My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“Sore Winner” by Kiernan Kelly stars two fiercely competitive men who, through a mix-up in reservations, end up sharing the master suite on a cruise ship. Morgan is a successful businessman who recently made it big with his ad business after years and years of hard work, scrimping and saving to help it survive. Rose is just the opposite, a seeming playboy with a trust fund managing a string of highly successful hotels. What happens when these two decide to indulge in a variety of contests to determine a winner is fast-paced, entertaining and amusing. From a game of table tennis to determine who wins the room’s only bed to a game of who can survive more spanks from the ping-pong paddle, these two engage you in their battle of wills.
In “Rough Edges” by Jane Davitt, Michael and Steve are in a D/s relationship and the story explores what happens when both have a bad day. Steve, the richer IT geek, is caught speeding and mouthing off to his Dom, culminating in a very bad day. Some of the things he said in his rant were particularly funny and show the humor as well as the care that clearly exist. This story feels more intimate with the connection between the two and the spanking scene is more intense. The love is clear and both wanted to give the other person exactly what they needed to ease them after a bad day. It was a lovely look at their relationship and created enough teasing complexity that I was curious to read something more in depth about these two.
In BA Tortuga’s story “Boredom Through the Ages”, she revisits old friends Knox and Isaac from Timeless Hunger. These two are vampires, though you wouldn’t really know it unless you’d read their previous novel and there are only a few references to it in this short story. Isaac is bored and Knox comes up with creative ways to keep him from causing trouble. In the first scene, I was delighted when Knox is especially creative with his use of a book to spank Isaac. The connection with these two characters is instant and the chemistry sizzles right from the start. This author is very good at dropping the reader into an already established relationship without the feeling of having missed essential elements. The two spanking scenes are hot and playful while holding an undercurrent of intensity to their relationship. It’s the shortest of the three stories, but my favorite with its creativity and characters.
In all three stories of this Toy Box, different paddles and different purposes are used to create a fun, engaging anthology that flows easily from one story to the next. From the use of a ping-pong paddle to a wooden paddle and finally a book, these stories will be worth revisiting and enjoying again.