Cover of Anjanette by Candace Smith
Candace Smith's "Anjanette" has one of the more riveting opening sequences in erotic fiction. In the near future, various young women are selected by the government to participate in a mysterious project on graduating from high school. The girls are never seen again after reporting for duty at the project. So there has arisen a tradition in which, after graduating, the girls go to a club and have a good time drinking and eating, before opening the envelopes which tell them their fate.
Anjanette is one of the unlucky girls who is selected for the project. She reports to the government building and is never seen from again.
It turns out that the project is a dirty deal between the government and aliens. The aliens give the government enormous diamond-like objects called “nelam” which are used to power their spaceships (and which are not all that rare or uncommon to the aliens) and in return they get the Earth girls, which they then sell on various other planets, somehow making a hefty profit in this trade.
Anjanette's fate is to be sold to the ruler of a planet where she is to be part of the prize in a brutal lottery in which the strongest men on the planet compete to see who will be the "lucky' one chosen to work in the government nelam mines for a number of (years? months? -- hard to say, time is very slippery in this story, along with much else). After serving their time in the mines, which reduces them to little more than beasts, the miners compete in one on one death matches in the arena, with the sole survivor getting a prize, a hut, a plot of land to grow things on, and a woman. And Anjanette is the woman in this instance.
(Why not just use a native woman instead of buying an expensive Earth girl? There's an explanation given, but it doesn't make much sense.)
Anjanette turns out to be a feisty and smart woman who is able to gentle down Raiz, the beast man she is given to, and they wind up having a happy and loving relationship, although Anjanette is often tied to the bed when they make love, though the bondage is only explicitly dealt with in one scene. (Why? I'm not sure. The dynamic of the story is definitely femdom/malesub, though Anjanette and Raiz's relationship feels very vanilla, despite the tying up.) I had hoped for more bondage, and since the aliens were larger than earth size (Raiz, for example, is a male of average height there, standing 6'7") and Anjanette was just 5'2" a little sexual dimorphism too, and that was dealt with in one scene where Anjanette had to REALLY work to fit Raiz's giant cock inside her, but that was about it except for Anjanette occasionally getting all warm in the genitals over how large and hunky Raiz was.
Meanwhile, back in interstellar space, the authorities who are (alien angels, kinda?) are sniffing out the rogue slave trading operation with the help of some (alien demons, kinda?) The story is further complicated by the fact that the planets are in different Realms (which are kinda dimensions?). I won't give away an plot spoilers, even though the plot is so badly constructed that it would be silly to read the book because of it.
My main complaint with the book is that the author seemingly threw plot elements in at random, like the angels/demons and the Realms/planets and the time distortion without really explaining how they work. In science fiction and to a much lesser extent, fantasy, it's important to let the reader know the rules that govern how the futuristic/supernatural elements work, and Smith does none of that. So you get the feeling that the plot was worked out during a drunken spitballing session, scrawled on the back of a few cocktail napkins with felt-tip pens, then dutifully written up by someone sober who didn't care if it made sense or not. Sort of like the plot of the movie Prometheus.
And frankly, mixing science fiction and religious elements together almost never works. Science fiction is by its very nature concerned with sticking to the real world, and the supernatural just doesn't work with it unless things are VERY carefully worked out, and that definitely didn't happen in "Anjanette."
That said, the story comes alive when Raiz and Anjanette gets together, mainly because Anjanette is so well characterized – she's a feisty, determined woman who stands up for herself (and Raiz, who is not the sharpest tool in the shed). The conflict between Anjanette and the native woman who wishes to claim Raiz is deftly handled, as is the relationship between Anjanette and her high school friends in the opening scenes set on Earth. Smith can definitely write good characters, despite her weaknesses with the plot.
If Smith has written any stories based on present day Earth, I would definitely check them out, IF there had been a lot of sexy dominance and bondage in "Anjanette." As I said, there is one bondage scene, others implied, but the sexual relationship felt very vanilla in tone. It felt like someone writing about bondage who didn't have any taste for it and very little feel for how it worked. That combined with the plot, not my cuppa.
Now HERE'S some dominance and submission and dimorphism. Nice! Image source: Sex and Submission.com.