My review originally posted on Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/new-reviews/red-antho
“Blush” by Kimberly Gardner
Vinn never believed in vampires…until he fell in love with one. Julien is elegant, sensual, and everything Vinn could have ever dreamed of. Unfortunately, Julien’s love comes with a price. One that could cost Vinn his very life.
“Blush” will make you do just that with its understated eroticism that packs a surprising amount of heat as it winds around you like a lover. Julien is a vampire whose past should have jaded him, but he comes to life around Vinn, a bright-eyed young college student. I love how the two of them complemented one another and Kimberly Gardner kept me avidly turning the pages in my haste to see these two lovers find happily ever after.
“Scarlet Lover” by P.A. Brown
After going through hell, Jason’s ready for a dose of normalcy. Having been estranged from his family, however, Jason’s unsure if a visit from his sister will go as smoothly he could hope.
“Scarlet Lover” is a blisteringly sensual peek into the life of Jason and Alex from P.A. Brown’s The Geography of Murder and A Forest of Corpses. Having not read those books (yet), I can definitely say I “Scarlet Lover” was intriguing enough to make me want to read those books. I was drawn in by the dynamic of Jason and Alex’s relationship, and I can’t wait to read more about this engaging pair.
“The Final Curtain” by Victor J. Banis
As a young actor, Nick had had it all: the applause, adulation, and promise of a bright future. But his world comes crashing down around him when he meets a man he desires more than anything in the world.
“The Final Curtain” is haunting in its beauty, the rich prose lingering in your mind long after the last page has been read. It’s not a romance, but Victor J. Banis has captured the headiness of the indescribable want in Nick’s tale. “The Final Curtain” is the first story by Mr. Banis I’ve read and while it didn’t leave me smiling, it did leave me wanting to read more of his work.
“Sense and Sensuality” by J.P. Bowie
When his grandfather dies, Alan Robinson finds himself unexpectedly inheriting most of the man’s fortune. Money can’t buy what Alan wants most of all – love – but it can buy him a whole heap of trouble from his family. Good thing for Alan his grandmother has a plan; she’s about to drag handsome writer Jim Thornton into their crazy family mess. And Alan’s about to discover what it means to be wholly and truly loved for the first time in his adult life.
“Sense and Sensuality” sparks with a sweetness you might not expect from such a sexy story. Both Alan and Jim are immensely likeable characters and quickly charmed their way into my heart. J.P. Bowie fleshes out this enchanting story with Alan’s oddball family, some of whom – Alan’s grandmother, his cousin, and his cousin’s husband – are as endearing as Alan himself. “Sense and Sensuality” is fast-paced and highly entertaining and the only thing I didn’t like was that the story ultimately had to come to an end.
“Ludus Scaenicus Mortis Rubrae” by William Maltese
The Red Death rages outside, but within the walls of Prince Prospero’s castellated-abbey the nobility remains safe. But on the night of Prince Prospero’s masquerade, a monstrous clock counts down to the time when the revelers will meet their fate and for two lovers, life will never be the same.
William Maltese pays homage to Edgar Allen Poe’s infamous story “The Masque of the Red Death” in the dark, lust-filled “Ludus Scaenicus Mortis Rubrae.” Mr. Maltese isn’t afraid to shock and he certainly does so as readers follow William and Redmond’s journey. The vibrancy of Mr. Maltese’s characters is a welcome contrast to the story’s ominous overtones and I found “Ludus Scaenicus Mortis Rubrae” to be an interesting, if surprising read.
Like the blood oranges that appear throughout the anthology, RED is lush, unique, and, at times, quite sweet. With a diverse collection of tales from five extremely talented authors, RED is most certainly an anthology you want to buy if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary.