Overall anthology rating = 4.5 stars
This is certainly one of the most provocative slash anthologies I’ve read. Each story is unique in its own special horror and all are well crafted. Warning: this is more horror
than erotica. And while there’s little to no romance, there is plenty of sexual intoxication. There are a lot of disturbing elements. If rape or dubious consent is a trigger, proceed with caution.
The endings are more ‘happy-for-now’ or even ‘this is as good as it’s gonna get’. But isn’t that what life in the ‘Twilight Zone’ is all about? I have to admit that I gobbled these up, thrilled by the story-telling.
There is a common thread through the stories summed up by a line lifted from one of them, “I hadn’t stopped to consider the cost.”
All of the characters pay a price for their actions.
Highly recommended for those who want a darker, no-holds-barred read. But please heed the tags.
This is a freakishly long review, so the spoiler tags are to save space more than anything else. Resurrection Man
by Laylah Hunter (historical, paranormal, gore) 4.0 stars
An interesting turn on the Frankenstein story, this is a perfect example of the adage, “be careful what you wish for”… A young man desperately in love, practices the dark art of necromancy and sells his soul to bring a beloved lover back from the dead. “The flesh is scarcely the trouble… the installation of a soul in flesh is the domain of God.”
This feels like a chapter out of a larger piece (which means I want more) but works fine as is. Chillingly horrific and melancholy. Mating Season
by Kari Gregg (paranormal, monsters, tentacle-sex, slave/captive, non/dubious-consensual/rape, cock/ball torture, gore, bondage, medical kink) 4.5 stars Oh*my*freaking*lord
This is over-the-top wickedness with a cherry on the top, and the bit of devious plotting keeps it from being purely torture porn. The author throws everything
but the kitchen sink into this feast of tentacle sex depravity…
A lusty monster with very active suction-cupped appendages… “… the suckers on the underside of the tentacles nuzzled and guzzled down my cock like dozens of tiny mouths slurping… siphoning… tenderly squeezing…”
Deception, bondage, non-con/dub-con/rape, mpreg, stuffing, fisting… torture…you name it.
Did I like it?
Yes… yes, I did.
It starts off innocently enough. Danny is on a back-to-nature camping trip in a bucolic setting… cue birds, bees, butterflies...
Then begins a descent into nightmare-hell as he is tricked and forced into an evil experiment and… let’s just say he finds a special connection with a large, slimy, tentacled lake monster. It’s not pretty. I can’t say more. Read it.
This comes so close to my (so-far) favorite tent-sex read, Charlotte Mistry’s [b:Gay Tentacles From Space!|15990987|Gay Tentacles From Space!|Charlotte Mistry|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1346851046s/15990987.jpg|21747216] (discerning tent-sex readers will already know this one). But Kari Gregg (I Omega, Spoils of War
) offers up her very own special brand of delicious torture in the tent sex genre.
It’s just all kinds of… no… and, yesssss… Read it
, but heed the tags. Flesh and Song
by Ally Blue (contemporary, paranormal, gods/demons, sailing, tropical island) 3.5 stars
Noah Rose is a restless man. He has everything he could want, a thriving surf holiday business in Costa Rica, a beautiful sailboat, and an eight month vacation cruising around the Caribbean. He’s been searching for a mythic island,
“La Terre de la Belle Mort” (Land of the Beautiful Death), but what exactly is he searching for? He has been desired by many men “who wanted to own him but couldn’t”
yet he is alone, adrift on the sea, searching, until… ”… here he was, facing the island the old men swore would give you your heart’s most secret desire. For a price.”
A naked man shows up on the island’s pristine beach and Noah is called to him. The lure of the siren song, here with a twist, changes Noah’s life as, once more, someone wants to own and bind him. Has he found his “heart’s most secret desire”?“Then the stranger spoke again, the words like bells and nightingales… making his heart race… intoxicating song words Noah didn’t understand but already needed the way he needed air and water.”
The story is well made, but in the end it felt like an interesting interlude. Noah is in a dangerous situation, we see it even when he doesn’t, but we don’t know or learn enough about him to really care. Points for the descriptive writing and Noah’s fall into a kind of madness— that was fun. Out From Under
by Brien Michaels (contemporary, paranormal, demons/monsters, slave/captive, bondage, vine sex, non/dubious-consensual/rape, three-way, stuffing & sounding, torture, gore-fest) 4.0 stars
Brant has been enslaved and imprisoned in an old, decaying mansion cellar by an evil demon that can take different physical forms. It can even manifest itself by turning the cellar into a lush, verdant forest, sprouting foliage and sex-crazed vines. And it is hungry, it needs a certain type of nourishment. One guess what that is… “… leaves sprouted beneath my feet, moist and lush… the first string of cum jettisoned from the tip of my cock, and the leaves glowed where it landed.”
