Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Ainsley’s first gallery showing is way out of her comfort zone. After teaching high school art for over a decade, she can’t think of anywhere else she’d rather be than the classroom, and especially not in front of a crowd of strangers ogling her paintings.
Salvation comes in the form of an insightful young woman who coaxes Ainsley to open up about her inspiration, her drive, and her sexuality. Sparks fly before Ainsley realizes that the young woman is her former student, Noma, freshly graduated from college. As Ainsley fights to reconcile her memories of Noma with the woman she’s become, they fall into a playful game of dominance and submission that will change their relationship forever.
Painting Class by Suzanne Clay is the first, short introduction to former teacher/student-couple Ainsley and Noma and (possibly) the start of their future relationship. It almost reads itself like the first couple of chapters of a novel. And I am intrigued to read more.
Ainsley is an art teacher as well as an artist who amongst other styles focuses on bodypainting. It was good to read about a character who has so clearly found her passion in life despite still being nervous about presenting her art pieces to the public. Noma on the other hand appears at first glance to be very sure of herself and her ambitions (especially those concerning her former teacher). I liked how the two of them started getting to know each other again, after Noma had been Ainsley’s favourite student a few years back.
Despite their roles as former teacher and student, it seems very much like Noma is the one who is much less nervous and totally in control – at first, that is. I really enjoyed the dynamic between those two and how they both seem to engage in a bit of a power struggle with Ainsley clearly gaining the upper hand later on (and not at all to Noma’s displeasure). The author did a lovely job at highlighting how the tables can turn once the setting is moved from a public to a private one and Ainsley finds herself more confident and at ease when practicing her art.
The body-painting-turned-sexual scene between those two is rather explicit and involves light elements of d/s. It is quite endearing (and hot) how these two discover each other’s experiences and preferences in that regard. And the painting aspect adds an additional layer of sensuality to it.
I quite enjoyed reading Painting Class though I was surprised by its length. Since the author intends to continue the story of Ainsley and Noma, it’s not really a self-contained short story. And it is also too short for a novella or novel. But then again, the quality and potential are definitely there and I am looking forward to learning where Ainsley and Noma will go from here.
The cover art by Natasha Snow is very beautiful and a great combination of colours and tones. I like how the glitter mixes well with the darker, more ominous body paint.
ebook, 34 pages
Published June 5, 2017
by NineStar Press
Edition Language: English