NSFW Book Review: Silk and Leather edited by Victoria Villasenor

Title: Silk and Leather

Author: Victoria Villasenor

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Publication Date: April 14, 2020

Genres: Erotica

Shelves: Female-fronted, Female-authored, Female-dominant

Usually, in reading a collection like Silk and Leather: Lesbian Erotica with an Edge, I expect to find a mix of stories I love, stories I kind of skim through, and stories I end up abandoning. In a good collection, it’s that second category that’s weighted the most heavily, and in a great collection it’s the first – and a lot of that mix depends on the editor.

I had high hopes for this, a gift to my Goddess and myself from Robyn Nyx, but Victoria Villasenor surpassed all expectations. I loved most of the stories and liked the rest – there wasn’t a single abandoned read in the batch. With that said, it’s hard not to talk about all the stories, but in the interest of brevity I’ll focus on my lucky seven favorites.

  • ‘All Aboard’ by L.L. Shelton was a fantastic opener, a tale almost entirely devoid of dialogue, that reads like an erotic version of a silent movie classic. The story takes place on a train, with three women indulging in a dance of seduction and exhibitionism between cars that is as fun as it is indulgent.
  • ‘Engagements’ by M. Ullrich follows that with a story of a different tone, involving a trip to meet one woman’s family – including the ex-girlfriend who is now engaged to her brother. I loved the emotional shifts here, taking the story from anxious tension, through sexual tension, and (ultimately) to voyeuristic regret.
  • The Bet’ by Sandy Lowe was a fantastic story of self-discovery between a curious woman with very detailed fantasies and the professional who brings them to life. The transition between innocence and wantonness was spectacular, and the sensory detail exquisite.
  • ‘The Layover’ by T.L. Hayes was a fun a story that plays with themes of long-distance lovers passing through, power-exchange, fantasy, and role-reversal. The tease of the ending, and all it opens up, is perhaps the most exciting part.
  • ‘Learning to Ask’ by Butch Indeep was a fantastic story about about taking control and declaring what you want. The level of trust between the three friends, and they way they gently encourage (and reward) Ellie, bringing fantasy and friendship together is perfect.
  • ‘The Key to Happiness’ by Jeannie Levig definitely struck a nerve for me, reversing professional roles in a power exchange scenario to relieve stress and adjust behavior. The way it incorporated chastity was a pleasant surprise, and just the overall relationship made me smile.
  • ‘Stripped Bare’ by Robyn Nyx takes the theme of the power exchange to a whole new level, challenging one pain-loving Domme to submit to the professional whip of another. What resonated deepest here for me was Valentina’s refusal to allow Cree to escape into subspace, insisting she remain physically in the moment, which seemed to strengthen their overall bond.

Given that this is Lesbian Erotica with an Edge, it shouldn’t be surprising that so many of the stories deal with BDSM, power exchanges, packing and strap-on play, well-define butch/femme dynamics, and exhibitionism. Ultimately, what made Silk and Leather so consistently satisfying was the way it explored different relationship dynamics across different scenes and settings, but all with the same positive, passionate intensity. There are relationships behind every story, some of them established going in, and others developed coming out, with that chemistry making even the wildest, kinkiest encounter about more than just sex.

Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ ♀ 1/2

My sincere thanks to the author for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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