Tag Archives: collection

Roadhouse Blues Cover Reveal (!!!)

Retro couple kissing in a diner. Cover for Roadhouse Blues.

Last month, Jacob Louder and Lana Fox gave me one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received – the cover for Roadhouse Blues. It’s retro and stylie and sleek and adorable, and I’m so goddamn in love with it that 3 weeks later, I still can’t quite express it.

Covers are tricky. It’s easy to end up with mixed feelings about the face your book gets, but the fact that Go Deeper Press is my dream publisher made the prospect far more exciting than it was nerve-wracking. I knew that whatever Jake came up with, it was going to be perfect. The only surprise was that “perfect” ended up being even more perfect than I thought it would be.

So, here it is – the cover reveal for Roadhouse Blues. There’ll be more news coming as the summer release gets closer, but if you’re interested in a sneak peek, “Skins”, one the the stories from Roadhouse Blues is currently in Alternative Fucksa separate collection Go Deeper put together to raise funds for the ACLU. It’s a fierce, brilliant bunch of stories from a fierce, brilliant bunch of writers, so please check it out.

In the meantime, I’m getting back editing Roadhouse. My baby has a beautiful face. The stories have to match.

Review: Cautionary Tales

Cautionary Tales: Voices from the EdgesCautionary Tales: Voices from the Edges by Emmanuelle de Maupassant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a massive fan of fairy tales and folklore, I knew I was going to enjoy Cautionary Tales. Emmanuelle de Maupassant has a talent for replicating the style and voice of traditional fables while applying them to stories that are entirely new. The thing that I loved most about this collection was that, while all of the stories are original to the author, they carried the familiar weight of existing traditions. These are not the Disney-fied narratives of the early 20th century. de Maupassant’s tales draw from Eastern European legends while her voice and narrative style evoke everything that is dark and wonderful about the original Grimms’. As a result, I kept getting the uncanny feeling that I should know the stories in the collection, even though they twisted and bit and surprised me again and again.

All of the stories are excellent, but one stood out among all the rest for me – Against Faithlessness. de Maupassant strikes the pitch perfect balance between rapacious sexuality and moral justice by using one to feed the other. It’s a fantastically imagined story, one that draws from the dark, nasty traditions of justice, edification, and simmering sexuality common to folkloric traditions. I also appreciated that, in addition to the tales themselves, de Maupassant provides additional materials such as a glossary and a beautifully informative introduction. While the collection can certainly be enjoyed without delving into them, these extras provide a wonderful context for the curious reader.

As with her novella, The Gentleman’s Club, Emmanuelle de Maupassant has done something unique with Cautionary Tales. She’s taken a literary tradition and transcribed it for the sexual landscape of the present day. No one does this as well as she does, and I look forward to reading much more of her work.

Buy Cautionary Tales

Review: Show Yourself To Me by Xan West

Cover for Show Yourself to MeThere are authors I read because I want to escape, and there are those I read because I want to do the opposite. Xan West is one of the latter. I’ve admired West’s work since I read their story in one of the first erotic anthologies I was ever published in. When I had the good fortune to meet West at a reading for that book’s release, I was not only charmed, but deeply impressed. Xan West is one of the most aware human beings I’ve ever met, and that awareness runs through every line they write.

Reading Show Yourself to Me, Xan West’s new collection for Go Deeper Press, was the sort of experience I’ve come to expect from reading their work – deeply affecting and, in many ways, transcendent. The characters that populate these stories are so unflinchingly realized that they are, at times, painful in their humanity. And therein lies the beauty of this collection – it is a raw, glorious slice of what it is to be human. You don’t have to be kinky, queer, trans, dominant, submissive or sexually fluid in any way to relate to these characters or the situations they navigate. You simply have to be a person open to feeling.

There are a lot of ways one could read this collection. It covers multiple issues with a political awareness, hierarchical sensitivity and sexual fluidity that is, quite frankly, stunning. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I could write essays on these stories, but, for the purposes of this review, I’m going to narrow my focus and talk about one of the things I loved best about this collection – West’s portrayal of D/s dynamics. In fact, I’ve never seen such a beautiful array of strong bottoms and vulnerable tops in one book before.

