Lies of Omission is the story of Trenton Otero, a young man with an unbelievably painful past, who has finally found happiness. When he meets and fallLies of Omission is the story of Trenton Otero, a young man with an unbelievably painful past, who has finally found happiness. When he meets and falls in love with Braden Kelly, all of his dreams come true. The painful memories of his youth--being abused as a child--followed by two failed relationships, are now in the past. When he and Braden exchange vows, he trusts his new husband and loves him with all his heart--until he discovers a secret.
Braden has been cheating on Trenton. At first Trenton doesn't want to believe it. He denies it vehemently. Braden knows all he's been through. Braden knows how painful it was for Trenton when his last partner cheated, and he'd never do such a thing. But how can Trenton deny the reality of his husband's infidelity when presented with irrefutable photographic evidence?
Before Trenton can confront his Braden with the photos, tragedy strikes. Trenton finds himself in the hospital, recovering from a horrible accident. He cannot bring himself to a point where he can open up to Braden. He buries his feelings, harboring the bitterness inside him, all the while knowing that the man with whom he shares his life is nothing but a liar and a cheat.
Ultimately it all is revealed, but it may be too late. How can the couple heal after such disappointment? The trust has been shattered, and they may never recover. Or will they find a way to believe in each other once again, embracing a different lifestyle--one far less conventional?
Lies of Omission presents some familiar themes--trademarks of this author. Forced separation, abduction, and the Dom/sub dynamic are plot elements which have been present within some of Montgomery’s previous writings. She brings them all together in this short story, in a fresh, original way to create an exciting page-turner.
Most significantly, Lies of Omission poses some important questions relating to BDSM. How does genuine domination differ from abuse? How does one discover and develop one’s Dominant or submissive nature? Is it a matter of identity—an innate characteristic like eye color or sexual orientation—or is it the result of personal experience? How does the level of trust within such a relationship affect the dynamic of Master-slave?
The characterization is brilliant and multi-dimensional. Montgomery presents a perfect mix of action and reflection, fleshing out her characters by both showing and telling. She is particularly skilled at vividly portraying her more flamboyant characters such as the pesky, over-the-top sub named Alex. And as always, she makes it very easy to hate her villains.
I fell in love with Trenton, and my heart broke for him as the details of his past were ultimately revealed. My feelings toward his husband were no less powerful. Braden is a larger-than-life hero and savior, and the type of Master every sub yearns to meet.
Lies of Omission is one more reason I remain a loyal fan of Michele Montgomery. It’s a masterful piece of storytelling—and that’s no lie.
The beauty of Marked Yours lies within the relationship of the Master and his slave. The author captures and perfectly depicts a dynamic which is esseThe beauty of Marked Yours lies within the relationship of the Master and his slave. The author captures and perfectly depicts a dynamic which is essentially a balance of power and responsibility. Although the Master is dominant sexually, he takes seriously his role as protector, teacher, counselor, and guide to his sub. Todd Ruger is a heroic figure who personifies strength, confidence, and unflagging commitment. His sub, Nicky, is timid, vulnerable, and impressionable. Nicky also is fiercely loyal. Most importantly, though, both partners are deeply in love. They connect as a couple and fit together in a manner where each of them completes and fulfills the other. They are not only Master and slave, but also mates.
This fictional tale takes place in a futuristic, somewhat dystopian setting. The United States has been devestated by natural disasters, and society as we now know it does not exist. New colonies emerge, and some revert to the practice of slavery. Marked Yours does not advocate for the implementation or practice of forced slavery but does raise questions about unequal relationships in which the bond is consensual. The story also examines the innate qualities of Dominants and submissives, and offers a depiction of what it means to self-identify as either a Master or slave.
Most significantly, Marked Yours presents an alternative relationship in which both partners deeply love each other and face the challenge of confronting a world which just doesn't understand. Proponents of slavery do not accept the loving nature of the relationship, and slavery opponents reject the relationship simply because it is unequal. The couple must find internal strength to challenge the judgments of others who simply do not understand their hearts. They ultimately must live by their own rules and ethical code.
Marked Yours is a beautiful love story which is written with intensity and deep emotion. I highly recommend it.
This is a short story I have written. It is free, and I encourage readers to share it with anyone they feel may enjoy it. The theme of the story is tiThis is a short story I have written. It is free, and I encourage readers to share it with anyone they feel may enjoy it. The theme of the story is timely, as it relates to teen bullying. (New cover image added 4/15/2011)...more
Ever since the night the Delaney twins abducted Liam and used him as their sex slave, they are all he can think about. It’s hard for him to concentratEver since the night the Delaney twins abducted Liam and used him as their sex slave, they are all he can think about. It’s hard for him to concentrate at work, and he keeps hoping they will call him. He’s starting to realize how very much he needs them. He needs to please them and to be controlled by them. He needs to follow their orders, to feel their touch, and to experience that inexplicable sense of gratification that comes only from knowing he’s satisfied his Master(s).
