Review: Past Pleasures anthology
This review was sponsored by the kind people at Xcite Books, who sent me a copy to test.
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5
“I was pleased when this anthology arrived, because both Daddy and I are into Victorian settings and values. I really liked the cover because it looks Victorian to me, and I was eager to read it. Some of the stories are not as good as others though.
Sarah Ann Davies designed this cover. She has also designed the cover for the Crimes of Passion anthology and other books in the Xcite range. It features a young blonde woman hiding behind a mask with a smile on her face as if she is Victorian. Though it is not fully convincing it is nice to look at.
As with all Xcite books, this is the same: It’s Times New Roman and there is no superfluous spacing between paragraphs. Personally, I prefer spaces between them as I find it easier to read but I do think it looks okay without. It’s easy enough to read, in any case. ⏎
This book has all sorts of content though all stories are set in the past (hence the title). The stories are set in all sorts of time periods; from Victorian times to after World War 2, Shakespearian times to the American Civil War. The stories also take place in various parts of the globe and feature BDSM, slavery and crossdressing as well as vanilla pastimes.
Story 1: Cherry Ripe by Maria Lloyd (pages 1-11)
When 18-year-old Georgette is sent to yet another finishing school, she is surprised by an erotic encounter with the handsome local aristocrat during her carriage journey. Soon she is eager to continue their liaison and leaps at the risqué opportunity which the powerful Lord Roxby arranges – one which permits her to explore just how far she is willing to submit to his tastes, and how enjoyable that can be…
Story 2: Late One Night at the Tourist Court by Michael Bracken (pages 12-17)
Johnny had big plans when he came back from the war in Europe, but nothing was going his way until he robbed the bank in Lufkin, Texas, and hightailed it out of town with his girlfriend. He didn’t realise how much she had learnt while he was away, but she had several lessons to teach Johnny. Some of them were in the bedroom, and he learned them all late one night at the Tourist Court.
Story 3: The Day the Sun Stands Still by Toni Sands (pages 18-32)
Persian slave-girl Zuleika makes her way to market. The highest bid will secure her, body and soul. She is purchased by Saeed, on behalf of his master the Sultan Amir. Zuleika joins the harem and discovers Amir mourns his first true love, a woman who can only be Zuleika’s sister. Amir, aroused and intrigued by his beautiful concubine, questions her background, resulting in a poignant discovery that fuels passionate lovemaking and the possibility of mutual happiness.
Story 4: As You Like It by Tilly Hunter (pages 33-41)
Beatrice’s dearest ambition is to perform on the stage with Will, the greatest playwright and actor ever known and a favourite of the queen’s court. But women are forbidden from appearing in plays. Beatrice seduces Will and teaches him the ecstasy of submitting to her riding crop and her dildo up his arse until he pledges to help her realise her dream. But the main performance is a thorough fisting for the renowned wordsmith on stage after the theatre has emptied.
Story 5: Days of Moloch by Lara Kairos (pages 42-54)
In the gloom of the Third Reich’s decline, a passionate romance blooms between a young German woman and a Polish forced labourer. If others learn about their deviant affair, they will face a cruel punishment. But nights are dark and windows are blacked out when the clandestine lovers escape into their act of love, submission, dominance and defiance.
Story 6: Revenge of the Dixie Devil by Sylvia Lowry (pages 55-64)
The American Civil War, 1865. As Sherman’s northern army rolls across the embattled south, an elusive Confederate spy and raider known as the ‘Dixie Devil’ has plagued the Yankee invasion. In search of the notorious secret agent, a Union officer approaches an isolated manor house on the outskirts of Atlanta, where he meets a headstrong, independent southern belle who may have some knowledge of the mysterious criminal. She is willing to reveal her secrets – at an enticingly erotic price.
Story 7: The Gift by Clarice Clique (pages 65-76)
When Asdern and Theodine married it was for political reasons to join their royal houses, but they quickly discovered a true affection for each other. The only possible blight on their happiness was the clash of their sexual desires. What solution can there be for a man and woman who both yearn for the other to dominate them? Theodine believes she can solve the problem by purchasing and training a slave to fulfil their conflicting needs. But can an unknown outlander really be trusted with their most private secrets?
Story 8: Sex in Sin City by Chris Westlake (pages 77-87)
In the heat of 1930s Las Vegas, Virginia, a sweet and homely ranch owner’s daughter, secures a job cleaning in one of the casinos, and her eyes are opened to a completely new world full of lust and extravagance. A chance encounter shows that all is not how it seems, and the reality is so much more exciting. And when a worker from the Boulder Dam makes Virginia a proposition, her own blossoming desires depend on the roll of a ball.
Story 9: Bed of Glass by Alexandra Thomas (pages 88-94)
While flat-hunting she walks into a bedroom with a bed of glass. It is amazingly special. Seven foot by seven with a canopy of twinkling glass, made by a carpenter from way back in the past. But the past still inhabits the bed and she sees flashes of the courtesan who ordered the bed for her master. And the same courtesan is not averse to helping today’s celibate woman find a new excitement in the same bed.
