Obsessed Paperback – 20 Oct 2011
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''Obsessed is a treasure full of tenderness, raw lust, longing, and all of the many things that fill our sexual lives and erotic minds. The nineteen stories written so fluidly fills the oceanic depths of desire where obsession lies. Perhaps the word ''obsessed'' is as elusive as the state of being it exists in. Like a drug, we want more. More stories, more lust, more sex, more love, and it's never, ever enough.'' - Erotica du Jour
''In the 20 novellas in this collection, obsession is the name of the game. The pages sizzle and the words smoke. Readers will love the variety and the intensity of assignations, ranging from a foreign city to a small cottage under a hurricane onslaught, with a varying mix of locales in between.'' - Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine
''One word of warning though. These stories are hot and will definitely warm you up. In fact, they will probably give you some really good ideas so you might want to have that special someone around. I'm not sure a fan and cold drink will work!'' - Night Owl Reviews
''Whatever you desire, you'll find a story to turn the heat up a notch, or several. ...While these stories are written specifically for women, chances are excellent that if you read some of them aloud to your man, things will heat up for the two of you surprisingly fast.''- Fresh Fiction
''Ms. Bussel weaves together an anthology that is rich and erotic. I loved all of the stories to the point of obsession.'' --Kiss My Laptop
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Silent Treatment by Donna George Storey
This story makes it evident that you do not need a voice to be heard. It was a good tale to begin the anthology but the obsession wasn't altogether clear. I did enjoy the anonymity of the heroine because it added a mystery to the story. It also allowed me to interpret the heroine the way I would picture her. .Based on the writing, I wasn't restricted to how the author wanted me to view her heroine.
One Night in Paris by Kayla Perrin
This story showed and even demonstrated the theme of obsession perfectly. I was completely enthralled with the storyline from beginning to end. Not only was Vivian's obsession with her boss explored, but the author delved into her obsession with the fantasy itself. And let's face it, we all love a good fantasy now and then.
Concubine by Portia Da Costa
Even though it got of to a slow start, this story had a very interesting ending. I liked the whole "story within a story" aspect of Concubine. Additionally, these characters connected on a deeper level than the previous tales. It created a nice little romantic feeling to it.
Love and Demotion by Logan Belle
This story was all about raw animalistic sexual urges. Cat is tame during the day, but a sex kitten at night. At this point in the anthology, Love and Demotion was my favorite story. It revisited the secret obsession of sleeping with your boss. The author added a twist to the storyline that really entertained me.
Mephisto Waltz by Justine Elyot
This installment was entertaining, especially the way the author used music to build up and develop the relationship. While I am not a classical music fan, I could appreciate the correlation between emotionally connecting a good piece of music to a good piece of man candy. In the end, Lily gets to thoroughly enjoy both.
Then by Emerald
This was by far the most erotic story within the anthology. Valerie may love Chris, but her body sure wants a taste of Hayden. The reality is, even while people are in a monogamous relationship, everyones eye wanders occasionally. We cannot help but appreciate an attractive man. What's worse for the heroine,Valerie, is this attractive man is constantly being thrown in her face. The sensual tension escalates because she can't touch him ...or can she?
It's Gotta Be Fate by Jennifer Peters
This story was not only interesting but it set itself apart from the others because of its uniqueness. It encompassed a BDSM theme with an titillating twist. Occasionally, submissives need to know what it is like to dominate someone. By the same token Doms need to experience the feel of someone else's ties around their wrists. In this story, I get exactly that. What was better, was the hint at maybe a new beginning. This was a light BDSM story, but be prepared because it's emotionally charged.
Hooked by Ariel Graham
This tale was a bit puzzling to me. One thing that really made it difficult was the characters names being Ricki and Jody. Since both names are interchangeable between males and females, I kept forgetting who the boyfriend was and who the girlfriend was. In spite of that, I really enjoyed Ricki's obsession. Add in the hook and I had a story that truly captured the theme of obsession. However, I would have liked to have actually seen the obsession be fulfilled in the final scene of the story. Ms. Graham needs to do a sequel.