The author outdoes himself, this is such a randy gore-fest of demon badness. And Brant is no innocent. He’s a pain-loving nympho, hooked on vine sex, reduced to procuring men for the monster, keeping its secrets; he’s sold himself for it and is lost to the pleasure. “… the demon’s curse amplified every feeling, made me need that caress so badly I ached.”
And yet, there are lines like... “This nymphomania was really a burden sometimes. It made life so much harder…”
and… “(the demon’s) head walked toward me (saying): “Things may not have worked out quite the way I’d planned.”
The cheeky humor is welcome and balances the nightmare nicely.
The author switches back and forth in describing the demon’s sexual appendages… are they vines or tentacles? Confusing and irritating. Discriminating tent sex readers will want an important detail like this kept clear and consistent!! *nods* For this reader ‘vine’
works just as well as ‘tentacle’
. I have to add that the demon’s ghastly, human form with its tattoos that could ‘peel away on command’ into 3-D vines— so cool
. I also liked the ending, how things resolved for Brant, though there is a lot of gore to wade through to get there. Be warned! Sleeping With Ghosts
by Peter Hansen (paranormal, alternate universe, ghosts, violence) 3.5 stars
An odd, grim alternative universe, this, and slow-going at first as the reader is dropped coldly into it with little preparation. Brother Yordan Korvechi is a Bookman, he works for the Church of She Who Turns the Page and their job is to protect against the soulless who roam this world (it seems there are a limited number of souls to go around). “Turning the page” being a euphemism for death, and Yordan wielding the power of the Grim Reaper.
What happens when an aged person needs a little nudge, a little help with separation from life and soul? Who you gonna call?
Yordan is dispatched to such a task, equipped for action… “He had a knife up each sleeve and a slim pistol in his coat lining, a garrote in his breast pocket just aching to be unwound.”
His task is critical, as somewhere, an unborn baby is waiting for the recycled soul, must have it.
But when Yordan discovers that he has been used in a political rivalry, he begins to have second thoughts about his work. Things have become more complicated when he is touched by the soul of the not-so-aged man he has just dispatched, and he is forever changed.
This was well written and atmospheric with a brooding sense of tension, dis-ease and suspicion, but it didn’t feel especially horrific or erotic. It left me almost as cold as poor Yordan’s interaction with the soulless ghost… I couldn’t help but feel that a little more info and character development would have greatly helped. (I recall that I’ve read another short by this author ([b:Changing the Guard|15717860|Changing the Guard|Peter Hansen|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1340415634s/15717860.jpg|21388929]) which left me feeling much the same.) Blasphemer, Sinner, Saint
by Heidi Belleau and Sam Schooler (paranormal, demons, rape, ‘shock-value’) 4.0 stars Holy Cannoli, Batman
, this is all kinds of messed up. Disturbing and mesmerizing.
Things start off relatively quietly. There’s David who has to sell himself on the streets to get by, and is dying from syphilis, and Tobias, his self-righteous, sanctimonious ex-lover who runs a boy’s orphanage, steeping himself in ‘good works’.
Told from Tobias’ POV, we see that they were childhood lovers, but Tobias was unable to accept his ‘unnatural’ feelings for David. So he abandons him, and buries himself in religious conviction that it’s for the best. David, meanwhile still loves Tobias, and comes asking him for help.
Part-way in I felt that this was looking to be the most romantic of all the offerings in this antho. Yeah, Tobias is a prick, but he eventually enters into a deal with a strange man he meets in a church, whereby he can give David his life back, give him a chance at redemption. It seems that Tobias still cares for his old lover and does want to help him. But are his intentions completely unselfish and in good faith?
This also has an underlying message of the need for compassion— that sometimes there is no choice— that we must accept who we are, and that love is love. Too bad Tobias learns this too late because the bargain he makes for David’s soul turns out to have a horrific and shocking payment. He has literally sold his own soul to the devil for it.
Most of the important action happens in a church and there is an act that is so shocking that it stopped me cold… it will offend some, I suspect. But this is some special mindfuckery— that the horror here, lies in messing with our perceptions and boundaries
. There is a twist in the act that makes it work in the end, though. In the end, everyone gets what they deserve. But at what cost?
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