Brief Encounters, and so I know how difficult it is to write and publish good short stories. In this anthology there are several excellent examples of a short - one which gives you a strong flavour of character and situation and doesn't leave you feeling vaguely dissatisfied with the ending or as though you feel there's more needed from the story or the characters. Each story is self contained and bursting with character.
Another good thing about this anthology is that it shows us the versatility of the author. Most of the stories are contemporary, but there are other genres such as historical, paranormal and science fiction. The romance is strong in all the stories but the themes are all different - from erotic little slices of life; friends to lovers; BDSM lite or dominance play; or plain old meet, spark, HFN. There's something for everyone here and all with this author's trademark wit and verve in the writing.
It's usually at this point when I start mentioning my favourite stories from the anthology but I'm having a hard time doing that. I liked them all in different ways.
Out of the longer stories I enjoyed Blooming Marvellous, which pairs a young, black graffiti artist with an white man in his mid-30s. Both are doing community service for minor misdemeanors. I really liked the pairing of the outgoing Ky and the quieter James who seems dazzled by Ky's enthusiasm and friendly nature. There's lots of humour in the story too which can only be a good thing for me. I also liked the last story in the anthology, Dragon Dance which was a sweet friends to lovers romance between two young guys in a small Chinese community of a British town. I loved the mix of the Chinese and British cultures, and the humour surrounding the families of the men.
There are a few erotic quickies and I really liked Demon Du Jour which is based around a slight misunderstanding. Virginal Gavin is desperate for sex so he summons a succubus only, instead of a sexy female demon, a male demon turns up instead, promising to show Gavin a good time. This was another fun story with the focus being on the wide-eyed Gavin and the sex between him and the demon. I liked how it combined humour with the delicious erotic content and also how the story managed to show Gavin's nerdy personality without ever mentioning the word nerd. I also liked Tea for Two which paired a Lord with his valet along with a bit of D/s play and which had a twist I never saw coming.
Honourable mentions need to go to all the rest of the stories. None of the stories are very long from 10-30 pages and are perfect for a trip on the bus or for filling time in between books. If you like this author then this is an absolute must read. If you've not read anything by this author before this would be perfect for testing the waters to see if you like her writing style. I greatly enjoyed reading this anthology and would recommend it with a grade of excellent.
By this book HERE.