Aftershocks by Bella Andre
Some relationships need a little jolt to get back in track. The lack of communication displayed by Celeste and Darren is a trap many marriages fall in. They are so afraid of each other's reaction they fail to realize they both want the same thing. This highly erotic BDSM story was inspirational in more than one way. Secret Places by Adele Haze Until we fully trust someone, many of us keep our secrets to ourselves. That is what this story was about. The only drawback about this tale is the author focused too much time and energy on Dan's music playing. It took away from the the relationship development. Because it is so short, the secret was discovered using a typical technique. but ultimately I did get to see Dan and Marian reach their happily ever after. Best of all for the protagonists, there were minimal secrets going forward.
Loser by Charlotte Stein
This story inspired mixed emotions, but in a good way. One moment I was completely awed by the fact that Mallory would even be attracted to Billy in the first place. The next thing that threw me was when Mallory talked about how good he was in the bedroom. I thought, "Wow,what a catch!" I am sure this is what the author was going for and she certainly succeeded in her goal. Now, I don't think I will ever again walk past an average person and think what a loser they are.
Here In Between by Kristina Wright
'Strange mysterious man finds stranded woman on the side of the road'. It certainly sounds more like the beginning of a horror movie than an erotic tale, doesn't it? Well, not only does that sentence begin this story, it also ignited something deep inside me. You know, the part that wants to be that damsel in distress who is rescued by the knight riding on a magnificent stallion? I just hope my knight is as sexy and charismatic as the hero is in this story.
Spellbound by Garnell Wallace
This story touched me on a few emotional levels. I absolutely loved that the heroine, Kia, was able to find herself but it took her going to Haiti to do it. The nice twist was she found the love of her life while she was trying to connect with a part of herself her family denied. What I liked too was the heroine was put into a situation that was different. It inspired her to really look within for answers. What really spiced up the story were the hot erotic scenes. I'm being deliberately vague because it's a story worth reading.
Raven's Flight by Andrea Dale
Forget the girl next door when you can have the sexy Celtic next door. Ciaran is the type of neighbor we all dream of; sexy, intelligent, and likes to walk around shirtless. I also enjoyed the link the tattoos played in Ciaran and the heroine's journey through life. I appreciate symbolism because I have always felt it adds a touch of depth to a story. The author effectively illustrated that with the use of the tattoos.
Raindrops and Rooftops by Elizabeth Coldwell
This story was a bit more sexual and the focus on obsession was not as heavy as with the previous tales. I like that it added a little bit of lightness to the obsessive side of people. Another thing that intrigued me was Keeley going to New York in search of one thing and ended up finding something completely different. For a lot of people, the scenario plays out just like that in real life. We do not realize what we are looking for until we find it.
Topiary by K.D. Grace
At first, I was a bit confused on what the author of this story was talking about, but after a few chapters, I was able to figure it out. I have heard of vajazzling, but this takes pubic decorating to a completely new level. While this story did fully explore the obsession people can have regarding a woman's parts, I did not really connect with nor fully appreciate the relationship. It seemed as if Aden only cared about one part of heroine's anatomy, and not necessarily for her as a person.
I Want to Hold Your Hand by Rachel Kramer Bussel
This story was very romantic. All Shelly really wanted to do was reconnect with her husband. While it had a strong erotic element, the story left a warm and fuzzy feeling inside by the time I finished it. Ron was eventually revealed to be the perfect husband that all husbands should be.
Storm Surge by Teresa Noelle Roberts
This story was a bit difficult for me to read. While if fully captured the obsession of the character, I just felt confused because the obsession almost trumped reality. Additionally, it was another story that I felt the couple did not really connect as deeply with each other as they could have. What came across instead was their total involvement with their mutual obsession.
Undercover Kink by Louisa Harte
This final tale was a great one to end this anthology. We all have some undercover kink somewhere buried inside, and Natalie, the heroine, had to fulfill the kink she has secretly obsessed about for a long time. What was even better is that it even fulfilled a few kinks I don't think even Natalie realized she had until that moment. It's the element of discovery that made it so worth it.
This entire anthology really displayed the many forms obsession can take. Though voluminous, this book has stories to match anyone's needs or curiosity about obsession. Because there are so many different tales, surly everyone who reads this book will find something they love. I did.
