by Jaci Burton, Jasmine Hayned, Joey W. Hill, Denise Rossetti

December 2008
ISBN: 978-0-425-22381-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Heat
Trade Paperback

A corset is the theme of this anthology, each story featuring one as an integral part of the plot. The cover of this book is also to be highly commended as not only beautiful, but appropriate as well.

In The Ties That Bind by Jaci Burton we find Lisa contemplating her life now that her daughter has turned eighteen and graduated from high school. When her daughter and best friend convince her to take an exotic vacation, she grudgingly agrees. Only instead of her best friend showing up, her ex-husband Rick is there to surprise her.

They were married too young and divorced after only a few years. Despite not staying married, the two have remained very good friends and he has always been there for both Lisa and their daughter. Now Rick wants to see if they can be more than friends again, and Lisa is afraid to ruin what they have together. But warm tropical nights and a sexy corset help convince her that love may just be worth the risk.

Jasmine Haynes delivers a sensual delight with Undone as Margo finds herself needing a change when her lover walks out on her after eight years. When she sees a photographers’ ad, looking for a real woman to pose for erotic pictures, Margo is actually intrigued. She works up the courage to contact the photographer and soon finds herself at his home and studio. Her ex thought she was too worried about what others thought and unwilling to take a chance. Well, she was taking a big chance right now.

When Dirk placed his ad, he never thought he’d be lucky enough to have a woman like Margo respond. As he begins taking her pictures; he’s thrilled at her willingness to try a variety of sexy poses in a corset. Margo is insanely attracted to Dirk, but can they have a real relationship with him being twelve years younger than her? Dirk can only hope she’ll prove her ex wrong and take a chance on him.

Joey W. Hill brings back familiar characters in Controlled Response. This story is related to Board Resolution, her contribution to the Behind the Mask anthology. After a chance meeting, Lucas is unable to get Cassandra out of his head. When she walks into his board meeting a month later, he knows he will do whatever it takes to make Cass his. Cassandra has her hands full being a mother to her five younger siblings. With her life in chaos, Cassandra wears a corset because it forces her to remain calm in order to breathe properly.

Despite Cassandra’s tough demeanor, Lucas recognizes a woman who wants to, and needs to, submit herself to a dominant man. Lucas plans on being that man. Over the next two days of working together, he hopes to show her just how good they could be together. This story is the longest and most fleshed out of the stories but not for the faint of heart. It’s intense and has one scene that includes voyeurism, and more than one man involved. Ms. Hill once again pens a very sensual sub/dom story that is a perfect combination of strength and romance.

Rounding out the anthology is a story I personally found completely incompatible with the previous three stories. Rubies and Black Velvet by Denise Rossetti is either a historical or fantasy setting, or perhaps both, and has a much darker overtone. In this story the corset is originally worn by an evil sorceress who ends up cursing it while she lay dying at the hand of her lover. Then a young woman named Meg comes across the corset and while wearing it finds herself having thoughts that are very unlike her own. When her lover, whom she thought to be dead, returns after six years, what should have been a joyous reunion is tainted by the evilness of the corset. Though love prevails, there were several scenes ranging from disturbing to horrific which prevented me from giving this book the five rose rating it deserved.

Reviewed in November 2008 by Jackie.