It isn’t long ‘til the Delaney’s do call on Liam. When they do, he is not afforded the luxury of time. He must drop everything and go immediately to them. This time they want him at their home—their mansion. When he arrives, he discovers that they’re not alone. A business associate is present, and Liam is informed that he will be providing entertainment for their guest. Obediently Liam complies with their wishes and services the gentleman as any good little sub would be expected to do, but when he’s finished, he is a bit dismayed by what the Delaneys have to say.
Liam is told that in the future he will be on call to service their client, and he will do so at least once per month—alone. Liam is distraught, and immediately he begins to beg the Delaneys to keep him as their exclusive property. He is not comfortable with serving others, at least not unless his Masters are present. Mark, the obvious leader and more dominant of the twins, is not pleased by Liam’s backtalk. He perceives it as insolence and is ready to punish his slave, but Johnny quickly intervenes and advocates on behalf of the now-fearful Liam.
Ultimately Liam is subjected to a punishment which is quickly followed by a reward, and in the end all parties are quite satisfied.
Wow! Where do I begin? Firstly, I need to say that this story provided every single element that the first of the series lacked. Although the first installment offered a glimpse of the awakening that was occurring within Liam, part two explores it in depth. Seeing how Liam starts to obsess over his need to serve and be used by a more powerful man (in this case, two men), I was inspired and aroused, and I literally felt the urgency of Liam’s longing. That obsession is really the fuel that drives the D/s dynamic. Even though a Master certainly does need a slave in order to dominate, it is actually the slave’s need to be controlled which makes the dynamic possible. A sub MUST need his Master more than the Master needs the sub… or it becomes convoluted. It becomes a situation where the slave is the one who is really in control.
Interestingly, the author provides us with some insight into another aspect of the power play. How does a slave express to his Master what his desires and needs really are without overstepping boundaries? At what point does he cross the line and start to control the Master? How much latitude is appropriate? When Liam states his desires to Mark, the initial reaction of the Master is typical. Slaves do what they’re told. They are not the decision-makers. Yet what slave doesn’t find a way to communicate their yearnings and needs to their Master? And what good Master is not aware of these needs and conscious of the importance of providing them?
I also enjoyed the manner in which the character Johnny began to emerge as an alpha boy. He is without question superior in his role over Liam, yet he defers to his brother Mark. Johnny serves as the go-between for Master and slave. He is the more compassionate of the Masters. He is the more affectionate. I love Johnny!
I’m not sure how an author like Anne Brooke has such a keen understanding of the psychology of BDSM, but honestly, she nailed it! I loved this story, and I sincerely hope this is not the end. I desperately need more of the Delicious Delaney Doms. They’re hot as f**k! Bring it on, Anne...Please! ...more
Brady is thirty-six years old, and he’s been single for the past five years. He was in a very serious relationship with a man named Philip, and the brBrady is thirty-six years old, and he’s been single for the past five years. He was in a very serious relationship with a man named Philip, and the breakup was devastating to him. Finally, Brady does begin to date again, but he does so with trepidation. He’s begun to see Tim, and he’s taking things very slowly. They have not yet been intimate.
Brady works as a potter. He began making pottery when he was with Philip, and in the beginning Philip was his muse. He has a line of pottery, in fact, which he had named after his then partner. In the early stages of the relationship with Philip, Brady had been pursuing a career in finance. He was taking classes, working on a degree. Eventually he realized his career ambitions were off track when he found his true passion.
Now Brady has an interview. He is trying to land a job making pottery, and he’s quite hopeful that with his skill and experience he will be offered the contract. When he arrives at the interview, however, he discovers that one of the interviewers is Philip.
When Brady leaves the interview and heads for home, he is overwhelmed with memories. He recalls in vivid detail the early years with Philip, and remembers how blissful that time was for both of them. This nostalgia sweeps over him, and he feels a sense of melancholy. He feels sadness and regret and wonders about what could have been. He also recalls how it all had declined, and the bitter way things had ended. He remembers his former partner’s infidelity and how terribly it had hurt him.
Most significantly, Brady remembers how heartbroken he was, how he’d lowered himself to begging. He offered a compromise, suggesting the possibility of an open relationship. He was willing to do anything to hold onto what he had with Philip. He was willing to take any measure to reclaim the happiness they had originally had. He was terrified of losing the sense of security he’d grown accustomed to.
Brady receives a phone call from Tim, checking on the interview, and Brady is honest, telling his new love interest of how he’d been revisited by a ghost from his past. Tim knows that Brady has not fully recovered, even after five years, and Tim is supportive and patient. Tim offers to come over, but Brady tells him he needs to be alone.
Moments later, Philip arrives and Brady is confronted with an excruciating decision. Does he allow himself to return to the arms of his former lover? Does he try again with Philip? Will physical intimacy with his ex finally bring him the closure he needs, or will it merely make things worse? And how will his decision impact his blossoming relationship with Tim?
As a reader who has been in a long term relationship which ended, this short story resonated with me. My heart went out to Brady as I related to the manner in which those emotional waves swept over him. Nostalgia is a very powerful thing. It is so easy to allow the fond memories to overshadow the reality of why the relationship actually ended.
