Review: 12 Shades of Surrender Anthology by Various

February 5, 2015 2 stars, 2014 Purchases, 2015 Review Challenge, alpha male overload, Anthology, BDSM, Book Review, ebook, Erotic Romance, Romance 0 ★★

Review: 12 Shades of Surrender Anthology by Various two-stars
12 Shades of Surrender by Adelaide Cole, Alegra Verde, Alison Tyler, Anne Calhoun, Eden Bradley, Elisa Adams, Emelia Elmwood, Lisa Renee Jones, Megan Hart, Portia Da Costa, Saskia Walker, Tiffany Reisz
Published by Harlequin MIRA on September 4, 2012
Genres: BDSM, Erotic, Romance
Pages: 480
Format: eBook
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Are you ready to step deeper into the shade?

If Fifty Shades of Grey has left you aching to expand your BDSM repertoire, the experts on erotic romance have handpicked a collection of sensual and shocking stories by some of the genre's bestselling names and powerful new voices. Inside, explore a delectable spectrum of intense pleasure with twelve short, sharp and unforgettable novellas that will have you begging for mercy.

Think you can handle it?

12 Shades of Surrender—the darker side of romance.

Under His Hand - Anne Calhoun
A Paris Affair - Adelaide Cole
The Envelope Incident - Emelia Elmwood
The Challenge - Megan Hart
Taste of Pleasure - Lisa Renee Jones
Night Moves - Eden Bradley
Cuffing Kate - Alison Tyler
Going Down - Saskia Walker
Taking Her Boss - Alegra Verde FemDomme
Chance of a Lifetime - Portia Da Costa
For Your Pleasure - Elisa Adams
Seven Day Loan (aka The Gift) - Tiffany Reisz

The two star rating is the average of all the stories. As with all anthologies, I enjoyed some stories more than others.

“Under His Hand” by Anne Calhoun – 4 stars
Whenever Tess Weston’s Navy SEAL boyfriend, Drew Norwood, returned from a mission, their lovemaking was always hot and intense. It made Tess feel what it meant to be female at its most primitive. Taken. Possessed.

But Drew’s latest unexpected reappearance is different. He’s filled with raw need for Tess–and anger that she has left the windows open in her rough neighborhood, the one thing he made her promise never to do. Independent Tess can’t believe Drew wants to follow through on his threat to spank her for defying him…but she’s also intrigued. Can Tess trust him enough to let Drew dominate her body and her heart?

Man, I’ve been enjoying myself some Anne Calhoun lately. I was fortunate enough to discover her before Ellora’s Cave/Tina Engler decided to sue a blogger or I would have never found her work. Liberating Lacey has been one of my top reads for 2014. I can’t wait until Ms Calhoun gets her rights back – my mom would love it. 🙂 But I digress…

Drew and Tess’ story was short, adorable and oh, so hot! There’s not much to say about “Under His Hand” except that it was a great opening to this anthology. Tess’ submission was wonderful to watch unfold.

“A Paris Affair” by Adelaide Cole – DNF
After years of child rearing, chores and career challenges, Valerie feels the sexual heat in her life has cooled. All she wants is a break from her everyday routine–until an unexpected reunion with a man from her past awakens the pure sexual wanting she thought she’d lost….

I didn’t finish reading this one as soon as it became apparent that there was going to be an actual affair taking place. Gah. I hate cheating.

The Envelope Incident by Emelia Elmwood – DNF
After Emma is dumped by her boyfriend, her friends decide she needs to let her inner tigress loose. They ask Emma to write down three sexual fantasies, put them in an envelope slipped under their door, and they’ll make them happen!

Emma’s fantasies are about to come true in a way that will leave her feeling so sexy, so powerful, and so deliciously used…

I’m rarely a fan of the stories where the heroine’s “friends” get her romance started by forcing her to do something out of character and this story was no exception. I was turned off from almost the very first sentence so I decided not to force myself to read it. DNF.

