Like It or Not by Angelia Sparrow, Naomi Brooks, Sean Michael, Gryvon, Stella Harris, TC Mill, Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane


Title: Like It Or Not
Author: Multi-Authored Anthology
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Pages: 161
Characters: Multi-Characters
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy, BDSM, Erotic Romance
Kisses: 4.5


Blurb: Be it forced seduction/dubious consent, non-violent intimidation, or pre-negotiated fantasy, there is something wickedly taboo about non-consensual sex, where consent is muddled. While rape is a crime of power, focusing on exerting physical control over another person, non-con is all about the gray area where verbal consent is either never given (not a ‘yes’, but not a ‘no’ either) or doesn’t match the arousal and passion both parties share during the act. In Like It or Not, we push the boundaries of consent without fully breaking them.

When Connor’s rent money is due and not even hooking can make up the shortfall, he really is Out of Options. So when playboy Jarrett makes him a very generous offer, he doesn’t look too closely at the terms—and lives to regret it. Then, werewolf Trevor is subjected to Obedience Classes when his pack alpha becomes fed up with his rebellion. Dirk, the wolf charged with this task, though, seems more interested in claiming Trevor for himself, by any means necessary. Writer Ian Richards has to decide What It’s Worth to get his story when his contact meets him in a private club. In fact, Vincenzo has no intention of letting his information go easily, if at all.

In Blindside, freshman Matt is tired of enduring the hazing by (admittedly gorgeous) upperclassman Dylan, when Dylan ups the ante significantly. And as much as Matt wants Dylan, he can’t be sure the whole thing isn’t one more bizarre prank. Confessor Isak must resort to Unnatural Means when he is charged with the task of forcing Sain to confess his sins of murder and witchcraft before inevitable execution. Torturing in the name of the Divine is difficult enough, but when Sain’s seductive magic takes hold of him, he isn’t sure it will be Sain who breaks under pressure to find release. Finally, Salting the Earth becomes Ronan’s only choice when he suspects his sister has been taken by the fairies. However, this only draws the interest of ruthless King Finnbheara, who extracts a price for his cooperation that may be too high for Ronan to pay.

Review:

Out of Options by Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks

Connor has no rent money, no real job, no family or friends to turn to. His only option is hitting the streets. His hook-up, Jarrett, seems like a nice guy, a great kisser and gentle to boot. Connor is left feeling good. When he’s low on money once more, he hooks up with Jarrett again, signing a contract for sex in return for money. When he wakes up the next morning, he’s trussed up good, with Jarrett going all out kinky.

From the get-go, this anthology is about forced seduction and non-consensual sex. This first story has that in spades. Tied up, ball-gagged, flogged. All well and good. Morning and evening beatings for no reason at all and not allowed any kind of safe words? Yeah, that threw me. This one leans heavily into sadism of the BDSM mix, so be forewarned. Worst of all, Jarrett gave the wrong impression of himself, seemingly on purpose, to Connor, luring him in and then holding him prisoner. Connor does have an answering quirk, so I suppose that makes up for violence present here. Personally, I wasn’t all that taken with this story.

Obedience Classes by Sean Michael

Trevor is a young werewolf pup who is now in college and is rebelling against the established, time-honored hierarchy of the pack. The alpha sends Dirk, a powerful werewolf, to teach the wayward puppy how to behave. From a little stalking to outright rattling of Trevor’s chain, Dirk knows all the ways to make the young man submit.

I adored this story. Trevor and Dirk are well suited to each other. Where Trevor has a sharp tongue and a razor wit, Dirk has physical strength and seductive prowess to match that. Their arguments and fights, the whole chase, is hotter than hot. A great story that makes forced seduction seem this sexy is easy to recommend.

What It’s Worth by Gryvon

Ian is a writer who is trying to get a story from a mafia family about immigration. When an old don sends him to his nephew, Vincenzo, the information gathering takes place at a dark club where Ian is forced to decide just how badly he wants the story.

In the beginning, this short story is bogged down by useless rhetoric about how much Ian hates everything. In his words, how everything sucks. That was boring. Once he gets to the club, however, he is literally brought down to his knees and then on his back to experience the humiliation of strangers watching him be hurt and pleasured. Being a virgin, Ian experiences things for the first time. Vincenzo seems to have a handle on him, and what could have been a horrible experience, transcends into a new beginning. The life-affirming attitude of Vincenzo is well balanced with Ian’s more cantankerous nature. Not a bad story in the end.

