Cornelia Grey, Gryvon, Lydia Nyx, Penny K. Moss, Peter Hansen, Storm Moon Press, Sumi

Weight of a Gun – An Anthology Edited by Elizabeth Hyder

The gun is to the phallus what the vampire bite is to intercourse, an erotic metaphor the authors of the six short stories in the Weight of a Gun anthology have spun to varying degrees of success, exploring a serious kink and a seriously provocative appetite for the dangerously erotic.

As is to be expected, there’s a common theme that threads its way through each of these stories, and the weapons that become the playthings that are used to incite and tantalize take the term “shoot to thrill” to the next level of carnality. Though that element became somewhat repetitious, the winners of this collection of stories were the authors who took the common threads and weaved them in entirely original ways.

Cornelia Grey’s outstanding Bounty Hunter leads the way, in an Old West tale of lovers turned adversaries turned predator and prey in a sexy game of catch me not if but when you can, as the catching definitely promises to be the more thrilling part of the chase between William Hunt and James Campbell. Not only was the story incredibly sensual but it also promises to bring more heat between these two compelling men.

Sumi’s uniquely exceptional My Rifle Is Human is an Alt U/Fantasy set just behind the front lines of a war where the humans are the weapons, where the Ordinance and the Gunslingers who help them to “become,” engage in sex play as the means of arming the soldiers for the battlefield. Fil is a Gunslinger who hasn’t had much luck with his past Ordinances, but that all changes when he’s paired with Morris Levanton, a man whose destiny and his relationship with his Gunslinger is slow to develop but that discipline and the focus he places not upon the sex but upon the needs of the man with whom he’s been paired, pays off when Morris’ enhanced abilities lay waste to the enemy. I loved the relationship between these two men and wish I could’ve gotten a bigger taste of this world.

In the Pines, the haunting and wonderful contribution from Lydia Nyx, is a paranormal tale of a murdered soul tethered to the instrument of his demise, and an ex-NYPD cop injured in the line of duty, who now lives in Anchorage, Alaska and has been relegated to desk duty because of those injuries. Terry stumbles upon the gun that was used to shoot and kill Flynn, the ghost who finds Terry in the man’s dreams, and teases and torments anyone unfortunate enough to be in possession of the weapon that brought about Flynn’s untimely death. Flynn is merely seeking justice for the wrong done him, and Terry is the only man with the intellect and background to bring Flynn’s soul peace. In an ending that I can only be described as bittersweet, both men seem to find what it is they’ve been looking for.

The remaining stories in this anthology, while not quite meeting up to the standards set by the above three contributions, did each work in their own right and merit consideration.

Peter Hansen’s sci-fi offering Changing the Guard is an off-world story set in the barren and lonely landscape of a frozen planet, where Tomi Vuorela is presiding over the security of a remote access node as punishment for insubordination. When Andile Harper shows up without authorization from Tomi’s superiors, the tension between the two men plays out in an erotic game of assumptions and accusations. There’s no romance here, only two men who seek and find physical pleasure on either end of a gun.

Gryvon’s The Machinist is monsters and mayhem and danger, set in a alternate universe where the machinist in question, Avery Belfour, has just been busted out of prison, but not at all to his apparent advantage, as he is hunted down and eventually recaptured by a man Avery knows only as Harrow, a name that it quickly becomes clear is exceedingly fitting to his character. Avery escapes one prison only to become captive to another, and of all the stories in this collection, I felt this one contained the most dubiously consensual sex. While it was never divulged exactly for what purpose Harrow needed his own personal machinist, taken as straightforward erotica, it delivers.

Rounding out the anthology is Penny K. Moss’s Compromised Judgment, a story that left me feeling, in the beginning, as though I’d been dumped in the middle of a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language and had no means of understanding what was happening all around me. The story is set in an alternate universe, where I was more distracted by attempting to pronounce all the strange names and attempting to figure out what they meant, than I was diverted by the story. The key to enjoying this one, I believe, is just to concentrate on the characters, Ignác and Konrád, and to understand that Ignác’s objective is to expose a weapons smuggling ring, and Konrád is the man he’s going to use to help him do it, that is if Ignác’s attraction to Konrád doesn’t get in the way of his professional duties to his country.

Buy Weight of a Gun HERE.

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