Anna Hedley, Fox Lee, Gabriel Belthir, and Lor Rose – Serve Me

serve me
Author: Anna Hedley, Fox Lee, Gabriel Belthir, and Lor Rose
Reviewed by: Vivian
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Genre: M/M Anthology
ISBN 13: 9781627570077

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

For some people there’s nothing more appealing than the idea of a man forced to serve against his will, as a second-class citizen: a slave. Despite the dark history surrounding forced servitude and slavery, there remains a growing desire for depictions of fetishized slavery fantasies. Like rape fantasy, the appeal for readers in slave fiction lies not in a desire for the actual act, but in the ability to explore such things in a safe space. Many people harbor a secret wish to be forced into certain acts that they know they want, but have been socially conditioned to abhor. Such is the core of the Serve Me anthology. Be warned: these are not stories of consensual, negotiated power exchange. The stories in this anthology focus on true sexualized, erotic slavery: stories of men forced, coerced, or otherwise bound into a second-class life servicing another in whatever ways their master sees fit.

Idris is part of The Spoils of war: the last surviving member of a barbarian clan, he is famed in the gladiatorial arena for his bloody ruthlessness and outside the arena for his carnal appetites. His inner beast is calmed by the presence of his slave and lover, Theo, but to be true to his heart, Idris may have to risk breaking it. Samuel has spent years striving toward the Viscount’s circles, where rich and fantastical parties are given and elaborate slave auctions held. He thinks he wants a young lover, but when he buys an Adonis known as Apollo, he realizes what he was truly missing. Now Apollo gives the orders, and it is Samuel saying, As You Wish. Life is Unforgiving for Aidan and Aaron, criminals who have been doomed to live as slaves to vampire masters, whose appetites can be agony… or bliss. When Aidan is given a new lease on life with a benevolent Master, his relief is tainted by pain at leaving Aaron behind; pain which only his Master Ryce has the power to end. Yuta is a gentle giant who joins a local gang for the sense of family that they can provide, but when they leave him high and dry in the middle of a failed heist, it’s his captor, Takashima, who shows him what family can really mean as the vicious gang enforcer tenderly turns him into Takashima’s Pet

A collection of four stories that addresses slavery and issues of forced submission and dub-con. Yes, there are non-con elements, but they are periphery. I liked all the stories with some quibbles here and there. None were out-of-the-ballpark amazing, but one I really enjoyed and the others were entertaining. Definitely no duds in the lot. While there are the hardcore elements, these are romances and therefore fulfill certain expectations.

Spoils of War by Anna Hedley, 3.5 Hearts

Intriguing mix of Graeco-Roman culture and mythology to create a fantasy setting for this bloodthirsty story. Idris is a gladiator and beserker and yes, the matches are appropriately gruesome to reflect it. He’s brutal and careless until he finally comes to care for another.

The story has dubcon elements without a doubt and references noncon. It is a harsh world and when Idris meets his match in Kage it leads to some radical changes in his life. The games masters play with their slaves is for entertainment and Idris is a slave. When a slave can no longer fulfill their function the alternative is not pleasant and it is illustrated several times through out the story.

And laugh if you will, but I found the use of the term “maenad” for a young male pleasure slave such a gendered disjunction that my brain rebelled every single time they used it.

As You Wish by Gabriel Belthir, 3 Hearts

A fun twist on Victorian morality with a slave auction that goes a bit differently than you expect. Samuel is a repressed and unsatisfied bank accountant until he finally gets a invitation to and exclusive party. Assured that his life and standing will be catapulted by having made such connections, but Samuel has no idea how much his life will be changed.

I’m always a bit uneasy when race is a substantial emphasis of a story. Here it succeeds by unsettling the traditional paradigm. This is definitely a softer story compared to others though the submission required is done firmly.

Life Is Unforgiving by Lor Rose, 3 Hearts

The dichotomy of vampires explored in this futuristic tale of slavery. Aiden’s brutal existence takes a change that he never expected when he’s sold to a new master. Ryce and Levent, daevas of a high class welcome Aiden into his new home. And though his new life is amazing, Aiden still morns for the love he left behind.

I liked the twist in the story, but Ryce’s behavior wasn’t explained very well, mostly due to the first person narrative from Aiden’s perspective. In addition, the resolution seemed rushed and very sweet.

Takashima’s Pet by Fox Lee, 4 Hearts

Romantic yakuza story that starts dubious, but ends with devotion.

Yuta is the patsy of his gang. Not that he particularly wanted to be in a gang, and what they wanted him to do is not what he’s any good for. He ends up taking the fall when his brothers abandon him on a failed robbery attempt and he finds himself on knees in front of a rival gang leader. Takashima issues an ultimatum. Yuta can give up his pride or his life.

The interactions between Takashima and Yuta are pretty hot. There’s some aggressive TPE at the beginning that morphs as they get to know each other. It’s short, but steamy and messy fun. My favorite of the collection.

Recommended to readers who like a rougher edge to sex with some tolerance for violence.

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