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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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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