Reviewed by Jim Lyon
Story rank: 4
Author Laila Blake writes character-driven love stories in a variety of genres. In her latest novella, Driftwood Deeds, the focus is on a budding BDSM-style romance between a female journalist with latent submissive tendencies and a middle-age screenwriter. Unique about this story are both its broad appeal to BDSM fiction aficionados and its accessibility to readers not particularly drawn to impact play or bondage.
The characters in this book are not involved in hardcore BDSM activities or the leather scene in general. Theirs is a more private and organic lifestyle that mirrors somewhat a large contingent of people who incorporate some variation of total power exchange into their sexual relationships.
As is often the case in real life, their relationship developed spontaneously when the couple were brought together for the first time through their work. Iris writes about movies and the people involved in making them, and Paul writes successful screenplays. She visits his remote seaside home to interview him and during the getting to know one another stage it becomes apparent that they have similar tastes and interests and, more importantly, a mutual sexual attraction.
Iris has held a long-time secret interest in sexual submission, despite being a modern feminist, but never had the opportunity to explore it before. And Paul is a self-taught dominant who struggled at coming to grips with his natural inclinations that at first blush seemed to him to be too much like sexual abuse. The sexual scenarios depicted between them are well-developed, sensual and delightfully erotic. They have the feel of realistic liaisons as opposed to the bigger-than-life intense encounters often found in BDSM erotica.
The impact play and bondage elements in this book should appeal to readers with a taste for kink, yet they aren’t extreme enough to turn off most erotica fans with more genteel sensibilities. Personally, I was thankful that even though the author provides ample back-story, she does not delve into pseudo-psychological motivations relative to past drama in either of the characters’ lives. This is simply a well-written BDSM-themed story without literary pretensions.