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  • Guest Post: “All Wrapped Up” Preview with Editor Elizabeth Hyder

Today I am very happy to welcome editor Elizabeth Hyder to Joyfully Jay! She is here to tell us more about her new release, All Wrapped Up, a tentacle-themed romance anthology from Storm Moon Press. She has brought a sneak peak at each of the stories in the book for us!  Welcome Elizabeth!

In my prior posts at Pants Off Reviews, Bending the Bookshelf, and Book Wenches, I’ve talked about the different elements of tentacles: consent, sensuality, and xenophilia. Today is about how those elements are present in All Wrapped Up, the new tentacle anthology from Storm Moon Press. Warning: spoilers ahead!

In Ground Mission, the men are podmates, a matched set: Simon Pollux, the lethal scout, and Adrian Lovasz, his willing and even more lethal combat specialist. In the midst of exploring an alien world, Simon is infected with an alien virus; this excerpt is from that point:

Adrian pulls [Simon] closer. It’s a little awkward, but the tentacles shift and cooperate after only a few seconds of hesitation. “I believe it. Just stick with me, okay? We’ll get you fixed up. You’ll be okay.” He strokes Simon’s back, fingertips finding the spot where one of the tentacles emerges, and Simon shudders. Adrian goes still. “Bad?”

“Not… no. Weird, not bad. It all feels really soft, really… I don’t know.” Simon takes a slow, shaky breath. “You can keep going.”

“Mmm.” Adrian doesn’t move. “Do you want me to?” Usually he’s pretty willing to roll with Simon’s cranky, half-deflected, half-denied demands, but these are pretty unusual circumstances. A little more direct communication wouldn’t hurt. “Don’t let me do anything that’s going to make you feel worse.”

Simon rolls his uninjured shoulder slowly, flexing muscles in his back. “You won’t,” he says. “You’re way too much of a boy scout.” One of the lowest pair of tentacles snakes forward and curls into the waistband of Adrian’s suit. “Crap. Um. I’m not doing that on purpose.”

Adrian looks down, watching the tentacle curl and grip the suit’s fiber. “I believe it. It’s been a while since you played that coy.”

Simon sputters, not quite a real laugh, but closer to that than to panic. “You think I’d try to get in your pants right now?”

“It’s not like it would be the first time we took a stupid opportunity, right?”

Here Simon has been infected with the virus and wakes up feverish in the middle of the night. Adrian is there for him, and doesn’t shy back from the virus or the possibility that he might catch it as well. It’s a stupid risk, but Adrian cares enough about Simon to do it, and accepts in the process Simon and his tentacles.

Eli exchanges his a life of poverty in Dark Covenant when tricked into signing a contract giving himself to the masters of the Academy. His body, his movement, his life, is theirs to do with as they wish, until the enigmatic Eramus offers Eli his power—if Eli will join with him. The joining is complete sensory overload for Eli:

He lost track of all the places Eramus touched him. Loose tentacles ghosted over his cheek, and then down his neck and up one arm. He shivered uncontrollably. His body was lost to him, given over entirely to the pleasure Eramus wrought in him. Sensation burned his skin. He felt like he was going to combust from it. Desire coiled like flames in his stomach and spread out to take over every cell of his being. He wanted Eramus more than he’d ever wanted anything in his life, and he had him, here, now, in the most impossible seeming ways.

The two tentacles pressed deeper inside of him, coiling around each other, getting thicker as they went until every touch brushed against that spot inside of him. He felt more tentacles sliding over his ass and pressing in. Thankfully, it was nothing more than the very tips of the tentacles, but they stretched him almost impossibly wide. He felt supremely full, like the very essence of Eramus was inside of him.

That’s it, my dear. Just like that. So perfect. Take me in.

