The Panther’s Prisoner | Matt’s Smut Vault

Dear Smut Vault dwellers, there’s no better folk than you. This week, I want to take a dive into some paranormal erotica, and see how the time constraints of a short story work with the ability to explain all the crazy shit that might be going on. Can a short story give us time to settle those supernatural elements in which we may not understand? Or does that even matter? How do we even know a story is truly paranormal when it could just be the character’s own fucked up imagination? Anyway, I may be getting ahead of myself. Let’s try to answer all of these thematic questions and maybe have a few lines left over for the sex as well. Grab your hiking boots, we’re scaling the highest peaks on planet earth in search of the freshest erotica. It’s Smut Vault time y’all!

The Panther’s Prisoner by Jane Caleb-Wood with Catherine Rahab is curiously set against the beautiful backdrop of a mountain trail somewhere in China. Diane, an American teacher who came to China to teach English, is taking a leisurely hike on a rare off day to enjoy the breathtaking beauty that this part of the world has to offer. Just as it’s looking like she might be able to enjoy this day, a sudden rainstorm sends her scampering. As she does so, we flip perspectives to a male character more…accustomed to the mountain side of life. We’re not quite sure what this guy is, but he’s clearly some sort of hunter. The only question: just what might be his prey?

For 95% of the story, the reader can’t be sure whether they’re reading a paranormal work or just a bit of a trippy haze. Dianne has a bit of a spill on that mountain and does herself an injury, waking up inside the primitive cabin of the male survivalist. One look at the cover and we can tell this guy’s got the animal energy, but how much of that might be just for show? Dianne might want to skip town and head back to civilization, but something’s drawing her to stay. Is it the supposed “mark” of the hunter keeping her around? And what of this handcrafted leather collar that just fastened around her neck?

Hoo-boy.

The primary focus of the sexual content is what we call “pet play.” A brief overview: pet play involves the submissive partner acting with the general properties of a domesticated pet, such as a dog or a cat. Sometimes it’s sexual, other times it’s a power or submission exchange with a funky twist. Just like with any facet of BDSM, there’s a million perfectly valid ways to explore it and expand your horizons etc etc. Generally speaking though, the variables come down to how close to “animal” the sub partner is asked to act. For the titular Panther’s Prisoner, Dianne is walking the streets of the highly devoted participant. Well, not so much walking, more like a submissive crawl. The dom, who we eventually come to learn is named Noah, has a desire to have his sub act as cat-like as possible. We’re talking collar and leash, ears, plug-tail…the works. Even the way Dianne addresses the cabin furniture needs to change to meet his desires. This certainly is not a kink for everyone, but what’s here is fairly interesting, compounded by the dom’s otherwise isolated nature. I guess when you have nothing but free time on your hands, those leather working tools need to be put to good use. The only problem here is that the pet play arrives and departs the story abruptly on both ends and the reader is kinda left holding the bag as the story needs to focus back towards its conclusion. Stem to stern, the story is engaging. However, it just makes me wonder if this is a byproduct of having multiple authors at the helm of such a exploratory vision.

Verdict: The Panther’s Prisoner by Jane Caleb-Wood is equal parts paranormal romance and kinky BDSM first-timer erotica, cutting a wide swath against multiple genres for a wild experience. The base story is that of the more risqué accidental romances, but the sexual kinks are the stuff of pure unadulterated desire. Through the lens of BDSM pet play the reader, along with the submissive, is given a crash course of the subject of sexual domestication to please their brand new unexpected dominant partner. Not all of the sexual moments are based on this kink, but the time that’s shared in this way feels like an opportunity that didn’t have enough time to get fully off the ground. I’d like to check back in with Dianne and Noah sometime soon however, as there’s more story that needs to be told. And if I’m ever on that infamous mountain on the Chinese landscape, I’ll be sure to pack my finest leathercrafting tools, I’m looking to make your collar a perfect fit.

Special thanks to Jane Caleb-Wood for providing an advance review copy of The Panther’s Prisoner to TehBen.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Author’s Instagram: @janecalebwood
Purchase Link:
Amazon

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