Blindside by Stella Harris

Matt attends college for his first year, and he’s hazed constantly by a fellow rugby player, Dylan. Matt doesn’t know how to make it stop without incurring the wrath of everyone else, but he’s also afraid of being discovered as gay. Then an unexpected visit to a health center brings Matt and Dylan suddenly into a new kind of game field, and we get to enjoy them playing doctor.

This was my favorite story of the bunch, realistic and heartwarming. What we see, isn’t always what we get. Dylan knows what he wants, and he goes after it. Matt, however, thinks Dylan wants something else entirely, humiliation and power play, and this creates delicious tension. Both so young, at the start of their lives, there’s much pleasure, sex, and love to be had here—if they only dare to step out of their predetermined roles. Great short story, and I would have loved to see more of Matt and Dylan.

Unnatural Means by T.C. Mill

Witch-Confessor Isak is facing his biggest challenge yet, a beautiful witch named Sain who is accused of murder by sorcery and unnatural congress. Isak is a devout priest who wishes for these performers of the dark arts to confess their sins of sorcery and avoid the fires of Hell. But Sain is a gay witch. It’s who he is, and saying it to be wrong would betray himself more. Neither can yield, so the torturer’s rack and hangman’s noose are ahead for Sain—unless Isak can find a way to help him, even though Isak is certain the lovely young witch has put an enchantment over him.

For such a short story, this has surprising amount of depth. It’s not just the characters who are three-dimensional and relatable, but the world around them is vivid and realistic, and the philosophical talks the two men have about being true to one’s self and the nature of faith and desire feel like skimming the surface of much larger oceans of knowledge. At first Sain may appear unlikeable, but it’s Isak’s own preconceptions that color the impression. In essence, Sain is true to himself throughout the story while Isak is the one still trying to find his path. Torturing witches is clearly not it. I liked this story a lot. Recommended.

Salting the Earth by Heidi Belleau & Violetta Vane

Ronan’s sister, Rose, is a wild child who keeps disappearing at night. Living in a small town in Ireland, there aren’t that many happening places, so when a man at a bar tells Ronan that Rose has been taken by the fairy folk, it seems plausible to Ronan who has always believed in these things. So, armed with salt and liquid courage, Ronan digs a path into the fairy realm. But getting Rose back isn’t going to be easy, and Ronan has to acquiesce to the cruel pleasures of the sidhe court and King Finnbheara. But perhaps there’s more to the fairy folk, to the king, and even to Rose than Ronan was prepared for. And Ronan has his own shameful secrets to face.

This story has mixed writing, in the sense that thoughts and actions get a little jumbled at time. And the story takes a bit too long before getting into the fairy realm. There, however, these fairies who can change sexes at will are sadistic and cruel if not treated with the proper respect. The king is an enigmatic man who’s perhaps more multifaceted than the legends tell. There’s definitely forced seduction here and a few magical toys to boot, and the ability of the fairies to read minds adds a new twisted dimension to the whole thing. An intriguing fantastical conclusion to a good anthology.

Reviewed By: Susan

BUY LINK

Legal Briefs by Cari Z., Kelly Rand, Stella Harris, Blaine D. Arden, Salome Wilde and Gryvon


Title: Legal Briefs Anthology
Author: Multi-Authored Anthology
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Pages: 100
Characters: Multi-Characters
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Kisses: 4.5


Blurb:

All net proceeds from the sale of this anthology will be donated directly to Lambda Legal!

We at Storm Moon Press are aware of the legal struggles many within the QUILTBAG face, and we know the valuable service Lambda Legal provides. With that in mind, we collaborated with six of our favorite authors (actually, all of our authors are our favorite!) who graciously agreed to donate their time and creative ability to help us create this anthology of legal-themed short stories specifically to help benefit such an excellent organization.

In Honest Lawyers, court reporter Luna is flattered by law student Craig’s attentions, but the fear of rejection makes her nervous about opening up to him about her status as a trans woman. Evan defends himself in a barroom brawl and 24 Hours later has to defend himself again, this time to his drunken attacker’s lawyer, who fortunately has as little patience for his client as Evan did. Lawyer Melanie is starting to come to terms with her attraction to women, something her new Study Buddy April is happy to help with.

