Book Reviews

Best Gay Erotica 2015 at Cleis Press

Genre Mixed Genres / Anthology / Gay Erotica
Reviewed by Alex on 20-January-2015

Book Blurb

Edited by Rob Rosen

Anonymous Trysts and Loving Seductions

Pretty-boy anthologies are a dime a dozen but this series offers much, much more—with many Lambda Literary Awards to show for it, Best Gay Erotica has no peer. This debut volume from Rob Rosen, the prolific and popular erotica author, visits the sweaty backroom of your erotic imagination. He’s filled it to the page-turning brim with fantastic tales of fire dancers and TV repairmen, of hunky painters and electricians, with solo sex, duo sex, and sweat-soaked triple onslaughts. Throw in a mysterious stranger from far away and a priest, and you’ll see why this anthology is head and shoulders—not to mention certain other body parts—above the rest. Best Gay Erotica 2015 has the highest literary quality that readers have come to expect from this esteemed and steamy series.


Book Review

This is an amazing anthology both in breadth and variety of style, full of erotic and highly erotic interludes between men of diverse backgrounds. From contemporary to science fiction, to fantasy and mythology, there is something in here for everyone.

Different Strokes by Richard Michaels, reviewed by Alex
I still cannot stop laughing as I try to write my review for this hilarious and oh-so-right-on story. Gosh how the hell do I write a review for such an experiential piece? Well, I’ll start by saying I’m looking up the author Richard Michaels even as I type this review, because for sure I want to take a gander at anything else he’s written.

Okay I just searched Amazon and came up blank—well not blank, but not him…or her? On to Gooddreads, hang tight a sec. Mmm, I see a fantasy writer with about nine books none of which seem remotely like gay fiction. Hold up a minute I’m scrolling to the end of this Best Gay Erotica 2015 anthology to see if the authors’ bios are listed… Oh… um, the story is just too funny, well I guess I should say humorous and witty. I especially think those who read and write male/male romance will appreciate it.

Okay there is a bio! Although his seems to be the smallest of them all. Looks like he’s written for a number of magazines…huh? and… the Cleis anthology Special Forces. Okay, this guy is taking me places I’ve never gone before… no that’s right I have Best Gay Erotica 2005 and up in my bookcase... Cleis Publishing!

Yeah I know I’m not saying much about the story or what it’s about. Well I already mentioned it’s experiential, which is probably not a real word…oh, it is a real word if you spell it correctly. What I mean is, you’ve got to experience Different Strokes for yourself, but trust me it’s hilarious in the best possible way and will certainly have me checking myself the next time I write an erotic sex scene. Oh, that’s what it’s about—writing erotic sex scenes.

Thank you, Richard Michaels, what can I say except that I can’t stop smiling and laughing and giggling and snorting and guffawing and chortling and howling and just—plain ole cracking up…ya know?
“A Must Read!”

Choice by Rhidian Brenig Jones, reviewed by Alex
For me there was something disturbingly uncomfortable about this tale of two drifter contractors who use their charms to lure a young priest into a threesome.  Disturbingly uncomfortable is, in this case, not a bad thing. To my mind, this is an almost chilling voyeur piece and therein lies its brilliance. The story plays close to the bone and reads like an episode from someone’s reality, a slice of real life—rich, earthy and visceral. The subject matter was of the stuff of legends…stuff that gets done that you don’t necessarily talk about—except when you’re drunk off your feet with your posse and you’re trading war stories and this kind of slips out.

The writing was concise and clear with enough mystery that my brain had a few riddles to solve, which I really like. But the beauty and electricity the story holds comes from its successful interpretation of the raw quality of the sexual predatory itch that hungers for more. More conquest, more excitement, more power, more down dirty grit and shit to roll, rub, and rejoice in…all to attain the high of sexual gratification. Is it hot? Is it erotic? I’m not sure, but it did put a shiver in my soul and so it is something. Read it? Hell yeah, soul shivers are a rare commodity.

Thank you, Rhidian Brenig Jones, for sharing this gritty “slice of real life” story.
“True Grit!”

Hot Man Boulevard by Jacqueline Brocker, reviewed by Alex
Three cheers for this stimulating hot-biker-fantasy-come-true short. All chrome, leather, heat, and wet flesh, the story is a fast ride on a hot bike…with perks.

