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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Contract by Zena Wynn

The Contract by Zena Wynn
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Sci-Fi
Length: Short (58 pages)
Other: M/F, Multiple Partner, Ménage
Rating: 3 Cherries
Review by Eglantine

When Renardo loses his wife Andrica in a mining accident, to remain on the asteroid he takes advantage of the clause in The Company's Employment Contract that allows him to claim Cecily as his wife. The problem: Cecily is already married to his brother Billy, and Billy doesn't want to share
Menage a Trois. The term, the thought, can be a real turn-on. I'm willing to bet, especially when looking at the popularity of this form of erotica, that many a woman has fantasised about having two men in her bed, both bent on giving her as much pleasure as they can. Or perhaps, if you're a little more adventurous, you've pictured another woman sharing and increasing your and your partner's pleasure. I've read only a few menage romances so far, and invariably all three parties were willing participants. What if circumstances dictate a threesome, and two of the three aren't happy with the arrangement?

In The Contract, Ms Wynn explores this scenario in an admirable manner. When Billy marries Cecily, he is her first lover. They move together to a mining operation on an asteroid, where Billy can join his brother Nardo to work long, hard shifts, and earn good money. There's one small clause in their contract that Billy dismisses as unimportant: if Nardo's wife dies, Cecily has to accept him as husband, too.

His wife won't die, right?

Well, of course she does. In fiction, if something can go wrong that will place the characters in a difficult and interesting situation, it will.

I quite enjoyed reading The Contract. The editing is reasonably clean, and the characters are well written. I did find it hard to understand the Company's policies. Though neccessary for setting up the unique situation Ms Wynn explores, I know from experience that the kind of isolation Cecily lives with is very unhealthy for the human spirit. I found it difficult to imagine a company which wants to encourage its workers to succeed on the asteroid, which wants happy workers, would engineer such circumstances. Surely at such an advanced stage of civilisation they should have access to psychological studies which would write in big, red letters that most humans need social contact to remain healthy. This bothered me throughout, but perhaps someone who has not experienced the deblilitating effects extreme isolation can have on a person, would not have as much difficulty suspending disbelief to enjoy this tale.

The sex scenes were enjoyable and well written, and I thought the interaction between the main characters was believable. The denouement sat slightly uneasily with me. It just seemed to be raced through somewhat, but it's believable.

All in all an enjoyable read, one of the better offerings among ebooks I've read recently.

One note, I hesitated before labelling this a menage, as I think to a degree the term has come to raise expectations of a threesome setup. Though technically the situation in The Contract is a menage, it's a menage in its truest defenition: three people living together in a domestic arrangement, where one of them has sexual relations with the other two. All sex scenes in this story are M/F only.

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