Story 10: Pages From the Records of Doctor Helena Hopfl by Kin Fallon (pages 95-102)
Broken-hearted Doctor Helena Hopfl fled to her castle and pulled up the drawbridge a long time ago, swearing that no man would cross her moat again. Deep inside her isolated sanctuary she begins to feel life breaking through the cracks. Can she reawaken past pleasures creating her new project? Can her new project breathe life back into her?
Story 11: La Contessa’s Game by Slave Nano (pages 103-114)
Renowned for her cruelty and for the bizarre sexual tasks she uses her household servants for La Contessa’s reputation is well established in 18th century Venice. Made to dress as an elegant Venetian noblewoman her male servant is paraded through the canals and alleyways of the city for an encounter with Francesca, an enthusiastic courtesan, in which both are party to her twisted and perverted game.
Story 12: The Raid by Kitty Mouser (pages 115-122)
During the latter years of World War Two, a young couple are preparing for married life together: they have a home and she is pregnant with their first child, but neither is in any rush to marry quite yet. They are busy enjoying the strange freedom of sex during pregnancy – there’s no need to worry about being able to pull out quickly when she’s already pregnant! – and taking advantage of the time they have together before the baby arrives.
Story 13: Garver by Landon Dixon (pages 123-131)
Raw Garver. He shifted his hips, feeling a tightening in his dusty jeans, a warmth down below that had nothing to do with the hot sun or the hard ride he’d endured. He was known for his fast guns, and his big gun; the tall, lean man with the deathhead’s grin.
Story 14: Yoni Puja by Honey Falls (pages 132-142)
Leila is a young, collared slave girl in 19th century Persia. Given to Jalil as payment for her father’s gambling debts, he delights in teaching the headstrong young virgin that obedience leads to ecstasy and fulfilment. Her ultimate test is the act of Yoni Puja, the tantric worship of the vagina and the ultimate celebration of womanhood.
Story 15: The Duchess and the Highwayman by Kitti Bernetti (pages 143-155)
“Stand and deliver” – except the lusty highwayman forgets the quest for jewels and gold on capturing voluptuous and virginal Lady Henrietta. My Lady is quivering more with passion than fear after their encounter in a steamy coach on a lonely road. She finds herself pining for the highwayman, especially when it’s such a crime the young pearl of a girl is betrothed to the odious Duke of Lansdowne. But the resourceful, masked highwayman has plans that will overcome all obstacles and a secret which is revealed only to Lady Henrietta.
Story 16: Punished for the Pharaoh’s Pleasure by Demelza Hart (pages 156-168)
It is a stiflingly hot night in ancient Thebes. Beautiful temple servant, Mayamenti, is caught out of her chamber by the stunning High Priest, Amunnakht. For many long days she has stood in the temple, watching him silently and lusting secretly. Now he drags her before the Pharaoh for chastisement, and Mayamenti finds she craves her punishment. The pleasure and pain it brings her lead to a night of intense erotic fulfilment, and more.
Story 17: The Invader by Jayne Wheatley (pages 169-176)
A young Scottish woman watches invaders approach, and joins with the ranks of the men to ward off the marauding Viking warriors. When battle commences, a huge warrior carries her away to a disused roundhouse, where she struggles with him, but soon her body gives in to his demands. Will she find satisfaction in the heat of battle?
Story 18: A Cure for the Immoral Young Lady by Emma Lydia Bates (pages 177-188)
It’s the late 1890s, but Marianne and Penelope are far from being proper Victorian young ladies, despite the impression they might give. So when Penelope shows Marianne a newspaper column about an aristocrat who claims he can cure a girl’s morality with a single touch, she can’t help but be tempted to find out more.
Story 19: Pretty Tied Up by Elizabeth Coldwell (pages 189-198)
Tired of the restrictions of small-town life, Lucille is carving out a career for herself as a successful glamour model in New York. She jumps at the chance to work with famous but reclusive photographer Dusty Woods. But Dusty isn’t like any other photographer Lucille has ever met – and persuading her to pose for bondage shots is only the start of her education…
Story 20: Midsummer Madness by Rowan Owen (pages 199-211)
In the world of a Celtic chieftain, marriage is a political tool rather than a question of love or romance. Elinor, the chieftain’s beautiful red-headed daughter, could enjoy the pick of the young men in her tribe – but her marriage to another tribal leader has already been decided. Although her marriage fate is in the hands of her father, where she takes her sexual pleasure is still very much within her own power. And power is its own aphrodisiac, as Elinor soon discovers in the midsummer revels which mark her coming of age… ⏎
Though not all of the stories in this anthology are amazing, I would recommend it for the range of settings alone. There are so many different types of relationships and various types of sex as well, so there is bound to be something you will like.
Of course, depending on your preferences there may not be much you’d enjoy. It depends on whether you’re into any BDSM aspects or not.”
You can buy the Past Pleasures anthology from Lovehoney by clicking the image in the comments or directly from the publisher at Xcite Books.
About SubReiSkyeMOwner of Thoughts of a Growing Sub. I've been blogging for a year now and still loving it! Check my blog for reviews, blogger memes and BDSM talk!
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