I think the reason this short story is so powerful is because it causes the reader to ask questions about him/herself. Questions like: What if? What if I had that opportunity? What if I had to make a choice like Brady did? Would I try again and hope that history would not repeat itself? Would I convince myself that I’d matured and learned life lessons, and that I would not make the same mistakes the second time around? Would I simply have sex with my ex lover merely because it was familiar, and it was something I had once so deeply cherished?
Or would I look to the future? Would my rational mind overrule my emotions? Would I have the courage and willpower to say no… and to move forward as a better and stronger person?
Those were the questions Brady’s Choice raised in my mind, and quite possibly you too can relate to this scenario. Regardless, it is a very powerful and thought-provoking piece, perhaps one of the best I’ve read of “the one that got away” theme. Anne Brooke did it again… she wowed me! ...more
**spoiler alert** Wade is a fireman who has agreed to participate in his community’s charity auction. He’s allowed himself to be placed on the auction**spoiler alert** Wade is a fireman who has agreed to participate in his community’s charity auction. He’s allowed himself to be placed on the auctioning block, and in so doing he hopes he will land himself with his first official gay date. Wade only recently came out as a gay man, and he’s a bit nervous that no one will have the desire or courage to bid on him. When Wade’s golf buddy Jared steps forward and bids a thousand dollars, Wade is taken aback somewhat, thinking that the gesture was merely a pity bid or an act of kindness on the part of his heterosexual friend.
That first date with Jared is quite awkward to begin with, but eventually Jared reveals that he also is gay, and the two make love. Wade is rather shocked, though, at how one-sided the action is. Jared seems to assume a submissive, passive role, and afterward he acts remorseful and contrite, as if he regrets it or feels guilty.
Wade is surprised when Jared contacts him again, and Wade once more makes love to the man only to discover that Jared again pushes him away after they’ve completed their lovemaking. This odd, push-pull dynamic continues throughout the story. Although Jared is willing and apparently eager to be sexually intimate with Wade, he quickly pushes Wade away immediately after each encounter.
None of it makes much sense to Wade (or the reader) until the end when all is revealed in a powerful, emotionally-packed scene where Jared finally confronts the demons of his past and Wade finally begins to convince him that he’s worthy of love.
This short story, Say It Again, confronts the consequences and long term effects of child sexual abuse. Although the story appears to be a straightforward romance involving Wade and Jared, ultimately it is about something far deeper. The frustration that Wade feels as Jared sends his mixed signals, first chasing him, then pushing him away, is palpable. One cannot help but feel irritated and annoyed during this confusing time. The purpose of this cyclical behavior, though, is not to present a chronology of the romantic relationship itself, but rather to give the reader an understanding of the character Jared.
Jared was a young man who was conditioned to believe that he was inherently evil. His sexuality was used against him, and he was taught that any sexual pleasure he experienced proved him to be nothing better than a whore. The only sexual intimacy that Jared knew was in the context of passivity and submissiveness. When he finally found genuine love, he could not immediately overcome his feelings of guilt and remorse. The mere idea that he may enjoy the act of lovemaking only confirmed his own sense of self hatred and worthlessness.
This story left an indelible mark on my heart, and it touched me in a way that is profound. The horror of what young Jared experienced is haunting, and the beauty of the love which blossomed for Wade and Jared is triumphant and quite overwhelming.
If you are a reader like me who enjoys angst and you particularly relate to sympathetic characters like Jared, then you won’t want to pass up this read. I highly recommend it… and I’ll say it again: I HIGHLY RECOMMEND SAY IT AGAIN!
Ahmed has just escaped from a militaristic boot camp where the function of its operation is to reform homosexual youth. He was sent there by his fatheAhmed has just escaped from a militaristic boot camp where the function of its operation is to reform homosexual youth. He was sent there by his father, who upon discovering he was gay, became intent upon curing him. Ahmed fakes a tooth ache, and his father and stepmom come to take him to a dentist. When they stop at a rest area, Ahmed makes a run for it. He has a hundred dollar bill stuffed in his tennis shoe which he’d received from his real mother as a birthday gift. He uses this to buy a bus ticket to L.A. Once in the city, he contacts a GLBT safe house where he finds refuge. The story is largely about the relationships that Ahmed makes while hiding out. He changes his name to Ben in order to conceal his identity.
Hidden was, to say the least, a shock to me as a reader. It is terribly irreverent, a thumbing of the nose at all literary rules and protocol. To be blunt, it is an editorial nightmare! The author uses thousands of fragments, incomplete thoughts, and nonsensical jargon. He writes in a choppy, staccato style, as if his thoughts are merely pouring out of his head without regard for propriety. The chapters are so ridiculously short that there are 117 of them in one 372 page novel.
So why is it that I absolutely love this story? I love it for its originality. I love the authenticity. I love the raw emotion! The prose and the dialogue were teen slang, and it felt real to me. Eventually I adapted to the unusual style and was swept away by the intensity of the emotion which was conveyed.
In the opening pages of the story I did struggle a bit with the realism of the story, or lack thereof. I’m not sure an escape such as that would be possible, but the author certainly did make me want to believe.
The depiction of the teens living in a ghetto was so painfully raw. My heart ached for each one of these youth. I fell in love with the entire eclectic group, and even after nearly four hundred pages, I was not ready for the story to end.
I also loved the fact that the author was not afraid of stereotypes. He did not paint these gay kids as if they were the type to just “blend in”. Some were outrageous. Some were trans. Some were fem. The ones you expected to be tops were bottoms! I loved that the author did not give a damn about whether or not the reader “liked” his characters. He wrote them REAL! He wrote them with delicious, believable flaws.
You won’t find a happily-ever-after, rose-colored-glasses kind of ending to this tale, but it is not a tragedy either. The reader is left with a realistic hope and with the possibility that there will be more to come. I really hope so, because I’m dying to read more about this kid. I love Ahmed, and I’m blown away by this amazing author!
Andrew Grey has done it again, delivering another heart-rending, tender gay romance amidst the backdrop of an atypical, rural setting. The fifth in hiAndrew Grey has done it again, delivering another heart-rending, tender gay romance amidst the backdrop of an atypical, rural setting. The fifth in his “Farm” series, No Fear is the story of Raine and Jonah, a seemingly mismatched couple who are brought together accidentally when they meet at Geoff and Eli’s Michigan farm. Eli is the older brother of Jonah, and the siblings spring from a traditional Amish background. Jonah, like his older brother, leaves his community for a year in the “English” world, mainly to spread his wings and experience the outside world. This is a common practice of the Amish and a traditional rite of passage. After spending a year away from home, Amish youth then are faced with a decision as to how they will live their lives, either returning and embracing the lifestyle of their upbringing or abandoning it for a worldly existence.
When Jonah is released into the “world”, he has no idea where to go, so he seeks his older brother. He knows that Eli chose to leave the Amish community several years prior, but he is unsure why his older brother made this drastic decision. When Jonah finds Eli, he is shocked to see him being affectionate with Geoff, his life partner. Jonah reacts with an emotional outburst, pointing at the couple and calling them “Sodomites!”
Raine is a friend of Geoff and Eli, and he is at the farm for an undetermined time period. He’s been the victim of a hate crime, and as a result he has an injured arm and is recovering from surgery. He goes to the farm to recuperate both physically and emotionally. Raine has lived a very typical urban gay lifestyle, coming from Chicago. He’s had many lovers over the years, but has yet to meet “the one”. He’s not even sure there is such a thing, although his heart is warmed by the affectionate, long term relationship of Geoff and Eli. He doesn’t think such happiness and stability will ever be in his future, though. Not only is he not “the type”, but in truth he feels he is unworthy of that sort of contentment.
Almost instantly Raine is drawn to the innocent Amish kid. Jonah is utterly unpretentious and endearingly naïve. The boy’s trusting nature and complete honesty are refreshing to Raine, not to mention the fact that the kid is cute as hell. When Raine awakens one afternoon from a nightmare and Jonah rushes into his room to offer him comfort, Raine sees another side of the young man. He is compassionate—a healer.
As feelings begin to emerge within Jonah, he starts to question his own sexual orientation. He starts to realize that an intense attraction has awakened within him, particularly toward Raine. Even though he knows about his brother Eli, he is frightened of what this means. Mentally connecting the dots, he concludes that there must be something about that farm that turns men into homosexuals, and he quickly flees.
Eli tracks down Jonah and convinces him to return to the farm and to simply relax. Eli explains that sexual orientation is naturally occurring, and that even if Jonah does have some same-sex attractions it is not necessarily an indication that he is gay. Only Jonah can make that determination for himself, and it has nothing to do with the farm. Jonah agrees to stay, but he’s very skeptical, and he makes every attempt to guard himself from Raine. Eventually, though, he does some serious soul-searching and starts to realize that his attractions are growing, and he allows himself to follow his heart.
The romance is a beautiful depiction of love conquering fear, and the story is aptly titled. Both of the central characters are bedeviled with crippling fears. Raine fears trusting anyone because he’s been hurt so many times before. He fears loneliness, and of course he’s haunted by the violence of his recent past. Jonah fears his own feelings. He fears rejection and failure, and he is terrified of losing his family.
Jonah also has an irrational fear of water, and has always been afraid to go swimming. This becomes a metaphor of the larger issues he faces in his life, and it seems quite appropriate that his fear of water is ultimately overcome by a lover named “Raine”.
As always with this author, the writing it superb. The entire series has a wholesome feel to it. The story is a must-read for those who’ve experienced the first four books of this series, yet it also would be fine as a stand-alone read. For so long, gay fiction has typically depicted the gay “lifestyle” as urban, and the majority of books which came out of previous decades have presented gay characters who may have had rural roots but who ultimately migrated to cities like New York or Los Angeles. It is refreshing to find a story which embraces a mainstream, rural lifestyle and that does so in such a natural manner.
As Jonah grapples with his religious beliefs, the story tackles an often contentious topic. It is not easy to portray this type of angst within a fictional story. Many readers find it leaves a bad taste in their mouths, and if they have any sort of aversion to religiosity, they tend to outright reject books with this sort of theme. I personally feel that such a dismissal would be a shame in this case, though. The author does not dive into the dogma and doctrine of the Amish religion, but instead he presents a snapshot of the lifestyle. It is quite enlightening, and it seems to be very well researched and fairly presented.
