Naughty Pleasure: A Regency Short Story
2021 (Colorful Pen Press)
Twenty-year-old Isa Campbell is looking forward to spending the summer in London with her cousin Judy. While meaning well, her father thinks that his young daughter needs to settle down and be married, and wants to fix her up with an appropriate suitor--the Lord Duncan. Isa, however, wants more than financial security or social status: she wants marriage to be equivalent to love, the fulfilment of desires, to be something that she shares with her husband.
By contrast, cousin Judy is a free and adventuresome spirit. Single after her significantly older husband passed on a few years earlier, Judy has served not only as a role-model to Isa during her previous visits to the British capital; she has also become a guide, introducing her younger cousin to some of the city`s "secrets"--particularly with regards to sex and desire. Afraid this might be her final summer of freedom before her father and stepmother find her a suitor, Isa is impatient to see her beloved cousin, arriving a day early and rushing upstairs to greet her. Opening her cousin´s bedroom door, Isa accidentally finds Judy with a stranger, the two engaged in some hot and sexy role-play involving spanking, talking dirty, playing with power dynamics, and anal intercourse. Isa can´t help but watch, and readers of Naughty Pleasure will be hard pressed to stop turning pages.
Author Robecca Austin has written a number of sexy romances, from stand-alone short stories like this one to historical and contemporary romances. Like many of her works, Naughty Pleasure offers ample arousal in terms of it scenes: like Isa, we are teased towards fulfilling our pleasure, as Austin proves masterful in her build-up of awakening her desire, as when she joins Judy at a mysterious party at a remote mansion which is described as a "safe space to explore one´s fantasies." Donning masks, everyone is emboldened to try things and share intimacies with one another, resulting in Isa having an encounter with a stranger which will change her life.
But Austin is interested in more than just depicting hot sex. While emphasized by the fact of it being a historical piece, Naughty Pleasure observes how often personal desire is at odds with larger outside forces and circumstances beyond Isa´s control. The role of race, class, gender, and more are all introduced by the author with subtlety, and these bring rich additional layers to her narrative. Short, succinct, and sexy, Naughty Pleasure is a delight.