A sweet non-explicit short about two men who while attracted, seem to keep pushing each other away, one from fear of choosing the wrong guy again, andA sweet non-explicit short about two men who while attracted, seem to keep pushing each other away, one from fear of choosing the wrong guy again, and one from a feeling of inferiority in society. Being "seconds' to two young men bring them together to keep the two hotheads from doing something stupid. I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be an AU or not. The one's friends seemed to know all about his penchant for men and the two were pushing the young guys together as they figured it was sexual tension causing the ruckus. No one seemed to blink at that, so not sure. It felt a bit unfinished as they just kind of kissed and the end. But the characters were enjoyable to read. ...more
I absolutely adore this series. I know the author intends this to be the last story, but there is so much that could happen with them moving forward.I absolutely adore this series. I know the author intends this to be the last story, but there is so much that could happen with them moving forward. Still, this is such a good series. It's a bit gory graphic which may not appeal to some people, but having spent years reading serial killer police procedurals, it wasn't too bad. Crane is exactly the kind of character I love. Confident, using sarcasm to cover discomfort or fear, snarky, just the way I like them.
"... You are demanding, greedy, selfish, untrustworthy, and your ideas of your own superiority are frankly risible. Stephen is the best man among you by a ten-yard start, and he’s a pointlessly self-sacrificing, prideful idiot two steps from nervous collapse.”
“Thank you,” Stephen managed.
“Tact,” Stephen repeated. “Right. Well, I suppose that makes sense. Though you were quite offensive to her earlier.”
Crane shrugged. “I’m quite an offensive man.”
Anyway, I highly recommend the whole series and I hope someday she decides to see what they are up to. ...more
A great sequel, suitably creepy. I love how Crane has his issues. He comes across as swaggeringly confident in any situation but the whole possessionA great sequel, suitably creepy. I love how Crane has his issues. He comes across as swaggeringly confident in any situation but the whole possession thing just does him in. I really love this series. Can't wait for the next one. They are great together, very complementary in the strengths department. ...more
The other say it much better than I will. Took me a long time to read this but I really enjoyed it. Kind of dark but with enough humour to have you chThe other say it much better than I will. Took me a long time to read this but I really enjoyed it. Kind of dark but with enough humour to have you chuckling now and then. I also liked that Crane wasn't "perfect". Sometimes his temper got the better of him and he had his own demons.
Huh. Guess I better get my act together and read the rest of them. :-) Late to the party as usual. ...more
This book has a bit of a Sherlock Holmes feel to it, in the time period and the language, but notThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
This book has a bit of a Sherlock Holmes feel to it, in the time period and the language, but not directly. It’s written as a letter Robert intends to reveal to his editor upon his death. Apparently for some time Richard has been chronicling the exploits of famed ghost hunter Feximal, (reminded me of the Sherlock/Watson relationship) and he was never willing to reveal how they met, and this is that story.
In order to disprove the house he recently inherited is haunted, Robert moves in. He’s willing to ignore the screams and moans, but the walls bleeding blood is a bit too far. He gets trapped in the room with Fleximal as the exorcism of sorts is about to begin, and it seems the ghost was a bit of lecherous man who slept with all the boys and was murdered in bed during the act. The ghost has some “unfinished business” before he’s willing to leave.
There’s a rather light feel to the story despite a rather intense scene when Fleximal faces the ghost. There is also some interesting facets of Fleximal’s work that would have been interesting to see explored further. I also liked Robert a great deal. He is quite logical, with a calm head on his shoulders and it comes through in some of his comments.
I paid no mind to the screams in the night, which could easily have been foxes or cats (never mind that they sprang from the empty air of my bedroom). I scarcely objected to the muffled moans, which could have come from a neighbour’s pleasures (if the house had not stood alone, with no neighbour for a mile to either side).
But I did feel it was a bit much when the walls began to bleed.
It all came across as a bit of an inconvenience, rather than something terribly frightening. If you’re in the mood for a bit of a ghost story with a lighter edge it’s a good choice. I quite enjoyed the short time it too me to read....more
This was a sweet little fantasy romance, although I found the end smacked of insta-love, which IThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
This was a sweet little fantasy romance, although I found the end smacked of insta-love, which I didn’t love.
The blurb pretty much explains it. The two men are dueling, when a flash of light causes Kaelys to mis-strike and he nearly kills Raein, however healers are able to keep him alive, and he rests at Kaelys’ house to recover. They discuss whether the flash was an attempt on Raein’s life, or some other nefarious plot. Raein may be a Baron, but his family lost their fortune and horse farm, and he needs the money to buy a small piece of land. Kaelys is the son of the Emperor, but his father insists he make his own way, and needs the winnings to buy some property where he will raise half-horse/half-unicorns.
