The first thing that struck me in The Wild Life, by Persephone Jones, was the sense of natural and dynamic emotion. The story begins with a young woman answering a call for a crisis helpline. It immediately sets this story apart.
Frances, our lovely main, is not a typical erotica model. She is overweight, and struggling to lose the extra pounds, and when she doubts her worth and beauty, it makes sense. There's no false modesty here: she has very real reasons to wonder if she'll ever find a man who really desires her. It's a little heartbreaking, but I think its very real. It doesn't overpower her character, though, as it can in some stories where the author really wants to make a point of how miserable their character is with her appearance. Frances' self-confidence struggles are realistic and recognizable; at the same time, when she stumbles on someone who really makes her feel good about herself, she doesn't shy away or question every kind word. Above all, it makes her a touching, lovable character.
The story features an erotic act that, in my opinion, really ought to get more screen time: phone sex. It sets up a great lead-in to the forming relationship in the story's progression. It's also very well laid out, and carries a good, deep-down sultry tone. Bravo to Ms. Jones, on the phone sex alone!
But the story doesn't end there. Frances realizes one of the most common human fantasies -- finding that Special Someone -- in her very own special way. I should note also the shifter is one that I don't see often, but I don't think I'll give it away here... let's just say it was an interesting creature to see in our male lead and I applaud Persephone's originality in that avenue as well!
I think The Wild Life may be the most heartwarming of the Ravaged stories: one that not only satisfied my erotica craving, but left me genuinely happy in the end, and smiling for all sorts of reasons.