Monday, February 4, 2019

No Safewords 2 edited by Laura Antoniou (BDSM erotica)

The Marketplace is one of those fictional worlds that you can only dream of, an organization that you know is not real, but desperately wish could be. It is a secret society of slaves, submissives, owners, Masters, and Mistresses, one of complete and utter commitment, but also one of rules and codes of conduct.

There are 6 novels in The Marketplace series, the original No Safewords short story anthology, and now the No Safewords 2 follow-up anthology, edited by Laura Antoniou (with a lovely introduction from her wife, Karen Taylor). If you are a fan of Laura's world, then you will love revisiting it through other eyes, and if you are new to The Marketplace, this is a great place to begin.

There are 18 stories here, from a variety of authors, covering a wide range of genders, sexualities, and BDSM roles. A few of the stories that stood out for me were:

The Adventure of the Bowing Doctor by S. Daithi was an absolutely wonderful bondage-themed take on the Holmes/Watson relationship that immediately grabs your attention. It remains true to the characters we know and love, incorporating their original eccentricities, but which delves deeper into their shared pain and dependence.

Olivia by Erzabet Bishop was a touching, powerful story about what happens when a Master is reaching the end of his life, and how he ensures that his slave continues to be taken care of, even if she does not understand why she must be trained and sold. I cried so hard for her.
“You are more than worthy, my dear. I have been a blessed man to have been able to help you achieve your goals of becoming a slave.” He tenderly wiped the tears from her cheek, and as she looked up, she could have sworn she saw moisture glittering in His eyes as well.
Rain Dog by LN Bey was perhaps the most interesting story in the collection, exploring the desperate attempts of an unworthy slave to win her way back into the organization. It is a dark and edgy story, one with a lot of tension, that I found myself drawn into.

Isis of 10,000 Names by Steve Dee was, far and away, my favorite story in the collection - one that I reread a second time when I was done with the book. It fuses ancient mythology with contemporary subcultures, exploring asexuality, tantric sex, fairies, chastity, and transgender issues.
Unlike some pagan groups that got caught up in some sort of dead-end belief about what it meant to be a real woman, the temple recognized the Goddess could be made manifest in anyone, whatever their biological sex at birth.
Something More by Dani Hermit & Nevi Star put a fantastic spin on traditional bondage and monster erotica themes, exploring a bookish tentacle beast by the name of Eugene who would rather submit that master others with his appendages. I loved this one so much!

Second Opinion by Madeline Elayne is a story I nearly skipped over, as soon as I came to understand what a grudge slave is, but it won me over with the tenderness, respect, and care, with emphasis put on recovery and downtime. It is a side of slavery and ownership that some readers might find distressing, but it is done so well, and with such humanity, that I loved it.

Prospect by Moxie Marcus is such a simple tale, one about the preparation of a new slave for sale at The Marketplace, but I loved the crossdressing elements, and the way it brings a former motorcycle rider full circle is a lovely touch.
He took the stockings and waist cincher without a sound. Other slaves may have needed reminded that they wore their clothing at their owner’s pleasure, but he had never required that to be explained.
650.13 by Caraway Carter was another of those stories that impressed me with its approach, exploring an older, heavier gentleman who only asked to be trained in order to be sold to one man, who changed his mind, leaving him questioning his place and his worth. I loved the idea of being bought by a couple, and that scene of dual pleasure at the end . . . oh my!

I could keep going. I could find a few words to say about every story here, but I have to wrap up my review somewhere. Truly, there is not a single bad story in No Safewords 2, a collection that speaks to all readers, whether they wear collars or wield whips.

Laura Antoniou is the author of The Killer Wore Leather (which won the Pauline Reage Novel Award and the Rainbow Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award) and the creator of the ground-breaking, bestselling (over 400,000 books sold) “Marketplace” series of books about an underground BDSM society. Originally published under the name Sara Adamson, the first three Marketplace books became instant classics, “must reads” for anyone discovering bondage for the first time, and various volumes have been published in Germany, Japan, Korea, and Israel. She has also edited several anthologies of erotic fiction, including Leatherwomen and Some Women. Her short stories have appeared in Best Lesbian Erotica, SM Classics, Once Upon a Time, and many other anthologies.

@LAntoniou ‏

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