Whether it’s the dominant narrator reminiscing about his first experiences as a bottom in “Missing Daddy”, the top switching for a special and very trusted dom in “My Will”, a top recovering from a terrible break-up in “First Time Since” or the dominant narrator’s complicated relationship with his own nature in “My Precious Whore”, West gives us people, not labels. As a dominant woman attracted to strength in submissives, I saw myself in more than a few of these stories, and was relieved to read the longing, vulnerability and ethical struggle that often goes unacknowledged in popular portrayals of tops. But then, I would be an idiot to expect anything less from Xan West.

I’m the first to admit that I’m attracted to emotional catharsis and difficult works, and I would be lying if I said that this is the sort of collection you fly through and put down unchanged. For all the intense vulnerability and humanity in these pages, these stories  are raw, filthy, violent and fucking sexy. It is, quite literally, the whole package as far as the human experience goes.

If you are interested in deeply considered, politically aware erotica that is as edgy as it gets, I can’t recommend Show Yourself to Me enough. And I would likewise recommend looking Xan West up at their site, Kink Praxis, especially if this collection leaves you hungry for more information. There are few kink practicers as ethically committed as West. Combine that with their ability to write surgically perfect prose while slicing into the emotional guts of a piece and you couldn’t ask for someone more qualified to write sex, power and the human experience.

Book Description:

In Show Yourself to Me: Queer Kink Erotica, Xan West introduces us to pretty boys and nervous boys, vulnerable tops and dominant sadists, good girls and fierce girls and scared little girls, mean Daddies and loving Daddies and Daddies that are terrifying in delicious ways.

Submissive queers go to alleys to suck cock, get bent over the bathroom sink by a handsome stranger, choose to face their fears, have their Daddy orchestrate a gang bang in the park, and get their dream gender-play scene—tied to a sling in an accessible dungeon.

Dominants find hope and take risks, fall hard and push edges, get fucked and devour the fear and tears that their sadist hearts desire.

Within these 24 stories, you will meet queers who build community together, who are careful about how they play with power, who care deeply about consent. You will meet trans and genderqueer folks who are hot for each other, who mentor each other, who do the kind of gender play that is only possible with other trans and genderqueer folks.

This is Show Yourself to Me. Get ready for a very wild ride.

Xan West’s Official Site

Stops on the Tour:
October 1: Xan West https://xanwest.wordpress.com/
October 2: Book Birthday! Go Deeper Press http://godeeperpress.com/
October 3: Heather Elizabeth https://kinkopedia.wordpress.com/
October 4: Sinclair Sexsmith http://www.sugarbutch.net/
October 5: Hermia Swann http://www.cuntext.com/
October 6: Dilo Keith https://dilokeith.wordpress.com/ and Cecilia Tan http://blog.ceciliatan.com/
October 7: Kinky Brits http://thekinkybrits.com/
October 8: Stella Harris http://stellaharris.net/
October 9: F. Leonora Solomon https://fdotleonora.wordpress.com/
October 10: Tasha Harrison http://tashalharrison.com/
October 11: Benji Bright http://www.theeroticledger.com/
October 12: Tamsin Flowers http://tamsinflowers.com/ and Karida http://submissionandthecity.com/
October 13: Cassandra Perry http://cassandrajperry.com/
October 14: Peep Scoop http://www.peepscoop.com/ and Radical Access Mapping Project https://radicalaccessiblecommunities.wordpress.com/
October 15: Sugar Cunt http://www.sugarcuntwrites.com/
October 16: Emily Byrne http://writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com/
October 17: Oleander Plume http://poisonpendirtymind.com/
October 18: K. A. Smith https://authorka.wordpress.com/
October 19: Giselle Renarde http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com/
October 20: Butchtastic Kyle http://www.butchtastic.net/
October 21: Lisabet Sarai http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/
October 22: Syrens https://syrens.wordpress.com/
October 23: Anna Sky http://www.iamannasky.com/
October 24: Jade A. Waters http://jadeawaters.com/
October 25: Kal Cobalt http://kal-cobalt.squarespace.com/
October 26: Rebekah Weatherspoon http://www.rebekahweatherspoon.com/
October 27: Malin James http://malinjames.com/
October 28: BD Swain http://www.bdswain.com/ and Jillian Boyd http://jillianboydauthor.wordpress.com/
October 29: Kaleigh Trace http://thefuckingfacts.com/
October 30: Kiki DeLovely https://kikidelovely.wordpress.com/
October 31: Xan West https://xanwest.wordpress.com/ and Annabeth Leong http://annabetherotica.com/

