Warnings about the book: Consent issues, blackmail for sexual acts, talks about a sexual power imbalance involving a teacher and student, under negotiated kink play, and stereotyping southern whites as mostly being bigots to everyone that isn’t a white and Christian. If you have any problems with these things listed above, this is not the book for you.
This is book is listed under erotic on NetGallery. This is where I got a free copy from for an honest review. This book is different than most erotic novels that I have read. It had elements of mystery and the ending surprised me. I enjoyed the book, but I would never re-read it. I will explain more at the end why.
The story is told by Stanley, a lawyer. He is living with a Creative writing professor named Tom. They are extremely close friends who have spent a large amount of time together. They spend their nights drinking wine while playing chess. They both had trouble with women. Each one had been married at least twice before. The Professor mentioned that their lives would be better if they were gay. Then they could simply be together because they get along so well.
The solution to this problem is getting a go-between. The go-between would be a younger woman that they could control and would simply be there to allow them to have sex together. It was later noted that Stanley starts going soft if he touches the other man in the room while having sex. For example, just the weight of the professor on his legs was enough for him to go soft. The professor doesn’t seem to have this issue.
The professor suggests one of his students because creative writing students look up to their professor. They would be easy to control. Stanley turns this down fearing for their jobs. Instead, the professor meets a younger writer named Victoria who writes romance novels. She lives rent and food free if she cleans. She also has sex with them. She is using them for material in her books. They have scheduled nights for being her to with Stanley, for her to be with the professor and for threesomes. Her nights with Stanley introduce him to some kinks. This is farther explored later
Life isn’t smooth sailing as they would like. Victoria isn’t easily controlled. First, the guys are gross, and Victoria spends a lot of time cleaning after them. Then, mostly the professor but also Stanley has several sexist reasons to be annoyed with Victoria. However, there is an understandable reason to be annoyed with her. She keeps moving their things. Last, Victoria blackmails them into cock cages and other sexual acts. The men plan to get rid of Victoria and then one day she just disappears. What happened to her is what made the book so interesting. It wasn’t what I was expecting.
I enjoy the plot even if I hated most of the characters. The plot was great and the answer to the mystery was great. It would have been a 5-star read if it had been for the heavy-handed stereotype of Southern white and some women being bigots. I felt like every character (minus the black people, some Jewish women, and the Jewish men) highlighted their bigotry like twice in every scene they were in. This led to it being a 3.5 and why I would not re-read like this, but I round up to 4-star for Goodreads.