However to throw a wrench in the mix the two find themselves attracted, and they know that can’t go well as they will surely have to have a rematch for the yearly championship. How can you concentrate on winning when you are attracted to your opponent?
It’s an interesting world, where despite Raein’s poverty, he has expensive clothes and jewelry, as a large part of winning the duel appears to be how you are dressed. If you aren’t up to snuff, you don’t win. Or as often. However there are also different species. Raein is small with purple hair, Kaelys is large and has red eyes and fingernails that will form claws if not trimmed. This was where I was left wanting a bit more world building. How do the species mix? Obviously Kaelys’ father rules over everyone, but the logistics of it weren’t clear.
Then when a solution presents itself, there is a declaration of love, although at first Raein is cautious that maybe it’s just love. One bout of sex though leads to mutual declaration. I get that it’s fantasy (they ride unicorn stallions to deliver the mail), and believe that the gods put them together for a reason, but there is fate and there is insta-love. So I would have preferred they just leave it as “we are fated to be together” rather than “I love you”. But others won’t mind that so much, it just kind of disappointed me at the end.
It’s a lovely written story though, with lots of descriptions of the world, and some alternative relationships, including same-sex marriage and polyamoury depending on the species. I just would have liked a bit more background and a slower relationship conclusion....more
This story was less about zombies than I expected and more about Clint’s opportunity to find a reThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
This story was less about zombies than I expected and more about Clint’s opportunity to find a relationship and explore his sexuality. This is setting in an interesting world where zombies roam attacking people, but the cities, in this case London have built walls to keep them out. A budding medical student, Clint works in the morgue, part of his job requires the cutting off of zombie heads. One night he comes across a man he presumes is the professor’s new assistant, and before long he’s helping the man cut the heads off 10 zombies (who keep moving and biting even when severed). But as they are leaving, he suddenly is aware that Xavier is not an assistant, but is stealing the heads. Despite the fact that he is shocked and repulsed by Xavier’s plan to make a statue out of the heads to make a political statement, he helps him escape with the heads.
At Xavier’s house, they have some time together and Xavier pushes past Clint’s inhibitions and they have their first encounter. The police arriving cause some chaos, forcing Clint and Xavier to escape and head back to Clint’s rooms with the heads. I liked that Xavier tries to come across as this hardcore tattooed political vigilante, but with Clint he was pretty much a marshmallow. He was teasing but gentle, easing Clint into the world of gay sex with humour, but without being nasty. Clint’s absolute joy at finding someone he can be with and who he finds attractive, although perhaps not in the way many of us would say is physically ideal, was a pleasure to experience with him. You only get Clint’s POV, but he gives enough insight into Xavier’s personality to not leave the story feeling too one-sided.
The only thing that bothered me was the ending. I presume it’s left for a sequel, but I wanted to more about the political climate and the politicians’ plans to create an army to take back the countryside outside the city from the zombies, and where on earth was Xavier building his 10-headed statue? I got as caught up in the “plot” as the relationship, and wanted to know where it was going.
So there are no zombies chasing them down. It’s not Shawn of the Dead with m/m. But it is set in an interesting, yet grimy creepy world with Xavier who is a very non-traditional romance hero without muscles on muscles and with some radical political views for the day. The tone is light enough to keep it from being too dark, and I think it’s a fun read if you are looking for something very different from the norm....more
I found this in my e-mail from waaaay back and am glad that I decided to open it up. It starts wiThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
I found this in my e-mail from waaaay back and am glad that I decided to open it up. It starts with Pete, nearly dead of thirst and even his horse dying on him, when he staggers into a small town in Argentina. He is taken in my Jorge’s mother whom he happens to be visiting. Jorge is a gaucho, who travels around finding lost cows which he returns to their ranches for a finder’s fee. He could have a permanent position, but in part due to his preference for me, he prefers the life of solitude.
However he offers Pete the chance to work with him, and they get a chance to know each other on the way to Jorge’s next stop. He’s pretty upfront about being gay, and even Pete’s not against the idea, but until they reach the ranch owned by Jorge’s old war buddy who is sympathetic to his plight as a lonely gay man. The two finally get together before they depart, but Pete’s past is about to catch up with him.
It seems Pete and his brother were not such good boys and robbed a few banks. As well, his brother killed a man in jealousy and before he died in Mexico, he told everyone that Pete had killed the man. Now the man’s father is after Pete and determined to take is revenge, but Jorge believes that Pete is a good person and believes him when he says he didn’t kill the man.
I’m not sure what it means, but I found myself reading this story with a Spanish accent in my head. LOL It was kind of soft and gentle, the two men getting to know each other, dancing around each other and eventually coming together. Jorge did change Pete’s life for the better, only he didn’t realize it until it was almost too late and the noose was around his neck, yet again.
