The word “fantasy” evokes many different responses in people, but the epic fantasy quest is the heart of the genre. Heroes and heroines set off to defeat evil. Haven’t you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes, during the downtime the authors gloss over? What Happens at the Tavern Stays at the Tavern gives us the peek behind the curtains we’ve all been waiting for.
In “Encounter at the Lonely Dragon,” Elinor Gray stays true to the title of the anthology, telling the tale of a would-be quester who has an unexpected run-in with a former lover in the secluded loft of a tavern’s stable. “Orin’s Strand” by Vivien Jackson weaves a story of a seer in love who can’t resist the temptation to use her powers―and her body―to bind her lover to her. Kierstin Cherry’s “Paget and the Princess” follows Paget, a Knight of the Guard, sworn to protect her princess―and her princess’s chastity―who nonetheless can’t resist the princess’s warm bosom and soft lips.
In “The Place Where Heroes Are Made” by Sarah Ellis, we find ourselves in another tavern, this one run by a family that beds those heroes marked by the gods as doomed so that they don’t go childless into unknown lands. “Crystalline Sorcery” by Julie Cox explores the sexual identity of Heid, a female warrior who longs to be able to penetrate as a man, and her elven companion, a priestess who insists that the divide between male and female is not so inflexible as Heid thinks. Finally, “Flings and Arrows” by Andrea Trask lets us in on the journey of Alleria, a woman who is the key to fulfilling a prophecy―but when a mysterious man kidnaps her and reaches between her legs to confirm that she’s a virgin, all may be lost.
In her latest anthology, editor Jennifer Levine invites you to escape into a world of fantasy, one where you get magic, warriors, fantasy worlds, and sex.