scottish Highlands. She’s recently lost her mother and a significant amount of weight, and is dealing with the ramifications of that. This is the first sign that we’re in for an actual treat- while most books handle weight loss like a Cinderella transformation, Merry is dealing with all the realities- loose skin, changed relationship with people that’s a mixed blessing, and trying to bend her mind around a healthy relationship with herself and her body. Rather than glamour, she’s feeling alienated from her identity as the fun fat girl- her long term FWB dumped her and she’s having to re-examine both her friendships and her relationships with herself. Then her swimming in a Scottish lake gives her dysentery.

In a writing genre where beleaguered heroines get dainty fevers and miraculously limited concussions, I’ll give the story props for going there. The narrative about as coy as the POV would give about the symptoms, but weak and fainty, she ends up on the doorstep of a local hermit, a guy with a Dark Past (TM). Our hero, Rob, is an alcoholic who deals with his problem by getting away from society. Oh, and he’s a pervert.

The book teases you, taking a slow burn approach to all things sexual, and I was all prepped to pout a little when it was revealed that he was a Secret Dominant who was going to Teach Her To Love Her Body Through Submission, when once again the book surprised me. Rob is a sub with a thing for scratchy rope. And Merry, who hails from the west coast fashion industry is fully aware of kink things and doesn’t miss a beat. Repressed and British bloke meets a woman whose backstory is a baby born of a gay man and a single-by-choice hippy mother. She’s not only cool with it, it doesn’t occur to her that he’s odd.

You know how rare it is to find writing that really gets it? That recognizes the pure joy that’s in the dominant side for women? Or that clues in how desirable a sub guy can make you feel?  I won’t get too spoiler heavy, but these characters manage to connect on multiple levels, both zingy chemistry, and no sense that the demons they battle are pure dramatic padding. And my goodness, it’s good to have a sub guy be written as a delicious piece of fuck meat, and a dominant heroine not have to use the proxy of Mistress AngryWhip to express herself.

One does not read romance to break free of comfortable formats- like watching baseball you go into it with expectations of the rules everyone is operating under. Consider this a perfect play, from someone who knows her genre well and knows how to speak through it to make a very modern, approachable story that delivers the obligatory warm and fuzzies while managing depth of character.



The Pet Gentleman Published

Femdom story by Miss PearlThe Pet Gentleman is live!

I’m really proud of  myself. Its really been a teaching experience, getting familiar with ebook publishing, hiring an artist (YuMine Guo you rock) and getting it up on Amazon. It’s Book 1 of Catamite and so on.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s a 20 K work of femdom erotica, a non-con captivity romance. Lady Harringtion takes the poet and political prisoner, Phillip and breaks him down, turning him into her Pet Gentleman and slave. Getting it in ebook was really a way of reaching out to new audiences, as well as a way of getting an edited copy out there and no longer split up between a bunch of floating blog posts.

Should you read it? Well, do you like your femdom really mean in practice, but coming from a place of intense, enveloping possessiveness, where the humiliation is in the act of being owned and not a fundamental degradation of the person’s character or appearance?

In the coming months its going to be my goal to get it available for other ebook formats. I went with DRM free on principle – but for now its available via kindle here: MY FEMDOM BOOK.

Alternatively if you are sad and poor and want to take a peek its available in broken up parts through my femdom stories section, though I caution that’s incomplete. I’ll be releasing the squeal in a few months, according to demand – and when I negotiate with the artist over the next cover.

Review: Femme Fatale: Slave To My Nature Series by Robert India

This is one of those ebooks being heavily pushed on Twitter as #femdom. To be precise Femme Fatale: Slave to My Nature has some femdom scenes in it. There are not, however, any Femme Fatales and this is a book. I didn’t like it but not because it was badly written, but because it did nada for me and my kinks.  Robert India put together something that is just dandy, if any of these things are your idea of fun:

Switching, being snarky about other people’s sexuality, high heels, M/m and mmf threesomes. And being super happy hot people living the sweet poly lux life.

As far as femdoms, though (or femme fatales), there’s Houseguest, his poly girlfriend, who he switches with, and a the female half of a couple the protagonist (also called Robert) has a threesome with and then berates for being too kinky for him. Every woman wears expensive high heels, much to the the delight of our hero. Robert does play up the “slave to my nature” bit, but precisely speaking that’s a desire to worship shoes and fuck pretty women. This is a story about a guy who thinks with his little head almost exclusively.

I think the protagonist spends as much time dom-ing men as he does submitting. One of the reasons why this book didn’t work for me on a personal level is that while Houseguest was cast as a distinct character with a will of her own, the finale scene was him topping her plus their bonus lover. If if could describe this any way I think it would be “the story of how a poly switch couple became a triad”. Clearly these people are very happy- score one for Robert India on that front.

But generally the femdom was put in a very controlled context- the protagonist puts himself in voluntary orgasm denial and Houseguest lightly teases him. The protagonist gets a demonstration that he’s not into masochism from Houseguest. He goes through with a threesome with a more S&M oriented couple, and rather than doing a pre-scene negotiation, storms off when he doesn’t like the direction their kinks went. I don’t really ever get the sense that Robert respects anyone in this story, except grudgingly, Houseguest.

This is another place where I was left scratching my head in puzzlement- basically we have femdom scenarios where the guy is at best ambiguously intrigued about them unless it’s things he very much wants. since there’s nothing inherently submissive about a shoe fetish or having your girlfriend have a will of her own, I was disinterested. Being on the receiving end of this a lot, via my inbox, it wasn’t something that pushed my buttons.

I’ve got a couple of take always here about the marketing too. I don’t think #switch sells as well, despite the absurdity that I know more people with switchy tendencies than people who would never even dabble in that direction. This is not fair to Robert India.

The book is at its strongest when it’s doing the gay stuff, and with one real quasi-cuckolding exception (during Robert’s self instigated experiment with chastity), if you like a bossy dude fucking dudes, that might be worth spending the $1 Canadian that the amazon.ca edition costs.
Category:  Ebook
Rating: o~o (2/5)
How I got it: Bought it
TL;DR: Perfectly fine writing, missed my kinks and hit a few personal bête noires as far as its treatment of femdom. This really should be filed under “M/m” and “switch” to do it justice.