I found it interesting that the men would chase Pete all the way to Argentina. That is FAR to say the least, but I think I’ve heard of such things, so not completely unrealistic. There was a bit of information about the gauchos and how many of them were less than honourable men, having common law wives they got pregnant and came home when they needed somewhere to crash. Jorge’s Italian/British mother was a sensible woman of the times, and I liked Jorge’s ranch owning friend a great deal who just wanted his friend to be happy.
So if you’re looking for a different time and place historical I think this might fit the bill. I am not much of a historical reader, but I really enjoy those that go out of the normal time periods and locations for a more unique setting....more
Ah, the series is starting to pick up now. Our four managed to escape the country, however when tThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
Ah, the series is starting to pick up now. Our four managed to escape the country, however when they arrive at Veyr they are “convinced” to help the man who was originally trying to purchase the sword in the first book. It seems his family will be challenging for the rule of their country and having the special artifacts will help their case. They need a mage and a swordsman to challenge the other house, winning the Gilded Knife and a better chance at taking over the rule. The simultaneous battle between Solister and two fighters and Giovanni against a female mage go poorly until a Giovanni is able to turn things around for them at the last minute.
Now that we have been given the background on each man, it’s moving forward with more of the adventure. While I enjoyed the descriptions of Veyr, the clothing and housing, I thought the author did a great job on the battle. I was caught up in the fight between the mages and Solister’s failing challenge of strength. I like a snarky character and that is how Giovanni wins. He’s not a magician who can conjure lightning bolts like his opponent, but he can trick you and confuse you and that’s how he gets the upper hand.
There is also quite a bit of intrigue as the female leader who solicited their services is not above doing anything to get her way, and when another Chevalier asks to have the four men, she’s more than happy to agree, however her nephew is not thrilled. So what will happen? You doubt she’s being upfront and honest, but …
Also you get to see a bit more about the men and their true personalities. The friendships are coming to the fore whereas at the beginning it seemed more like they banded together out of convenience rather than friendship. There was less sex in this book, only one masturbation scene, and I think it fit. Sometimes I felt the sex in the others was a bit tossed in for erotica purposes, but in this case I didn’t miss that side of the story as I was caught up in the adventure. I wasn’t sure if the series was going to hold my interest, but this book has definitely got me eager to see how things go for them next....more
The focus in this book is almost exclusively on Casic and his past and relationship with his sistThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
The focus in this book is almost exclusively on Casic and his past and relationship with his sister. Her female lover has found Casic and asked him to help free his sister from a lover who intends to use a mage and a ring to destroy her desire because he fears she is cheating on him. You find out more about Casic and the fact that he and her sister were adopted as teens, but their “father” used their special talents to hire them out as prey for his friends who would hunt them, then a mage would heal them only to do it all over again. Each member of the quartet have a pretty horrific childhood/early adulthood.
However it seems perhaps his sister doesn’t need the assistance her lover thinks she does. In this case, Casic goes undercover as a whore to try to get close to the mage who is hosting a massive gay orgy. Thanks to Giovanni’s spells, he is able to avoid having sex with anyone and manages to destroy the mage. I’m still trying to figure out what the deal is with Casic. I’m not sure if he’s straight, gay, bi or asexual . He seems a bit turned on by the groping he experiences, but it seemed to be a new experience for him. Not sure where that will go.
I’m finding it interesting getting the back-story of the men, and now I suppose we’ll see where it goes. They are on the run again and know that a Chevalier is after them, so an additional challenge to the trouble they seem able to find on their own. There’s not much that happens to push the story forward in this one, it’s more background and has significantly less sex than others, but little pieces are given that I presume will play out in a larger story arc. I know not everyone enjoys the serial nature of stories, and some may find it an interesting way to enjoy a longer story.
This was a rather fun start to a series of four mercenaries, each with their own skillset. The fiThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
This was a rather fun start to a series of four mercenaries, each with their own skillset. The first book gives you the opportunity to meet each man and see their first adventure. The blurb explains who the four men are and their particular talents, but this story is told from the POV of Giovanni, the ‘mage’. It’s not a romance per se, there appears to be no romantic relationship between any of the men and there is some indication that Casic has a lady love somewhere. However they have the type of relationship where Giovanni and Solister carry on a conversation about the pros and cons of taking the latest job while Solister is getting a blow job from a comely young man.
It reminded me of an old-fashioned movie or TV show. There are swords and potions, and some sorcery involved in the magical spear they are searching for. And of course lots of intrigue and double-crosses and a fair bit of bloodshed, but that is rather glossed over without too much detail, but enough. I found it quite fun and it kept me entertained, even if it’s a bit predictable in how it played out.
Each character has specific characteristics which makes it easy to keep them separate in the story, so there’s no melding of four interchangeable characters. The author manages to bring in a bit of understated sarcastic humour as well which makes it fun to read in that it’s all meant to be good fun, not a serious adventure story. You know they’ll all survive to go on and have more adventures another day. You can tell they’ve been together for some time, each one tossing out little barbs about the other abilities or lack there of, but beneath it all respect and camaraderie.