In all I found the book to be a very touching story with a beautiful and hopeful ending. It is an easy read, but I’d recommend you have a box of tissues nearby, as it conclude with a very emotional climax. Love Means No Fear is a book I highly recommend, without hesitation… or fear.
I enjoyed the book, although it is strikingly similar to Harry Potter. Literally every one of the story's characters is representative of a characterI enjoyed the book, although it is strikingly similar to Harry Potter. Literally every one of the story's characters is representative of a character within Harry Potter (including Draco Mallfoy, Severus Snape, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore,and even Professor Tralleawney). I think that the author is a gifted writer, and I'd love to see some original stories by him, crafted purely from his own imagination. I am committed to reading the entirety of this series, though, and hopefully the plot and characterization will eventually evolve differently than JK Rowling's series. (BTW, I'm a huge fan of Harry Potter)
I'll be looking forward to the next installment and will reserve judgment until I see how it all ends....more
Derek Thompson is a rather self-effacing, reserved teenager, living in Cambridge Massachusetts. Although he already has come to the realization that hDerek Thompson is a rather self-effacing, reserved teenager, living in Cambridge Massachusetts. Although he already has come to the realization that he’s gay, he hasn’t yet come out to anyone. He is a gifted high-school wrestler, quite popular amongst his peers, and he is also passionate about his hobby of mixing music. He has a female best friend named Beck (Rebecca) to whom he has confided his sexual orientation.
Scott Thayer is a transfer student, originally from Iowa. He appears to be quite self-confident and outgoing, and his extroverted personality makes it easy for him to adapt to a new school in his senior year. Scott quickly becomes friends with Derek and Beck, and the trio becomes a threesome.
As the friendship develops between Derek and Scott, Derek finds himself beset with anxiety. Derek desperately wants to come out to his new friend, but he fears rejection. As Derek begins to spend more one-on-one time with Scott, he ultimately realizes that he must take a chance. When finally he bites the bullet and confesses his true feelings, Scott responds with a passionate kiss. A romance ensues.
The 300-page novel chronicles the senior-year romance of these two high school jocks. Interwoven in the plot are the sidebar relationships they have with their parents and with their best friend Beck. A forced separation interrupts the romance, which adds a degree of edge-of-your-seat angst, and finally a resolution is realized when the climax of the story culminates at a championship wrestling match.
Without a doubt, this is a very touching coming-of-age gay love story. The moodiness and anxiety experienced by the teenage protagonists were realistically presented, and the development of the love story itself was quite moving. The secondary character Beck added drama and humor to the story. She appeared a bit overblown, but it seemed intentional, and I have little doubt that she was annoying at times because the author wanted her to appear as such.
The reservations that I have about this story center upon two specific criticisms. Firstly, the plot was excruciatingly slow-paced. I didn’t get the feeling that there was anything in particular driving the story forward. It was basically just a “slice of life”. Often a plot like this, when presented the right way, can be very satisfying, but in this particular case I just didn’t connect with the central characters. Perhaps my perception speaks more of my own limitations than it does of the quality of the story.
Secondly, I was taken aback by the extremely formal dialogue of the teenage characters. Even the parental voices within the story sounded stiff, almost as if the characters were reading from a dictionary. There were few contractions used, and no abbreviated verbs or slang.
The story was written entirely in third person from the POV of Derek. I applaud the author for so painstakingly adhering to literary rules by his avoidance of head-hopping, but I also yearned to get into Scott’s head as well. In this particular story, I think an alternating point-of-view may have been helpful.
The story was void of sexual intimacy, with the exception of one scene in which the couple mutually experienced orgasm though no oral or anal penetration was involved. There were numerous veiled references and quite a bit of foreshadowing which indicated that intimacy had occurred or would be occurring off-screen, and the author did use some language typically reserved for erotica.
Young adult is one of my favorite genres, and I do not regret my time spent with this novel. I sincerely enjoyed the story and found the romance to be very sweet and heartwarming. The theme and messaging within the story are timely and significant, and I consider this book to be a welcome addition to my YA library....more
Ayden is an eight-hundred year-old elf living in a world where his race is at war with humans. He follows his sister into enemy territory where he’s cAyden is an eight-hundred year-old elf living in a world where his race is at war with humans. He follows his sister into enemy territory where he’s confronted by human soldiers. He fends off his captors by killing sixteen of them, but ultimately is captured, along with his sister, and they become prisoners of war.
Prince Freyrik is the ruler of the human territory where Ayden was captured, and the prince is immediately attracted to the elf. He decides to enslave Ayden, and claims him as his personal servant. The prince imprisons Ayden’s sister as well, holding her hostage as a means of controlling Ayden.
Every year a surge of bewitched, feral beasts stampedes into human territory and destroys everything within its path. The humans prepare for this event by amassing armies of soldiers and waging war against the surge in an attempt to protect their kingdom. Ayden’s capture occurs just days before an annual surge.
