- Xcite Books
- Release Date
- May 2011
BDSM, Erotic Romance, Ménage or more
An erotic novel by best-selling author K D Grace.
In appreciation for a job well done, STELLA JAMES 's boss sends her a pet – a human pet. The mischievous TINO comes straight from THE PET SHOP complete with a collar, a leash, and an erection. Stella soon discovers the pleasure of keeping Pets, especially this one, is extremely addicting.
Obsessed with Tino and with the reclusive philanthropist, VINCENT EVANSTON, who looks like Tino, but couldn't be more different, Stella is drawn into the secret world of The Pet Shop. As her animal lust awakens, Stella must walk the thin line that separates the business of pleasure from the more dangerous business of the heart or suffer the consequences.
Book Review by Rho (reviewer)
Sep 23, 2011 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
355 people found the following review helpful
THE PET SHOP is lust-filled decadence at its best.
When Stella found out she was going to be rewarded for the great job she was doing with her new company, she expected a gift card or a bottle of wine. What she got was a "pet" to take care of for the weekend. When I say pet, I mean to say a human one, naked, horny, and delicious, who goes by the name of Tino--decked out in a leash and collar and ready to please. Stella didn't think that she was going to be able to handle the responsibility of having a human pet, but she finds that she's quite good at it and actually enjoys it too much.
Her enjoyment soon turns to an addiction, and Stella will stop at nothing to keep Tino in her life, including becoming a pet herself. And as she gets deeper into the world simply known as "The Pet Shop", she finds that she likes discovering her own animal nature. However, not all is what it seems, and untruths are revealed, leaving hearts broken in their wake.
My, oh my! I don't know exactly where to begin. THE PET SHOP was like all the seven deadly sins wrapped up into one big sexfest. Lust, gluttony, envy, wrath, pride, and greed all showed their faces at some point in this book and I loved every bit of it! LOL I even felt a little debauched after reading it, and trust me, that's not easy to do.
From the beginning, we are put into the world of animal play. It was interesting seeing it from the perspective of Stella who had never participated in something like this. She and Tino get along wonderfully, and he never even said one word to her, but their bodies seemed to know each other right from the start. From there, it is almost constant sex. Whether it was thinking about, self-pleasure, or actual intercourse, there was basically something to do with sex on just about every page of this story. There was M/F, M/M, and F/F interaction and just about every combination in between.
There also was some actual plot there. Really, there was! Fraught with conflict, longing, secrets, betrayal and redemption, it certainly added to this unusual world that is THE PET SHOP. The premise was great, as it is something that I've never seen before. The characters were interesting and flawed in a way that helped me like them more. There was no one who's perfect in this story, and isn't that how it really is?
Overall, I thought THE PET SHOP was one unusual and erotic read that was highly addictive. It was hard to put down because I just really couldn't figure out what was going to happen next. This is my first K.D. Grace full-length read, and I have to say, I'm intrigued, so I'll have to check out more of her work!
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BOOK INTERVIEW on November 2011
Interview by Rho
Ms. Grace, thanks for doing this interview for us. I just finished reading THE PET SHOP, and I have TONS of questions for you!
Q: First of all, I have to say that the premise for THE PET SHOP is wonderfully unique. Where did you come up with such an original idea?
I love to play around with fairy tales and myths. THE PET SHOP is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Instead of the beast being openly wild and dangerous our beast, Tino, is a human Pet. But he's a Pet who's anything but tame. What actually gave me the original idea was watching the way people treat their pets. There's an intimacy about how people interact with their animals, some of which comes from the fact that a pet is not trying to impress anyone, so if a pet likes you, that liking is genuine. Some of that intimacy, that dependency and trust is forced upon pets because they can't care for themselves, and they can't speak for themselves. Their wild nature has been almost, but not quite bred out of them so that humans can feel safe with them and yet also feel as though they are interacting with something wild.
Partly the story came from realizing that people often treat their pets better than they treat the humans in their lives. Some of that, no doubt, is because we know pets can't tell our secrets, pets can't betray our flaws and weaknesses, and pets will love us anyway, even when we're not very loveable. I also think that interacting with pets is a safe way for us to get in touch with our own animal nature, which western society and religion has done its best to socialize out of us. With that in mind, I decided to create a place where human Pets could be rented out for a night or a weekend to offer people the intimacy they lack in their lives and to give them a safe place to be themselves. Then I wanted to take that premise a step further and see what happens when, inevitably, someone falls in love with the Pet.
Q: I really felt like I was sucked into a different world when I was introduced to Tino and the Pet Shop. The pets really immersed themselves in animal behavior. What kind of research went into making the pets so real? Was any scene or aspect of the story based on a real-life story or fact?
Some of the scenes in Vincent's Oregon are based on some of my own interactions with nature and with the wild countryside, the scene with the dippers by the waterfall, in particular. And Vincent's love of nature is very much my own. As for the Pets, well who hasn't, as a child, pretended to be a wolf or a lion or some other wild animal? All that animal-ness is still all there in our biology, and instinctively we want to connect to that part of ourselves. THE PET SHOP simply takes that animal nature and plays make-believe, only all grown up.
