It took me two days to read this anthology and not since it wasn't interesting, but only since it's very long, so, if you like me usually don't like anthologies since the story are not long enough, you will not have the same problem with this one.
The stories inside it are very different, most of the authors I know, and some confirmed my good opinion on them and some surprised me, but always in a good way.
The Lindorm’s Twin by Tracey Pennington (m/m): This is a fantasy tale that reminds me a very happy memory, a book of fairy tales that weren't so fair, if you think well at them. The tales passed mouth to mouth, from town to town, are dark and bloody, and not always with a "disney" happily ever after. Stefan is a fair prince of a fairy tale kingdom, but his parents didn't tell him that he was not the first born; he is the second on a pair of twin, but the other son was not a "normal" baby, it was a lindorm, and when Stefan is in age to marry, the lindorm pretends to have the right to marry first, since he is the first born. And so from beloved prince, Stefan finds himself without family and kingdom, and shelter in the arms of Andor, another dispossed prince, another man who suffered due to a wicked spell.
Desire and Disguise by Alex Beecroft (m/m): A little historical tale, but not a romance. Robert is deeply in love with his wife Lydia, even if really I don't know if he is more in love with her or with her body. Anyway, when Lydia found out she is pregnant and for all the pregnancy and also after, she refuses the access to her body to Robert, and he, worn out by desire, at the end searches solace with a demi-monde, or at least what he believes to be a woman of easy virtue... only to find out that he is no woman, but Mitchell, a man he also knows (when not dressed like a woman). Robert will learn that not all he believes is correct, and that the world is not black and white, and that maybe, he would be safer at home with his wife.
The Roaming Heart by Charlie Cochrane (m/m): Alasdair and Toby are the gold boys of the English movie industry at the beginning of the twenty century. All the fans wondering who will be their next conquest, the magazine would love to find something naughty about them, but no, they seems to be the perfect men, even if maybe with a soft point for women. What all the world doesn't know, is that Alasdair and Toby found their love, but not outside their bond, and what links them is not only a deep friendship. I like a lot this story since it has a very nice taste, a joy of life and the desire for something new and daring that often I found in tales setting in this period.
Outed by Clare London (m/m): Rob and Guy lives together, without flaunting it, but also without hiding. People around don't ask and they don't tell, since the innocent remark of an eighty dear woman (not so innocent maybe) sanctions what all know. And now the two can finally flaunt, if they want.
Lust in Translation by Storm Grant (m/m): Tyler is a cop who is having a crap night. Justin is a man who doesn't know what he is having, since he is lost in drugs he didn't know he was taking. When Tyler stops Justin on the street, he thinks the man to be a rent boy, but since it's raining, and the department has other things to do, and Tyler is not on duty, why not taking the man at home with him? and when they are warm and comfortable, why not having a bit of fun? Problem is that Tyler is allergic to any drugs, and thanks to a broken condom... well let us say that he "shares" Justin's essence. From a one night stand to something more is only a brief path, in a very nice and mostly funny story.
Making Memory by Lisabet Sarai (f/f): Nicole needs good memories and Maggie has plenty to share. Two women, momentarily alone, share a sweet night of talking and something more, but for now it's not the starting point for a new life together, maybe only a nice direction toward a better life with a different perspective.
Swansong by Sharon Maria Bidwell (m/m): Richard lives in a big house full of memories of his late wife and Neil thinks that it's time for him to move on... above all since Neil is now part of Richard's life. Neil is not demanding, he is only a comforting presence that helps Richard to take the necessary steps, not only regarding his home but also his life, even his sex life. Neil is always there, always with a gentle smile, and Richard knows that he is right, it's time for them to give new life and happy memories to that big house.
Finally Forever by Jeanne Barrack (m/m): a very funny and tender telephone call between Manny and Rafe, long distance lovers that finally will move together: from utility to the big question, LOVE, Manny and Rafe check the list for the recipe of how to build a perfect life together.
Code of Honour by Marquesate (m/m): Joe and Roux, legionnaires and lovers, show that once a soldier, you are always a soldier, even in your private life. And so Joe, that is Roux's subordinate, at first follows Roux's rule, like a good soldier, but it's not love since the day that Joe will learn that, in love there are no rule. Joe is young and not so steady on his feet; he has a lot to learn, not only as a soldier. Roux is more experienced and willing to share his knowledge with Joe. Maybe at first it's only lust, but with time, both men will discover that also for them there is a change to be happy and in love.
