“The Quickening” by Siobhan Colman from Best Lesbian Romance 2012 (Cleis Press). Edited by Radclyffe.

Here we have historical erotica. It’s another first for the collection, and a refreshing change. It’s pure fantasy, of course. Eighteen year old Mary endeavors to assist her mistress in getting ready for bed, as she has done for various employers every night for the past three years. This mistress is different. She reads aloud while Mary brushes her hair. She helps her learn her letters, and just generally treats her like a human being, not property. Much to her surprise, Mary’s mistress next invites her to bed. Or not invites, so much as insists they switch places. She says she will be the servant, and Mary will be the mistress, not just for one night, but for always. See? Fantasy. But fun nonetheless.