Please Note: The following review is suitable for adults only.
Amber Topping: Professional Trollop far more than I probably should have – and it’s all Abby Ashe’s fault! Not only is this a well-written, erotically-charged tale, but Amber herself is a fun, sex-positive heroine, one who isn’t burdened by even a hint of shame or regret, who embraces her gender identity and celebrates her gender expression, and who doesn’t have a single insecurity about enjoying her life. She’s a proud trollop and a happy girl with a penis.
Each chapter is its own short story, relating Amber’s erotic adventures with different clients (and fetishes). College Boy serves as a perfect introduction, establishing Amber as a proud transsexual trollop who thoroughly enjoys her work, while also touching on the insecurities others have regarding their attraction to her. It’s also a story with a very funny, almost-slapstick sort of climax, which is important because Amber’s life is often as silly as it is sexy, and she embraces it all.
Although it is shockingly blasphemous, Sacred Whore is also a delightful tale of how, beneath the trappings of faith and society, we are all sexual animals at heart. Again, there’s ample humour to this one, right alongside the erotic image of Amber sharing a confessional with the priest who hired her, while they listen to a neurotic housewife confess to her lust for the pretty girl-next-door. I think this is where my appreciation for the story turned into love for Amber.
A Mouthful is one of the shorter stories in the book, but a fun tale of an unexpected threesome, a talented housewife, and a husband with an extremely prolific output (if you know what I mean). It’s raunchy and cute at the same time, imbuing Amber with a little bit of innocence, even as she invites us to laugh along with her. Lamb Chop, on the other hand, is probably the weirdest, most fetishistic story in the collection. What begins with a sexy Little Bo Peep costume ends with an odd sheep-like hoodie (complete with ears and a tail). In between we have some erotically awkward role play, with the promise of a repeat performance when she gets home to Cherry – her transgirl, sex-worker best friend (and lover) about whom I’d love to know more.
On the surface, Grotesque is the obligatory ‘prostitution isn’t all fun and games’ story, with a focus on the darker, more uncomfortable side of Amber’s career. It definitely is grotesque, with probably the most disgusting partner I’ve ever come across in an erotic story, but even here the story is redeemed with some unexpected humour, including a surprise sort of climax.
As much fun as the whole collection is, I don’t think the erotic and the humorous come together any better than they do in Hot and Bothered. This is like an X-rated version of a bad 80s sex comedy, complete with mistaken identities and Amber repeatedly finding herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. I loved it, and the final resolution of her accidental exposures is perfect.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. This is one incredibly sexy collection of stories that isn’t at all afraid to be honest about the joy that can be found in being true to your identity. I absolutely loved the character of Amber Topping and would gladly read another collection with her at the heart in a . . . well, a heartbeat. Of course, if Abby were to switch things up a bit and explore Cherry next time around, that would be perfectly okay with me as well.