I like the Erotic Alphabet concept of a single book for each letter of the alphabet, and its promise of 26 booklets of creative smut. I've got a few, and eventually will have the whole series, something memorable to leave to my heirs...
This is more of a booklet than a book, 119 pages in a package that is 5" x 7", conveniently pocket-sized, almost. You get 12 quick stories in that space. They set up quickly and move out even faster, with just about no backstory or character development to get in the way of the inevitable leap to shagging and a number of its more intense and uncommon variations.
Now, when I hear "hard core," especially when it comes to a smut book, I form a relatively clear picture. I don't anticipate euphemisms for items or actions. I don't expect deeply romantic interludes, nor do I expect to encounter a whole lot of talking, not unless it's issuing commands or jabbering in lust-dominated ecstatic incoherence. I anticipate directness. I don't necessarily expect really wacky, out-there sexual adventurism in the farther reaches such as adult baby fetish, plushies and things even more adventurous that just can't get published in this particular venue. The book's little intro describes hard core as "hot and fast...dark and dirty."
So where did this book land on this spectrum?
Well, the opener is most definitely hard core, an extended first-person female musing on how utterly perfect it is to torment her willing male slave. Now, this really isn't that wild, except for the final lines, when she's really letting her reverie run free, no reservations, her sexual arousal building in wanting him locked in a cage and starving, wanting to watch him dying. This is a mighty strong opener, and while I understand the depth of the fantasy, crossing sexual pleasure into the realm of mortal neglect is a turn-off. Sorry. These last lines left an ominous and unpleasant taste in my mouth that took a few stories to dissipate. Yeah, that opener was hard core. But dissipate the feeling did; it was more like steamrolled into dust with the stories that followed.
A bodyguard gets the tables turned on him, hard. A tough chick meets an even tougher one, and she can't get enough of that control. An arrogant executive bastard is drawn into a business proposition that he finds he cannot get enough of. A jilted wife's surprise visit to her soon-to-be ex-husband's apartment turns a fun but tame role-play into something much more memorable. A husband and wife express mutual interest in BDSM, and explore the territory together, just the two of them. A tough lesbian crashes a bar in drag, and gets much more than she planned for. A cowboy working the ropes gets worked himself by his wife and the new hired hand. A foot fetish pro works a couple of johns. A lady into sharpened steel finds a similarly fixated artisan, and a bit of highly charged blood flows. A guy and a gal, both so direct it's literally painful, crash into each other and enjoy any manner of unpredictable activities. And finally, a lady turns the tables on her man, and the tables turn yet again.
Bottom line: So, yeah, this little book does in fact deliver hard core. It's refreshingly unexpected and creative, and most decidedly vulgar, just what you're looking for if "hard core" is what you're after.