Elves aren't the only sexy ones, you know. In these modern post-Hobbit days, it is high time we culture acknowledged one simple truth: dwarves can, in fact, be smokin’ hot. From the deep, rich and remote places of the world come legends of these fascinating beings: earthen men and women, fae kings, great metal workers and miners, mighty warriors, they are compact but virile mythological figures. In Hard as Stone, editor Julie Cox brings together erotic stories of brawny builders and earthy smiths in which love can be robust, hearty, hardworking, bearded, and short... or not, as size is relative. And it's not the size of the hammer that matters, but how it's used... and perhaps how beautiful the sex toy is that one can craft with it. Many of the stories in this volume also pick up on the notion that dwarven societal gender and biological sex characteristics may not be divided along the same lines as humans, and gay, lesbian, and genderqueer themes are amply represented in these stories. All the stories are magical, whether they touch on the modern world or delve deep into the realms of high fantasy. Some are bawdy, some are darker in tone--all are sizzling with sexuality. Includes the stories: Stolen Days by TS Porter Rainbows in Hollywood by Lacie M. Jeffers Ash and Elm by Bess Lyre Wizard's Staff by Julie Cox Cave Dwellers by Alanna McFall To Those Who Move Mountains by Jason Carpenter Don't Screw the Messenger by Jessica McHugh Of Greed and Eager Things by Edda Grenade Sample story: An excerpt from Julie Cox's "Wizard's Staff" Next to Borabi, I was short. Not that I was tall next to most other people, either, but Borabi's long limbs were a dramatic contrast to my stocky build. He was lithe and graceful until he was startled, then those limbs went flailing everywhere like a colt's. When that happened, I laughed, and he scowled. Most of the time it was the other way around. Like now. He writhed beneath me, a squirming mess of an elf, his breath hitching as he tried to stop himself from laughing. I held the paintbrush away from him and cuffed his pointed ear. "Stop moving," I said. "These runes are very precise. I don't want to open a portal to some demonic realm because you're ticklish." "I can't help it, Shale," he lied. He could help it very well. He had unbelievable control, when he chose to exercise it. I leaned close over him, dabbing a spot of cornflower blue paint on his delicate nose. "Hold still, or I will stop touching you." His pretty hazel eyes fluttered wide and his body stilled beneath me. "There now," I crooned, "that's better." I drew the paint in thin lines across his body, weaving a spell with interlocking runes, the language of dwarves and of magic. I traced the curve of his bicep with a rune for the sorceress I needed to contact. His other arm was wreathed in the symbols of magical power, symbols for me to draw upon, like sinking a well into the ground beneath us to pull up the magic of the earth. I was dwarven; my magic was the power of stone and wells and mines and old language. I'd covered his chest in the runes of our families, the significant runes of our lives, the collective language that described our lives, apart and together. In naming them, I named us. We were the sum of our stories—literally, in the case of runic magic. Those had been easy; I'd painted those a thousand times. I slid down his half-nude body, careful not to smudge the runes. I knelt between his legs and undid the lacing on his pants. He grinned at me, and I gave him a warning look: don't move. He bit his lip and obeyed. We'd been together long enough I could command him by raising an eyebrow, curling a lip, crooking a finger. Of course, he disobeyed half the time, all mischief and playfulness, so that I would have to engage him and correct him. Neither of us would have it any other way.