When She Says Yes is a collection of erotic stories spanning ten years. The work showcases a medley of stories, including “Tattoo,” the first story Zedde published, to several in-between stories, and the recently published tale, “Kiss of the Rain Queen,” which opens the collection. Well-selected, the stories are an offering of tantalizing tales of Black lesbians caught in the throes of passion.
Zedde does a masterful job of creating settings that bring her scenes to life. In “Kiss of the Rain Queen,” the story takes place in a magical land on the Serengeti. In this setting, Princess Hasnaa, of Izana royalty, comes to life, wearing a ciwaya, Hausa for a garment that covers a married woman’s breasts. This Hasnaa travels across the grasslands on a luxurious palanquin carried by servants. The vividness of Zedde’s settings whet my reading appetite and transport me further into the story’s heartland. In “Love, Zora,” Zora Neale Hurston is skillfully sketched, from her cocked hat and lit cigarette to her camaraderie with dapper, fey-looking men and Langston Hughes in La Maison Haitienne in Harlem, New York. Djulie, the Haitian waitress Zora woos, finds herself in A’Lelia’s Black Renaissance erotic hot rooms, falling for the charismatic author.
Fiona Zedde’s fiction hums with magic, her style vibrant with sensuality. In “Kiss of the Rain Queen,” though the sun is bright in the sky, the air smells of rain, “a seductive and wet scent” Hasnaa only experienced a few times in her father’s village. Heat caresses, never burns. And the Rain Queen actually impregnates Hasnaa, who feels life quicken inside her. In “Fast,” Bridgette “Jette” Peoples drives honeys to climax in her ‘68 Mustang until a mysterious, mocha-hued woman with a blood-red mouth strolls out of the feral darkness of a sleepless night to race Jette’s heartbeat.
Typical butch/femme unions are absent from this collection. Femmes fall for other femmes. A young androgynous lover commands her older, gorgeous mate in bound lovemaking. Separated Jamaican lovers, Alva and an unnamed narrator, find themselves in a passionate embrace after twelve years apart, finally ready to make a life elsewhere. In “On the Run,” dykes realize after eight months that they yet love morning quickies. Natalie, Maya’s former physics teacher, opens to her passion for the younger woman, until her crazy ex-wife reappears. Kai has her way with red-haired Mandla, the woman her ex left her for. And Cecily of the gorgeous legs goes butter soft for a boy, who is all-girl underneath.
When She Says Yes is a stout contender with other collections of lesbian erotica. If one has never read a Fiona Zedde story or novel, this collection will be a juicy appetizer to her other works. If one is already a fan, this work will measure up to her body of existing work. The collection is a sumptuous addition to my digital library. It is a plunge into soft arms and unquenchable lips. Undoubtedly, it sets the stage for passion.
Reviewer: Claudia Moss
Claudia Moss’s work has recently been anthologized in the following collections: First Bloom: Stories of Blossoming Black Lesbian Love and Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction. Connect with Claudia on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.