Australian Chris has been in Paris for six months. He is finally used to the complicated do’s and don’ts that cloak the sophisticated environment of the “City of Light,” which are a far cry from the easy-going ways of his homeland.  One morning a roaring Harley bursts the tranquil atmosphere of the outdoor café where Chris is seated. Sniffs of disdain fill the air when the fully leathered stranger dismounts, but Chris is mesmerized. The stripper-like reveal of the biker’s taut, muscular body only solidifies Chris’s intrigue and when the virile apparition of temptation offers Chris a ride on the wild side…he accepts.

This is a sleek, gutsy story with exceptional attention to detail and some nice tricks with beer. Yeah, uh…give it a read to understand that last. An exuberant and lusty “Came, Saw and Conquered” fantasy with kick.

Thank you, Jacqueline Brocker, for this racy morsel of fun.
“Sizzle, Sizzle!”

Feygele by Alex Stitt, reviewed by Alex
There is a lovely haunting quality to this two-ships-that-pass-in-the-night tale that brought to mind the melody of “Some Enchanted Evening,” and I daresay I did hum the tune for several days after reading this poignant short.  

Feygele, the travel writer of the title, is something of a connoisseur of men and likens the diversity of male personalities and physicality to that of birds. After all there are many varieties in both species, from the familiar sparrow to the exotic ostrich, birds abound, as do men. Feygele keeps the memories of his many dalliances significant not by retaining anything as mundane as their name, but by recalling their bird persona, making each encounter an exotic and cherished memory. One night Feygele happens upon an exotic firebird and the memory of their heated encounter leaves a part of him searching for the elusive species that is Adrian…always.  

I enjoyed this piece tremendously, especially the atmospheric meeting of the two men. Rain, fire, and the dark of night make for an earthy, yet ethereal vision of sensuality in this author’s hands. And never before have I viewed the glow of a computer screen in a small dark room as candlelight. Enchanting!

Thank you, Alex Stitt, for this captivating and lyrical treasure.
“A dance of Fire and Earth…”

The Man in Black by Gregory L. Norris, reviewed by Alex
I loved this dizzying, almost psychedelic story about a sexy space abduction. Reminiscent of works by William Gibson, and Philip K. Dick with a smidgen of the horror of Brian Lumley, this short is refreshingly original.

From its odd horr-rotic beginning, which served as foreplay to great sex, I was intrigued and captivated by the idea of an alien who could become any man the abductee desired. At the same time the horror…an alien who could become any man desired…made my heart race in anticipation even as the abductee tested the waters of his theory and surrendered to the alien’s charms. Part of me was yelling, albeit silently, “No, no watch out!” as though I was watching an innocent walk into a trap at a drive-in movie. While another part screamed, “Yes, yes, yes!” for who would not want the opportunity to sex any man a body ever lusted after and experience rapture beyond the expected, due to the alien angle. But mostly I kept murmuring “OMG, OMG…” for this short is truly a wonderful and amazing experiential piece. The cold and hot of it, the fear and the possibility it brings, make this story a stimulating and totally erotic winner.

Thank you, Gregory L. Norris, for a mind-blowing experience.

Like Magic by Salome Wilde, reviewed by Alex
This captivating story set me amongst visions of merry-go-rounds, monkey grinders, and automated fortunetelling machines all to the sound of carousel music and the scent of dust, sea salt, and cotton candy. While I wandered about drawn to tattered sideshow posters pasted on antiquated wagons, which tooted the illustrated man and other grotesques, somewhere on the carny grounds, in a withered tent… this story was happening.

I guess I could have simply said that for me the heat of this tale comes in its successful delivery of atmosphere and setting. But there is something more here. Something that drew in my senses and left a ghostly tingle in my imagination. This story not only swept me into its world—it let me play too. I was a child and I was adult; I was in a dream and reading a story. I was both David, a young adult revisiting the sideshow magician he had admired since childhood, and the aged magician who spies the enchanting youth with the flash of awe in his eyes and admits him backstage. Together, each fulfill the promise of magic the other has been searching for. Good stuff this...lovely, ethereal, a feast for the senses.

