I’m an out-and-proud admirer of Charlotte Stein’s writing, and I’m very happy to say that Addicted tickled my little literary armpits in the most irresistible way. Rather than retelling the plot, here’s the blurb.
Kit Connor has always led a safe, cautious life. But when her friend points out that her erotic writing lacks something, she decides to attend a Sexual Healing group to improve her knowledge. She expects to find the gritty underbelly of sex, and instead finds louche, laidback, sex-loving Dillon Holt.
He makes a suggestion to her: that he will tell tales of his sexual excess, and help her book get the realism it needs. She agrees, but hasn't the least idea of what she's getting into. Dillon doesn't have simple advice in mind...he has lessons to teach her. Lessons on everything she's never dared to experience, from kink to real passion.
Now Kit is never sure: is Dillon the addict, or is she just addicted to him?
And here’s my ode to Addicted which also provides ten good reasons to read Stein (anything by Stein).
1. The characters may ‘bang like dunny doors’ but the acts are never mechanical or meaningless. In Addicted, as in many of Stein’s books, sex is redemptive and the characters are freed and healed by coming to terms with their sexuality and their relationship. Bonking as a blessing? Amen to that, sistahs.
2. Stein’s intimate, confessional writing style drags you deep into the psychological foibles of her protagonists, as do their wry, often self-deprecating, observations.
'Just share your inner self’ she says, as though my inner self could be so easily persuaded. I can’t even tell someone on the subway that they’re standing on my foot, let alone this.
The last guy I dated thought clitoris was an island off the coast of Greece.
3. Stein likes to have her way with the English language and sentences like this will leap out and slap you in the face (and make you like it):
The mood is so thick and intense it’s become a supernatural fog bank rolling in from a James Herbert story.
4. And then she’ll hit you with something really outrageous, like:
Vaginas just attach themselves to his face before he knows where he is.
5. Linear plots: yawn. Stein likes the ole twist and turn. Things and people are not what they seem. Deal with it.
6. Dislike the use of verbal spats and contrived plots to generate suspense? Stein is a master at creating suspense through character uncertainty and contradiction. In Addicted, characters’ actions and words contradict their thoughts, they act in ways seemingly at odds with their personality and appearance, they desire things that frighten them. The shy librarian fakes sex addiction, the sex addict avoids intercourse. As in real life, nobody’s really sure what the other person thinks, feels or wants and it all adds up to create a delicious tension on every page. You’ll have to read into the wee hours, forced to turn page after page as you seek the psychological truth…
7. The urge to truffle in someone’s private parts is not incompatible with respect: the hero and heroine actually like each other before they reach the soft, gooey, lovey-dovey stage. You won’t find any improbable “I hate you, I want to kick you in the nuts, now let’s fuck” in Addiction.
8. Kit and Dillon are so funny, messed up and yummy you’ll weep tears of rage because they’re not real which means a) you can’t become friends and hang out with them or b) bonk them. They get hung up on what’s ‘normal’ the way we all do.
9. Stein embraces anatomical reality: the clitoris, g-spot and prostate all get due mention. None of her heroines orgasm from a magic slap of their lady parts or a penis used Mix-master style. Everyone earns their orgasms through good, hard, dirty, filthy effort.
10. Stein is just plain funny. Example: “I feel as though I should hire Indiana Jones to drop down into the snake pit in your pants to get it back out again.”
So, what are you waiting for? Dive into the snake pit of Charlotte Stein’s authorial pants by checking out Addicted.
Five throwing stars