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Book Review: Chemical [se]x, edited by Oleander Plume

Chemical [se]x

When I first heard about Chemical [se]X, I was intrigued.  An entire book of erotica with the common theme of chocolate?  Yummy.  I bought it, but had not gotten around to reading it.  Then, a few weeks ago, I listened to Rose Caraway interview Oleander Plume and Tamsin Flowers about the book.  Once I heard the podcast, Chemical [se]X moved up to the #1 spot in my to-read queue.

I’m so glad I read this book.

During the podcast, Oleander talks about how she wrote a story about aphrodisiac chocolates and posted it on her website for free.  Then she thought about writing a sequel.  The idea then evolved into an anthology with the erotic chocolates as a common theme.

Much like Tamsin’s Alchemy xii erotic serial, Oleander’s idea is something I haven’t seen before in erotica.  While anthologies have a common theme, there’s nothing tying the individual stories together.  With Chemical [se]X, while each story works as a stand-alone, the connecting thread took the collection as a whole to a new level.  I want more anthologies like this.

My husband and I often read different erotic books as we have different turn-ons (with a few exceptions, like Alison Tyler), but our shared kindle account means that we can see and read the books that the other has bought.  When I was reading Chemical [se]X, my kindle account would tell me that I was last at a different page because I learned that my husband was reading it at the same time I was.  Much like the way we eat chocolate in real life, I devoured Chemical [se]X and my husband is slowly savoring it.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 9.35.59 pm

I’ve mentioned before that I read a LOT of erotica.  With some exceptions (basically anything I review on this blog or authors I squeal about on a regular basis) this means I have zero issue reading erotica in public because I’m a bit desensitized.  I read using my kindle app on my phone which means I’m likely to read anywhere and everywhere.

I started reading Chemical [se]X in a very long line of Christmas shoppers waiting to be checked out, beginning with the story that started it all; “Chemical [se]X” by Oleander Plume.

“You really don’t find it hot in here?”

“No, the air conditioning is really cranked up today. If you’re too warm, blame yourself for wearing those dopey socks.”

Despite his protests about the temperature, he shrugged out of his lab coat, then stood up to sharpen his pencil. I checked out his butt, it was cute, taut, and round enough to fill out the back of his faded jeans quite nicely. Another fantasy filled my head, this one of Wyatt’s naked ass bent over my knee, slightly pink after a paddling by my hand.

I was feeling a little flushed by the time I was checked out.  I knew I should stop reading Oleander’s story in public.  But it was so good I couldn’t NOT read it and I had to hit the grocery store in the basement of the mall I was in before I could go home.  I’ve never been so turned on while riding an escalator before in my life.  I don’t expect to ever have that singular experience again, either.  Gold star for you, Oleander!
Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 10.46.33 pmOleander also contributed one of my other favorite stories–“Coffee Break”

My brain screamed at my mouth “Spit that out, some weird shit is happening,” but I literally could not stop, the chocolate had a hypnotic effect on me. Once I finished the entire piece, I stared at Zak while I licked the melted bits off my fingers. That’s when I noticed his skin was the exact same color as the chocolate, and I had the overwhelming urge to lick him, too. All. Over.

Zak and Ryan have the best banter in the book.  They are an odd couple of co-workers with Ryan just NOT GETTING half of what Zak means when he uses words like “pansexual.”  But by the end of the story there is an electric m/m/m threesome.  Bonus point for an interracial coupling–there aren’t enough of them.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 10.12.45 pm

Jade A. Waters’ story “The Connection” was the story that resonated the most for me.

“The Connection” is about a couple who have lost their way from one another.  Aubrey buys the aphrodisiac chocolates, hoping that they might help her and Terrance find that old spark.

Aubrey wanted to wait for Terence, but she ached to know what these chocolates could do. Lifting the lid, she admired the six candies inside, each piece waiting for her in a black and white polka-dotted foil cup. The store clerk had explained this decorative packaging as specific to the premium box, “guaranteed to satisfy” or her money back tomorrow.

How could she resist?

I’ve been married for almost nine years, and I’m the mom of two children.  One of the realities of a long term relationship like this is that there is a lot of ebb and flow to the sexual connection, especially post children.  Jade nails how frustrating the isolation is, and how scary it is to reach out.

When I read this story, all I could think about was reading it out loud to my partner with some chocolate truffles nearby.

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“Bittersweet” by Malin James is the most lyrical story in the anthology.  Malin has a talent for paring a story down to its most  essential elements that is almost poetic.

I study Iain’s strong, broad back and wonder if I should stay for one last fuck. My head is all for leaving, but my cunt…my cunt wants a final go. Absentmindedly, I pop a truffle in my mouth. It’s smooth and dark with a spikey, citrus finish. Not at all what I’d expected—more bitter than sweet. Not really to my taste. And yet…each receptor in my mouth shivers.

I loved the flow of the story from the narrator’s ambivalence to the way that her sexuality is taken in a new direction with the chocolate stimulus.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 10.30.12 pm

“The Stranger” by Tamsin Flowers is special for many reasons.  I knew to expect hot sex–that’s a given with Tamsin.  What I hadn’t expected was a story set in the deep South with such a pitch perfect voice.  A Southern voice is easy to screw up and hard to get right.  She nailed it.

I didn’t know how to say it to him. He was a stranger and eating the chocolate had made me desire him. I was suddenly overcome by a longing more intense than I had experienced in years. I put my hand to his groin to see if he was hard. Of course he was, and through his pants I could feel that he’d fill me up and then some.

Tamsin leaves ambiguity in the story that made my imagination run wild–why was he there? where did he go from there?  Did McGrindle’s carry the special chocolates or were the women the stranger left behind praying for lightning to strike twice?

Honorable mentions go to

“Dinner for Three” by L Maretta for a really hot f/m/m threesome.

“Friendly Neighborhood Drug Dealer” by Ella Dawson for writing the finals week hookup I wish I’d had as an undergrad

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I should confess that when I finished the anthology I had a craving to write a story with Oleander’s aphrodisiac chocolate.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed that she decides to do a sequel so I can write and submit one.

11 Responses

  1. This is a wonderful review, thank you Delilah, which reminded me what a privilege it was to be included in Oleander’s anthology. There are so many wonderful stories to choose from, so thank you for picking mine as one of the ones you highlighted! 🙂

  2. I love this review Delilah! I also think it’s fantastic that your husband is reading it, too. I would be curious to know which stories he liked the most when he’s finished.

    If I do make a sequel, I will definitely let you know!

    Thanks again, sweetie, this was a joy!

    hugs,

    Oleander

    xoxox

  3. Thank you, Delilah! That was such a wonderful review! And I really appreciate the mention and the lovely things you said. I’m glad you liked the anthology and selfishly, I’m delighted you liked “Bittersweet”. Thank you – you just started my morning off on a really good note! xxx

  4. […] can read the rest by clicking here. While you’re at Delilah’s blog, check out her extremely sexy […]

  5. Oh, Delilah—thank you so much! It’s taken me all day to get back around here to comment, but please know that you made me smile with your words about “The Connection” as well as the whole anthology. It truly is a great collection to be in, and I’m honored not only to be in it but that my story resonated with you. Thank you again! XX

  6. […] Book Review: Chemical [se]x, edited by Oleander Plume […]

  7. […] [se]X (wish I only wish I were part of, but is one of my favorite anthologies–see my review here) edited by Oleander Plume. If you need a completely queer friendly anthology, just let me […]

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