Buy the Book:

For ebook or print copies at Go Deeper Press:

For ebook on Amazon

You can also find Show Yourself to Me at Barnes & Noble

Best Erotic Romance of the Year, vol. 1

BER 2015You know what’s romantic? Erotic romance. Know where to find the most romantic erotic romance of the year? Best Erotic Romance of the Year, (vol. 1). Know what’s really cool? It’s available today.

Kristina Wright, writer, editor and mistress of Cleis Press’s Best Erotic Romance series, is back with another round-up of the best erotic romance the year has to offer, and I’m proud that one of my stories found a place in it. Ms. Wright pulled together some really beautiful work from established favorites like Emerald and Kiki DeLovely, as well as from newer voices like Renee Luke and Crystal Jordan. You’ll also find gorgeous, sexy pieces from my lovely and talented Pillow Talk colleagues, Tamsin Flowers and Jade A. Waters.

My contribution to Best Erotic Romance of the Year is a story called “The Couch”. It involves a cocktail party, a slightly open door, and yes, a massive leather couch. I’ve included an excerpt below. I hope you enjoy. xx.M

Excerpt:

The couch, when they reached it, was even bigger than it looked. She sank into the buttery leather and crossed her legs, feeling like Goldilocks in Papa Bear’s chair. In fact, if she were prone to giggling she would have. Instead, she watched Tom sit down beside her—just close enough to catch a hint of his aftershave. The scent went straight to her head. She felt light-headed, and drunk, though she’d barely touched either the martini or her champagne.

His eyes met hers, and she smiled, allowing the edge of a promise to curve her lips, as she leaned in. God, he smelled good.

“Are you as hard, as I am wet?”

Tom narrowed his eyes. She wasn’t usually so blunt, but they only had one night. She wanted Tom, and she wanted him now.

“Say again?”

Daphne shifted, settling her long legs several inches from his. His eyes flickered down over the bare length, and, for the first time that evening, she saw naked heat flare in the genial warmth of his eyes. Civilized Tom. Nothing civilized there. Pushing her advantage, she leaned in bit further and purred right against his ear.

“Are you as hard as I am wet?”

“I thought that’s what you’d said….”

Daphne held her breath as Tom kissed her neck, sparking pleasure through her skin and right into her bones. Her spine flexed, drawing her close.

“I’ve wanted to fuck you since I left Singapore.”

Daphne’s breath caught. Tom had never said he wanted to fuck her before—make love, of course, but never fuck. Daphne turned her face, and nuzzled his lips.

“Kiss me, then.”

The kiss was like him—warm and lovely—with a solid edge beneath. He was holding himself back. Normally, she loved that, loved that he had so much to offer that he could hold some in reserve, but right then, she wanted what was simmering beneath. She wanted more of that edge.

“Do you want to leave,” he murmured against her mouth. He tasted of gin and her perfume.

“No, I don’t,” she said. She had come to the party alone. Thanks to this development, she saw no reason to leave. Not yet.

“I want you to make me come,” she said, “right here on this couch.”

Daphne felt his lips curve against her skin.

“Let me close the door….”

“No,” she said. “Leave it alone.”

Slowly, Tom settled back.

“Are you sure?”

Daphne nodded, loving the mixture of concern and lust in his eyes.

“I’m sure. Now, make me come.”

