Review: Anthology – Beneath the Layers

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Author: Caitlin Ricci, CL Mustafic, Elizabeth Coldwell, Sita Bethel, E.M. Hamill ,Sydney Blackburn, C.A. Blocke, Asta Idonea
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: NineStar Press
Genre: MM Anthology

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: A Linebacker in Lace by Caitlin Ricci
This ex-linebacker is impossible for his friend to resist.

Satin Secrets by CL Mustafic
Sometimes secrets are better when they’re shared.

Backwards and in High Heels by Elizabeth Coldwell
Tonight he has the chance to live out his dream.

Angels in Delaware by Sita Bethel
When one finds two partners, it helps to dress for the occasion.

All That Entails by E.M. Hamill
A gender-fluid prince with a penchant for gowns finds his unlikely match in an arranged marriage.

After the Dance by Sydney Blackburn
Sometimes happily ever after requires a pretty frock.

A Secret Shared by C.A. Blocke
One sweet secret shared—and a spicy one returned.

Ruffle My Feathers by Asta Idonea
Sometimes love can be found behind a feather boa.

Review: The stories in this anthology are connected by underpinnings. Specifically, pretty unmentionables in satin and lace, worn by men who like the feel. As with any anthology, I had some I liked more than others.
A Linebacker in Lace by Caitlin Ricci, rated 3.5. Let’s put it out there that Arliss is amazing. Brent wears the silk panties but he still thingks “It’s wrong to want them. To wear them.” Arliss makes sure Brent knows that it is what Brent thinks and feels that is important. As an ex-jock, Brent is very reluctant to share this part of himself but Arliss is the right guy.

Satin Secrets by CL Mustafic, rated 3.5. This is a cute story of Gavin, who lets an officer into his house and the sexy times that happen after. I did question at one point why Gavin was ashamed of what he was wearing. “He could deal with the shame of one man’s derision if it meant keeping his secret.” Cute ending!
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Backwards and in High Heels by Elizabeth Coldwell, rated 3. Billie loves to wear women’s underwear. His boyfriend, Oliver, is supportive of this and of Billie. It is on a night out dancing that Billie gets to put himself out there a little bit more and it was lovely to read.

Angels in Delaware by Sita Bethel, no rating. This is a threesome, not my thing. I skipped it rather than force my way through.

All That Entails by E.M. Hamill, rated 5. By far my favorite of the anthology. Historical, with a prince who loves to wear feminine clothing and sleep with men. But that isn’t done and an arranged marriage that will benefit the families is the norm, so that is what Darian will do. He is given a choice of a few women with large dowries to choose from and it is Henriette who catches his eye. He had met her once previously and found her a kindred spirit. She is, more than Darian can ever believe, and I loved this. Henriette has a wonderful twin, Baz, and I was glad for her. In a time that held little hope for those who would see their true selves, it was a blessing for Henriette and Darian to find each other.

After the Dance by Sydney Blackburn, rated 4. A mechanic and the son of the owner where he works become unlikely friends. Even more unlikely because Frank, the mechanic, goes out as a beard for his friend Bert. Goes out dressed as Frances, a woman. This reminded me a little bit of Cinderella and Charles, the son, works hard to find a way to get his “woman”.

A Secret Shared by C.A. Blocke, rated 4. Michael is an uber nerd, dating a closeted jock, Tommy. I kept thinking it had to be so hard for Michael to be the dirty little secret and it would be. Despite Tommy’s insistence that it’s a valid choice, it doesn’t make it a good one. But the secret Tommy shares made me forgive him a little bit, because it’s such a sign of trust. And Michael doesn’t disappoint. “You. No matter what. You.”

Ruffle My Feathers by Asta Idonea, rated 4. Another favorite, mainly because it showcases what happens when you make assumptions about people. Barrett performs as Miss James, in a club he believes to be a safe place from his coworkers. So a random run in with someone from his work causes a bit of a melt down. But Keith, the manager who accidentally sees Barrett, is the one that made the story for me. Sad and sweet and a little afraid, he plucked at my heart.

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