Out of a possible 45 stars for each of the nine stories, these books accumulated 24 (53%). Therefore, I feel forced to give this anthology a three star rating, but some of these stories are freaking amazing! I would totally recommend this to all of my friends, I just might tell them to skip a couple.
It has also been brought to my attention that this compilation was banned from Amazon and B&N. I’m guessing from a few of the “non consensual” undertones, but I still absolutely hate book bannings. I did individual reviews for how I felt about each story, hopefully it helps if you’re buying them signally.
1.)UnRaveled – One Star
I understand that this is a “fantasy” story that is supposed to be erotic, but it just DID NOT do it for me. This short story is about a woman who is questioning her marriage and sex life, after her husband cancels on their tenth wedding anniversary celebration for work. After she accepts a drink from a stranger, she get abducted. My very first thought was “This dude is totally her husband, trying to give her what she wants” Which is totally what it ended up being. Then, during the
rape sexual abduction, I became increasingly irritated that she trusted/believed her abductor. I understand Stockholm syndrome, but after ten minuets you believe he wont kill you because he says so? No. Then after everything, she wakes up in her hotel, takes a shower, and DOESN’T REPORT ANYTHING. At that point I completely stopped caring about this woman and her well being. Following up on that, she get’s home and decides to not even tell her husband! That’s when she gets the call from the hotel that it was her husband because she left her bracelet in his room. Thanks for the ten year wedding anniversary present. Abduction, rape, and double penetration from you and a stranger was JUST what I needed.
2.)Come – Three Stars
I feel like this short story did as it was intended to do; make me want more. J.A. Huss did a wonderful job feeding me enough bread crumbs to not give away too much, yet still got me hooked. This book is about a young woman on the run from some “secret society” that her brother helped her hide from. But a man, from the higher ups of the “secret society”, has taken a notice and a liking to the main character.
It was a little on the “too aggressive” side for my personal liking The texting, the breaking and entering, the underwear, the attempted door breaking down!, but it made since since our main character is young and lonely. She desperately wants a connection, and James is for sure there to fill that (and many other) voids. I understand that he is an assassin/spy, but he was way too stalker-y for my liking. But once they got passed that initial meeting, I thought it was a pretty hot short story.
I also am probably giving this a little higher rating that I should, because 1.) It’s set in Huntington Beach — which is a place I visit a few times a year Even though I’m pretty positive people would notice if you JUMPED OFF THE PIER! and 2.) The main character’s name is Harper which also pulls at my heartstrings a little. Overall, a great fast read, and I plan to give the first real novel in this series a try!
3.)Red & Wolfe – One Star
No, just no. This story is a Little Red Riding-Hood parody with an erotic twist. It did not work for me, at all. The only redeeming part of the story was when she sent a picture and coordinates to her friend, before she went on the boat with this blackmailing stranger. Sadly, that was the only decent and believable part for me. I hated how she refused to tell her obviously wanting to help friend about her money problems. Instead she sold everything and contemplated escort serveries. Then reached out to her grandmother, that is a rich writer that she has never met before. Her grandma’s assistant transferred money to her bank account so she should travel out so they could finally meet, without telling her that her grandma passed away already. Then took the money out and told her if she wants it back, and more, she has to sign off on the island for him. THEN offers her 10k to spend the night on the island with him. What could possible go wrong? And that cliffhanger/sex scene was mediocre at best. I, for sure, will not be reading the rest of this series. Oh, one last thing, when I read “You’re like…the big bad wolf” I fucking died a little inside.
4.)The Devil in Me – Five Stars
This short was absolutely amazing! Close to perfection, in my opinion. I loved that the point of view was told from a man perspective. And the sex, oh the sex was on a tier by itself. I loved the taboo-ness of a church, and the carnal cravings both of them experienced, without it ever feeling rape-ish. Perfect example of a good alpha male.
The back story was also fantastic. It’s about a thirty year old man who owns a gym with his bitchy ex girlfriend (the hate I feel is real). He moves in with his mother who is battling cancer, and doesn’t want her to be alone because his father passed away three years ago. He also has a wonder sister who helps take care of his mother (and him). He goes into a church to pray for his mother’s condition, and pretty much falls head over heels for a girl as soon as he lays eyes on her. He tries to forget about her, goes out to dinner with his friends, and she’s the waitress. Things escalate from there.
The only negative thing I can say is that K.I. Lynn needs to hurry up and write more of this story, because this girl cannot wait. Seriously, I need more Jared and Hope ASAP.