Tom laid her down. The couch hid them from a casual glance, but anyone could have seen them if walked into the room. A fresh gush of heat pooled between her legs as Tom shifted and kissed her again, but driven by her awareness of the open door, Daphne pushed past his sweetness and nipped his bottom lip. He stiffened, surprised. Then he smiled and nipped her back.

Daphne let her hands slip down from his waist to his hips, which were pressed lightly into hers. She could feel him through layers of silk and wool. He was hard and getting harder despite his easy, playful mouth. She arched against him. He felt so good, fit so well into the cleft between her thighs, that her body began to move, a soft undulation at first, and then a demanding grind. His breath hitched. With a grimace, he lifted his hips away.

“Careful, sweet. Or you’ll ruin the game.”

She smiled, enjoying his admission as he parted her legs and half-reclined between them. Then his hands began to move. Nerve endings fluttered between her legs as her nipples peaked, achy and hard. She tilted her head back and sighed. He touched her as if he had a map of her in his mind…he’d always known how to touch her.

Tom stroked her thigh and coaxed her legs open wider, as the silk of her dress pooled just above her waist. Instinctively, Daphne’s abdomen contracted and her hips tilted in demand. He smiled and kissed her cheek.

“Easy, love. We’ll get there.”

The words dropped into the hollow of her ear, electrifying her skin from collarbone to scalp, and sending a shot of aching heat straight through to her cunt. She bit her lip and gripped his lapel, but he’d already moved on, slipping down her straps of her dress to expose her lovely, teardrop breasts.

Daphne shifted, restless beneath his deliberate hand. She was already going mad, and he hadn’t gotten anywhere near her sex. Words formed in her mouth, but she could only gasp when he dipped his head and took her entire breast in his mouth. He suckled hard, flicked her nipple with his tongue as she, so reserved, so habitually quiet, moaned. I sound like a whore, she thought. But she couldn’t help herself.

Buy the Book:

Amazon

Amazon, UK

Go Deeper Double Review: Cream and Fast Girls

I wanted to do this post as a double review because Lana Fox‘s erotic novel, Cream, and J.T. Louder‘s new collection, Fast Girls with Short Shorts Always Score, are about as different as erotica can get, but they’re both incredibly good. I’m a comparatist, so reviewing them side by side seemed natural. Together, Cream and Fast Girls show how much room there is in the genre for high quality work. Separately, they show off the breadth of style and content coming out of Go Deeper Press, one of the most exciting publishers in the genre.

CreamLet me start with Cream since I read it first. This is a full length erotic romance by a writer who not only knows the conventions of the genre, but interprets them in a way that makes them feel fresh.

Cream is about jazz singer, Caroline Spence, who has a passion for music, submission and double cream (god, how can you not…). The book opens with an interview – her life is at a crossroads and she’s answered an ad to become a dominant’s voluntary slave. But she’s no ingenue – she knows exactly what she wants – and she gets it in Marcus, a man with control and kink to spare. But then she meets Kyle and things get complicated, but not in any way that you might predict.

What makes Cream so compulsively readable is that Caroline is such a very well-rounded, autonomous, interesting person. Her sexuality is anything but cookie-cutter and the way she expresses it is really personal and compelling. While the plot brings you along so smoothly that you stay up til midnight promising yourself “just one more page”, Caroline handles herself with full sexual ownership – even if she’s unsure of something, she seems grounded in herself. It’s wonderful, especially because so many erotic romances follow a young woman’s initiation into kink at the hands of an experienced (and often 2-dimentional) man. Throw in a love triangle and she could easily have become a dolly the two alphas fight over, but Caroline is not a dolly and she’s anything but predictable.

The nuance and care Ms. Fox took with her elevates Cream to a whole other level. What kept me engaged deep into the night (beyond the fact that it’s a really sexy read) is that I wanted to know what Caroline would do, and I finished the book about as satisfied as a reader can get.

GDP019-FastGirls300And now, for something completely different, the incomparable J.T. Louder’s new short story collection, Fast Girls in Short Shorts Always Score.