For the majority of the story, Ayden is hostile towards Prince Freyrik, not only because he is human, but also because Freyrik is the one who enslaves him. The prince recognizes Ayden’s pride, and is very cautious in his dealings with the elf. Although the prince yearns to become sexually intimate with Ayden, he does not force the issue. He instead tries to win Ayden over with respect and kindness. Repeatedly, Ayden rejects the prince’s overtures.
As the couple begin to learn about one another, Ayden assists the prince and devises a war strategy unlike anything the prince has ever considered. The prince follows the elf’s advice, but claims credit for the masterful strategy. Ultimately it saves thousands of lives, and the humans are victorious in their battle against the surge.
Slowly Ayden and Freyrik grow to love each other, and finally they consummate their feelings by making love. The degree of respect and gratitude the prince feels for Ayden grows exponentially, and he ultimately realizes he must release the elves and award them their freedom. Before he can do so, however, his own people revolt. They demand justice for the lives of the sixteen soldiers whom Ayden killed during his capture. The prince must decide whether to risk losing control of his kingdom by protecting the only person he’s ever loved, or save himself and turn Ayden over to an angry mob.
One of the characters chooses to make the ultimate sacrifice.
The beginning of this epic story was rather challenging for me, I must admit. I nearly abandoned the read altogether, but I’m genuinely thankful now that I pressed on and finished. I was terribly confused at the onset of this tale. No background information was provided at all, and there was virtually no set-up. The story began in a land I knew nothing about, during an unstated time period. No history was provided, and the more I read, the more confused I became.
Readers often complain that certain stories start out too slowly and that they spend too much time presenting lead-in information. My view of this story is quite the opposite. I felt I needed more information. Eventually it all did make sense, but getting to that point was maddening to me. The author made numerous references to the “surge” but never explained what it was until much later in the story. I felt almost as if I had begun reading a story that was second or third in a series because I did not understand the setting or the history.
The other aspect of this story which was unsettling to me was the narrative itself. The dialect in which it was presented appeared to be medieval, and it was almost like what one would hear while attending a Renaissance Fair. Contractions such as “twas” and “tis” were used repeatedly, and curse words were replaced by euphemisms such as “cracked” and “befanged”. Had this vernacular been presented merely as part of the characters’ dialogue, it would have made sense to me. Or had the story been written in first person, it would have been understandable, but I did not understand why the third person narrative had to employ the use of such jargon. It also was inconsistent. There were sections of the story where this type of phrasing was used heavily, and other long sections which were written in contemporary English.
In spite of these two criticisms, which I take full ownership of as a subjective reviewer, I did end up absolutely loving this beautiful, romantic story. The dynamic of Freyrik and Ayden’s relationship was masterfully presented. The arc of both characters as they learned about each other and allowed their hearts to be changed was an incredible testament to the power of love. The author uses humor remarkably well, and there were sections of the story which led me to laugh right out loud.
Most remarkable, though, is the portrayal of the sacrifice which ultimately was made. This scene was so profound that it will haunt me for days to come. It was written confidently with poetry and beauty, and it touched my heart in a way few stories ever have. This author is clearly gifted in terms of delivering deeply emotional scenes, and the lovemaking which was portrayed within the story was first rate. These scenes were described sensuously and romantically, and they focused more upon feelings than upon body parts.
As anyone who has followed my reviews clearly must know, I judge books based almost entirely upon the emotional impact they have. Almost any shortcoming within a story can be overcome if the author is able to connect emotionally to her reader, and in this case, the author most definitely succeeded. I’m anxious to read the sequel, and I encourage other readers to give this series a chance. If you find the beginning challenging, please hang in there, because it is well worth it in the end.
Counterpoint by Rachel Haimowitz is an amazing love story which will not leave your heart unchanged. I highly recommend the book.
Robert is the narrator and central character of this fifty-six page short story. He lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where the story opens. While at a caRobert is the narrator and central character of this fifty-six page short story. He lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where the story opens. While at a cafeteria style sub restaurant, Robert observes a young man who appears to be still a teenager. The kid catches him staring, and a confrontation ensues. The boy actually is nineteen, and his name is Tim. He threatens Robert, telling him that he has an older brother who is a cop, and he informs Robert that he must service him (Tim) sexually or his older brother will make Robert the target of a traffic ticketing sting.
Reluctantly Robert follows Tim to an adult bookstore where they have oral and anal sex in one of the video porn booths.
A few days pass, and Robert gets a call from Tim, informing him that he is to rendezvous with Brian, Tim’s older brother. Robert meets Brian and follows him home where Tim is waiting. Robert is then used sexually by the brothers, and while this is occurring, it becomes apparent to Robert that the relationship of the two brothers is quite unusual. Brian dominates his younger brother, and more-or-less treats him as a personal slave.
The entire story is a series of sexual encounters, each one a bit more exaggerated than the previous. The sex scenes incorporate forced oral sex, anal sex, bondage, menage’, intensely graphic homophobic verbalization, rape, incest, scat, smegla, whipping, and humiliation.
Clearly the intent of this story is to provide a one-handed read. The fantastical and unrealistic presentation of these hyperbolic sex scenes would be laughable were they not to be so patently offensive. Initially Tim is presented as a dominator and aggressor, but his character evolves and is ultimately presented sympathetically as a victim. I’m not sure if this metamorphism is intentional or if it is the result of the author’s expansion of his initial sexual fantasy.
