An ENE Review of an erotic story in two voices
by Mackenzie Cross & Dani Benjamin


Reviewed by G. Russell

In his introduction, Mackenzie Cross writes; "I first encountered D on a posting board, somewhere deep in the internet. We ended up exchanging ICQ numbers and chatting online from time to time. We soon discovered that we both shared an interest, not only in erotica, but also in BDSM related writing in particular."
Which is how this thoughtfully written and very sensual book came to be written. It's a collaboration. Each chapter consists of two parts, headed "Sir" and "The girl".
"Sir" is written in the first person - the male, and "The girl" is written in the third person, emphasising the female viewpoint.
I have to admit that this is the first time I've read a novel using this format and here, it works very well.
It's no easy feat for two writers to successfully combine their individual writing styles and create a work of fiction which is balanced and even in tone, but these two have pulled it off admirably.
But before I say any more about the writing styles, I should say what the story's about. The premise is relatively straightforward. A man, an experienced Dom, meets a woman, in this case a trained submissive. An arrangement is made whereupon she spends one night with the Dom and becomes, after much BDSM interaction which takes her beyond her mental barriers, enhanced.
These two writers know their craft when it comes to setting and developing erotic tension. Each handles their attributed characters with confidence and a sense of realism without ever straying beyond erotica's well-defined boundaries.
The characters are given space to develop, as the tension between them develops, the tone is even, the mood sensual, and deeply erotic. Stirringly so. I felt more sympathetic toward the girl, a gorgeous creature with dark-red hair and large blue eyes, whose occasional moments of self-doubt enhanced her still further in my eyes.
The Dom, at times, although erudite and outwardly charming:
("These are some of my instruments. I will use them to play her this evening. To make her sing a very special song, one performance only, just for me. In the end, she will be my instrument as well.")
But he was just a tad too cocksure of himself- well, arenŐt they all? But you really can't help but feel compelled to these two charismatic lovers.
The descriptive passages are vividly and lovingly detailed:
"In bondage, suspended in time and space, she awaits my return. A living porcelain statue, sculpted by chains, high-lighted by the markings of the wax, she hangs for my consideration and critique. There is no fear in those perfect blue eyes as she gazes at her own reflection, but there is longing. Her breathing is full and even, no evidence of terror in the rise and fall of her breasts. She is focusing, preparing herself for what is to come."
Perhaps even more beguiling, are the internal dialogues that take place, which not only flesh out the characters and further develop a truly provocative erotic tour de force, but also deepen the reader's own understanding of the emotional dynamics that govern BDSM relationships:
"In the darkness, behind her blindfold, she floats. So intent is her focus, she no longer is aware of the wood of the table under her back. The aching in her joints eases as her muscles relax pulled to the far corners of the table. Safely anchored by the restraints, she drifts in the darkness. She is weightless, buoyant. Free."
Not your average BDSM porn, this. Most of the usual BDSM toys are employed: bondage, blindfolds, collars etc, and thankfully, none of the cliches that have begun to plague this fascinating sub-genre in recent times: no "little ones", no "my pets". The characters aren't the one dimensional cut-outs - outs beloved of pornography -, is this porn? If by the definition of the word porn we mean writing meant to provoke a sexual response from the reader, then yes, most assuredly.
Porn or hard-edged erotica, or whatever, Enhanced is well written, not afraid to explore the dark side as the intensity increases toward the climax of the tale, and above all, poetically and intelligently handled.
Indeed, it goes one step further by illuminating, as the story progresses, the philosophical nature of domination and submission, and in particular the nature of "subspace," done without becoming preachy or condescending.
Enhanced works on several different levels: as a book to read to find that mood, it is provocatively arousing, even for non-bdsmers. As a primer for couples new to the scene, it's quite enlightening. Definitely a book to give to the wife, or husband, if one is hinting at a change of sexual scene.
I read it and enjoyed it, and no doubt will return to it when the dark mood takes me. I'd highly recommend it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go tie up and gag the wife, light some candles, put on a tangerine dream CD and practise my whipping technique.
Enhanced is available for purchase through Pink Flamingo Publications.
Oil tycoon, shipping magnate, thaumatologist and disinherited aristocrat, G. Russell feeds his senses by indulging his passions in frivolous, casual sexual encounters with anyone. He enjoys his precarious spare time breeding homunculi, tiny creatures no more than four inches high and wholly subservient to his will. He also writes late into the night and has been published everywhere. With the exception of the novel, Mini pot chanting, light opera, and fado. Well- read, erudite, suave, strikingly handsome, and much sought after by discerning women with gargantuan sexual appetites. He is availiable for discrete perversions, but remains happily married.
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