What do you mean
there is no actual stripping in this story?! But... but... The title! And the cover! There should
be strippers in this story. *sigh* The old bait 'n switch - I see how it is. Draw me in with your alluded to promise of strippers and then give me computer geeks. Buff computer geeks, but geeks nonetheless. Couldn't they at least be geeks who STRIPPED?!
All kidding aside, I thought that Stripping the Pain
was a totally serviceable friends-to-lovers short story. It followed a predictable arc and the characters were both ones that I have seen done before (both better and worse), but it got the job done. I did
end up feeling sympathy pangs for both main characters and their circumstances by the end of the story, so I give the author kudos for being able to illicit an emotional response from me. However, I couldn't help but feel as though this story tried to deal with too many big-ticket issues (e.g. sexual abuse, BDSM) in too short a time-frame, ultimately making those aspects feel a little exploitative.
Also, the misuse of the word "precede" (when she clearly meant to use its antonym) killed a little piece of my soul.