Sunday, January 24, 2016

Review : Men In Uniform: A Wayward Ink Publishing Anthology

men in uniform

Title ~ Men In Uniform: A Wayward Ink Publishing Anthology

Authors ~ Various (See Below)

Publisher ~ Wayward Ink Publishing

Published ~ 18th December 2015

Genres ~ M/M Contemporary, Historical, Sci Fi, Fantasy



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Like your boys in blue keeping the… peace?
Hot firemen dealing with… heat?
Naval Officers getting in way too… deep?
Perhaps you have a ‘thing’ for marines…
Or do you prefer your Men In Uniform to belong in the future?
Another galaxy?
Another time?
Wherever your love of a uniform leads you, MEN IN UNIFORM has something for you.

Freya’s Review

This anthology hosts a number of proven authors, whose stories push the anthology word limit boundaries. As such, this collection contains some outstanding short stories in a category of book where it is hard to find tales that do little more than tickle the fancy. That said, there are some shorts in here that only provide tasters of what the individual author is capable of while others tales are much more in depth and complete.

If by the title you are expecting an anthology full of the 21st Century traditional, Armed Forces and Services personnel, then you will be disappointed. Those stories are in there, but they are in the minority rather than the majority. This anthology contains a diverse collection of stories from the past, present, future and AU, which is nice as I didn’t feel like I was reading the same style of story, over and over again. One thing all the stories have in common is that they are all well written and well produced. So, in the end, like most things, it comes down to taste.

Issue No1 by Eric Gober ~ 4*

Synopsis :
Come to a land...
Where epic battles rage...
Among monsters, superheroes, and a very sexy cop.
Love and war are funny business in Hollywood, U.S.A.

What goes on the Hollywood Boulevard is more than star watching, it’s a war. The first lines of this story had me thinking I’d walked into a different version of comic con. All the characters are familiar but doing things that were definitely not. Then, as I got my brain on-line, the world evened out, and I got what was happening. I never expected to see The Muppets and Captain America in such a mêlée.

If you love a story that is full of movie characters, mixed with police action, then you will love this. The more I read of this kooky tale, the more I enjoyed it. I realize the above doesn’t tell you much about the story itself, but this is one that has to be read, to be appreciated. Then see if you can describe it, and you will understand what I mean.


The Pinkerton Man by C J Baty ~ 4*

Synopsis :
A blackmailer forced Stiles to leave his perfect life behind.
Along the way, he found a new friend, a job as a Pinkerton Agent, and murder.
Can Stiles find the murderer before he kills again?

I haven’t read a story from an author yet who can tell a period drama like C J Baty. For me, this lady is a true talent. I like the way she tells a story – clear and concise. She starts this tale by telling the reader what they needed to know without any extra flowering, yet with enough detail to give a good picture of the scene. She then gets on with the story, and there are rarely any unnecessary extras.

The Pinkerton Man is a turn of the century period piece, and involves a PI agency – the Pinkerton’s, who’s office investigates some local murders. This is an excellent story, albeit frustrating, as there isn’t a finite ending. However, it is only a taste of what is to come in a novel – which, if this story is anything to go on will be fabulous.


Mission Protect The Ex by Alina Popescu ~ 5*

Synopsis :
Sean never thought his military career would ever have him babysitting his ex who Sean hasn’t seen in six months.
When best friend Tom finds out his younger brother Aiden is targeted, Sean drops everything to protect the man he still loves.
Can two former lovers survive a weekend alone in the woods, or will the threat from within be more devastating than the one from outside?

Tom, Sean’s best friend, convinces him to do protection detail on his brother Aiden. However, Aiden is Sean’s Ex.

For me, this was the perfect anthology story. It was situational, brought a lump to my throat, had an excellent heat rating, and best of all had a good resolution. It is a short but complete story and didn’t leave me with questions or frustrations.


A Spark In The Shadows by Kassandra Lea ~ 3.5*

Synopsis :
Love beckons Officer Warden Brooks to the shadows of a desolate place.
But his lover Tate Eldridge is so much more than a criminal, he's a beautiful mystery.

For those who like a story with a futuristic and otherworldly flavor, you will like this story. It’s a twist on the classic ‘people from opposite sides of the tracks/different physical beings,’ falling in love. Given its shorter length, the author has packed as much story in as she can, but I can’t help feeling that it would have benefited from another five hundred to a thousand words. As it stands, for me the story finishes just when the action of a prospective hot sex scene was on the cards, which I think it needed. I felt cheated.


His Heart Held Hostage by Asta Idonea ~ 5*

Synopsis  :
When his father loses the battle against Hrafnaheim, Prince Darius finds himself a political prisoner.
Taken in chains to a dark and unfamiliar land, he begins to lose hope.
But then Captain Morten Gunnarsson of the Palace Guards is assigned to watch over him.
Now it is not just Darius' body being held hostage, but also his heart.

