Playing With Fire - book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Alan & Michele

Quick Tales to Heat Things Up

Light on plot but heavy on straight sex, this collection of erotica stories is ideal for people who want to heat things up quickly without a lot of wasted words. The subtitle *is* "Taboo Erotica" though, so be sure you're ready to read about lots of cheating.
Many fast-paced arousing and unique stories
Some dubious consent, 2 works aren't stories at all
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
Playing With Fire is a collection of 20 short stories, edited by Alison Tyler, that are what we would consider "light" erotica. That's not to say that they aren't hot, as some are VERY hot, but the sex scenes are for the most part just plain sex with only a little anal, domination, and spanking where it's appropriate. Nothing too shocking for most folks, in other words, so you can relax back into a good old fuck tale.
On a side note, there are technically 22 works in the book, but we said "20 stories" since 2 were just half-page long drabbles, not stories. Some people might be able to use them as fantasy fodder, but as a couple reading together we don't like to have *that* much left to the imagination.

The title of the book is largely metaphoric because there are only a handful of tales that are literally fire or heat-related. In fact, the most common theme in the book is cheating, a subject that 9 stories revolve around. We're not big advocates of that subject in real-time, but fantasy is another thing altogether and a few of those tales had sex scenes in them that were too good to miss. One of those was The Last Cigarette by Heidi Champa, which involved a woman who gets more than a cigarette when a waiter finds her bent over a railing at her rich fiancé’s parental mansion. Between the title and the setting, there is an element of danger in the scene that makes it darkly provocative.

Other titles in the cheating sector, like One Hot Slut by N.T. Morley, were just so sad for the characters that anything "hot" was lost on us by the end, no matter how much fantasy we tried to see in it.

Most of the stories were just bluntly arousing though, and one of our agreed-upon favorites was Fire Woman, by Sommer Marsden. It's about a girl who gets horny watching firemen working at the practice burn site, and while she watches she uses a very special pen to write explicit sexual instructions all over her body for her fireman lover to follow later. The story is believable, hot, and very well written. Most impressive is the fact that Ms. Marsden wrote it all from the male's point of view, and pulled it off perfectly.

And speaking of the male P.O.V., there are stories by 6 male authors, and one other female writing from a male's perspective, so men are well represented in this book. Jeremy Edwards wrote the second of our agreed-upon favorites, called Three on a Match. It's a fast-paced story steeped in nostalgia about a college man who falls for his best mate's girlfriend. While the situation could have turned out badly, Edwards handles his open-minded characters well and the sex that ensues in the dorm room is enough to make you grab for your own partner.

No erotica anthology that we've read is perfect, but this one had far more stories that were truly arousing than not. It would take more writing space than we have here describe each one that turned us on, together or separately, so we'll leave it to the reader to find out for themselves what we mean.
Alan says:
For the most part I enjoyed the book. I think the abundance of cheating might turn the average couple off of it though, and there were some dubious consent scenes that bothered me personally. They weren't rape scenes, but more like revenge acts that were a result of the cheatings, or one partner selfishly forcing the other way out of their comfort zone. And I didn't like them. On the brighter side, there weren't many of those, and if you read Just Add Water you'll know why we're having so much fun with our new clear shower curtain. Now if I can just find a balcony around here too... (heheh).

Michele says:
With erotica, I tend to get bored with long descriptions while waiting for the sex to start, (unless it has a really interesting plot or a lot of sexual tension in the lead-up), so I liked how fast-paced these all were. It was like "Here are the people, here's why they're where they are, now let them fuck." There was no excessive yammering about every stitch of clothing the chick with the cliché' stiletto heals had on, or what color each bit of makeup she wore was, like we've read in too many erotica stories. Most of these are just a quick turn-on. Sure there were a few clunkers, but the good stories far outweighed the bad.
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  • Antipova
    Great review, A&M. "One Hot Slut" made me really sad, too... but so many of the others were so hot. I'm glad you guys liked this.
  • Selective Sensualist
    I am adding this to my wish list. One of these days I'm actually going to order one of the erotica books on my list (most of which are there thanks to your recommendations). I think this one would be a great start!

    Excellent job on the review, as always.
  • LostBoy988
    Good job on the review
  • Bella-Sunshine (Couple Account)
    Thanks for the review
  • SiNn
    awesome revie w ty
  • Aydios
  • nosrslylol
    Thanks for your review!
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