Overall rating: 4.5 stars. Each of these dark stories showcases some sort of obsession with guns. Some stories connected with me more than others but the writing is generally very strong. The actual depiction of the gun kink is pretty similar in most of these works but a couple of the writers are especially inventive.
Bounty Hunter by Cornelia Grey (the western) 4.5 stars
Passion and guns in the wild west. This is sort of a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid tale - enter our two dashing, easy going drifters - but the best bud/lovers in this story split up over moral differences. One becomes the bounty hunter, the other the prey. The gun kink is not novel nor the predominant twist here -- it's the resulting game of cat and mouse that adds to the edginess. A minor peeve: I felt like I was dropped into the middle of the story so there are flashbacks used as updates. Also, the ending really begs for 'more to come.'
Changing the Guard by Peter Hansen (the sci-fi) 3.5 stars
I'm not sure I fully understood or got the world here - more info needed. I did like the main MC, Tomi, a bit of a brat - a brash and horny guy on a lonely outpost. The twist at the end with Andile, the focus of his lust, is fun though I was left wanting more follow up about these two guys.
Machinist by Gryvon (the fantasy) 4.5 stars
This one has a higher heat factor given the deep kink between our two lead guys, Harrow and Avery. Yes, again I feel as I'm inserted into the middle of the story but it seems to work better here -- it's in keeping with the slightly off-kilter feel to the action. And there's lots of action and dangerous gun-play. Avery is the machinist -- he has been kidnapped for his skills which are apparently in great demand but he doesn't want to work for just anyone. Harrow is the big, silent, alpha leader who frees Avery, literally sweeps him off his feet, and enforces his dominance over him. This is a fantasy and has a steam punk feel to me. Would love to read a more developed work and especially to see where these two guys end up. Not really even a HFN for me.
My Rifle is Human by Sumi (sci-fi) 5 stars
A unique and creative take on sex and guns. The gun kink in some of the other stories in this anthology is pretty similar -- that is, the way guns have a play in the sex but this author finds a very different way of exploring this kink. Here, select humans are able to morph artillery at their various appendages and the development of this capability is dependent on frequent sex with a selected partner. This story of Fil and Morris, a soldier and his 'sexual consort' is nicely developed and with an ending that works well. Short story writing is difficult and by its nature, often unsatisfactory for me, but the author really pulls this one off.
In the Pines by Lydia Nyx (contemp/para) 3.5 stars
A psychological drama about a very special gun with a very special power. Tyler is a dried up husk of a man, a cop forced to desk work because of an on the job injury. He purchases a Browning revolver that catches his eye and eventually develops a connection with the gun that renews his passion for life and fulfills his deepest sexual fantasies. Imagine the gun as the other MC here and see how Tyler takes this obsession to a new level. I didn't really connect with the paranormal aspect of this story and the inevitable ending left me a bit cold. Still, this is another really innovative telling of gun kink.
Compromised Judgement by Penny K. Moss (historical fantasy??) 3 stars
A bit of espionage and gun running. This one starts kind of slowly which is killer for a short story. The romance aspect is interesting but I don't feel particularly invested in or connected to the MCs. This does have the most definite HEA however.