Reviewed by Jim Lyon
One definite advantage of the proliferation of self-published ebooks is the tremendous diversity of naughty books now available to readers. No longer is the selection of erotic books on the market limited to genres and themes deemed by publishers to have the potential to sell enough copies to justify the expense of printing and distribution. Certainly niche books such as Phoenix Baker’s Mittens would not have stood a snow ball’s chance in Hell of being published in days past.
Like many erotic novellas, Mittens is basically a vignette focusing on a sexually charged episode rather than a fully developed story with a substantive plot and a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end. Nevertheless, it is an interesting, erotic and, in parts, amusing read that details the sudden transition of a relationship between long-time best friends Samantha and Nina to lovers, despite Samantha previously having no inkling of her propensity for being bisexual. That the overindulgence of alcohol – social lubricant extraordinaire – precipitated Nina confessing not just her love for Samantha, but her desire to be dominated and sexually humiliated by her, has a ring of truth that almost everyone can relate to on some level.
Purportedly this story is based on the author’s own experience with her current life partner. As the story unfolds it definitely has a feel of authenticity to it. The narrative meanders from awkward and timid moments to raging lust to giggling camaraderie to deep introspection, sometimes within a single paragraph.
Curiously, this story does not as yet involve mittens – perhaps it will in possible sequels – other than a brief reference in Samantha’s inner dialogue as she contemplates how she can help her friend experience her fantasy of extreme objectification. The somewhat geeky mad scientist Samantha envisions securing oven mitt-like devices on Nina to reduce her to the level of an animal, in addition to eliminating her ability to speak for the same reason.
Although it is clear that BDSM will be a part of the sexual side of their relationship, during the course of this story that doesn’t materialize significantly. At the onset of their first liaison, Samantha convincingly assumes a scary persona to accommodate Nina’s fantasies and manages to trigger a spectacular orgasm simply by threatening to subject Nina to an extremely degrading act. All indications are that future developments along those lines will not necessarily adhere to customary D/s lifestyle activities, but rest assured kinkiness will prevail.