Red Velvet and Absinthe is a well chosen collection of modern paranormal erotic short stories. Although not my typical choice in short story collections, I was curious to see how well the Gothic themes mixed with the erotic and paranormal. I wanted to know if the stories were subtle or overt. Editor and writer Mitzi Szereto chose the stories, skillfully pulling together a whole collection yet allowing each story to maintain a unique voice.
I was not disappointed in the mix of paranormal creatures that blended well within the context of the Gothic atmosphere. There is the taming of a newly turned beast in “Snowlight, Moonlight” by Rose de Fer. “A Rose In the Willow Garden” by Elizabeth Daniels is both disturbing and engaging as the predator easily becomes the prey. One of my favorite stories in this collection, “Cover Him With Darkness” by Janine Ashbless, investigates the common world myth of god/titan/angel chained for all eternity. The collection holds a seductress in a painting, a vampire who stars in a hit television series, a doll made from scraps and wax, and the list of oddities continues. Some of the stories become more bizarre and others just hint at the paranormal.
The stories within Red Velvet and Absinthe are all alike in that the protagonist or antagonist is something otherworldly. And the females in these stories all seem to have strong willful characters. Yet each story is different and unique in the characters, the settings, and the written styles.
Red Velvet and Absinthe is a rather overtly erotic collection of stories, some more so than others. However, all are well written and engaging. Despite being a quick read, many of the stories have lingered long after the page has turned.
Nina Longfield is a writer living in Oregon’s fertile wine country. When she is not reading or writing in her spare time, Nina enjoys hiking in the hills surrounding her cabin.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Mitzi Szereto. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.