“The Best Mistake” is a short erotic story that I sort of knew what I was getting into when I picked it up, but felt it didn’t deliver as well considering the genre it was written in. My primary problem with the piece was that it didn’t develop its characters or emotional connect well for such a short piece of fiction. For a story to click with me, the development of the characters and their relationship is key even for a story choosing to focus on the sensual interactions between those characters. I don’t doubt there are some people who would enjoy this for the steamy scenes more than the established relationships, but for me, it felt lacking.
The story centers on Lacey, a woman who returns home early from a business trip and decides to surprise her sleeping boyfriend Ran in a sensual encounter, only to realize it’s not Ran, but Ran’s cousin Rick. (The names are a bit odd in their similarity, but I chose to suspend disbelief on that note.) It had many possibilities in terms of how it could’ve ran in the relationship complication, but this story ended up being quicker on the resolution of that issue by creating a three-way relationship between the primary protagonists. It’s revealed that Rick had feelings for Lacey for quite some time, and apparently Ran knew about it to some extent. Lacey discusses the matter with her friends (which we only see for a brief time) and ultimately the confrontation between Lacey, Ran, and Rick happens to put the truth of the matter in context. The problem is that the explanations and connections given are told more than shown. For the context of the relationship, it’s quite rushed and not given a level of intimacy (though wise, not sensual) that I would’ve preferred to see.
There are quite a few obvious smut jokes, and the focus remains on the encounters themselves for the most part. The writing is okay – probably could’ve had further tighter edits in places, but overall, it wasn’t really a story that stayed with me. Probably worth reading once for those that are familiar with the genre, but probably not the best among those that I’ve personally read.
Overall score: 1.5/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley from the publisher Carina Press.