Tango and Temptation by ZA Maxfield (m/m): Gabriel teaches tango to the future brides and grooms, eight lessons and they will be perfect on their wedding day. It's not expected, and also quite a disaster, that Gabriel falls in love with Xander, one of the groom, above all since Gabriel really believes in love and family and all, and Xander has no intention to break up with his future spouse... but the ballroom is a sly devil, and a move here, a slow dance there, and a near proximity that allows Gabriel to "feel" something he is not suppose to feel, and Xander plans maybe have to be revised...
The Mistake by P.A. Brown (m/m): Very nice little story about a young guy, Rusty, who finds himself in a very bad situation and of the big but good cop who helps him. Rusty is not an hustler, but to be hungry is not good, and when he is offered a lot of money for a night, well, let say the pags decide for him. Obviously is not a situation fated to end in a good way if not for the cavalry that arrives in his rescue, a big knight in shining armor named Hank. From letting someone having his way with him for money, to almost offer himself to Hank is a short distance, and this time the right decision also.
Holy Macaroni (and Cheese) by Allison Wonderland (f/f): for Teri and Ariel marriage was not an hard decision, at six years old they were very firm in their decision. Confirm it in the later years maybe was harder, but they manage. And nor Teri or Ariel ever regretted that long time ago children ceremony, that would be glad to have also now.
The Snow Queen by Erastes (m/m): Josh lost his lover Sam and he is not sure to be ready to love again. He is cold and the cold outside well reflects his mood. But then he meets Sean and his daughter Bess, and maybe a sparks of light enter the icy prison around his heart. Open up, let the ice melt... maybe is not a bad idea. Erastes almost surprised me with this story: cute little kids and happy penguins in the snow? I was almost expecting for an Harlequin type of ending, with a commitment ceremony and the little daughter with the pillow and the rings on it...
Better Than Beautiful by Zoe Nichols & Cassidy Ryan (f/f): Charlotte is the famous top model and Becca her little secret. Becca is always there, always supporting, always waiting for Charlotte to be ready to be off the scene, no more available to all the world, but finally only her. But Charlotte fears the day in which the world will no more see her, since she is a model, and being beautiful is the only thing she always did good. It's up to Becca convinces her that she is better than beautiful.
Semi-detached by Emma Collingwood (m/m): James and Thomas have a real strange relationship; James is an apparently happy and openly gay man, with a beautiful apartment and friends and comfort life. Thomas is an average man who said he is not gay and neither bisexual, he only loves James, and well, even if James is a man, that doesn't mean he is gay. How they met I don't know (even I'm very curious), but they seem to have a pretty ordinary life, they seem happy, but maybe James is afraid of the day when he will ask something more to Thomas, something that maybe the man is not ready to give him... and maybe Thomas will surprise him.
Rules of the Game by Mallory Path (m/m): Charlie plays along the rules, and since Noah prefers to be a top, Charlie never asked him to be a bottom. But Charlie is wondering, if maybe, sometime the rules can be changed...
Templeton’s In Love by Jerry L. Wheeler (m/m): A very nice tale, both sad and tender. Tom and Stan were happy together, but they were also young and careless. When life asked its toll, it was heavy and neither of them was strong enough to save what they have. Regrets and remorses didn't help, and years later Tom is still wondering how it could be if... One thing they had in common, Carmine's supper Club and Ristorante and Templeton who sang there for his lover Taylor. But Taylor died and Templeton's songs with him. So when Tom sees that Templeton is singing again, he thinks that maybe Templeton is in love again, and if he can still love, maybe also Tom...
True Love by Moondancer Drake (f/f): Shona and Kai are finally having their baby, and this gives all another perspective in what they believe. In different way, both of them want to shout to the world that they are in love, Kai wants to marry Shona with a big ceremony, and Shona wants to have her name on their son's birth certificate. For now it's only a dream, but if something changes...
Salad Days by Fiona Glass (m/m): A little family scene, Tim and Jake, living together. Jake is a tornado, always chatting, always moving. Tim is quite and shy, barely speaking... but Tim is always thinking, always wanting to say something, that instead he takes aback, fearing to upset Jake. But a stupid accident breaks lose Tim's restrains and for once he will let Jake without words.
Wedding Announcement by Lee Rowan (m/m): barely a scene, actually a telephone call, with two characters I know well, Kevin and John from Walking Wounded. In my previous review of that book, I stated that, according to me, Kevin had some unresolved trouble with his father and this influenced his present life. Here probably there is a confirmation of my idea, with Kevin that has to find the courage to call his father to tell his that he is having a commitment ceremony with the man he loves.
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