For the First Time: Twenty-One Brand New Stories of First Love by Alessandra Torre

I gave this anthology 3 stars overall, because out of a possible 105 stars (5 stars possible for each of the 21 stories) this anthology accumulated 56 stars (53%).

Each story in this anthology has a little synopsis before the story actually starts. I really appreciated it, especially since a lot of readers have certain triggers, and it would be super helpful if you were planning on skipping some of these stories. The masochist in me made me finish all twenty one, including the ones I assumed would end up being one star reads.

My favorite story was It Takes Two by Nikki Sloane. It was exactly what I wanted from this anthology, and I wish more of the stories were like this, because it was pretty close to perfect for me. My least favorite, by far, was Trailer Park Eden by CJ Roberts. It was honestly the worst thing I’ve read since Her Master’s Courtesan. Overall, I purchased this for only 99 cents, so I can’t really complain that there were a few stories that didn’t align with my likes. Plus, there were some real hidden gems in this collection, and I will for sure be reading more by these authors that I previously knew nothing about.

1.) Sole by Alessandra Torre: One Star ★
Well, sadly this first story didn’t work for me. I love all of Alessandra’s books except Hollywood Dirty, and this short story is a continuation of it. I don’t like reading about southern belles, I’m not sure how a chicken going to the bathroom in the pool would ruin an entire swim party, and the sex was mediocre. If you’re craving more Summer, Cole, and Cocky, you’ll probably enjoy this novella, but it did not work for me at all, and made for a really sad start for this anthology.

2.) Begging for More by Kim Karr: Four Stars ★★★★
This story was much more like I was expecting with this anthology! This was a super sexy read! It reminded me a lot of In Flight (which I loved), but also Lick (which I didn’t love), and somehow that combination really worked for me! This short story also showcases a good way to write instalove and have it be believable. I might even check out more of Kim Karr’s books involving these characters, because I liked this glimpse into their world so much.

3.) Heartbreak by Skye Warren: One Star ★
I really enjoyed this story, until the end. Like, why would she even do that? She could have remained silent and had a much better outcome. Unnecessary angst will ruin a book for me. I guess the story accomplished its job in making the reader want to know what will happen next, but it was still a cheap way to do it. Plus, I don’t think this story was a good fit for an anthology about “first time love”.

4.) Naughty Wishes by Sarah Castille: One Star ★
This short was just full of cringe. From talking about her husband’s skull pajama bottoms, to the main character being constantly coerced into a threesome with their dentist who, “likes her teeth”. Seriously, this could have been the best sex written to date (it wasn’t), and the plot would still ruin it. The husband was forceful and gross, and the star was lacking a backbone. They have a terrible marriage, and one night of being kinky isn’t going to help them. This story is definitely written for older women who think they want to experience some Fifty Shades of Grey treatment.

5.) He First and Only by Alexa Riley: Four Stars ★★★★
Now this is the kind of story I was expecting from this short story collection! It’s a little unrealistic, but completely embodies “first love” that is filled with really good sex. This story features two lost lovers who find each other after being separated for ten years. Once they conveniently find each other, nothing (and no article of clothing) will keep them apart. There is also a “breeding” theme in this, which seems rare in the erotica I end up reviewing.

6.) Decadent Knights by Julia Sykes: Three Stars ★★★
This story is centered around a girl healing from her abusive past and learning to feel safe in a Dom/sub relationship. Her “Master” is the one that saved her from her torment, so it’s really easy for her to trust him. This short story is about a night of him showing her how desirable she really is, while in a BDSM club.

7.) A Lake George Christmas by Debra Presley: Two Stars ★★
This was corny and just full of fluff. I’m sure many people will read this story and really enjoy it, but it was just too over the top for me. I could tell from the first page what the “surprise” was He was going to propose. This was the most innocent in this entire collection, but I guess I didn’t go into this collection wanting innocent. This really just didn’t work for me. Also, enough with the “super star musician” and her body guard, please.

8.) Advent by Nina Lane: Two Stars ★★
I almost feel like I need more back-story with this one. The main protagonist seemed to be struggling with what she wants in life. First, she acted like she tried to break up with her boyfriend, but by the end of the story she was planning a future with him. I don’t know, it just seemed really back and forth to me. It wasn’t a bad story; it just wasn’t a good one either. Also, I feel bad for the coworkers that received her Christmas cookies.

9.) Looking for a Complication by Tamsen Parker: Two Stars ★★
On the first page of this story, the main character will proceed to tell you how she fears “dooring someone” more than becoming poor or being mugged. This is about the time I lost all hope for this story. The little tidbit/synopsis before reading the story was bad, but the “dooring someone” severity really is what pushed this story right into the trash can. Apparently, “dooring” is when you open your car door and hit someone on a bicycle. Is this real life? We never had terms like this growing up in Flint, or now in Las Vegas. Is this a thing? An actual concern that is more important than being mugged and going broke? This all made me extremely sad, because it was the only F/F story in this anthology, but the first few pages just really ruined the mood for me. I didn’t hate this one, I just couldn’t get into it after the beginning.

