When reading erotic novels, I tend to simply skip ahead to the "good parts" because the author usually fails to set up a world where I could care about the characters. The author's energies seem to go into writing sex scenes rather than a fully engrossing story.
Carol Queen, whose short story submissions to "Herotica" and "The Best American Erotica" have been many of my favorite erotica stories ever, proves that she can work her same magic in novel (or novella) form.
I think that her sucess with this book is based in that the protangist (Miranda / Randy) and her fellow adventurers stay pretty much to the point of the book: sex. When they're not having it, they're talking about their sexual histories or waxing philisophical on their favorite intimate activities. But here's the fun part: they're not shallow. These characters care about each other and build fascinatingly sturdy, loyal relationships. We're not specifically told the passage of time between some chapters, but as the characters get more familar with each other, it's fairly obvious that chosen families are being built.
I don't recall any wasted words, or anything jarring in this book. The sex is often rough, but there's nothing unconsensual going on. It is the stuff of fantasy, but as such Queen has managed to make each fantasy important and relevant to the overall tale of gender-play, love, sex, rites of passage and the realm of the forbidden.
I am sorry to see that, as of this writing, this book is so hard to find. Queen is a wonderful writer, and "The Leather Daddy and the Femme" beats the heck out of most of what I've seen out there.