The climactic sex scene involves Brian and three of his buddies from work. The four men get together to watch a football game and order young Tim and Robert to be their personal slaves. During the scene they degrade their slave boys verbally and force them to be domestic servants. Then they make the boys masturbate, place them in bondage, and rape them orally and anally. Each of these aggressors supposedly is heterosexual, and they all openly hate homosexuals. They call the boys names such as “bitch, faggot, pansy, and queer”, all the while they are having sex with them.
If this story is approached as pure erotica and the reader is fully aware that the sexual fantasy is written to titillate and provide purely erotic entertainment, the story may be quite successful. The reader would need to be one who has tolerance for humiliation and degradation, and perhaps a fetish for objectification. If, on the other hand, the reader is looking for a story which contains romance and a multi-layered plot, this may not be the best choice.
In my opinion, the author demonstrates an undeniable talent for writing man-on-man action. His writing style is likely to be most appealing to gay men who are looking for literary porn. I’m fairly certain that the intent of this story is not to send any kind of meaningful message other than that it is fun to fantasize about having sex with domineering, cocky, and abusive straight men.
I’d suggest that if you obtain this book, save it for when you’re in the mood for some over-the-top sexual fantasy, and be prepared for some eye-popping, graphic fetish.
The Perfect Tree is a short story which takes place on Christmas Eve in the home of Ethan and Jayden. These central characters are a gay D/s couple, EThe Perfect Tree is a short story which takes place on Christmas Eve in the home of Ethan and Jayden. These central characters are a gay D/s couple, Ethan being the Master. The story is told in the voice of Jayden, the sub.
The story begins at the start of a BDSM scene where Jayden has been collared and has assumed his submissive role, standing at attention for his Master. The thoughts, feelings, temptations, and desires of the submissive are very effectively conveyed, and the actual love-making is described rather sensually.
As the couple begin their scene, Master Ethan binds his boy, using Christmas garland. The particular significance of this act is noteworthy, being that garland by no means would literally bind in a physically incapacitating manner. Essentially, the bondage is mental which is, in my opinion, the hottest form of entrapment. To be ordered to assume a position which is potentially uncomfortable, and to remain locked in that position by the mere strength of your will—that is true bondage.
The dialogue presented was quite realistic, and the manner in which the Dom spoke sternly yet lovingly to his boy was powerful and incredibly erotic. I love a BDSM story where the Dom is obviously turned on by his sub. It seemed to almost be as much of an act of willpower for the Dom to remain in his role to complete the scene as it was for the sub. It seemed what he really wanted more than anything was simply to make passionate love to his boy.
I also was impressed by the thought process of the sub. Their scene was interrupted briefly when carolers came to the door, and Jayden was ordered to wait, remaining locked in his bondage. Instantly Jayden began to feel embarrassed. I found it interesting and quite believable that during this brief period of mild humiliation he would feel the temptation to rebel. When his Master returned to him and was cavalier about the predicament of his boy, the sub felt resentment. Although he knew in his mind that it was hot the way his Master had control over him, he couldn’t help but feel a flush of embarrassment and annoyance. That ability to overcome these very human emotions is what defines submission, and it was very masterfully presented in this short piece.
The author also included a very brief spanking scene which was little more than a tease. I liked the way she conveyed the feelings of the sub during this scene as well. The paddling was delivered as a punishment when Jayden accidentally broke one of the garland bonds on his leg. The manner in which Jayden felt mortified at having (inadvertently) disobeyed his Master was heart wrenching. The boy actually contemplated invoking his safe word because he was so distraught by his punishment. Of course, I’m not sure a safe word can actually be used during punishment…but I guess each Master/sub couple would have their own set of rules to govern the implementation of this precaution.
The scene reaches its climactic moment when Master Ethan penetrates his boy and makes passionate love to him. I found it particularly hot that he did so while Jayden was still bound. This afforded Ethan maximum control during the situation, and it provided a nice segue to the gentle and tender aftermath of their passionate sex.
Although this story was quite short, I found it to be exceptionally well presented. The characters are drawn from the Forbidden Room series by the same author, and I’m now anxious to read more of this series. I think the author has a genuine understanding of the Dom/sub dynamic and writes sensually, erotically, and realistically.
The story is dynamite in a very small package. Take a few minutes to read it…you won’t be sorry.
Matthew Carpenter is Santa Claus, or at least he has been for the past one hundred years. It is all part of a deHis Heart's Desire by JP Barnaby 4 Stars
Matthew Carpenter is Santa Claus, or at least he has been for the past one hundred years. It is all part of a deal he’s worked out with Father Time. In exchange for a commitment of 100 years of service as Santa, Matthew will be granted his heart’s desire. The only problem is that after all this time he still has no idea what that is.
