Playing With Fire - erotic book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by P'Gell

Alison Tyler Plays with Fire and We All Come Out Hot on the Other Side

Alison Tyler gives us a collection of Fire and heat themed Erotica. The subtitle is "Taboo Erotica." Cuckolding, Threesomes, Humiliation, Bondage and Domination Submission and a moderate sprinkling of just the right amount of pain, added to a great deal of Pleasure makes this collection of stories a good read for those interested in "Taboo Erotica" or just plain old good Kink.

The cover picture alone could sell this book, and liking that, one won't be disappointed with the contents.
Good erotica, BDSM and Kink oriented, mostly well written stories, varying authors
May be too intense for some, mainly hetero couples and triads
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review

About author

Alison Tyler, one of my favorite erotica editors and authors, has been called "The Trollop with a Laptop" among other things, and she seems to enjoy the titles, as well as the acclaim. She also authors erotic novels. Ms. Tyler writes and collects erotica and assembles them into packages for the rest of us to enjoy. She has written and edited over 30 collections of Erotica, all based on different themes and ideas.

This collection encompasses 22 authors, including Tyler herself. The Usual Suspects, like Thomas S. Roche, M. Murphy, Sommer Marsden and Shanna Germain are included, along with some new names and some up and coming writers in the erotica genre.
    • Engaging
    • Expert author
    • Multiple contributoring authors

Content / Style / Audience

The stories and vignettes in this book are all loosely related to the Fire, Smoke, Heat and Water and most involve some level of Kink and/or Bondage, Domination, Submission and Discipline. As most collections Ms. Tyler complies, these are certainly not for the faint of heart, nor for the Vanilla minded or action-ed. Although, giving this book to a Vanilla companion or friend, with some passages marked may prove an interesting experiment, or even the door to a new lease on one's sex life.
    • Bdsm
    • Erotica
    • Fiction


A paperback with medium quality paper and a nice glossy photograph on the cover. The book seems higher quality than some editions of Ms. Tyler's work, which have been put out in pulp stock with poor bindings. My copy of playing with fire has been folded, placed into cloth covers, brought into the bathtub, and dropped off the bed repeatedly and holds up well. It is a regular sized paperback and not too indecent. I, however, do place it in a cloth cover for more privacy when reading anywhere other than my bedroom.

The picture is a perfect illustration of the book's contents. The woman in the photo is so hot, it nearly made me contemplate taking up smoking. I like to think she is "Emerald" from the story Scorched which I will get to below.
    • Soft cover

Personal comments

Some of the stories deserve special attention, so they will be outlined. Fire Woman by Sommer Marsden is written from a man's Point of View. It is the story of a Firefighter, who finds a pyromaniac woman who seems to be a "Fireman's Groupie." She shows up at fires and demonstrations and she and the man narrating the story have several very hot encounters after she is "warmed up" after seeing buildings burn. His commander warns him about women like her, but he doesn't listen. White Heat, White Light by Sophia Valenti is a modern day retelling of a Greek myth, with some bondage thrown in for some interesting outcomes. Trial by Fire by Bella Dean] is a sad story of a man who needs to be cuckolded in order to become aroused, and forces his wife to pick up men and have sex with then, while he watches and then berates her. I found this story, unlike the others, to be quite disturbing, but those with a propensity towards heavy humiliation may like it quite a bit. Out of the Frying Pan by P.S. Haven is a similar story, which adds Swapping to the cuckolding deal, but contains a fair bit of humiliation and good, smutty dialogue. Fire Boy by Christopher Tolian is an interesting story, written in Poetry Slam style, which may miss the mark erotically, but is a good read anyway.

Two of my personal favorites are Scorched by Janine Ashbless and One Hot Slut by N.T. Morley. In Scorched a young woman named Emerald lives with her Intended, a kind, vanilla man named Max, and his "best mate" Gregg moves in with them. Gregg is a Dominant Alpha Male, and Emerald falls for him, thinking she can keep their affair, rife with kinky sex she would "never" engage in with Max, a secret. But, Gregg and Max are best mates, they share everything and so they decide that if two men is what Emerald wants, two men is what Emerald will get.....on their terms.

The woman telling the story in One Hot Slut tells in second person. She is talking to her husband, whom she knows, in her heart of hearts, is cheating on her. She decides to "slut herself up" including a wicked bleach job, complete shaving, a number of enemas, (for something he has always wanted, and she has always denied him) a nasty outfit, candles, a pair of brand new nipple clamps and other sundry toys lying about the bedroom, to attempt to get her man back. You must read and entertain for yourself what happens when he calls with yet and other excuse for coming home late. Hint: The woman will not let all her hard work go to waste.