A conquered king gives up his son to the victor in a bid to keep his kingdom. Prince Darius was transported to his new home, and thrown in a dungeon. What would happen to him? You’ll have to read and find out.

This is a beautiful tale that belongs in the realms of adult fairy tales. The setting is reminiscent of that style of alternate universe – though the story is soo much more to my liking and a hell of a lot hotter.


The Emperor’s Slave by Eddy Lefey ~ 4.5*

Synopsis :
When the Draaduuri arrived on Earth many humans died.
Captain Timothy Kellerman’s family was among them
Now, a truce has been struck. He is the prize.
Crown Prince Yuuhaan has instantly bonded with his slave.
Can the prince keep his baser instincts in check long enough for Timothy to transform?
To become the next great hope of the Draaduuri and the human race?

This story lies in the genre of sci-fi. It is a tale of alien invasion, with pockets of rebels battling against them. This is the longest story in the anthology, and although I didn’t do a word count, it has to have surpassed the official limit – and rightly so. It is one hell of a tale. Everything is in here, invasion, capture, persuasion, love, MPreg, angst, loss...I could go on.

If ever a reader wanted a long story in an anthology, then this is it. I’d happily say that this could stand on its own as a novella. In places, it flows at a faster pace than I’d have liked, but some readers will probably enjoy that.


Yes Yes Yes by Lily Velden ~ 4*

Synopsis :
Go to Portsmouth, said my friends. It’s quieter. You’ll be able to write without distraction.
They obviously hadn’t met my mysterious and elusive neighbor, Finn.…
After all, what would a Friday night be without hearing Moaner, Gusher, or Squeaker screaming out their joy at being shagged senseless by the obviously talented Finn?
Come to think of it, what would a Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday night be without it either?
Thank God for Mondays!

Francis (yes the guy version) is an author who moved from London to the UK Naval hot spot, Portsmouth, and he is in a flat whose neighbor has an active and extremely diverse sex life. This piques the newbie’s curiosity and the investigative author inside him – hell the obsessive lustful stalker side too. As such he gets to work trying to discover more on the man.

Now then, this story is more of what I’d expect from a Men In Uniform anthology. Naval fluff and fun. Got to admit, I’m all for variety, but seeing something more traditional, I let out a little wuhoo. I like the sense of humor Lily Velden has, and this story gave a good change of pace and atmosphere to the anthology. It is well written sexual tale, containing a healthy dose of self-analyzing, humorous observations, and a delicious man in uniform. This has the potential to be expanded, too, into a more in depth novella.


The Firefighter And The Marine by Jim Dunaway ~ 3.75*

Synopsis :
Apartment building fires are always tragic, even if everyone makes it out alive. But what happens when a person can’t make it out on their own?
Brave firefighters must risk their lives in order to rescue trapped people.
Lieutenant Kenny Whitfield is one such firefighter. Brave and somewhat reckless.
Lance Corporal Steve Martinson is one such person in need.
When Kenny and Steve meet face to face in the hospital, well…

The title of this story sais it all. It has the elements of being potentially gripping. It has the fire-fighter, the blazing inferno, the homophobic asshole, the gorgeous marine and a few other interesting scenes. As I read, though, I was always waiting for that something extra to make my heart stutter or that sentence that made me focus and grip my attention. Don’t get me wrong, it is a sweet, straightforward tale. It contains love, fluff, and a good dose of action, and for those readers who like their situational drama dealt with immediately, you are going to love it and score it higher than I have – after all, I can be a hard reader to please.


Blue Knight by Carol Pedroso ~ 4*

Synopsis :
Franc has resigned himself to yet another year of pain and humiliation in order to complete his on ship training.
Then along comes Zyph, with his sexy blue skin and probing questions…
Will he be Franc’s Blue Knight?

Uniformed Starship Adventure is what we have here. Franc, despite his education, is the lowest of the low on the ship, and there are others ranked above him who are far from nice to him. Enter the alien ambassador. What follows is an interstellar tale that proves more than one species has the capacity for harm, compassion and love. It gave my emotions a bit of a run or was it my protective side. Either way, I found this story enjoyable and a worthy addition to this anthology. It has some good heat in it too.


The Royal Guardian by Jo Tannah ~ 4*

Synopsis :
Warrior and Dragon Seek to Destroy Those Who Had Dared Harm Their Prince.

Another venture into the alternate universe of science fiction. This story is extremely engaging, and I enjoyed reading every word. What with Star Wars and Star Trek having being revived in recent years, I was quite happy to let this little foray into the unusual tag on the end of the wave.

The story is strong with a good range of characters and drama. There’s some heat on those pages too. I understand it probably could not be avoided, but there are several changes in the timeline from present to past and back again. It was all laid out very well, but I still needed my wits on point and for me, they interrupted the smoothness of the story. Nevertheless, by the end, I wanted a Bobik of my own, and I wouldn’t mind reading more from this universe.

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