As I mentioned, most of my research involved watching people interact with their pets and watching animals interact with each other. I've read a little on pony play and human hound fetish sort of stuff, but that really wasn't what I was trying to get across. I wanted to get across how much more easily people interact with animals, and how much more naturally, than they do with each other. I wanted to convey the woundedness that's a part of our human condition that keeps us from interacting naturally and honestly with our own kind and yet draws us to do so with our animal cousins. I think, to some degree, we envy the fact that they can be just who they are while we find it more and more difficult to be ourselves as we become farther and farther removed from our own animal nature.
Q: Which role in THE PET SHOP did you think it was easier to write: the pet or the keeper of the pet? Why is that?
I think the Pet role was easier to write, because when I wrote the Pets, I was never inside their head. The exception is Stella's experience as a Pet. But in that case Stella has ulterior motives for becoming a Pet in the first place. Vincent and Stella were more difficult to write than Tino because when they were keepers, or when Stella and Vincent simply approached each other as lovers, they brought all their baggage along with them, and neither of them was very good at dealing with baggage. However, the Pet persona doesn't deal with baggage. The Pet persona simply lives in the moment and allows him or herself to be cared for and adored. I think Stella's first interaction with Tino is a good example of this. Tino is who he is, comfortable in his own skin. He does what any Pet would do, eats, sleep, has sex, craves the attention of his keeper. As long as his simple needs are met, he's happy. And let's be honest, what person doesn't crave that simplicity from time to time?
Stella, on the other hand, has to deal with her guilt at the fact that she wants Tino, but doesn't think she should. She has to deal with her anger that her company thinks she's the kind of woman who would even consider such a gift. She has to deal with her guilt at neglecting Tino because she doesn't quite know how to interact with him. She has to deal with the fear that if she does interact with him, he might not like her or he might not obey her, or both. And she has to deal with her fascination with this human who is somehow less than human and at the same time so much more. For the Pet keeper, the manual is absolutely essential. It gives a person permission to interact with a human Pet and tells them how to go about it. That's something very necessary in order to break through all of the nasty human neuroses that would prevent a good Pet/keeper relationship.
Q: Stella and Tino have quite a connection right from the beginning and their chemistry nearly leapt off the page. What makes them such a perfect match?
I think the chemistry between the two is so powerful because they mirror the other's alter-ego. A loner, who's all work and no play, Stella needs the misbehaving horny, very affectionate Tino to help her find the animal in herself, and to help her connect to another human being in a meaningful, safe way. Tino, on the other hand, can't help but see Vincent in Stella and long to heal his own wounds vicariously. Neither is whole without the other – Tino without Vincent, nor Stella until she can embrace her own need to be alive on a level beyond her work and the safety of her solitude. And both must trust the other enough to believe that there's room in the relationship for acceptance of the whole.
Q: Tino is the alter ego of a rich recluse, Vincent. He was also a very well sought after pet. Why was it important for Tino to be a separate entity from Vincent?
We all have parts of ourselves we fantasize about indulging, but we would never actually act on those fantasies. Vincent's got the money to indulge those secret desires and let his inner animal have free rein. What he doesn't have is the courage to embrace Tino, and the desires he lives through Tino, as a part of himself. In lots of ways Tino is the invisible friend, the one we blamed for everything when we were children. But he's all grown up with a serious streak of irresistible mischief. Vincent can let himself go as Tino in ways he never could as Vincent. And he hates that not only does he give in to his fantasies of Tino, but that it's only through Tino he feels he can get the love he needs. Strangely, it's only through Tino he feels worthy of such love.
When I was in university, I once convinced a guy that I was twins. We didn't know each other very well or see each other often. Consequently every time he saw me, he'd ask which one of us I was. That went on for a whole semester. You can't imagine the fantasies I had concerning that situation nor the power I felt in knowing I could convince someone I was two people. It was creepy and cool and freeing all at the same time. I wasn't brave enough to carry it anywhere nearly as far as Vincent does, but maybe that's part of the reason why I created the duality.
Q: Which character in the book did you feel like you most identify with? Why is that?
Stella, of course. I'm always the well-behaved one who goes the extra mile to make sure things are done right. Other than my lapse of pretending that I was twins I identify with being the rule keeper. And of course, I fantasize about being given the absolutely perfect opportunity to break the rules and not get caught. That's exactly what happens when Stella's boss sends her Tino for the weekend as a gift for a job well-done. How can she possibly refuse? Oh, she certainly tries, but in the end, Tino is just too irresistible.
Q: What is your favorite scene? Why?
There are two, actually, and both are my favourites because they show insights into the inner workings of Tino/Vincent, and what we see is disturbingly tender and wounded and way more human than Vincent alone would ever be capable of revealing. In this scene Tino is with Stella as her Pet for the second time. They have been to see a film. Turns out Pets like to go to films. On the way home, Stella is nearly mugged, but for Tino's fast actions. I'll pick up the scene as they return home, still shaken, to Stella's flat.
Enjoy the excerpt:
He had her safely settled into a cab headed back to her flat before it hit her that in the midst of all the chaos Tino hadn't uttered a single word.