Thank you, Salome Wilde, for this enchanting tale.
“Stuff of dreams…”

Nothing to Lose by Dale Chase, reviewed by Alex
This humorous and bittersweet, nowhere-to-go-but-up story places a bright light on the downward spiral its good-looking lead character, Alex, experiences after his longtime lover dumps him for another. The beauty of this tale lies in the author’s ability to successfully communicate the brutal tug of war between insecurity, anger, grief, and false bravado, the self-esteem experiences when in this position. “Am I still hot...desirable?” “Of course I am…he’ll regret it!” and the subsequent “What’s the new guy have that I don’t?” These anxious worries are played out by the actions of “love don’t love me” Alex, when he attends his close friend’s wedding. The story reads like a slice of life and I must confess I recognize Alex, only too well, as will any who have a clique of friends.

Alex sets out to prove to both himself, his friends, and anyone watching, that he’s desirable, free, and doesn’t give a damn about his breakup, by engaging in a sex-a-thon of sorts at his friend’s wedding. His journey to wellness begins by accepting a last blow job from his friend, the groom, as he drives him to the wedding. At the wedding he dances and drinks, having the time of his life, while actively seducing a married man and a young waiter. Eventually the haunting embers of his failed relationship send him into drunken oblivion. He wakes in the bed of the older mentor of his group of friends and learns “attractiveness” has less to do with one’s appearance than he thought. More than a melancholic walk in the park, this is an engaging study in intimacy, growing pains, and the resulting mad scramble to eradicate the hurt. A touch of humor makes this a sweet and poignant hotrotica.

Thank you, Dale Chase, for telling it like it is.
“Symptom unknown…”

From Here to There by Xavier Axelson, reviewed by Alex
Would that every street race game I’ve ever played ended as hotly as this sumptuous incognito road racer story.  An excellent mix of thrill, mystery, and heat, plus—I don’t think I’ll ever look at wine the same way again.

En route to a friend’s nuptial, Duncan’s oceanside drive finds him distracted by the gorgeous legs of a motorcyclist who draws up beside him at a light. Embarrassed when the helmeted rider catches him looking, once the light changes Duncan focuses on the curvy road that will eventually lead to the winery where the lauded event is being held. Suddenly the motorcycle whips from behind his vehicle and engages Duncan in a game of auto leapfrog that has Duncan’s body firing adrenaline, curiosity, and lust in equal measure. While it adds excitement to the long drive, it’s a dangerous game and once Duncan loses sight of the cycle, he pulls off the road into the lot of a favorite clam shack to collect himself.  Before he can eat the seafood he’s ordered, the motorcyclist shows up and makes a better offer.

The above details less than half of the sexy adventure this tight, well-written little gem holds. This is a rich, exciting, and racy story and can definitely be placed under the word “arousing” in the dictionary of sexiness.

Thank you, Xavier Axelson, for this choice and stimulating morsel.
“Mmm, mmm … good!”

Outlaws and Bad Men by Kenzie Mathews, reviewed by Alex
I so enjoyed this slick and tidy touch-of-paranormal short, which nicely demonstrated that partnerships are often formed under the less than stellar circumstances.

Drifter Lochlan is hitchhiking, hoping to hustle his way to a meal, a shower, and a good fuck. With any luck, he’ll leave his victim happily sated but light of a wallet before he deserts him.  When pretty boy Chase slides his Impala to a stop, Lochlan sees the man is not the type he generally hustles but…the hunger is upon he climbs in.

What follows is a stimulating adventure in foreplay of a most dangerous kind and Lochlan is swept into an emotional vortex, the type of which he hasn’t felt in a very long time. Rather than hustling, he is being hustled. When Chase deserts him, Lochlan has no choice but to hunt down “the most dangerous game” and show Chase who is truly in charge. He finds himself ensnared in yet another of Chase’s cons, but despite violent upset realizes that in Chase he has possibly found a partner who could entertain him for an eternity.

I loved both Lochlan and Chase and it was hot fun to experience their entertaining mouse versus cat games. I cheered Lochlan on as he chased Chase down hearing an exquisite chortle of \"Who\'s the monster now, bitch?” in my head.

Thank you, Kenzie Mathews, for this captivating sweetmeat!

