cover image The Unicorn

The Unicorn

Delphine Dryden. Riptide, $4.99 e-book (143p) ISBN 978-1-62649-372-8

In a story that rings with authenticity, three people follow their hearts and end up somewhere surprising. Married couple Delia (an editor) and Daniel (an architect) have a perfect life in the American suburb of St. Andrews, which appears to be a thinly veiled San Jose, Calif. They’re slowly easing into the kinky lifestyle they’ve both always secretly desired. The missing element in their life seems to come into focus when they meet a submissive named Mara at a local club, but they have to decide whether they have it within themselves to make room in their marriage for a third. Mara has suffered too many letdowns recently to leap into something so risky, and she’s astonished to realize that she wants to pursue Delia and Daniel anyway. The relationships build quickly, but the marriage is constructed so solidly, and the participants’ knowledge of both kink and polyamory is so convincing that it’s easy to go along for the ride and enjoy the red-hot sex and the warmth and vulnerability of the whole cast. Dryden (Snow Job) capably develops her cerebral, matter-of-fact, slightly hapless protagonists, who know exactly how far they’re straying from cultural expectations (Mara in particular is well aware that “cute suburban couples didn’t bring home girls they met at bondage clubs,” while Delia stammers, “We got a little crazy, but that isn’t who we are, right?”) and boldly fight their own doubts and hesitations in pursuit of an unconventional, DIY happy ending. (Feb.)