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.