Bullheaded by Logan Zachary, reviewed by Alex
There is something almost mesmerizing in this tender tale of an encounter between a bull rider and a rodeo clown. Perhaps it is the gentle quality of its narrative that gave me a surrealistic stop-motion vision of the events in play. To my mind the unique style reflects the care the author utilized in expressing the story’s contents and works perfectly to showcase the shy uncertainty and emotional awkwardness its characters experience when understanding dawns. That care, in turn, makes this oblivious-rodeo-clown-hooks-up-with-admiring-cowboy tale that much sweeter. I’m keeping my eye on this author, he reminds me a bit of Young Adult author Mark A. Roeder.

Thank you, Logan Zachary, for this magical short.
“Sweet… like new love.”

Rookie Glitch by Martha Davis, reviewed by Serena
This short story of pride-goes-before-the-fall sexiness made me grin. Mike is a fourth generation cop, and is determined not to make any rookie mistakes that would have his colleagues laugh at him. And when he encounters some \"glitches\", he will not even call mistakes, he still doesn\'t want to admit what\'s really going on. Worst of all? He has the hots for Jason, his superior officer, one of the biggest no-nos around. And guess what? Yeah, he goes for that one as well, albeit based on Jason\'s initiative.

A very hot tale of hilarious self-delusion, followed by an extremely sexy encounter between two men who know exactly what they want – even, or maybe because, it is utterly forbidden.

Payment in Full by T. R. Verten, reviewed by Serena
It is difficult for single men who are also parents to find the time, partner, and opportunity to have more than an encounter with their own hand. Spencer, in this fun story about a babysitter-plus service, knows all about the problems. And when he finds a solution, it comes from a most unexpected source.

With the surprise angle and a hot scene in the kitchen, this contribution is more straightforward than some of the others, yet special and fun it its own way.

Freyr’s Toothache by Mark Wildyr, reviewed by Alex
This entertaining Narcissus’s-plight tale brought a smile to my lips.

Pleased by the loyalty of Nordus, a wizened dwarf, the god Freyr gifts the imp with mortal bearing and great beauty.  Overjoyed by his newfound proportions, Nordus flirts with those who ignored him in his dwarf form and gains the amorous affections of another god. A jealous Freyr curses Nordus with a toothache and exiles him. Nordus wanders the land of the mortals seeking a way to rid himself of his aching tooth. His only clue—Freyr’s comment that the toothache could be transferred to another. A captivating adventure in the miniature has Nordus meeting many, but a blacksmith’s son may hold the answer he seeks.

This is a sleek little fantasy with erotic elements, and lots of humor. Very enjoyable!

Thank you, Mark Wildyr, for this charming tale.

No Ifs, Ands or Butts by Rob Rosen, reviewed by Alex
I enjoyed this fantasy-come-true charmer, about an ogler reaping rewards from his covert ass inspection of the occupant of the neighboring shower stall. The charm of this tale lies in its immediacy. While there is little in the way of poetry, the story is a sharp, adroit stunner about lust and gratification. That said I could smell the musk of male, feel the scrape of pubes, and hear the hollow echo of sexual grunts bouncing off bathroom stall walls.

Todd has coordinated his scheduled gym visits and shower time to coincide with Dan’s, the owner of a magnificent butt. Each shower has Todd dropping his soap at the appropriate time to catch a close-up of Dan’s flexing ass, after which Todd heads to a bathroom stall to complete his fantasy by hand.  This short reveals what occurs the day Dan follows him to the bathroom. Thorough, meaty, enticing, and…hell yeah, arousing!

Thank you, Rob Rosen, for this diligence-pays-off short.
“Like a good twerk…”

Super Service by Michael Roberts, reviewed by Alex
This short reveals a droll tale of three luscious repairmen who show up independent of each other to answer the call for service at a man’s home. Despite not having made the calls, Mr. March, home alone and bored, grants each contractor entry and is shortly immersed in a serviceman fantasy turned dream come true.  

Although my summary may sound like a script for bad gay porn, this is a surprisingly tasteful and perky tale with excellent wit. For some reason Mr. March’s voice became that of Neil Patrick Harris during his Doogie Howser days for me, and once that image took hold it kind of stuck. Not a bad thing for me, but the story and its characters are wide open to interpretation by all readers, which to my mind makes it fine fantasy fodder and good erotica.

Thank you, Michael Roberts, for this entertaining take on the fantasy life around the serviceman.
“Clever, hot and funny!”





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the editor for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Anthology of 15 Short Stories, 216 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 13-January-2015
Price $11.48 ebook (Kindle), $15.95 paperback
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