There’s a new kind of contemporary erotic romance in town, and it’s breaking all the rules. The heroes aren’t billionaires, the heroines aren’t virgins, there’s no specialized equipment cluttering up the love scenes, and the only thing complicating the plot is the essential, authentic quirkiness of human psychology. It’s the grunge music of erotic romance—earthy, experimental, choosing flannel shirts over leather pants and broken down VW Beetles over red Audis. If Fifty Shades of Grey brought kinky fuckery into the mainstream, then the new contemporary erotic romances are bringing it to the next level.
Charlotte Stein and Cara McKenna are two of the rising stars of this subgenre. In Stein’s latest release, Beyond Repair, the heroine is an emotionally and physically scarred recluse who spends her days in her home watching movies until the day she discovers an unconscious man in her house and realizes that he is a movie star. In her blog, Stein mentions that she’s been working on the book for about two years, and it shows—this is no throwaway bonkfest. Instead, it’s a book that includes a funny, shockingly hot scene that features…oh, man, how do I say this…a formerly taboo act, now trending enough to warrant an, er, in-depth article in the April 7 issue of New York magazine. You may be thinking, ew, that’s not my cup of tea, but Stein may have done for that particular act what the California roll did for sushi – made it palatable to the uninitiated.