5.)Kick – Two Stars
I think, maybe, I’m just not a fan of C.D. Reiss’ writing. All of my friends rave about this series (and Songs of Submission), but I’m always left feeling like they are very lackluster. I felt like I was reading a bad version of Girl, Interrupted.
This story is about a sex/drug addict, that wakes up in a rehabilitation facility and not remembering recent events that put her in there. Her Dom/boyfriend is in the hospital, recovering from being stabbed twice. The background story wasn’t bad, but the main character was too much for me. The Dom making her MEOW like a kitten before she could orgasm was way too fucking much for me. Then her getting off on rubbing against sinks and toilets (Yeah, I can’t make this shit up) was making me cringe. There was one this I did like — Elliot (her therapist). He was probably the only reason my rating isn’t one star. I really enjoyed his hypnotism scenes, more than any other scenes in this story.
6.)Worth – Five Stars
This. Was. Amazing. My only grievance is that this is a short story. I think my heart would explode if I could get my hands on a full version of this! Shay Savage is a marvelous writer, and I plan to devour everything she’s written. This is a story about a very prestigious Roman war general, who falls victim to a bad wound and has to be transported to a local city mender. The healer does the best he can, but puts him on bed rest for some time. His only real contact, besides the doctor checking on him periodically, is a salve girl named Aia. Things progress He falls in love with her, and does everything in his power in ensure her safety and ownership and they develop a wonderful bond. This develops into some of the best sex scenes I’ve read to date! The best part, that most erotic-short writers miss, is that it was consensual sex. Even with her being a salve — it was 100% consensual. Words can not express how much I appreciated that. The ending was a masterpiece too, without being completely unrealistic He doesn’t want his enemies to know how important she is to him, so he plays off that she is just a slave. When really, he has entrusted his best friend (in case something happens to him) directions on how to prove ownership of her, his unborn child, and a small fortune. Ah, those feels. Seriously, this is only $0.99 on amazing, do yourself a favor.
7.)These Men – One Star (Negative stars if it were possible)
I don’t even know where to start with this train wreck of a story. Let me put it on record here that I do like menage stories. Scandal was one of the best reads I’ve experienced all year. This story, on the other hand, was just awful. It’s about a sex crazed girl who is doing an internship with the FBI, but has a room temperature IQ at best. When she explained that P.T. meant physical training, I died a little inside. She finds herself in a lot of
rape bad situations. Then gets completely offended that her brother and sister-in-law do not want her to bring strange men into their home to fuck her, so she moves out with a very nice gay couple that she meets at a party. Obviously they both fall head over heels for this charming female lead, and decided to add her to their relationship. Seriously, the worst story/book I’ve read all year. Normally I can find at least one good quality within a story, but I honestly cannot with this one. Only ONE thing could have made this story even worse, and this author actually threw it in at the fucking end. “So, it’s official — for my next birthday, my wish is to have a baby in my belly.” The End. I’m sorry if I sound harsh, but I have no idea how this author is apart of this collaboration.
PS- If you are writing a short story, PLEASE do not use “babe” 26 times and “baby” 34 times. Hopefully, my eye can stop twitching tonight.
8.)Still – Five Stars (Six Stars if I could)
God, this book had me swooning. I am seriously beginning to think that Alessandra Torre is not of this world. Her stories are always so perfect. This short was about a group of girls going out of town for a bachelorette party. Torre makes our main character so relatable and simple, that it’s actually brilliant. Single, 32 year old, small town girl, bought a pair of shoes on clearance even though they were a size too small. I have done this so many times, while complaining the whole night of whatever event I’m at. This is such a small and simple thing, but I loved it. Anyways (am I obviously gushing?), our main character, Riley, calls it an early night and retreats back to her room. All the while, limping from the uncomfortable footwear choice. On the way she meets a very charming man, in a very cute way While she’s sitting and giving her feet a break, he buys her a pair of slippers from the gift shop as an icebreaker. Then, walks her to her room and is a complete gentleman. I feel like if I say anything else I’d be telling you the complete story, but I will say that I hope there is more to come from this short. I would love another installment. This was, by far, my favorite story in the Bend Anthology, and Alessandra Torre cannot write anything that isn’t pure gold.
Bonus Book: Beg – One Star
Boo. This was borderline prostitution. (Just because you say it isn’t prostitution doesn’t make it not prostitution.) The stereotypes were cringe-worthy. And the sex wasn’t even good.