Master Illan is a powerhouse in the Surim court, but it’s newcomer Daru who proves to be His Best Defense against threats both without and within. The moment Candy LeBon walks into Detective Calvin Guy’s life, he suspects a Double-Cross, but even he’s unprepared for the extent of twisted path she’ll lead him down. In Henry’s country, his attraction to Abel is Against the Law, but his secret is kept safe by another who harbors same-sex attractions—Henry’s wife.

Review:

Honest Lawyers by Kelly Rand

Luna is a trans woman with boobs and a penis. She’s a diligent court reporter who notices a court clerk Craig looking at him. A talk in an elevator leads to an impromptu date night. It seems Craig is not fazed by Luna’s secret.

This is a wonderful beginning to this anthology. Legal matters are only skimmed, though. But it’s all right when you have such great warm characters to cuddle up with. This is a short tale about two people getting acquainted and perhaps finding something lasting.

24 Hours by Cari Z

Evan McKay saw a gay bashing outside a club and jumped into the fray to help. In the process he got injured. Unfortunately, the dick is rich and powerful, and he’s sicked his lawyer, Don Delour, on Evan. Surprises are in store when it seems Don is on Evan’s side. When Evan gets a chance to thank Don properly, something good seems to be in the making.

Life can change so quickly. When you do the right thing, sometimes the chips fall where they may, seemingly making matters worse. But Evan does the right thing anyway. That catches Don’s attention. The legal settlement isn’t long but enough to show what both men are made of. These two are good together. Evan is sweet and Don courageous. They make a nice pair, and this is a good story.

Study Buddy by Stella Harris

Melanie is a paralegal who has recently figured out she’s a lesbian. Being a virgin, she has devised a plan to learn more about girls. Phase one, strip joint. Phase two, a gay bar. Phase three… in the works. But in between best laid plans comes surprises.

This short story has zero law in it. This is Melanie’s sexual awakening. She’s an adult and as such thinks about her sexual journey a bit too much, getting rattled by lap dances and sitting alone in a gay bar. But a girlfriend can be found if she only opened her eyes. Thankfully she does. This is an okay story, a hot little number. Not much law in this, however, apart from the job which is only referred to.

His Best Defense by Blaine D. Arden

Daru is new to Surim Court, but he’s idolized the famous Defender Illan for years. Now he’s finally on his team. On his first day on the job, Daru thwarts an attempted assassination against Illan, and this bonds the two men together, even though Illan fights his growing feelings. There are actually a few law cases here, in this fantasy world of crystal technologies, and one of them is the attack on Illan that caused Daru his injury.

This is my absolutely favorite story of this bunch. Wonderfully detailed world and two hot guys who desire to be together despite their working relationship. This reads like a courtroom drama, a suspense thriller, and an erotic romance. For such a short tale, this manages to grab you from head to toes right from the beginning. Highly recommended!

Double-Cross by Salome Wilde

Cal is a detective who sets out to investigate the theft of some money from an Irish crime boss, Callaghan. The lead suspect is Candy LeBon (awesome name) who has a few surprises underneath her pretty dress. But there are other suspects too, and when one of them ends up dead, Cal has to suspect everyone.

I wouldn’t call this a legal story. More like a cop drama. This has the cheesiest lines I’ve read lately, and it’s oh so much fun. The old-fashioned detective stories’ lingo is definitely handled well here. The mystery’s entertaining, with a femme fatale who isn’t a femme at all. The clichés of the genre are used to their advantage here, to amuse, and the author does it well. Recommended.

Against the Law by Gryvon

This last story depicts a world where religious law is paramount: The Holy Roman Empire. Henry is part of the elite, but he’s gay, an offense punishable by hanging. One night at a party he meets Abel, a young man with similar inclinations. They begin an illicit torrent affair—until they’re caught in flagrante by Henry’s father. Abel manages to escape but Henry is destined for the jail cells and the hangman’s noose.

As a conclusion to this anthology, this story was intriguing. It shows a world where religious law means there’s no freedom and certainly no justice. When it’s punishable to love and to be who you are, that’s when society has taken the wrong turn. Abel is full of passion, and Henry can’t resist. The question is can Abel save Henry from the final judgment? This was a hot little story in a fascinating setting.

Reviewed By: Susan

BUY LINK