Originally posted at Whipped Cream Reviews
Obsessions can be a very personal thing, and unfortunately there are a number of stories I don't connect with. This surprised me because I was impressed by many of the same authors in the last RKB collection I read, Please, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission. However, "Topiary," "Secret Places," and "One Night in Paris" were practically guaranteed to be filed under "miss" with me because pubic hair coiffure, emo subway musicians and getting it on with the boss are all subjects that leave me cold, though for others they may be the scenarios their dreams are made of. To each their own.
I was much happier with Andrea Dale's "Raven's Flight" -- a tale of a newspaper editor who becomes obsessed with her chiseled Irish neighbor and his Celtic tattoo -- and I have a soft spot for the more romantic stories: "Aftershocks" by Bella Andre, "Loser" by Charlotte Stein, and "Here in Between" by Kristina Wright are three tales where obsession gets the ball rolling, but it's the discovery of a special intimacy that cements the connection. The men get under the protagonists' skin because they mesh with them in unique ways, like no one before. I also liked the editor's contribution, "I Want to Hold Your Hand," which combines romance, obsession, marriage and domination. She proves single handedly that you can have genre crossover.
As far as short-story collections go, Obsessed is a well-written one and I wish giving it 3½-stars was an option, because Amazon's "it's ok" tag doesn't do it justice. However, there's not enough content that speaks to my obsessions for me to give it a full 4-stars.
I definitely had my favorite stories but for all different kinds of reasons. The concept of soundless sex overcoming obstacles without verbiage in "Silent Treatment" by Donna George Storey was quite compelling, while the "Mephisto Waltz" by Justine Elyot was just beautifully written, pulling me into the music of lust. "Aftershocks" by Bella Andre and Emerald's "Then" were both interesting takes on loyalty and devotion although in completely contrasting ways. A progressive and lighthearted obsession is told in "Hooked" by Ariel Graham while "Secret Places" by Adele Haze and "Loser" by Charlotte Stein had serious and vivid impact. "Topiary" by K.D. Grace was fun and engaging, while "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by Rachel Kramer Bussel poignantly addressed the very real dynamic of a relationship affected by significant change, in this case a husband losing a substantial amount of weight. I also really enjoyed the flow and tangibility of Kristina Wright's "Here in Between".
I am a lover of words and believe there is magic in the way a human can string them together. I had an idea that it would be fun to share one of my favorite sentences from each story because they all have something to say. This may be a bit ****SPOILERISH**** in some cases, so be warned.
From "Silent Treatment"
I could swear I heard words through his unmoving lips.
From "One Night In Paris"
I want to make him obsess over me.
It was better to enchant than attack.
From "Love and Demotion"
I thought of him watching me and wondered if the audience knew that my expensive thong was suddenly very damp.
From "Mephisto Waltz"
Moving on from the attack on the waltz proper, he tackles the quieter passages, bending his long spine so that he almost hugs the keyboard, his nose inches from the ivory, ready to kiss the notes into the air.
I knew that pitch, that particular way Chris sounded when he was so turned on that he was having trouble keeping his composure.
From "It's Gotta Be Fate"
Touching me would be impossible, too, and I knew that would drive him absolutely crazy.
And kissed her neck and buried his face in her hair and whispered, "Tell me."
"You're too gentle!"
From "Secret Places"
"So," she says softly, and adds a guess: "Boy."
Because I can't stay away, I can't stay away, I wish I could but dear god, I can't.
From "Here in Between"
I feel like a slut. I feel like a goddess. I just feel.
"Turn on the camara," Jonah whispered before licking his finger.
From "Raven's Flight"
It was celtic--not the newfangled tribal kind, but the real knot work-from-early-manuscripts kind--and it depicted a raven flying over the ocean, with the sun blazing overhead.
From "Raindrops And Rooftops"
Whirlwind didn't begin to describe this romance.
He's working gloveless, like always. He says he needs to feel what he does.
From "I Want To Hold Your Hand"
Ron had always been able to speak to her with his hands, even on their first date, when he'd reached for one of hers and massaged it, his thumb tricking along her palm, his fingers tickling her skin, making her curious about him, about what he could do to her.
