Living For The City

How intimate can life ever be in a city, where millions of people exist side by side without ever knowing each others’ names? Does anonymity give you the security to be yourself, or leave you feeling vulnerable? How are relationships forged, and are they strengthened or fractured by the pressures of city life? Those are some of the questions explored in Only In The City: Erotic Tales Of City Life, the latest collection of spicy speculative fiction from Circlet Press.

Donnie, in Eric Del Carlo’s slice of Southern Gothic, So Far As I Can See, has certainly allowed himself to become isolated in his little corner of New Orleans. He’s shocked out of his usual drunken melancholy when he inadvertently lets an invisible human presence into his home. Nicknaming the ghost Harvey, he doesn’t realise he is about to be introduced to the delights of sex with a man he can’t see, only feel.

The nameless narrator of Shanna Germain’s Bridge is an angel, back from Heaven to track down the love of his life, Cade, who is still very much alive. Cade is trying to forget his death by picking up lovers in gay clubs, and when they meet again, Cade expects yet another one-night stand. But the angel has plans, plans that involve breaking the cardinal rules he has been given. Don’t let him know who you are, and don’t try to take him back with you…

Medellin, Colombia is the setting for Renatta Garcia’s Of Blood And Fire: The Medellin Contract. It’s a city known to most people for its part in the illegal cocaine trade, and Italo, the story’s protagonist, is thoroughly immersed in that criminal underworld. When his boss takes him to a secret sex club catering to the most perverse of fetishes, he meets Sarah, a stunning American mixed martial arts expert with skeletons in her past.But how much danger is he putting himself in by acting on his overwhelming impulse to have sex with her?

On Fire Mages by Elizabeth Hyder takes place in a world where magic is commonplace, but this is as far from a Harry Potter adventure as you can imagine. Metal mage Johan is attempting to rob the wealthy Safira household, only to meet the son of the household, fire mage Luc. Luc thrives on danger and is keen to recruit Johan as his second for a magic-duel. Johan is torn between his contempt for the city’s noblemen and his lust for Luc, and gradually the two become involved in an erotic battles of wills.

Love During Seeding Time by Kaysee Renee Robichaud takes us to another planet, where Jorge is one of the Black Thumbs, employed to destroy unauthorised plant growth that threatens the safety of buildings and people in the city of Andromedia. When he comes face to face with Rose, who is deeply unsettled by witnessing him burning down a tree, he doesn’t realise that the fate of the whole city will soon be in his hands. Their coupling – or, as she calls it, ‘seeding’ – leads him to some important realisations about the relationship not only between Andromedia and the people who live there, but the city and the ecology of the planet as a whole…

My story in the anthology, Camille/Leon, is the tale of a prostitute who has the ability to move from one gender to another, and is able to cater to a variety of clients in different parts of the city. But what s/he really wants is an opportunity to live and love in a body that is neither male nor female but somewhere between the two…

The beauty of anthologies with such a wide brief is that authors can let their imaginations run wild in terms of style and setting. Only In The City moves from high fantasy to sensual sci-fi to gritty urban settings, placing recognisably human desires and dilemmas at the heart of every story. If ghosts, angels or wicked, witty magicians do it for you, pick up a copy direct from Circlet or via Amazon, Smashwords and Fictionwise.

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