Title ~ Exchange of Power
Publisher ~ Torquere Press
Published ~ 16th September 2015
Genre ~ M/M, F/F Paranormal Romance, Anthology
exchange: the act of giving or taking one thing in return for another; power: the ability or right to control people or things
In matters of the heart, what happens when there's an exchange of power, even for just one night?
Both veteran and new authors make up the eleven stories about the power shift between Doms/subs, vampires/werewolves, teacher/apprentice, Alpha/beta, Necromancer/zombie, superhero/arch nemesis, and incubus/medium.
I have to confess I wasn't sure if I wanted to review this as there are two FF stories in it, which is not a genre I usually read. I also saw the word zombie mentioned in one of the story briefs, and I thought really? I have to confess I have never read a zombie m/m book before either. But what had caught my eye with this collection of stories was that in every case it is the less assertive partner who gets the upper hand. I couldn't resist checking it out, especially when so many of my favorite authors are featured.
How the Mighty Have Fallen by Bailey Bradford : 5 Stars
Hadrien can't help watching Master Thomas sitting dejected at the bar, with the man's previous sub climbing over someone else in another corner of the same place. He has wanted Thomas for the best part of a year but has always been too shy to approach the man. I loved the interaction between these two. I have read a lot of books by this author, but not one with a BDSM element, and it was beautifully written.
Beta's Call by Angelique Voisen : 4.5 stars
Ryan has cared about Kevin, his Alpha, for the longest time. But Kevin had mated someone else - Matt. Problem is Matt is dead and has been for the past five years. For longer than those five years Ryan has watched and waited, until finally he breaks. Approaching Kevin (a scene that was so exciting to read) he goes in boots and all, and the result was explosive. Suddenly the fact that Ryan is only a beta and Kevin is an Alpha doesn't seem so important. Lovely story.
Undone by C.B. Potts : 3 stars
Jeff has come to his home lands for a visit, his husband too busy worrying about his cubs. The person he most wants to see is Rusty, who is also married, to Steven. This is a story of political aspirations and what some people will do to get them. I am not a fan of cheating on a spouse, and although the sex was very low key, it still struck a sour note with me despite clear indications on both sides of why these two needed to get together.
Ex Diris by Gacy Grant : 4 Stars
You have to love superheroes. Evan is known as The Augur - the good guy. Nightmare is the bad guy who likes to blow up buildings amongst other things. In real life we have Evan and Nik. In a strange way Nik is a bit of a sweetheart. He does things as Nightmare to try and court Evan, but they are all criminal activities which Evan is trying to stop. I would have loved to have seen how the author might wring an HEA out of this one, but that is the problem with an anthology - you only get the short stories.
My Zombie Mixup by T. Strange : 4 stars
Apparently this is a sequel to a longer book, My Zombie Boyfriend. It's a sweet story (no sex) and I think you would probably get more out of it, if you have read the longer book. However it was funny in places and given it was my first zombie story, brain-bits free, which for me, was a relief.
The Assistant's Contraption by Charles Payseur : 4 stars
Rascan and Friday are a very interesting couple. Friday is Rascan's assistant, but he shows he is more than capable of taking the initiative when he wants to. The Contraption was innovative and yes, I would love one in my house. A really quick story that made me smile.
Paw Prints by S.E. O'Connor : 3.5 stars
This story was an unusual take on a mating story. Eric and John are already mates with Eric as the Alpha of their pack. He accuses John of infidelity and John tries to defend himself and ends up running off. What happens next is a little strange, but it also works. I think this was one story I would have liked to see as a book, so I could understand more about the world created.
In Dreams by Cassandra McMurphy : 4 stars
Andres is an incubus who comes across as a bit of a selfish prick. At least Julien seems to think so. This was a story about revenge - Julien's on Andres, all bound by a dream sequence. The idea was really clever, I just wish the story had allowed us to see more of what Julien and Andres had shared in the past and why Andres had left Julien in the first place.
The Hart and the Hound by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae : 4 stars
Henry is a Stag while Davey is the runt of a dog pack that terrorizes Henry's small group of shifters. When Davey revolts against his Alpha to save the deer, Henry takes him in and cares for the boy while he's injured. My only issue with this, and it is a teeny tiny one, is that Davey is portrayed as a pitbull shifter, and I found it hard to believe, despite his youth, that he would be the runt in a pack of dogs. But this was a cute story that made me smile.
This was a really good anthology - there were stories that made me consider different sub-genres. I didn't read or review the two FF stories because that is not my preferred genre, but the MM stories were amazing. I got to read my first zombie story (complete with zombie cat) and the twists and sheer interest generated in so many of these short stories definitely made this a good read all round.