I’m going to tell you right up front that this collection is so hot and so joyfully pornographic that I couldn’t stop smiling.

Whereas Cream is all smooth subtleties and emotional heat, Fast Girls is like the best kind of 80’s porn – these stories don’t care how they get you there, but they’re gonna strip you down and make you do things like you’re a plumber on PayPerView. I can’t tell you which story is my favorite because I kind of loved them all, from “The French Pass” in which a typical sports reporter watches the Frenchest of hot French soccer players get fucked by her androgynous supermodel girlfriend (how can you not love that?) to “How Hungary Got to the World Cup”, which chronicles the methods “Coach Viv”, a Swedish porn star famous for her portrayal of a footballer, uses to get her team to kick ass with panache.

The thing that makes these stories work is that Louder gives them all a tongue-in-cheek joie-de-vivre that totally sucks you in. I don’t care why the Canadian team’s soccer shorts are five sizes too small – I care that the star player is sucking her goalie’s cock in the middle of a locker room orgy. These stories are fun and it’s the fun that turned me on – that and the fact that Louder slips trans characters and sexual fluidity in like it’s the most natural thing in the world. The stories aren’t self-conscious. Nothing is a big deal. It’s all good. Everyone‘s having fun, which means the reader does too.

Only Go Deeper would come out with two titles that are as sexually, tonally and stylistically as diverse as Cream and Fast Girls while maintaining such a high editorial standard. Lana Fox and J.T. Louder are at the top of the game for a reason, and while one of these titles might appeal to you more than the other, I can honestly and enthusiastically recommend both.

Want to buy either or both? You can find them at Amazon – just click on the covers to be taken directly to their respective pages. And if you’d like to see the rest of what Go Deeper Press has to offer, check them out here. You’ll be glad you did.

The Sexy Librarian’s Dirty 30, vol.1

Dirty 30_1

It’s ebook release day for The Sexy Librarian’s Dirty Thirty, vol. 1which is pretty damn exciting. I’ve got two stories in this anthology, which began as an audio collection narrated by the magnificent Rose Caraway of The Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast, but quickly expanded to include other formats. So, you can get this baby in ebook now, and in print and audiobook formats very soon.

In honor of the great unleashing (because this anthology is so powerfully sexy, “unleash” feels more appropriate than “release”) I have a couple of excerpts for you. The first, from “Barcelona” you can read right HERE. It was first featured in The Mammoth Book of Urban Erotic Confessions, edited by Barbara Cardy, and I’m very happy that it’s gotten fresh life in Rose Caraway’s collection.

“Barcelona” is also featured right now on the KMQ, so you can hear Rose read the whole thing by clicking HERE.

The second is from a story that’s exclusive to this anthology called “The Reader and Her Books”. I love this story, mostly because my fetishistic love of books got to come out and play when I wrote it. Here’s a little taste.

From “The Reader and Her Books”

“Hey, Alexa. What’s in the closet?”

Lexy widened her eyes in that vague, innocent way she’d learned from watching Marilyn Monroe. It was Lexy’s secret weapon—that and the fact that she looked like Marilyn Monroe.

“What closet?”

Her boyfriend, John, smiled.

“That one. You know…the only one in the room.”

Lexy blinked and angled her head.

“Oh! That one? I don’t know…stuff?”

Lexy giggled so that her breasts bounced beneath her robe. It was a calculated move. Lexy’s tits were her greatest asset. In fact, Lexy tits were glorious in ways that poets had once written epics about. John’s eyes drifted lower and she giggled again, gratified when his cock stirred beneath her pretty pink sheets. Then, with obvious effort, John looked away. Lexy sighed. He was a focused sort of person, not easily distracted by what someone had once called Lexy’s “greatest gift.”

“Seriously, Lex. We’ve been dating for five months. What’s in there? A dungeon or something? Have you got all your exes stacked up in there like a pretty, blonde Bluebeard?”

Lexy shrugged, pretending she didn’t know who Bluebeard was.

