Honestly, this is one of the most remarkable erotic romances I have had the luxury to enjoy in quite some time. There is a lot going on, both on an emotional and an intellectual level, but it all meshes together in a queer, kinky, seamless fashion.
Jack is a wonderful character, a transmasculine sailor who has chosen to transition in his own way, and at his own pace. He's bold, confident, and refreshingly comfortable in his desire to bottom for beautiful women. There's a tenderness to him, a softness that completes him, but it's that of a happy submissive rather than any lingering influence of femininity. Eve, meanwhile, is even more bold, more confident, and deliciously comfortable in her desire to top beautiful boys and girls. A woman who knows precisely what she wants, she makes a perfect lover and a perfect dominant. Sparks fly from the moment they meet, but it is the erotic dance, the verbal sparring, and the slow seduction that makes their relationship so compelling.
As for the consummation of that relationship . . . whew, it is smoking hot. The erotic scenes here are absolutely sumptuous, with a level of detail that takes your breath away. Seriously, even the act of BDSM negotiations, which most authors gloss over as a tedious necessity, is imbued with sensuous potential. I will leave you to discover most of the fun for yourself, but when Jack comes away from an extended bout of oral pleasure with sore, swollen lips . . . well, you can guess at the erotic intensity involved. As for his favorite granite dildo (no base, with a twist chiseled into it), watching Eve use that on him - in public, no less - is a scene that demands a breather when it is done.
I have to admit, I did not get the full import of what Eve was trying to accomplish on the island at first, and felt it was an unnecessary justification for the tension with Jack. As it begins to drive a wedge between Eve and Harmonie in the second half of the book, however, leading to the troubles with the law, I finally understood - and appreciated it. Yes, there is an element of revenge involved (with a tragic backstory), but what Eve is after is a really fascinating idea, and one that is sure to make readers think about creative freedoms, copyright laws, and piracy.
Succeeding as both an erotic romance and a romantic thriller, Lysistrata Cove is a story that does not rest on the backs of its characters, but which uses them to enhance it. I loved the transgender element here, with Jack being one of my favorite FTM characters ever, and the BDSM element was even stronger. Honestly, there is so much here to love, I cannot recommend it enough.
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