Alison Tyler's own story, Some Like It Hot is a strange morality play, about a woman playing both sides of the fence with two boys. The outcome is not what is expected by her or the reader. As per Tyler, it is well written and predictably sad. That doesn't mean there isn't a good amount of good old fashioned smut in between, however.

Flick That Bic by J.D. Waters is a nasty thriller about a man who goes looking for a woman to abuse him; a seat belt, a long, sharp metal hair clip, a disposable lighter and a tiny little Domme may give him exactly what he is looking for.

There are, predictably, several stories featuring hot sex, in rain or water, during or after a Heat Wave, one taking place in plain view of the neighbors on a roof top, and and interesting study of voyeurism, with a woman's own partner and a brand new, transparent shower curtain in Just Add Water as well as a rather bizarre tale of a woman and her mother who go out man hunting and find what they both like.

These stories selected by Tyler are sure to please most with even a mild interest in Kink or BDSM. There are stories strong enough to test even those well versed in these genres, either in real life or through reading or other mediums.

This book is a great addition to anyone's Erotic Library, and would make a good first purchase for someone just starting out a collection of Erotica and interested in the world of Kink in it's many forms.

Most of the tales are of Heterosexual Couples or Triads, but a few have some lesbian scenes involved. Unlike most of Tyler's compilations which contain at least one Gay Male Scene this book does not. Alison collects mostly for womens' reading, but although some of her other collections may have more variety in gender play, this one is true to it's title and it's theme. A fine read, a good introduction to Kink Erotica and a nice interlude to a good time in the bedroom, either alone or with someone special.


I love Tyler's work (I think that's obvious.) This book is one of many I own and I bought it almost solely on the cover art and Tyler's name. I am very happy with the contents, interesting, variations on a theme and mildly to medium on the Kink Scale. I read some of the stories over and over to get me in certain moods and there is certainly something here for most who enjoy a good, lusty read before a roll in bed, or just to relax and fantasize. A good read, all in all.
    • Fire
    • Heat and water themed
    • Kink
Follow-up commentary
I still revisit this book from time to time. There are a few stories that really get me hot, and I will put the book into a cloth cover and read the stories that get my motor in gear when I know we'll be getting it on soon.

The story Scorched by Janine Ashbless is my favorite and I often will re-read it along with my other favorites.

The book is placed into it's cloth cover (so sad to have to cover up the completely hot picture on the front, but I don't have a lot of privacy) I read waiting for My Man to come out of the bathroom, and then slide the book between the bed and the little table I keep my things on, so I can pick it up again when needed.

I think I reach for this collection of erotica more than any of the other 20 or so collections I have.

I've been reading a lot of erotica, and so much of it is so poorly written and badly chosen, that I am always happy to take out Playing With Fire edited by Alison Tyler to help the mood along.

The only bad part is if I've been reading it, and My Man comes into the bedroom, announces he "tired" and is out like a light, before I have time to relive the fantasies spurred by the book.

But, most of the time, he's more than happy to take my body where my mind has been while I've been reading.

This selection of stories is one of the best in my erotica collection.
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  • Alicia
    I will definitely need to check this one out! Thanks for the review!
  • TheSexista
    What does "Vanilla minded" mean?
  • Jul!a
    My fiance and I both love this book too, great job!
  • Red Vinyl Kitty
    Great review!
  • Isabel0329
    Ooooh, I kind of only glanced at this in the product lists but now that you've spelled it out more I'm totally adding this to my wishlist. Thanks for the awesome review!
  • P'Gell
    Thanks, ladies. It's a great collection.

    Sexista, I used the word "Vanilla Minded" for people's whose fantasies may only run in the Vanilla spectrum. You know, some people are Vanilla in act (so far) but have nice bold Kink fantasies. Some people are Vanilla through and through, including what they think about when the lights are out. It's not an indictment of anyone, just some people might not like this collection if their fantasy life or real life doesn't run towards the Kink. That's all.
  • Tori Rebel
    Sounds awesome! Great review
  • Sammi
    This sounds like a really good one
    Great review!
  • markeagleone
    Great review and follow up!
  • P'Gell
    Thanks. It's great collection. There are so many erotica collections, you want to choose the ones with the most number of well written stories and the type of sexual acts you enjoy reading about.
  • Ivy Wilde
    Thanks for the very informative review. This book is now on my wish list.
  • P'Gell
    Thanks, Ivy.
  • SexyLilPixi
    Awesome review!! Scorched is one of my favorites stories as well! This book rocks, seriously!

    Fanning the Flames is another favorite as well, about the woman & the bodyguard.
  • acessorie
  • Aydios
    sounds good
  • P'Gell
    You're welcome, Pixi, asessori, and Aydios. I hope you read the book and enjoy it. (Pixi already has.) It's my favorite erotica collection.
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