Christmas is a time of love and joy, and the New Year is a time of renewal. But they are also times of stress and strife, family drama, pressure and heartache—a potent mix of high expectations and conflicted emotions. Add in power exchange relationships, kinky gift swaps, and unconventional love in a sometimes unforgiving world, and you have a formula for a sizzling anthology of stories that tug at your heart.
Tree Topper by Jane Davitt
Stan and Martin have been seeing each other for 6 months and love each other but it’s just not working for Martin. He wants to dominate Stan and Stan is a born submissive but every time he tries something new with Stan it seems that Stan shies away. In the meantime Stan is getting more and more mouthy and disrespectful to Martin and of course Martin feels that everything is his fault as he just doesn’t have any Dom experience.
When it comes down to finally breaking down and communicating about what’s up Martin and Stand discover that it’s a little bit of problem on both sides of the fence. They work out a plan that will work for both of them and they’re both thrilled. Especially when Christmas presents bring lots of fun toys to play with.
This is a cute story of two men working their way through their D/s issues. I loved how they finally just sat down and worked it out and left nothing to chance. The play after Christmas was fun and I loved seeing Martin use his imagination with a little wrapping paper and tape.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Twas The Night by Ava March
Percival and Michael have been having sex for a few months and they’ve both been having a great time. They have to be discreet as sodomy is against the law but they manage quite well. Michael, however much he likes Percy, and he does, has no idea what Percy likes when it comes to sex. Yes, Michael can tell that he likes to be dominated but he wants specifics. On this Christmas day he gives himself a present from Percy and that’s to have Percy tell him exactly what he wants. For Percy this is damned difficult. He’s only acknowledged his desire for men for a year and his guilt and shame at wanting to submit eats at him. He manages to let Michael break through his walls and the end result is fantastic.
I’m not normally a fan of m/m historicals but as this takes place mostly in a house I couldn’t help but like it. Michael is a kind, caring lover and I loved that about him. Yes, he is in command when he and Percy are together but he’s not cruel in any way. Watching Percy come out of his shell a bit and knowing that he will continue to grow in the relationship just made me smile. This was a great story I liked a lot.
Rating: 4 out of 5
In this story we meet Emma and Rachel who have been in a D/s long-distance relationship for 2 years. But it’s all over after New Years Eve as Rachel is moving to Tokyo for a year. Emma is crushed but wants this night to say goodbye.
Rachel is emotionally cut off. She’s been disappointed in people her whole life and though she’s the one who has always left when someone is disappointed in her she feels that everyone leaves her. She would love to have Emma go with her to Tokyo but she KNOWS that Emma will just end up hating her and abandon her in the end. Or will she? Rache’s fear of rejection might have her making all the wrong decisions in the end.
The f/f story brought a couple of feelings to the surface while I was reading. My heart ached for Emma because I knew she loved Rachel and wanted to be with her and a bit for Rachel as well as I could tell that she had had a hard time in life emotionally. That being said the sex was not my cup of tea. Rachel definitely dominated Emma and Emma loved it, got off on it, flew to unknown places in her own psyche because of it. I personally just didn’t care for the hair pulling, face slapping and Rachel’s attitude in general as it just read as more cruel than sexual. The name calling wasn’t something I enjoyed either. I wouldn’t like it in m/m or m/f either so I think that’s pretty standard with me. Those are my own preferences though so someone who likes that might enjoy this story more than I did. I’m happy to say that the big emotional scene was left to the end so I ended the story on a high note.
Rating: 2 out of 5
Nate and Stephen are doing their Christmas shopping but neither is really have a great time at it. Nate and Stephen, especially Stephen, like Christmas less and less each year. This because every year they spend Christmas Eve with Nate’s family and Nate’s mom’s is highly critical of both of them, especially Stephen. He can do no right, say no right and he’s certainly not good enough for Nate. Of course if Stephen wasn’t there then she’s be digging into Nate. Basically she’s just a critical woman.
Neither one of them is looking forward to that banner day but when they come across a very large, very thick candy cane while doing their Christmas shopping all thoughts of his mother flee his head because he has thoughts of candy caning floating in his head. Though Stephen mentioned it might be something to think about nothing is set in stone, or peppermint.
This was a great little short story. There really wasn’t a lot to it except that you could sense the depth of emotion from both Stephen and Nate and I love that about Witt’s writing. The sex scene – with yes, the cane, is very hot and kinky and oh so good.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Submissive Angel by Joey W. Hill
Six months earlier Robert found Ange beat up in the alley behind Robert’s vintage toy shop. He gave Ange a room and a job…and his heart. Robert knew from minute one that Ange was the submissive for him but he never made his move. Now it’s Christmas and Robert can’t hold back any longer. He heads to the toy shop, as Ange has a room in back, and finds Ange dancing. Ange of course has been waiting months for Robert and is very excited to have his master finally do what he’s been waiting for.
While this was a very sweet story it just didn’t work for me all that well. Something about Ange rubbed me the wrong way. He was almost too sweet and while it was a nice story I just couldn’t get into it as much as the previous stories.
3 out of 5
Open Return by Elyan Smith
Zach is back from a 15 year absence. He had contacted his foster parents and “friends” just a couple of times after he took off without a goodbye or a backward glance all those years ago. When he heads into his small home town in Illinois his foster parents are having a Christmas party and his old lovers, Laura and Scott, are there as well. Zach has to deal with his feelings as he returns to his somewhat close minded town and people who will always see him as Hannah and not Zach. He also is anxious to get back to Laura and Scott, who are now married with kids, and what they had to offer in the bedroom.
While this was a decent story I was kind of lost to the point of it all. Besides reconnecting with old lovers and showing us a sex scene that was very bdsm extra lite, I was that connected with the characters. Laura and Scott weren’t delved into at all and Zach…well, Zach confused me. He just seemed so up in the air about what he wanted in life. He had a great job in Australia but would give it all up to be with Laura and Scott, who didn’t seem all that completely into him? IDK, I just didn’t understand his thinking. I think the story was too short to fully realize all the emotion that Zach was feeling and I wish the story would have been longer.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Ring Out the Old and In the New by Alexa Snow
It’s Christmas by Evan isn’t feeling the holiday spirit, as much as his partner tries to get him to. Evan, some months earlier was mugged on the tube and his face scarred. After being stared at his whole life for his beauty now he fears he will be stared at because of his monstrous face. Russell is also trying to help Evan as he hasn’t left the house – he just doesn’t feel safe.
This was a cute story. It was Russell gently taking care of his sub, Evan, and making him feel safe that was the basis of the story. Russell uses his domination to help Evan feel safe and know that he is loved, no matter what he looks like. Nothing too kinky involved but yet very sweet.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
His Very Last Chance by Kim Dare
Drew is freaking out. His Dom, Kingsley, overheard him saying something that was taken the wrong way and now he’s afraid that Kingsley is going to end their relationship. What Kingsley really wants is to let Drew know that he couldn’t be more wrong about him and that he loves Drew.
Another cute story with some bondage and wax play. Kingsley was trying to show Drew how he felt about him. I didn’t really feel all that much emotion in the story, except Drew’s fear that he’ll be pushed aside, but I really enjoyed the scene in the end.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5