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Masked Pleasures edited by Jennifer Levine

Devil’s Masquerade by Michael M. Jones (F/F): Grace and Starling are demon hunters in a fantasy kingdom, partner in job and lives. They are at the opposite, Grace petite and light, Starling tall and rubenesque, but between them there is a camaraderie that fits their attitude in life. When they are assigned to the patrolling of the Devil’s Masquerade annual ball, patronized by the Duke, they have to let go armour and swords for silks and glitter. Again, on the opposite of what you would ordinarily believe, the most reluctant is Grace, while Star takes it as a chance to dress her lover in fancy garments and enjoy every moment of it. The ball, the Masquerade, allow Grace and Star to behave out of their “character”, to be feminine without being considered less than a warrior, and they will profit of every minute; finding the demon is necessary but no more their main purpose. At the end of the night, they will come back to be warriors… until next year ball.

The Seer’s Mask by Brandi Guthrie (M/F): Gadeah is the Seer, the priestess of a matriarchal society; she is worshipped as a goddess, but she is not one, and she has the desires of every woman, to be loved and cherished. Her consort is detached from her, and lately she feels more and more connected with Aamir, the warrior she and her army enslaved, marking him with a chained mask around his head, so that everyone can see he is nothing than a property of the Seer. To the Seer is allowed a lot, even to use Aamir as a sex toy, but it’s not allow to her to fall in love for an enemy, and when it will happen it will be the end of her privileged life, but maybe the beginning of her true love.

Heir Apparent by Victoria Pond (M/F): this is a mix of funny and fairy tale; the only daughter of an evil king is his only heir and as such, she has to behave as a prince instead of a princess; she wears an armour, she is in command of an army (even if the army seems to be more a theatrical troupe than dangerous soldiers) and she has a mission, to reach a fairy erection… ehm, tower, and free the person inside. Of course since the prince is a princess, the damsel in distress is not a damsel at all. What the heir apparent will do? Will she behave like a woman or a man? I found myself more often than not smiling while I was reading this short story, I think the author was kindly making fun of the classical fairy tales.

An Unusual Legacy by Anya Levin (F/F and M/F): I’m not sure I fully understand this short story, but maybe I’m not really familiar with the sci-fi genre; from what I understood Leonie and Jenny were “virtual lovers”, meeting once a time in a some futuristic chat-room where they can interact almost as if they were really there. In this society everyone live in an “interface”, but there is a rebellious group that organize gathering where people can let it go of their interface; of course once they do that, they will wear a “mask”, a complete body mask changing their appearance. With the change comes freedom, sexual freedom that convey another type of feeling, of being the owner of your own, despite the strict society you are living in.

http://www.circlet.com/?p=2695

Amazon Kindle: Masked Pleasures
Publisher: Circlet Press, Inc. (February 27, 2011)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle

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