“I dunno,” she said. “Just a bunch of stuff. You can take a look if you like.”

Inwardly, Lexy flinched. That might have been a mistake…. John sat up, like a hound scenting a fox. Yeah, she thought. Mistake.

With a coy little smile, she slipped her robe off and let it drop to the floor. Lexy naked was the only thing more distracting than Lexy in a robe, and she was banking on good lust to get his mind off that door. Sadly, it didn’t work. Despite his now fully erect cock, John got out of bed on put on his rumpled slacks.

“Really? You’ll let me have a look?”

Lexy’s pulse spiked. Sometimes she was so dumb she wanted to strangle herself. Still, she somehow managed to keep her expression open and sweet.

“Um…yeah. Sure.”

Lexy tossed her curls beguilingly over one eye. Then she shimmied across the room and pressed her creamy, naked self into his suddenly wary frame.

“Of course you can take a look. But first, we could…you know….”

Lexy snuggled until she felt his cock against her hip. He was already nice and hard. Pressing her advantage, she brushed her fully pouty lips against his. John sucked in a breath and kissed her with semi-awkward passion. Then he took a firm step back.

“Wow, babe,” he said, still distracted. “You know I always want to…. You know, but….” He dragged a hand through his hair. “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I want to see what’s in there more.”

Lexy wrestled her face into a kittenish pout. Time to bring out the big guns.

“Are you sure you don’t want to fuck,” she asked biting her lip, while stroking his hard-on through his pants.

No one with a blushy, baby doll voice should know how to say fuck like that, and yet, goddamn, she did. John closed his eyes. Then, with a strength of purpose Lexy should have known to expect, he removed her hand from his crotch.

“Yeah,” he said. “I’m sure.”

Lexy’s shoulders sagged.

“Okay.”

If you’d like to download your copy of The Sexy Librarian’s Dirty Thirty, vol. 1 click the link right HERE

Review: Tie Me Up

TieMeUpCover

Tie Me Up: A Binding Collection of Erotic Tales, edited by F. Leonora Solomon. Riverdale Avenue Books. (April 2015)

I’ve been looking forward to writing this review for awhile. Tie Me Up is the sort of anthology I especially enjoy – disparate stories from all sorts of authors, both new and experienced, linked by a common theme. In this case, the theme is bondage, which on the surface might seem like fairly well traveled territory, but the sheer variety in this anthology proves that there are about a million different ways for someone to get tied up.

As with all anthologies, I loved some stories more than others, but this isn’t a reflection of quality so much as it is of personal taste. Every story in here is good and shown to its best advantage, a testament to F. Leonora Solomon’s skills as an editor. I also appreciated the variety in style and pairings from raucous m/m’s and intense f/f’s to haunting group scenarios and anything-but-traditional m/f’s. There are stories in here with a comic twist and stories that will pull you right to the edge of your seat, but regardless of style and tone, all of them are sexy as hell, so much so that I’d be willing to bet money that at least one story (and probably more than one) will punch your buttons hard.

So, which stories did I love? Like the anthology itself, it’s a pretty varied assortment. “Pierced” by Annabeth Leong was a standout both for the subtlety in the dynamic between the two female lovers, as well as for the way Leong incorporated piercings into rope play. Annabeth Leong balances kinky perfection with emotional accessibility, making you identify with her characters even if what you’re reading isn’t your kink, and that’s massively arousing in a whole different way.

“Femme Soumise” by VC surprised me in the most wonderful way. It’s all about the unfolding of a new D/s relationship between a Domme and a lovely, very long haired submissive. The lack of stereotyping with both characters kept the story fresh and sexy, while the bondage played out with a playful kind of inevitability that made me smile a wicked, wicked smile.

Which brings me to “For Her Own Good” by Salome Wilde. For the sake of full disclosure I have to say that Salome Wilde is one of those writers I automatically jump to when I find out she’s in an anthology. I love her writing for many reasons, one of the largest being that her voice is so fluid and convincing that she can write about anything and make it hot. (Seriously. She even made Godzilla hot). “For Her Own Good” is set in a harem and features the sort of group play that could have fallen flat in the hands of a less skillful writer, but under Ms. Wilde’s command, the material jumps to crazy perfect life. I loved this story so much that all I’ve got is *gush*.