Matthew doesn’t want riches. He no longer wants fame. He doesn’t even want a wife and children, for he has steadfastly maintained a secret about himself for the past one hundred years. He is attracted to men rather than women. Yes, he’s a gay Santa, albeit a chaste one. So for one hundred years Santa has dedicated himself solely to his responsibilities as the Father of Christmas. He’s done his duties, delivering presents to children throughout the world, making toys, checking the naughty-or-nice list. Now it’s over, and he must decide what to do.
When Father Time visits Matthew and asks for his wish, Matthew draws a blank. He has no answer, and so Father Time looks deep into Matthews heart. Suddenly Matthew begins to change. Magically he is transformed into his younger self, the person he was before he became Santa. He finds himself in the company of another young man, someone he knew from his former existence.
Luca grew up with Matthew, and when Matthew suddenly disappeared, it was devastating. Now finally the two of them are together again, and it all seems too good to be true. The connection the two once shared, years ago, is rekindled, and a century of loneliness is swept away by one night of passion. Their lovemaking is fierce, and it becomes obvious to Matthew that Father Time is very wise. Truly Luca is and has always been the desire of Matthew’s heart. He is saddened though, for he fears that once the encounter has ended, Luca will be gone and he will again be alone.
The next morning Father Time returns, and the couple is faced with a serious decision. Will they go on together in a new life, or will have only the cherished memory of a single night of passion to cling to?
His Heart’s Desire is a sweet Christmas tale. The opening pages of the story included a solo scene where Santa pleasures himself as he fantasizes about having a male companion. I was a bit taken aback by that particular visual, yet the story quickly evolved into a touching romance. The lovemaking was sensual and realistic, and the connection shared by the central characters was very endearing. The HEA conclusion of the story was not a disappointment, and overall it was simply a pleasurable read, fantastical and fun.
Santa's Helper by K.C. Beaumont 5 Stars
Simon is a Christmas elf at the Cypress Bend Mall. For the past year he’s been in a relationship with Kevin, the very man who now employs him. Kevin hires Simon as an elf, and as part of the deal, he uses Simon for a little action on the side.
Kevin has a girlfriend named Desiree. Although he has been involved secretly with Simon for several months, things have gotten quite serious with Desiree. Kevin is deeply in the closet and is very focused upon maintaining a certain public image. He doesn’t want to openly admit he is gay, yet he’s unwilling to give up his penchant for man-on-man action. Basically he’s a player, using both Simon and Desiree in order to have his cake and eat it too.
Simon is rather sensitive, and he is madly in love with Kevin. The selfish behavior of his boss and lover is truly disturbing to him, yet when Kevin puts the moves on him, he cannot resist. Kevin’s manipulations are powerful, and Simon loses all his willpower every time he’s propositioned. Simon wants more than anything for his deep feelings to be reciprocated, but he is willing to settle for the cheap and tawdry clandestine encounters that he has with his secret lover.
It is when Simon meets Jerry that things begin to change. Jerry plays Santa, and he begins to form a meaningful friendship with Simon. It becomes obvious to Jerry how Kevin is using Simon, and Jerry is quick to offer his support to Simon. Without pressuring him, he begins to simply form a friendship. The two open up to one another.
Simon is very touched by the generosity and support of his new friend Jerry, but it is obvious that Jerry is straight. Jerry even has a twelve year old son. Interestingly, it is the advice and kindness of Simon’s new friend that empowers him, and finally he confronts Kevin with an ultimatum.
This short Christmas tale is well-written and delivers a powerful message about self-worth. I instantly was drawn to Simon, and I yearned for his happiness. Jerry is the hero of the story, and of course he is nothing less than a knight in shining armor. The lovemaking was beautiful, the characterization strong, and the story’s conclusion was very touching. A fantastic story which made the entire anthology worth the full purchase price: Highly Recommended!
Tricksy the Christmas Elf by Troy Storm 3.5 Stars
Tricksy is a Christmas elf who works at the mall. He’s taking the place of female elf Trixie, who is off on maternity leave. Tricksy is slender and elfish in appearance, and his greatest physical feature is his to-die-for ass, which he showcases nicely in his tight-fitting velvet tights.
Daryl is the mall Santa. His costume is very elaborate, and quite effectively conceals the man beneath. It is not clear whether Daryl is young or old, fat or skinny. He is Santa Claus, plain and simple.
When Tricksy meets Daryl, he is drawn to him, not because of his appearance but because he is genuinely a nice person. Tricksy begins to contemplate a relationship with this mystery Santa, and he decides that no matter what is underneath the make up and costume, he wants to make love to this sweet man.
When the couple do finally connect, Tricksy is pleasantly surprised. The real man Daryl is anything but a fat old man. He’s young and buff, and a total top. They have passionate sex, but Tricksy suddenly is confused. He’d had it in his mind all this time that he would be doing Daryl a favor if he made love to him. Now it seems their roles have reversed, and it’s unsettling.
Will Tricksy be able to set aside his feelings of inadequacy and simply appreciate the connection he has with this remarkable Santa? Will he be able to realize that it is what is within the heart that truly matters more than the packaging?
Tricksy the Elf was an enjoyable Christmas read. The central character Tricksy was adorable, and his Santa lover was nearly too-good-to-be-true. The story was well written and was the perfect way to top off a wonderful holiday anthology.