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Monday, February 15, 2010

Games in the Dark Anthology by Various Authors

Games in the Dark by Various (Anthology
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: Full Length (299 pgs)
Genre: Contemporary
Other: M/M, BDSM
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewer: Dandelion

Take a walk on the wild side with a serving of kink: restraints, blindfolds, spankings, threesomes, and more—just a taste of danger to whet your appetite. But these games are meant to do more than just tease. While these men are getting a thrill, they're exploring their emotions, making peace with their wants and needs, and sometimes finding love along the way. Through that lens, we can see the truth: it takes trust to play fair. Come with us and play some games in the dark.

Fit to Be Tied by Ashlyn Kane

While shopping for gag gifts at the local sex store, Tyler notices his boyfriend Jem scoping out a set of handcuffs. He raises an eyebrow, but doesn't forget. On their next anniversary, he surprises Jem with a very personal gift: himself bound to the headboard of their bed. Only it seems that Tyler misunderstood: Jem's the one who wants to be cuffed.

Silent Negotiations by Lyn Gala

Michael seems to have everything—looks, health, intelligence, and an experienced lover. But he's well aware that he's a bit of a dork when it comes to relationships. When he learns his lover has been exploring the kinky side of the Internet, Micheal's afraid he's not enough for Raahi—and also discovers he's more than a little interested himself in exploring the wilder side of passion and love.

The Perils of Tardiness and Telling Tall Tales by Sienna Bishop

Emery's on a tight deadline to ready his family's clothing store for the big fall open house. But as his precious time ticks away, he realizes he's allowed Theo, the hot young delivery boy, to get away with being late way too often. When Theo finally shows up two hours late with a very suspect excuse, Emery unleashes his temper... only to find that's what Theo wanted from his boss all along.

Eye Opener by Ariel Tachna

Takoda has worked at Metamorphosis, Las Vegas's premier gay leather bar, for four years, perfectly content to serve drinks and leave the patrons to their preferred fetishes... until the night the club's owner, Rhys, takes the stage for a celebratory exhibition. What Takoda sees helps him realize the lifestyle might be more appealing than he'd expected.

Maximum Exposure by Marguerite Labbe and Fae Sutherland

It’s been two weeks since Sebastian exposed Angel to a world of submission and domination that Angel never knew existed. Being so new to the scene, Angel's not sure he can give Sebastian what he wants when the Dom suggests the vulnerability and intimacy of erotic Japanese rope bondage. Understanding control is the key to Angel deciding whether to put an end to a relationship or to move forward and find his way to passion with Sebastian.

Remarkable Restraint by Devon Rhodes

When Chaz finds it impossible to hide his attraction for his straight roommate, he decides that avoiding Justin is the best answer. But Justin is not a man to be ignored, and he takes matters into his own hands by restraining Chaz's hands—and feet—until he gets some answers. It will take remarkable restraint from both to find a way to stay friends... and to grow into something more.

Learning As We Go Along by Ellen Whitehall

Jake and Matt are friends, colleagues, roommates, and lovers. But Matt wants more than just a simple relationship: he likes to be dominated. Now it's up to Jake to decide if he has the will and desire to learn what it takes to get them to the next level of love. Despite a few missteps, will they discover how to enjoy the games they play at night?

Bent by D.G. Parker

When Jack agreed to suit up and man the Hell Bent for Leather booth at the Big Gay Expo, the last thing he expected was to run into a straight man whose blush definitely aroused his interest. So when Sam begged him to keep his heterosexuality secret, Jack knew he had one chance to come up with a plan: a plan to make the now-curious Sam his and his alone.

All Kinds of Attention by H.J. Brues

Troy has always been bullied and pursued for his pretty, fragile appearance. It's made him cynical and too quick to use his sharp tongue or fists to prove he’s not as weak as he looks. When he enters a leather bar by mistake—hiding from yet another harasser—he meets Tom, who offers a new and freeing experience if Troy agrees to be his for the night. In spite of his fears, Troy is so intrigued that he accepts and discovers that Tom is like no other man he's ever met.

The Cub by Edward von Behrer

Helping out a friend who owns a fetish shop, I'm minding the store when a customer grabs my attention from the moment he steps in the door. Corey is on a quest for an outfit that will help him attract the Daddy he wants. Making a sale is taking a back burner... because I intend to help young Corey find just what—and who—it is he's searching for.

Black and Blue by Dar Mavison

It's love at first sight when Archer sees Freddie at a club. They seem compatible from the start—Freddie has a need to serve, and Archer likes to protect—but both men prize their privacy, and all they really know about each other is instinct and desire. It comes down to one night when Archer invites Freddie to his home for a private scene to convince Freddie how right they are for each other.

In this collection of eleven short stories, the world of male domination and submission is brought to life. Each story features a strong pairing of male characters, and lots and lots of BDSM. The settings vary, from leather bars to beachside homes to college campuses, so there’s something for everyone. A few feature strictly straightforward sex and kink, while others really delve into the psychology behind the dominant and submissive lifestyles. Learning As We Go Along and All Kinds of Attention are the strongest in that regard. I did find a couple of the tales too heavy in back-story; Remarkable Restraint is probably the biggest culprit of this offense. Still, even those stories where the author dwelled a little too much on past explanations were generally enjoyable.
If you’re a frequent reader of this genre, you’ll be pleased with the variety of stories and the very likable, realistic characters. If you’re fairly new to male-male BDSM in your reading, you’ll find yourself understanding what draws men into this world of pleasure.

The editor explains in her Forward that “Consent and the willingness to try new roles, to play, seriously but fearlessly, are the keys [to kink]” and that these stories are a way for readers to understand how powerful and pleasurable the world of domination and submission can be for all involved. Games in the Dark successfully does just that. Two thumbs up to this collection of authors!

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