cover image Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5

Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Cleis, $16.95 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-62778-290-6

Ranging from contemporary to historical, playful to kinky, and realistic to fantastical, the 21 stories in this spicy anthology are unified only by their focus on female pleasure. Alexa J. Day’s “Just Inappropriate” and Emerald’s “Something New” delve into sexual fantasies shared and explored by loving contemporary couples in sexcapades made all the sweeter by how plausible they are. Other stories serve up fantasies in a more traditional sense, as in “If the Ocean” by Loretta Black, in which a steamy tryst with a mermaid turns a woman’s life upside down. While some of these tales—including “Frosting” by Kathleen Delaney-Adams, about lesbian BDSM in a cupcake shop—strain credulity and push the boundaries of consent, others are full of fun, joy, and trust, as in Angora Shade’s “Vintage Treasures,” about a couple letting their wilder sides come out to play when they uncover a chest of unused vintage sex toys. Not all stories will appeal to all readers, but none are obvious turnoffs. There’s a flavor or two for any erotica fan in this wide-ranging sampler. (Dec.)