Reviewed by Dee
TITLE: Lysistrata Cove
AUTHOR: Dena Hankins
PUBLISHER: Bold Strokes Books
LENGTH: 320 Pages
RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2016
Jack Azevedo captains his charter sailboat in the Caribbean. Life can’t get any better, especially once he discovers a mysterious uncharted island with a sugar-sand cove for his passengers to enjoy and an intriguing, if angry, inhabitant.
Superstar Eve La Sirena has an illicit plan to restore creative freedom to musicians worldwide…if she can keep an ocean between her public and her secrets. Jack’s arrival exposes her island retreat and jeopardizes years of work, but his sweet generosity whets her cruel appetites.
As a transmasculine gender explorer and BDSM bottom, Jack’s used to flouting convention, not the law. When Eve’s clandestine project draws three kinds of cops, everything he has is endangered. Will the maelstrom of emotion strip the civilized veneer from his piratical heart?
This story is told in third person and from dual point-of-view. Given it’s my favorite type of narration, the writing style alone was a win right from the start. The story flows well, and is exceptionally well polished, another thing to treasure.
Speaking of treasure, there are no pirates in this story, but a huge amount of page time is dedicated to the daily maintenance of sailboats. Something I didn’t expect but in hindsight the first line of the blurb should have clued me into. I’m not saying that’s either good or bad, just that I got an education in regards to captaining a ship, how to cleat a line, yawl boats, and even what type of wood they are made of.
I totally fell in love with Jack. Days after finishing this book, I’m still drawn to his character, and how he chose to transition at his own rate. I really liked the limits he set as a submissive – I quote “Hard noes. Piss, shit, humiliation, feminization. For a first time, no face slapping. Pulling my hair pisses me off.”
The BDSM in this story was delicious. The terminology not so much. In erotica, sometimes the C word works well (for me) other times it just comes across as crass and can turn a sexy scene into something straight out of a porn mag.
Despite the story being told from both main characters POV, it took me a while to warm to Eve. With that said I loved her dominance, she had a sadistic streak but was far from cruel, never abusing the power afforded to her. The story also did a great job of portraying, dominant woman or not, she had insecurities and a need to be accepted just like the next person.
A favorite paragraph – “Antagonism follows sexual attraction for any combination of genders, especially when the yen is one-sided. It’s embedded in the process of deciding whether or not to fuck.”
Ships and sex aside, the entire story of how Jack comes to be at Lysistrata cove, why he chose to keep returning and more importantly, why Superstar Eve was hiding out, is very well done. The last twenty percent of this story took me completely by surprise. It left me smiling and gave me plenty to think about.
In summary, this story kept me turning the pages and have I no problem recommending it to all and sundry.