He moaned and gave up any semblance of control. His body melted into the grip of Eramus’ tentacles, and that seemed to be the sign Eramus was looking for because suddenly, the tentacles around and inside of him started to pulsate, spreading heat and pleasure everywhere they touched. It was too much. Eli felt like his brain was going to overload, and then the tip of the tentacle curling around his cock moved, flicking over the head of Eli’s cock, and he was undone. He came screaming. Echoes of his voice bounced on the walls, playing over and over in his ears. His vision went white, and then green as the light he’d summoned earlier flared bright.

In Wildwood, the wood-locked town of Orm, ranger Koster meets the mysterious Irsing: the guardian of the forest. He is mysterious and different than any guardian that Koster has met before—and he has met his share of guardians.

“Don’t be a fool,” Irsing snapped, whipping his head back around to stare at Koster icily. “You think I should follow you home like some stray dog? What do you people expect when they see a guardian among them?” He deliberately closed the gap between them as he’d never done before. “They’ll see me,” he growled, leaning in close and lifting a hand that rippled, long grey fingers unwinding in a sinuous flex against Koster’s cheek, “and they’ll wonder what else about me has changed. And they’d be right to wonder.”

Irsing’s smile was a tight and dangerous thing as he leaned closer still, close enough that Koster could smell the warm, woodsy musk of him, could practically taste the faint sweetness of his breath. “Now,” he murmured, low and dark, “that’s a thought for a Quarter Night, isn’t it?”

Koster swallowed hard, the muscles of his throat catching as he felt the press of smooth coils around his throat, just tight enough for him to know they were there. The tendrils of Irsing’s unraveled hand splayed across his cheek, hooked around the back of his neck and threaded themselves into his hair, but nowhere did they scratch or scrape. They were smooth, held a faint trace of heat like sun-warmed wood, and though he could hear his heart thundering in his ears, it wasn’t fear that had his throat working a second time.

“No one,” he said with absolute conviction, “who’s ever spent five minutes in your company would believe for an instant you meant them any harm.”

Koster accepts Irsing completely, even in the face of Irsing’s anger. The bond between them that was forged throughout the story is sealed in this moment when Koster refuses to let Irsing’s otherness bother him. Koster refuses to believe that Irsing is anything but good, a worthy guardian, trusting and believing in Irsing completely.

Sebastian Reed lives on the legal limits in Situation Normal, barely scraping by in his hunk of junk ship until a Peace Officer, Ten, commandeers his ship… and his body. Not that Sebastian minds, except for wondering exactly where it is that Ten means to take him.

“Watch the clothes, not all of us are made of government money.” I had liked that shirt.

“So don’t wear them.” That sounded like a better idea than it actually was, because Ten could have suggested just about anything, and I’d have agreed, so long as he kept his tongue on some part of me. Then, he licked down past my collarbone, and when his tongue rasped over one of my nipples, I was ready to swear I’d never wear clothes again, if only he never stopped tugging on my nipple ring with the tip of his tongue.

“I love humans; it takes so little to get you going,” Ten said between those maddening twists of the steel ring. “And you were even nice enough to give me a guide to where you want me, with all that metal. You have any more you haven’t shown me?”

“One more.” I gasped and squirmed against him as he licked his way across my chest and gave the other ring the same treatment. “Jesus, fuck, those are really sensitive. You might want to stop. Unless you want this to be over really, really fast.”

“Human male notions about single orgasms are adorable.”

Consent—both normal and dubious—is represented in the anthology, as well as the spectrum when it comes to sensations: long tentacles and short ones, raspy tongues, vines, soft tentacles, the feel of someone you know and care about beside you. All of these things show up full-force in the All Wrapped Up anthology, so there’s something for everyone.

Even if you’re not familiar with the authors in All Wrapped Up, we hope you’ll give it a chance because it’s an anthology made of solid authors with solid stories that can be widely enjoyed.

Thank you very much for having me here, Jay; you are wonderful to allow me to have a guest spot here!

All Wrapped Up, Now available from Storm Moon Press for just $6.99! Order in paperback directly from SMP and get double the reader reward points toward free books!