Slave to Love edited by Alison Tyler
Cleis Press, 2011
Slave to Love is a diverse and sometimes surprising anthology dealing with dominance and submission. Originally published in 2006, it was re-released in 2011, which is when I wrote this review. It remains a classic.
Some of the tales follow familiar BDSM patterns, pushing buttons that really never wear out (at least for me). "Sonnet" by Cate Robertson beautifully presents a classic BDSM relationship from the dominant's perspective, demonstrating that the master is as much a slave as his lovely submissive. C.D. Formetta's "Everything You Want" focuses on the inevitable, irresistible quality of a D/s connection—and its fragility. In "Without Mercy", Erica Dumas bravely explores the common but taboo fantasy of being raped, laying bare the duality of fear and desire. "Five Bucks a Swat" by Christopher Pierce is a light-hearted but unquestionably hot gay spanking tale, while Jean Roberta and Marilyn Jaye Lewis offer up steamy lesbian power exchange in "Going Down" and "Daddy's Girl", respectively.
My favorite stories, though, were those which took a more non-traditional tack. "The Real Prize" by Mia Underwood revolves around a contest to win a car, in which the contestants vie to see who can remain awake and touching the vehicle for the longest time. The heroine, a jilted sub, figures her training will make her a shoe-in; she doesn't expect the competition to include a bad boy dom who's exactly her type. "Ordinary Love" by R.Gay explores a bizarre, complex relationship that's part game, part war, part love affair. Vanessa Evans' "Master of Technology" would be a typical punishment story if it were not for the fact that the punishable offense is failing to learn a new operating system. "Unlike the Others" by Xavier Acton is a humorous tale featuring a novice dominatrix learning to love her work. Shanna Germain's fabulous "Pierce Me" has a bit of a BDSM flavor, but it's really about the having the courage to make one's fantasies real. "Divorce Proceedings" by N.T. Morley is a wise funny look at a non-traditional marriage. Finally, Alison Tyler's ironic "Well Trained" lends support to the popular belief that exercise is torture.
All in all, Slave to Love is an eclectic, arousing collection. Given my personal predilection for BDSM erotica, I don't know how I missed reading it the first time around.