“The Challenge” by Megan Hart – 2.5 stars
Katie Donato and Dean Manion are total opposites. She’s straight, he’s gay. She’s a serial monogamist, he’s never been into commitment. But they both love sex, and a challenge.

So when Katie tells Dean she thinks she could pleasure him better than he could ever satisfy her, he dares her to prove it–by sleeping together. Soon Katie and Dean are taking their friendship to places they never imagined.

But what about the guys they’re really interested in dating?

“Shut your mouth! The fuck you mean, no delivery? I deliver.”
Katie leaned, too, so her breath would tickle his earlobe. “No, babe. That ass and that smile promise a lot but Dean Manion only delivers to addresses on Penis Avenue. Vagina Street’s out of your delivery zone, remember?”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Other than the quote above…I’m not really sure how much I enjoyed this story. It gave me food for thought but I hesitate to call this story a romance and I can’t put my finger on the surrender theme…

Katie and Dean are good friends and close co-workers. Dean challenges Katie to have sex with him simply to prove that he was so good he could even make a woman orgasm. So they do it and it works fine. But Katie is into a guy named Jimmy and Dean is dating a guy named Jacob.

There is no romance in this story – it’s more of a slice of life – but at the end the two friends get to date the people they were into. I felt that Katie was a bit of a cardboard character: she felt more like a catalyst for Dean’s emotional growth than a full person. Dean’s relationship with Jacob has some issues because Dean has a problem admitting how much he likes Jacob (due to past hurt). Katie’s only issue is nervousness: Jimmy is giving off some seriously mixed signals and it’s made her lose some confidence regarding his [Jimmy’s] attraction to her. (TBH, I liked the few parts Jimmy was in.)

I also wasn’t a big fan of the very casual sex between friends/co-workers. That doesn’t really work very well and causes all sorts of confusion. You don’t shit where you eat.


“Taste of Pleasure” by Lisa Renee Jones – DNF
Eight years ago, Sarah Michaels locked eyes with Ryan White at a sinful sex club. His dominant presence exuded erotic promises and aroused part of Sarah that she didn’t recognize. But Ryan was her family’s chief rival in the candy business, the very definition of forbidden fruit.Since that night, Sarah has tried to deny that she wants what Ryan offers, that she actually wants to be dominated. Yet she can’t stop fantasizing about him. When Ryan invites her to his elite club where power and pleasure go hand-in-hand, the temptation to explore her suppressed desires is too strong to resist. Is she ready to give up control to Ryan–a man who might never give it back?

“Book one of The Masters series.”

This one is a hard read for me. I’m not really enjoying it because I can’t turn my mind off while reading it. As I read I keep wanting to protest: Ryan and Sarah haven’t even seen each other in NINE years – so reading passages like this:

And so he let her run for now, let her have a few seconds to compose herself, knowing he had her on edge, when his real intention was to take her to the edge. That meant being gentle, giving her the safety and security to explore and let go with him, through trust. And she was most definitely running – from him, from what she was going to have to do to save her family business, and from the secret they’d shared so many years ago. But most of all, she was running from herself, and while he’d be easy with her, while he’d protect her, he wasn’t going to let her hide.

When I read that – I was all “WTF! Who the fuck does he think he is?? He barely knows jack shit about her! They knew each other as kids and they last saw each other from across a room nine years ago. How the FUCK would he know what she needs or what she’s thinking??! Fuck this shit and fuck him.” So I keep getting stuck here – cause apparently Ryan is a mind reader. Ugh.

“Night Moves” by Eden Bradley – 3.5 stars
Something about trains had always brought out Kate’s wild side. So far it had been her own dirty little secret–until a sexy stranger catches her sneaking into his compartment looking to indulge her fantasy. But instead of throwing her out, Ian is turned on…and he’s ready to give Kate the ride of her life.

I really liked this one!! It was an unexpected joy. I felt it was a little unrealistic but still hot. I really felt weird at the beginning of the story while Kate was walking the train – it made me nervous, lol! But I loved Kate and Ian together. And I really, really loved the ending. 🙂 It was perfect.

