It’s Smut Vault time once again, and it’s about high time we extend another invitation to an old friend of the Vault. The beautiful thing about erotic literature is that while the basic concepts might be similar, there are more ways to enjoy sex than there are grains of sand in the desert. One such variable that today’s author likes to use is the set dressing: the moving parts behinds the scenes that make the cause for the passion that much more rewarding. How will this one stack up? Let’s dive in and remind our author: just two more stamps on the club card and her next sandwich is free! Back through the double steel doors and into the friendly confines of The Vault!
Solo Mission by Ava Sterling is described on the cover as a “spy story.” At first, I assumed we’d be talking about laser grids and weird plastic gadgets, but this story seems a little more down to earth. Pearla Bantham is attending a charity event as the chief benefactor helping the community by opening a new specialized distribution center. To the public, Pearla seems like your typical local hero philanthropist using her nondescript “business” to better the world around her. Not to mention she’s probably the sexiest community benefactor this side of Eleanor Roosevelt, so to speak. Anyway, Pearla is schmoozing her way through the crowd, taking in a little bit of eye candy when suddenly she’s stopped by a young, pretty, and determined looking reporter with a bit of fire in her eye. After doing her best to evade the troublesome reporter, Pearla briefly retires to her office to cool off and take care of a little business. However, something seems off. Clearly someone’s been rifling through her things. Soon, the troublesome “reporter” comes out of the shadows and we learn that there’s some tricky espionage at play. The young “Avery” is attempting to abscond with some very important information. Pearla’s not going to let her get away with this…and with the way that dress is hanging off her, she won’t be getting too far out of reach for quite a while.
The charm of this author’s kind of erotica is the amount of background information that’s plugged into the narrative with such little effort. While being a short story that’s left plenty of room for the sex, it only takes a few well placed words to convey an entire personality about one of the characters. Pearla, who we quickly see to be a knockout, is also a bit of dom. She seems to hunt “first time” lesbians for sport, showing a bit of color to the main character before we even meet the supposed antagonist. Pearla and Avery are a perfect match for each other, both in conflict and for their -ahem- resolution to said conflict afterwards. I don’t know about honor among thieves, but honor among sexy lesbian spies, we’ve got that sort of thing going on here.
Throughout my years as an erotica reader, I’m always yearning for the sexually dominant characters to learn a lesson about themselves. Personally, I don’t feel we as human beings should ever convince ourselves we’re TOO much of one thing or another. No disrespect to the self-proclaimed alphas (ok, maybe just a little disrespect to the cocky fucks), but there’s no person on earth that won’t crumble to their knees (in one way or another) under the right circumstances. Pearla might not be outwardly cocky, but I get the vibe that she’s typically the one in control of her situations by design. Let me be clear, this isn’t a BDSM story, but Pearla’s learning a new way to engage in the human experience through her conflict with Avery. While Avery’s most likely taking the L as a spy today, Pearla’s going to be wrapped around her finger as a lover. By having the main character learn that she can still enrich her partner (and herself) both on her knees AND on top, the author’s taken that one necessary step towards making the sexual world of erotica more balanced, and I can’t overstate this point enough.
Verdict: Solo Mission by Ava Sterling is a fun yet tingly little gem of lesbian erotic fiction that mixes thriller action elements with a satisfying sexual experience. While not a mind bending cavalcade of surprises, the sexual energy of the characters getting challenged through their passion presents an interesting opportunity. We get a chance for the protagonist to learn a little something about themselves instead of just another striking another notch on their impossibly expensive natural wood bedpost. Solo Mission might not have the cloak and dagger sophistication of The Watergate heist, but I’ll take this hot story over a boring Dustin Hoffman movie any day of the week!