Then the shakes took over. She tightened her grip around him and buried her face against his chest relishing the strong steady beat of his heart next to her cheek. He dropped a warm kiss on the top of her head and pulled her closer.
The ride home didn't take long. There wasn't much traffic. Tino held her possessively as they climbed the stairs. Not entirely sure her shaky legs would hold her upright, she was thankful for his support. Inside the flat, she made straight for the kitchen and a gin and tonic, then decided to skip the tonic. She filled Tino's bowl with fresh water, but he only sat listlessly on the floor staring into it.
‘Darling, you should drink something. You'll get dehydrated, and I can't have that.' She plopped down on the floor next to him slopping her gin. He licked the droplets from her fingers, and his eyes locked on hers. ‘You need something stronger than water too, after tonight, don't you, sweetheart?' He continued to lick her fingers, then flicked his tongue up the edge of the glass still holding her gaze. She pressed it to his lips, tipped, and he drank. He drank until it was gone.
She stood long enough to grab the bottle off the counter and refill the glass, then dropped down next to him, sipping, and alternately holding the drink for him. ‘I know it's against the rules. But I think our little outing calls for an exception to those rules. Just this once, don't you? She sat the glass down and pulled him close until his large body curled around her. ‘I'm so sorry for what happened, Tino. But I'm so thankful you were there for me. I can't even think of what might have happened if you hadn't been.' He took one last sip from the glass, then helped her to her feet and led her into the bathroom, where he planted himself in front of the shower.
Q: I loved the "Pet minder's manual", a book that introduced the rules for pet ownership. It really gave the readers additional insight into the intricate world that THE PET SHOP was based in. How did you come up with the idea to incorporate parts of the manual into the book?
The "Pet Minder's Manual" was the easiest way to convey a lot of information quickly about what the relationship between Pets and their keepers is like. I wanted it to read a bit like an old fashion sex manual for newly married couples, strangely sexy in its terse matter-of-factness. But I also wanted it to convey a lot of information about how Pets and keepers are to interact, what's acceptable, how to punish a naughty Pet, rules about Pet clothing and Pet feeding and bathing, what keepers can expect from their Pets, that sort of thing.
Ultimately I wanted it to be a way for the reader to learn about Pets at the same time Stella's learning, to make it feel almost like Tino is the reader's Pet.
Q: Something very interesting to me was the connection between The Pet Shop and the other company, Strigida, which funded a lot of environmental and animal projects. What led you to make that connection?
Learning to embrace our animal nature is one of the main themes of THE PET SHOP. How much can we tame the animal within before we lose the wild part of it that we loved in the first place? The contrast between Strigida working to protect wilderness and habitat and the Pet Shop offering people tame human animals for Pets seems a perfect way to explore this theme.
Q: For those who may be not as familiar with your work, how would you describe your style of writing?
As I mentioned earlier, I love to revisit myths and fairy tales and twist them into modern stories. I often take a cliché and twist it until it's new, and explore that twist that makes it different and relevant. Clichés are often clichés BECAUSE they're true, and that makes them fun to explore in new and different ways. I'm also a huge lover of the great outdoors and the natural world. That's much more evident in THE PET SHOP than it is in my first novel, THE INITIATION OF MS HOLLY, and it's obvious in a lot of my short stories. I'm as likely to write sex in the barnyard or on the woods as I am sex in the city because I think the natural world offers a whole wealth of ways to explore love and sex and romance, and I go there whenever possible.
Q: What's next for you? Please share with us any upcoming projects you'd like to tell us about.
I've just finished the first book in a paranormal erotic romance trilogy for Xcite Books. It's called Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising, and it'll be out in February 2012. It's set in the gorgeous English Lake District, and it's populated with ghosts and witches and demons. I've never written paranormal romance before and I had no idea I'd have so much fun with it. The fact that I'm totally in love with the English Lakes and go there every chance I get made it a real joy to write, and even more fun to research. Before I start book two, I have a couple of novellas to write. That will keep me busy till the end of the year.
Thank you so much for answering these questions. THE PET SHOP was certainly an interesting and intriguing read, and I loved learning more about it and your work in general.
Thank you for having me on The Romance Reviews. I'm always happy for the chance to talk about my Pets.
K D Grace was born with a writing obsession. It got worse once she actually learned HOW to write. There's no treatment for it. It's progressive and chronic and quite often interferes with normal, everyday functioning. She might actually be concerned if it wasn't so damned much fun most of the time.
K D's erotic romance novels, The Initiation of Ms Holly and The Pet Shop, both published by Xcite Books, are available from all good paperback and eBook retailers.
Her erotica has been published with Xcite Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Erotic Review, Ravenous Romance, Sweetmeats Press and Scarlet Magazine.
Website and Blog: http://kdgrace.co.uk
The Initiation of Ms Holly
Seducing the Myth anthology with my story Stones
Healthy Addictions with my story, Excavations
Cocktales: Between the Sheets anthology with my story, Accidental Hitchhiker
KD Grace is giving away 2 ebook copies of THE PET SHOP!
Simply write a comment or ask a question in the comment box below to be entered into the giveaway!
Contest ends November 30.
Winners will be announced in December.
OTHER BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR