Cornelia Grey, Gryvon, Scarlet Blackwell, Storm Moon Press

The Smoking Gun – Weight of a Gun II from Storm Moon Press

But, you know, sex is controversial, it just is and it always will be. – Liam Neeson

There’ve been so many times I’ve read a book and thought that it was probably the right book but, for whatever reason, the timing was wrong for me, and looking back at my original review of 2012’s Weight of a Gun, I’m thinking that it may have happened to me with one of the stories in the original anthology because I possibly rated it a little lower than it deserved, which makes me want to go back and read it again. Why? Because I thought its sequel was really kinda awesome.

Weight of a Gun II is a collection of three short stories, but only one of them is an actual sequel: Gryvon’s The Inquisitor, the follow-up to The Machinist, which is an Alt U erotic fantasy set in a world where a man, Lord Harrow, knows the value of a brilliant machinist like Avery Belfour, a man who possesses the rare skill to repair and operate the vast weapons technology that Harrow is collecting. Avery begins as little more than Harrow’s captive and property, but in this installment of the series, it becomes obvious that Avery is so much more; it becomes obvious that Harrow wants to possess Avery in a very personal and intimate way. Not that he hasn’t already possessed the man in just about every physical position imaginable.

But there’s someone whose come to reclaim what Harrow has vowed is his, someone to whom Harrow has absolutely no intention of surrendering Avery, but then there’s something that gets to Avery first and by way of an incredible journey between life and death, takes the decision out of Harrow’s hands.

This story is not only erotic but there’s a plot, too, one that was unique and that put my imagination to work, which I think is exactly what I was looking for right now. There’s obviously more to come with Avery and Harrow because this one ends in one heck of a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see what Gryvon has in store for these men next. I’m sure whatever it is, Harrow will make it intense in the way only he can. – 4.5 Stars

The second in the collection is Scarlet Blackwell’s Playing With the Big Boys, and where Gryvon’s story was very much the right one for me at the right time, I think this one would fall somewhere in the gray area of wrong story at the wrong time, especially with the unfortunate luck of it being sandwiched between two very different and plot-tastic books. This one pushed quite a few of my no-no buttons, and it wasn’t that the story was poorly written, it isn’t, but it’s the storyline itself that just didn’t work for me.

Where The Inquisitor (and Cornelia Grey’s story) plied me with juicy and brainy plot elements to sink into, Playing With the Big Boys is little more than an extended and orchestrated set up of sex that didn’t come across as convincing so much as gratuitous, which had everything to do with the fact that it wasn’t a story as much as a vehicle to introduce and provoke the debate between what’s consensual and what’s non-consensual sex.

Things started out with a presumed criminal abduction when law enforcement officer Caleb Baker and his partner Dennis are set to raid a warehouse filled with stolen electronics. I say presumed because the entire scenario that happened after Caleb enters the warehouse was orchestrated by Dennis as a lesson to Caleb, a sexual set-up of questionable credibility, which then quickly evolves into a near romantic relationship in the end between Caleb and one of his alleged captors/pseudo-rapists.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the telling of this story and fans of the author, or fans of extended sex scenes, should love this one. For me, it just wasn’t the story I wanted to be told at the moment. – 2 Stars

Wrapping things up is Cornelia Grey’s Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders, the story of a man who runs away from his master and joins the circus; more specifically, he runs away to join Cole Beauchamp, the greatest pistoleer of all time.

Benjamin has a thing for guns, for the smell of gunpowder, and for this particular man who handles a weapon like it’s an extension of his body. As Benjamin tries to find his place among the circus folk, and specifically to carry out his role as Cole’s assistant in a show if spectacular skill and marksmanship, the chemistry between them is a slow burn, one that begins with Cole’s practiced indifference but soon becomes a thing of intense interest when he—and, unfortunately, an entire audience—witnesses firsthand the things Cole can do to Benjamin’s body with little more than putting Benjamin in his gun’s sight.

I’ve never been disappointed in a Cornelia Grey story, and I’m not about to start now. There was a whimsical feel to this one that is owed entirely to the circus atmosphere, but it was, at the same time, sensual in the extreme. The author targets the erotic potential of danger and the allure of the kinkier side of passion. I loved the blend of sweet and sexy, and thought it was the perfect ending to this trilogy of stories about guns and the men who love them. – 4.5 Stars

You can buy Weight of a Gun II here:

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