Mitzi Szereto, editor,
Darker Edge of Desire
(Tempted Romance/Cleis Press, 2014)

If anyone can put together anthologies of intelligent and sexy erotica, I'd bet on Cleis Press! And this book -- Darker Edge of Desire, edited by Mitzi Szereto -- only reinforces that opinion.

Almost all the stories here are smart, well-written and hot. Obviously, some appealed more to me than others, but there were only a couple that I thought missed the boat altogether; the rest were at the least fun to read.

Now, the "forbidden desires" aspect seems somewhat irrelevant these days; very few of the stories are all that shocking.

The sex is explicit, but generally handled well. I am a veteran of romance novels (among other genres) and have gotten heartily bored with some of the usual ways romance depicts sex. These are far better.

"Sister Bessie's Boys" is a story that will stay with me for a long time, although the twist at the end that makes it fit the theme here is pretty irrelevant to the gist of the plot, which is touching and very human. "The Alchemist's Daughter," on the other hand, I found both boring and incoherent, with nothing in it to connect with.

The rest of the stories fall between these two extremes, to my mind, but in general fall closer to the successes. This book is recommended for people who like their erotica smart, and somewhat dark.

book review by
Amanda Fisher

21 March 2015

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