3.5 Stars - overall"The Pain Cycle" by Ariel Graham
~ this is my first foray into erotic horror. The story opens with Luke leaving his sister’s house, angrily walking in no particular direction. He is frustrated, and hurt. His lover Jesse has disappeared, his parents are in denial of his sexuality and his sister and her fiancé encourage him to live a lie for his parents sake. Luke just wants to be himself and have Jesse back in his life.
The author weaves her story with vivid descriptions of Lukes surroundings and the depth of his emotions. We get a glimpse into who he is and how he processes those feelings. It is Halloween night, the clouds play with the moonlight and as it clears Luke sees something move in an opening to a dark building of a fenced construction site. He doesn’t trust what he sees at first but then realizes it is someone he knows. Against his fear, Luke decides to help his friend and rushes to get over the fence and into the building.
Here is where the story unfolds. The concept of the horror that lies within the building touches on how we react to a situation, how we control our fear and anger and how we use it in a situation. The story is fast paced and I was swept along with the chaotic feel of the horror in the building having a glimmer of hope that it would turn out ok. The ending felt a bit rushed but it is a short story and has the potential to be continued. "Matthew Powers Lives" by K.A. Merikan~ this was, to me, the best story in the book - full review to follow shortly... 4 stars