On the opposite side of the spectrum from a historical harem is Cheryl Kaye’s absolutely lovely, contemporary tale, “Birthday Knots.” Ms. Kaye is newer on the erotica-writing scene, but “Birthday Knots” reads like it was written by a seasoned pro, proof that she is a writer to watch out for. I don’t want to spoil too much because a large part of what caught me up was watching this particular situation play out, but I will say this – it’s one of the sweetest, hottest, most I-wish-I-had-been-there threesomes I’ve read in a long time.

Finally, there’s “By a Thread” by the incredibly talented Jane Gilbert. Ms. Gilbert, like Salome Wilde, is a writer whose work I am almost guaranteed to love. She brings detail and tone to the next level, from her tremendously effective use of the 2nd person POV, (the “oh pet” in the opening paragraphs killed me) to the light handed way she uses small, telling details to increase the tension in a scene. And I do mean “scene”. Ms. Gilbert writes D/s with a facility few writers have, and her instinctual understanding of both halves is on full display in this story when she alternates POV between the submissive and the Dom. The effect is incredibly sexy – the reader is immersed in the experience like a very well hidden voyeur.

I could go on and on, but these are the five stories that stood out for me in a collection full of excellent work. If bondage is your thing and you’d like to discover new writers while enjoying the work of established favorites, I can’t see how you would be able to resist Tie Me Up.

Review: Darker Edge of Desire

Darker-Edge-of-Desire-final-cover

Darker Edge of Desire: Gothic Tales of Romanceedited by Mitzi Szereto. Tempted Romance. (February 2014).

There are collections that you read anytime, and those you save for when you’re in a certain mood. They aren’t for everyday, but when you’re ready for them, they’re perfect. It’s sort of like the difference between drinking a glass of wine while you cook dinner and drinking a Kir Royale while you order your steak.

Darker Edge of Desire: Gothic Tales of Romance, Mitzi Szereto’s newest anthology for Cleis Press’s Tempted Romance imprint, is one of those collections that fits into the latter category. It’s all black velvet, moonlight and Kir Royale. Now, I’m going to be honest – this collection is not going to appeal to everyone, nor, as I’ve already implied, is it going to fit every mood. That said, if you have a fondness for Poe, gothic mansions, murderous husbands and lovely women committed to insane asylums of questionable repute, this will very likely suit you.

The anthology as a whole works because Ms. Szereto knows the subgenre very well, and her familiarity with gothic literature is evident in her choices. While all of the stories are reasonably good to excellent, the ones that truly stood out for me are those that nod directly at the gothic literature of the 19th century – “The Wicked Wife” by T.C. Mill, Adrien Ludens’s “Reynold’s Tale”, “Moonfall” by Rose de Fer and “Lightening in a Bottle” by Kim Knox.

These modern decedents of Poe, Bluebeard and Walpole made me smile as much as they turned me on. Let me clarify – they made me smile the smile of a lit. geek who majored in the Victorian novel. Intellectually, I enjoyed their cleverness as much as I emotionally and sexually enjoyed the hotness of the scenarios. Other standouts where “Blood Soup” by Benji Bright and “Devoured by Envy” by Jo Wu, based purely on the strength of the writing and the way the stories pulled me in. I’d have loved there to be more of both.

On the whole, I enjoyed the collection a great deal, but with that I have to acknowledge the fact that I have the occasional taste for the baroque, dark and gothic. If what I’ve described intrigues, then I would say that Darker Edge of Desire will be your cup of tea. That said, its appeal is pretty specific, so if you’re not into sex tinged with werewolves, revenge and mystery, I might suggest trying something else. For the right reader though, this collection is a treat.

You can find The Darker Edge of Desire at the following purveyors of fine erotic literature:

Amazon

Amazon, UK

Cleis Press

Barnes & Noble

Powell’s Books