From "Storm Surge"
Inside, I was roaring and surging like the surf.
From "Undercover Kink"
Time to get some more goodies.
From the beginning, Silent Treatment by Donna George Storey where a retreat attendee runs into a former one night stand lover to the very end with the hard sell in Undercover Kink by Louisa Harte, these stories get under your skin. I am still mulling over Topiary by K.D. Grace and the erotic implications of trimming bushes. The sheer language of this story creates such a steamy mood that I have to read it over and over again.
Or the fantastic story by Ariel Graham, Hooked which nearly made me turn over in bed and say to Hubby, "Let's hang up a hook." I don't think he'd be against that! I loved the way that something so innocent and benign could capture the attention of the main character, Ricki Her obsession with the hook in the corner of the bedroom ignites a new passion with her husband. Just the descriptions of the hook were delightfully erotic. <em>"Now she looked up at it again, wondering. The corner would get some light, but she couldn't imagine it got enough light to make a plant happy. And it was a big hook. Thick, anyway, the metal as wide as a tongue that slid into two parts of a gate latch to catch and close it."</em>
The scenes and characters in the stories are thick with details and settings. Well developed, the anthology goes to exotic locations such as Haiti and Paris. It also takes the reader from exclusive piano performances to burlesque. The characters are funny, conflicted, and obsessed! Sometimes their obsessions might not even be good for them such as in Charlotte Stein's Loser. <em>"I don't know how I find myself here again, but somehow I always do. The same plasticky four walls of his scruffy trailer home. The same cranked-open cans of half-eaten beans lining the sideboard, the same evidence of the previous night's debauchery all over him like the reek of cheap booze that's right here, too. Everything not sexy and not cool. Except for him of course, rationally I know I shouldn't find him so, there's nothing cool about Loserville, even if there was, you'd only have to look at him to know he's no good."</em>
I loved all of the stories to the point of obsession. I could read them all again many times over which is one of the most difficult things to accomplish with an anthology. But even more remarkable is the ability to relate to the stories. Not only could I relate to Hooked and Love and Demotion by Logan Belle but the editor herself wrote one of the most relatable stories in the book, I Want To Hold Your Hand. When you've been married for awhile and things or people change, it's entirely plausible that the obsessions and needs you had when you were younger will have changed. The person you married will change as well. Ms. Bussel captures this tension between Shelly and Ron with uncanny insight. She chronicles Shelly's early obsession with her husband's cuddly exterior and her disappointment at his new trim self. Shelly's attraction to Ron rests in her need for the safety which she correlates with his size. But she can't give up on her marriage so she does what any wise wife can, she finds a new obsession in her husband's hands which still carry remnants of her former obsession and still give her the feeling of safety that she needs to allow her eroticism to show. Kudos to Rachel for this fantastic, moving portrayal of a relationship that is rediscovered.
Bussel is very familiar with obsession. She's made her way successfully in the blogosphere as one of the premiere cupcake bloggers behind the blog, "Cupcake Takes the Cake". She has brought her attention to rich, luscious detail to this anthology. When autumn rolls in with falling leaves and ripening apples, this is the perfect set of stories to curl up with as the evenings grow colder- a cup of hot tea, a cupcake, and Obsession, by Rachel Kramer Bussel.
Kristina Wright's hot and heartwarming "Here in Between" invites the reader, along with her protagonist, to experience what can happen when instinct says yes to opening one's life to another human being. Justine Elyot's feverishly arousing classical-music fantasy "Mephisto Waltz" is as perfect as it is unusual; while Donna George Storey uses the power of words--ironically--to tell an uplifting and irresistible tale ("Silent Treatment") of wordless sexual redemption. Emerald's "Then" and editor Bussel's "I Want to Hold Your Hand" both, in the authors' respective signature styles, exemplify the striking emotional honesty that runs through this entire beautiful book--in whose pages you'll also find the work of Portia Da Costa, Charlotte Stein, Andrea Dale, Elizabeth Coldwell, K. D. Grace, Teresa Noelle Roberts, Louisa Harte, and other brilliantly gifted storytellers.