Review: Serve Me
Serve Me by Anna Hedley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Nonconsensual sexual enslavement is rarely written with a beautiful happily ever after. In Storm Moon Press's SERVE ME anthology, all four writers hit their mark, dead center. Each of these stories provides a moving journey of redemption.
The Spoils by Ms Hedley features a gruesome look at bloodsports. Idris is a berserker who is now a slave for the entertainment of a corrupt society. The world Ms Hedley builds is a loose interpretation of the Roman Empire under Caligula's reign. The twisted perversion of fighting gladiators satiates the deviant masses. The loser of a match either dies or gets fucked in the ass. This is alluringly erotic with its life or death theme. Ms Hedley does a good job of showing Idris's conflicted soul. His past is revealed in little bits which explains how he came to be a slave despite his enormous strength. It's a bit oddly explained and rather sad. Still, it works well with the story to bring a resolution to a hopeless situation.
As You Wish by Mr Belthir is a delightful twist on who is master and servant. This tale is powerfully erotic with its D/s theme. Samuel is a rich lord who is enamoured of a strong black slave, Apollo. It's never fully revealed as to why Apollo committed the crime of killing. It does set it up nicely for the dominant Apollo to be sold as a sex slave in an invitation only auction. The twist of who become the Dom is slick and wickedly stimulating. Apollo's command of the submissive Samuel is an aphrodisiac to D/s readers.
Life Is Unforgiving by Ms Rose draws deep sympathy for sex slaves Aidan and Aaron. This world is fascinating and it would be delightful if Ms Rose were to write a full-length novel set in it. The vampires of this world seem to exude quite a bit of power. The way criminals are sentenced is extreme. It's a zero tolerance policy which lumps hardened criminals and desperate shoplifters in the same category. With this kind of mentality, it is easy to see how power can be abused. This is never more apparent with Aidan's situation as a "blood-bag". The tortures at the hands of a cruel vampire master will sicken the reader. This dark situation contrasts nicely against the new vampire who buys Aidan. This journey of building trust is moving. The best lines in this story can be encapsulated on page 83 by Aidan's new master.
"Happy-ever-afters exist for everyone. … It's all a matter of timing."
Takashima's Pet by Fox Lee takes the pimp spot and it's my favourite story. I'm not a fan of mob, gangster or thug stories. So it is a surprise to me when this one touched me most. Ms Lee does an exquisite job of creating engaging characters with a heart wrenching backstory.
Takashima is a dangerous Yakuza crime boss. Everyone fears him because of his ruthlessness. Those who cross him don't survive well. With his penchant for buggering captive males, no one wants to be caught by him. Yuta makes a mistake by following his loser gang members to commit a crime. He's left out to dry when they are caught. This story starts off with brutal rape and ends with a believable and sweet happily ever after. Ms Lee weaves a stimulating story between a man who rules and a man who loves to submit. The yielding of Yuta is darling because of his simplicity. His desire to please his master with no excuses brings a tear to my eye. His need to belong and be wanted is what makes this story so good. Yuta isn't a doormat because once Takashima helps him build some self-confidence, Yuta does fight back when he's attacked. The erotic power exchange between Takashima and Yuta will generate a yearning for those with a submissive inclination.
This m/m anthology is recommended to kinky readers who enjoy the perfect blend of dark and light.
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