“Cuffing Kate” by Alison Tyler – DNF
What naughty thing had he suggested to Sonia? And why did I so desperately want him to try it out on me…?

When Kate’s roommate ditches Jules Rodriguez for asking her to do something “kinky”, she’s eager to know what he wants. Jules has always looked like a man Kate could share her fantasies with…fantasies about dominance and submission that no one else has discovered. Can Kate make him realize that she’s his perfect bedmate?

Gosh, this one felt very awkward. I hated being in Kate’s head, especially since I didn’t care for her too much. I disliked the way Kate snooped through her roommate’s diary, too. Ugh. Can’t trust this bitch.

Past that, the story was too slow. It takes forever to get anywhere and I gave up and DNF’d it before Kate had any kind of sexual run in with anyone (besides herself).


“Going Down” by Saskia Walker – 3.5 stars
He was a confident man, subtly commanding, too. Would he be like that as a lover? Yes, I just knew he’d be masterful.

Jennifer hoped she’d meet someone during her six-month stay in Paris, but she didn’t expect to find a captivating man like her neighbor Armand Lazare on her very first day. From their initial encounter in their building’s antique elevator, he makes her feel wanton, excited and unexpectedly aroused by the way he takes control. But as much as this new desire unnerves Jennifer, she’s even more eager to explore it — with Armand as her master.

I really liked this one, too! So cute! I really enjoyed the atmosphere as well. Something about the way the entire story was written felt…enclosed, tight…insulated between the two characters.

“Taking Her Boss” by Alegra Verde (FemDomme) – DNF
When Glory James’s boss catches her having sex with a client at the office, she expects to get reprimanded, not Bruce Davies’s revelation that he wants her, too. Even more shocking is his confession that he likes to be told what to do in bed–and that Glory is aroused by the idea..

I didn’t finish the story because it didn’t catch me in any way. The way Glory and her boss start dealing with each other…was awkward and uncomfortable for me.

“Chance of a Lifetime” by Portia Da Costa – 3.5 stars
The videotape shocked and thrilled her…and really turned her on. She’d found it in a small, out-of-the-way sitting room of Blaystock Manor, where she was working. Now everyone was away and she finally had an opportunity to watch at her leisure. There on the screen was the Marquis, her much fantasized-about boss, administering a very sexy spanking to some girl. The intense erotic sizzle she felt compelled her to begin touching herself. And as she lost herself in pleasure, she suddenly realized he’d entered the room and had been watching her. But embarrassment turned to excitement when he urged her to continue, then began to touch her intimately. It was only the smallest hint of what she’d witnessed on the tape, but she knew she had to have more…”much” more.

I really liked this one. Portia Da Costa writes really interesting but complete shorts. Of the two shorts I’ve read by Ms Da Costa, each star a dominate that seemed… a little beta in a way. The men are dominates – or at least into play as dominates – but they don’t have that aggressive quality often found in “romance dominates.”

“For Your Pleasure” by Elisa Adams – 3 stars
For two weeks Callie has been watching–and lusting after–the sexy neighbor she can spy changing in his bedroom. Even though she knows nothing else about it him, all of Callie’s fantasies have revolved around him since the first time she saw him. It’s too bad he never looked her way. Or so she thought…

On a steamy summer night, her neighbor catches her enjoying his private strip session–and comes over for a visit. And Callie soon learns that the only thing better than watching is being part of the show…

I really enjoyed this one! I was surprised by my enjoyment because of the voyeur aspect – I’m not really into it, myself – but this story was hot!


“Seven Day Loan” (aka The Gift) by Tiffany Reisz – 4 stars
A trained submissive, Eleanor will do whatever her master commands…even spend a week with a stranger. Daniel has been a recluse since his wife’s death, and Eleanor’s lover thinks spending time with her will be therapeutic–especially since Daniel is also a Dom.

Despite her defiant streak, Eleanor can’t resist giving in to Daniel’s erotic demands. But while she’ll let him have her body, she’s determined to keep a guard around her heart. Even if Daniel wants to make Eleanor his permanently…

Full review HERE.

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