It Stings So Sweet by Stephanie Draven
When I was given the opportunity to read this book, I was very eager because I love stories with historical settings and I’ve really only read one other book from this period so I was more than curious. It was the Roaring Twenties and a decadent age following the first WWI when people and ideas were rather free- free in several meanings of the word.
The book is broken into three interconnected novella length stories that all have their start from a party given in Hollywood for one of its silent screen starlets. Each story pushes the envelope of something dark and forbidden.
The first story is that of a young socialite woman who defied the norm and married a man below her in class. He plans to divorce her and she only has the one night to convince him that they should be together. She loves the dangerously dark passions of the man who grabbed her attention that night a year ago, but he has treated her with kid gloves ever since. On this, their last night together something snaps in them both and their real natures pour forth. When they are exposed and raw, will they still want the people that are revealed?
The second story features that of the actress who stars in the wet dreams of almost every man in the country. She is wild and untamed- untouchable emotionally- and she wants it that way. She carries a load of guilt inside her, but also a dream. Into her life, the larger than life WWI ace pilot comes and turns everything upside down. He challenges her jaded soul to think differently and accept her cravings. But then he makes her feel- and feelings are dangerous to someone who walks away every time someone starts to get close.
Finally, one of the secondary characters from both the previous stories gets his chance in the limelight when he finds himself in possession of a shop girl’s journal. He has returned home to do his father’s bidding by taking charge of the family’s hotel, find a suitable trophy wife, and with her, make an heir to the family fortune. The finding of the journal changes everything. The shop girl organizes her fellow hotel co-workers into a union and they put together a list of grievances and a petition. She is sent for to the new boss’ office and thinks that she’ll be fired for helping everyone to organize, but instead she is confronted by her journal and a proposition. And from there the two of them set out on a decadent adventure to fulfill all her fantasies in the journal which brings them to an end neither of them expected.
The plots of these stories are all connected so that it was like the same story that just shifted focus to new main characters with new dark sexual fantasies that were slightly taboo even in those times. Each couple scorched up the pages and were endearing in their own ways though at the same time I didn’t feel a connection because their passions went beyond my point of reference on occasion. I got so caught up in their goings on that I felt like I should be looking away, but yet I couldn’t and had to see things through with them because I was caught up in their stories. These men and women were deeply and intensely honest in their needs when it came to what they wanted from a partner. There was voyeurism, spanking, bondage, domination and menage along with a little f/f action at one point.
The backdrop of the glittery jazz age, Flappers and prohibition were all part of the stories and the descriptions and language evoked it well. It was easy to picture the stories were from the Roaring Twenties without the background pushing aside the actual stories.
So if you want to try a historical erotica set against the sparkling Age of Jazz, you should definitely give these stories a try.