Desire, passion, and love know no boundaries. Not color, race, sex or alien species. In Coming Together At Last Volume 1 all the boundaries are dropped and the world is free to love as it pleases. In the following pages, you are not just free, but encouraged to find your pleasure where you may.
The Colors of Us by Aurora Black starts this amazing anthology off with a seductive and sexy poem. With very few words and vivid imagery, she brings more heat in three stanzas than some authors can in an entire novel.
At First by Alessia Brio & Wil Belegon is a delightful story set in 1963. Vivian is a brazen and outspoken woman, much to Eduardo’s surprise. His more reserved upbringing leaves him at a total loss when dealing with her. However, their first meeting is a magical encounter that later explodes with heat. I loved how much of a ‘modern’ woman she was for the time period and Eddie’s innocence and old world charm were sweet.
Matilda’s Touch by Saskia Walker is a sweet and vivid memory of a first love. Sally is insecure and unwanted, sent to a boarding school to ease her mother’s guilt. Matilda is an otherworldly being and a temptation too strong to resist. This being my first female/female love story, I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of it.
In Changes by Cerise Noire we are whisked along through the beginning stages of Mike and Wes’ whirlwind relationship. From their first meeting online, to their first physical meeting and through their first real argument, they battle their doubts, revel in their happiness and set the sheets on fire. A very real and relatable story, I could honestly see myself in Sally.
Undercover Lovers by RaeLynn Blue and Shara Azod is the story of two police detectives working undercover and posing as lovers. Each attracted to the other, the cover soon becomes reality. But will it work? Both Lori and Juan are determined to make it so. A very enjoyable story with two endearing characters and one despicable bad guy.
Proud is the Dancer, Pride is the Dance by Lee Benoit is the story of Danny and Calyx. While Danny is a happy and free-spirited young man, donating his time to the GLBT community center, Calyx has a dark past he’s both trying to hide and overcome. Danny fears his lover’s past and yet believes that a whole lot of love and just a little push can bring him back to the present. A very well-written short in which you get so much story in a very few pages.
Francine’s Kid by Jeremy Edwards is a short and steamy story centering around the meeting of Teddy, a regular around the store and Patty, the newest employee. Amazingly hot and sensual for being so short.
In The Pleasure Healing by Andrea Jackson, Claire’s childhood friend, Kenda, is having surgery to repair a long-ago wrong done to her. While Kenda is in the hospital recouperating, Claire realizes she was just as damaged by that event as her friend was. With the help of Russell, she is able to heal her old wounds and find a new life. An amazing story of renewal and rebirth.
Tattoos by Sergio Ortiz is a powerful short poem. With vivid imagery and flowing words, you are swept up and settled just behind the narrator’s shoulder, observing all that she sees and feels.
If Only You Knew by Zoe Nichols is a story of breaking free. Free of society’s idea of right, of your own self doubts, and of an abusive relationship. Kit is a young college student stuck under the thumb of her abusive ex-girlfriend. With the help of a teacher, Andrea, she discovers there is more to herself than she knew. A very touching and emotional story that is all too common in this day and age.
Independence Day by Seressia Glass is a futuristic story of love beyond all boundaries. Despite being from different planets and living in a post-Civil War world, nothing is going to keep Kee and Ananda apart. Two very interesting characters in a very exciting world.
Refuge by Lisabet Sarai, set in a refugee camp in Thailand, introduces us to Nu, a peasant pressed into military service in order to support his widowed mother and younger brother. Through an encounter with a refugee of the camp, Prean, he soon discovers that there is more to life than money and honor. A timeless story, the kindness of one soldier touches a woman and changes her world.
Shot at Love by Yvette Hines is the story of Moni, a wild and reckless woman who never stays with a man for more than one night. Being a domestic goddess was never in her plans. Enter Dee Shelton. Could this one man change her mind about all she’s held true for so long? This is a touching story of a woman who has near-death experience that changes her entire outlook on the world, whether she’s aware of it or not. It’s an honest story, and a hopeful one.
Love Slave by Jax Cassidy is a steamy, sexy poem about love, lust, and submission. Skillfully twisting words into pictures, Jax Cassidy presents a brief scene in the life of a slave to love. Very well done.
Coming Together At Last Volume 1 is an amazing collection of stories covering ground so often left abandoned. Love truly knows no bounds and who’s to say that a couple should be determined by sex, race, age or planet of origin? A very forward-looking anthology that is very much needed in today’s world. Full of well-written and steamy stories, Coming Together At Last is a worthwhile read for anyone who is in love with falling in love against the odds.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Coming Together anthologies published by Phaze are edited by Alessia Brio. Each collection of erotica benefits a different charity. Visit the official Coming Together website for more information. "Coming Together With Pride" benefits AIDS/HIV research.
Reviewing a book published with such good will and to benefit such a good cause is difficult, because the bottom line is that YES, YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO BUY THIS BOOK.
That said, and since you are dutifully going to buy the book to support the cause, let me say that, like any anthology, this volume has strong stories and weak stories, stories I loved and stories that didn't appeal to me personally. It is more varied than most because it has het, bi, m/m, f/f, older characters, very young characters, vampires, werewolves ... I can't think it would be possible for anyone to love every story, even though we can appreciate the spirit of giving that each author has exhibited in contributing to this book.
So let me simply say that the awesome introduction by Will Belegon is possibly the very best thing in the book. That essay alone makes the book worth buying, even if it were not a purchase for a good cause.
Read the entire review.