10.) Test Driving The Billionaire by Cynthia Sax: One Star ★
The male lead in this is named Drift. Drift’s nickname for the female lead is Wrench. He also has a “Need For Speed” Tattoo. Please Lord, help me wake up from this nightmare. Drift is also Wrench’s Cassandra’s boss and this whole story is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Then, there were so many car/racing innuendoes that I think my eyes rolled out of my fucking head.

11.) Delay of Game by Jen Frederick: Three Stars ★★★
I suppose I can see why this short story would be likeable; girl approaching thirty, tired of the same old days, so she decides she finally want more (husband, kids, the whole shebang). It happened a little fast for me, but I will take into account that this is a short story collection, so things kind of have to be fast. It was still a little unrealistic, and the sex wasn’t great, but it made me feel warm inside, so three stars it is!

12.) Her First Choice by Lynda Chance: Five Stars ★★★★★
This was exactly what I was looking for in this collection. A fluffy story filled with good sex. It was simple, maybe a little farfetched, but amazing. This story is about a girl at a bar, who is looking for rebound sex. She sees a guy she remembers from her past, that she has lusted over for year. Obviously, the feeling is mutual for this guy, and then comes some yummy sex. It wasn’t over complicated, and was really easy to enjoy. I wish all twenty-one stories were like this.

13.) Sympathy for the Devil by Cynthia Rayne: One Star ★
From the very start, I really hated the southern tone and dialect in this. Basically, this story is about a woman who fled with her son, after her mobster husband started to be abusive. His right hand man comes to find her after a turn of events. The sex was super short, like you could blink and miss it. Overall, it really gave me a prostitute vibe, and I didn’t like any aspect of this novella.

14.) Trailer Park Eden by CJ Roberts: One Star ★
This was by far the worst story in this collection. This story actually made me want to stop reading this anthology all together. It was completely disgusting and terrible. This sorry excuse for a story is about a deaf brother and a blind sister who are both seventeen (twins) and incredibly poor. Oh, and they want to have sex with each other. Sadly, the young boy is too busy selling his body to old men in the trailer park for money. Seriously, this was terrible and I wouldn’t recommend for anyone. I can’t believe this is the same author that wrote Captive in the Dark.

15.) It Takes Two by Nikki Sloane: Five Stars ★★★★★
This story accomplished what probably all this authors of this anthology set out to do; make the reader want to read the rest of your work. I fell so in love with these characters and this story! It was exactly what you’d expect from a collection like this, and it wasn’t sugarcoated. This novella is about shooting a porn scene, but the characters develop more feelings than they were expecting. This was my favorite story in this anthology, and I can’t wait to try out the rest of Nikki Sloane’s Blindfold Club series.

16.) Heart of Eve by Pam Godwin: Four Stars ★★★★
I liked this one a lot just because it was so different and unique. The setting is post apocalyptic, where only men are left living, and our main character is a devoted priest who has been celibate his whole life. He’s never had a problem keeping his promise of faith, until he stumbles upon the last female left on Earth, and his new devotion becomes to keep her safe. The sex scene was a little cheesy, but I just love how this author took a leap and wrote something different for this anthology. Also, some of the humans are now morphed into bug like monsters, and that was kind of a cool and unique twist, unlike the predictable zombies.

17.) Steal My Breath by Nina Levine: Three Stars ★★★
First off, this author is not using the word “trolling” right, in my opinion. So that was a little awkward for me, and seemed like she was just trying to be hip or connect with a younger audience. Besides that I was really happy with this story. It was short, simple, and cute. Our main character is desperate for love, and to fix her dry spell, when she realizes maybe the man she is lusting over is more obtainable than she thought.

18.) Rapunzel’s First Knight by Shoshanna Evers: Four Stars ★★★★
Oh my gosh, this was the biggest tease of this collection, but it was really good. It was a super cute retelling that definitely will leave the reader wanting more. It was kind of funny for me to read this erotic retelling of Rapunzel, because I just recently read Cress, so I kept giggling like I was twelve. I have to say I prefer this version much more!

19.) Swept Away by Anna Zaires: Four Stars ★★★★
I will say that the consent in this might be a little on the grey side, but I still really enjoyed this short story. It was very different than the rest, with a sci-fi theme. It is also set in Third Century Greece, where a poor girl, who is scavenging for food for her family, soon realizes there is more technology on other planets. She also finds out that she has more opportunities in life than just being married off to someone in her village.

20.) Unique by Avery Aster: One Star ★
I could barely finish this story. First, the author wrote a letter to the reader before the story even started, so it totally threw off the mood. None of the other authors did that, and it just seemed really tacky. Then, I’m all about book diversity, but the dialect in this is borderline offensive. The story itself is all over the place, hopping to different times, places, and between characters. This is supposed to be a short story; you can’t throw a million different things at the reader and expect them to be able to easily follow. It’s also hard to take a story seriously that is constantly talking about “balls” and using slang like “Nice ‘n’ Nasty”. This completely didn’t work for me.

21.) Owned by Jenika Snow: Four Stars ★★★★
This was a great finale to this anthology. The story might be a little unbelievable, but it had some of the best sex out of the twenty-one stories. This short story is about a girl who is in desperate need of money, so she decided to sell her virginity off at an auction. Her boss, who has always secretly liked and wanted her, has decided to buy her and give her a night she will never forget. Obviously, he wants more than one night, but the night we get read about is pretty sexy!

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