My first published m/m romance story is in this anthology. I'm really looking forward to reading all the stories in the collection. Below are my notes on each as I read them:A Kiss in the Dark, Eli Easton:
This is mine, so I won't review it, but here's the blurb:
Lane Lester is owns a small business creating web sites in Seattle. At a holiday party hosted by one of his clients, the power goes out. In the dark, a man pulls Lane aside and kisses him as he’s never been kissed before. Lane can’t forget the passion in that kiss, and he goes on a quest to learn the identity of his mysterious admirer.
Lane has a few suspects, and his roommate, Dale, helps him remember details about the man through hypnosis. But when Lane finally discovers the identity of his admirer, it’s a shock. Lane learns that something that seems impossible in the light of day can happen in the tempting anonymity of the dark.Calberg's House Specialty Blend, Skylar Jaye:
Jonathan is a lawyer who's addicted to a particular blend of coffee made at a small local coffee shop. When the shop mysteriously closes, Jonathan can't let it go and he tries to investigate what happened.
This is a fun story with a bit of intrigue and a sexy/sweet finish.The Whole Kit and Kaboodle, Ari McKay:
Grey is a professor at a university. He's had a flirtatious relationship with the archives librarian, Henry, since the man started a few years ago. But Henry has never allowed it go to any further. Is Henry in a committed relationship? Grey decides to find out, but what he learns is not what he expected.
Grey and Henry were interesting characters and I loved the old-fashioned courtliness in this one. Le Beau Soleil by Christopher Hawthorne Moss:
A sexy riverboat owner in 1855, New Orleans, and a little gambling mystery--I really liked this story. It has a nice sense of time and place and Frankie is a great character. Yum!Leveling Up by Jude Dunn:
This story features an existing relationship and an anniversary that's full of surprises. Adam is a game designer and his partner organizes what turns out to be a hell of a night to remember. Their relationship was very sweet.Kitsch Me by Mari Donne:
Brian finds a company online that sells miracle oddities like Buddha's face in toast, a candle melted to vaguely show the face of the Virgin Mary, etc. The little mystery in this story deals with figuring out who or what this company really is, and the romance involved an existing relationship of two poor, post-college grads. I really liked the humor in this story.Made Good Under Pressure by Maja Rose:
Billy is a poverty-stricken young man who likes to stand outside the dance halls and theaters and absorb the happy 'glow' of the rich and privileged. One night he meets Eric and his sister, the kind of 'beautiful people' he's only admired from afar. He gets tangled up with them, despite his better judgment. I really loved of the author's voice in this story. I'll be seeking out more from Ms. Rose.Tempest in a Teacup by Andrea Speed:
I loved this one--a brief little private eye story and a case of a missing mini pooch. It's written in first person and the Mickey Spillane-ish voice is quite good. The romance was minor (the private Eye and his boyfriend are on the case together), but there were lines that had me laughing outloud and I really didn't miss the hot and heavy stuff. I'll definitely read more Andrea Speed.Small Change by Danni Keane:
This was such a creative idea. I don't want to give it away, because I love how the reader isn't sure what's going on at the start. But it's a wonderful, kitschy setting and very cute little mystery/romance. The characterization of Dom is just wonderful. Lawrence Frightengale Investigates by Aidee Ladnier and Debussy Ladnier:
Another kitschy entry to the anthology, this story features the host of a late-night horror show (who dresses as a vampire) and his cross-dressing boyfriend Myrna Boy. They're scheduled to appear in a parade in a rare Cadillac, and when the car goes missing they have to figure out where it went. This story was cute and well-written, especially if you're a fan of kitschy TV shows. Joie de Vivre by Pinkie Rae Parker:
Jules inherits his aunt's farmhouse in rural France after she dies. Once there he meets a childhood tormentor who attempts to woo him. There's some strong imagery in this story, especially of the French farmhouse, the countryside, and cooking. Philip Colyer vs the Cola Thief by Amy Rae Durreson:
The anthology ends on a high note with this story. Someone keeps stealing Phil's cola out of the fridge at work and he tries everything to catch the culprit. Meanwhile, he begins a nerdy (in a good way) courtship with the resident IT guy. This story had more of a romance arc to it and some hot scenes. Very nice.Overall:
I enjoyed all the stories in this anthology and there was a nice mix of spicy stories with stories that focused on the mystery element. The entire anthology is on the cute/funny side of mystery vs anything dark and gritty, so check it out when you're in the good for a fun, light read.