I’m not certain there will be an over-arching romance theme, or if it falls more into the erotic fiction category. The sex is not the main point, it’s not erotica with a bit of adventure thrown in, rather adventure with a bit of sex thrown in. Giovanni seems to be falling into the bi side of things, Solister definitely gay and I guess we’ll see about the other two as the series progresses. If you like a bit of fantasy history, with a dose of magic thrown in for good measure, I think it could be fun series to see the four as they carry out their adventures and have some fun along the way....more
In this next installment of the story, it’s Giovanni, the mage’s turn. I’m still sure if he’s reaThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
In this next installment of the story, it’s Giovanni, the mage’s turn. I’m still sure if he’s really a mage or more of a magician, but none-the-less he has been called back to the north by a friend who asked for help. After many weeks of traveling they arrive at the frozen city where it is explained that his friend wants the group’s help to steal a valuable artifact. The current owner is Giovanni’s old master, who took advantage of him as a young boy sexually in exchange for teaching him to be mage.
His friend also has a new apprentice who has managed to bind a fox spirit’s soul to a human body, and in exchange for experiencing human pleasure he offers Giovanni one wish. Giovanni is forced to endure his old master’s attentions once more as part of the plan, then gets his revenge using the fox spirit after the artifact is recovered.
I was very interested in the fox spirit and I wouldn’t mind seeing him show up again. Maybe because he reminded me of a kitsune with a tail and an interesting tattoo. The story just really gives you a background of Giovanni’s life, the place where he grew up and I suppose what he was escaping when he went off and became a mercenary. The artifact itself, which had interesting capabilities seemed to be less important to the story than merely a mechanism to bring all four men together. I was sorry that while Giovanni was with his master we didn’t get to see the actual stealing of the artifact as the aftermath made it sound like a rather exciting battle.
I know the next story is the background of another member of the group. I am enjoying the adventure part of the stories, and so far the sex has all been purely erotica, and in some cases, used more by people to assert their power over them, than truly reciprocal pleasure. We shall see if down the road there are HEAs for the men or if it will remain an erotic adventure series....more
This is alcoholic Farrbiner’s story. He has been summoned to his old master, essentially a whoreThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
This is alcoholic Farrbiner’s story. He has been summoned to his old master, essentially a whore master who “trained” Farrbiner in his youth until he left for other things. Seems that Farrbiner believed his lover had been killed, but is told it’s not true, and that Datura wants to hire Farrbiner to find and kill the man. This leads Farrbiner to finally sober up somewhat, and set out on a quest in the city where excess, debauchery and crime are a way of life.
This is not a romance, there are scenes of erotica, some that I didn’t find all that erotic, especially the distasteful scene between Datura and a whore in training, but then I don’t think it was meant to be “erotic”, but to show the nastiness of the master. I find this series interesting because you are getting to know the backgrounds of each character as it goes along. Farrbiner’s brother is Solister, who is looking out for him, maybe to Farrbiner’s annoyance. The truth of the ex-lover and what really happened years ago, and what is really happening now, is the stuff of ancient Roman political intrigue and petty revenge. (I was watching the History channel again.)
Because there is really not much story to move forward here, more a revelation of Farrbiner’s past, it didn’t quite have the adventure feel the first one had. And I found some of the names and language a bit confusing, which I realize in some cases it was meant to obfuscate the message, but it pulled me out a bit of the story. However, those who like a good dose of sex in with their fantasy stories will enjoy this. I am looking forward to the next two stories (which will be reviewed in successive weeks). I’m curious about the other men, and while the first story focused more on the four of them as a unit, it seems future issues will give each man his own history of what brought him to the mercenary group....more
I wish I could pinpoint the years this is set, but it’s the time of the old traveling carnivals in the US mid-west. Jonah staggers into the carnival sI wish I could pinpoint the years this is set, but it’s the time of the old traveling carnivals in the US mid-west. Jonah staggers into the carnival seeking work, badly beaten and while Rafe isn’t exactly receptive, he doesn’t turn the kid away and gives him a chance to earn his keep. It seems that Jonah had an on-going relationship with a visiting preacher, and when his father caught them, the preacher threw Jonah under the figurative bus (they didn’t have buses yet) and he was banished by his family and beaten by some young men.
He’s educated, but pretty naive world-wise, and Rafe, the owner of the carnival may be and educated noble in exile, but when it comes to gay sex, Jonah has the upper hand. I rather liked that Jonah, while in essence innocent and soaking up the whole experience of the carnival, he was the one who was more experienced in the bedroom (not that they ever had sex in a bedroom). Also seeing his wonder of the carnival and seeing the magic behind the garish surface was fun and also seeing how the carnival people formed their own family, many of them rejected for various reasons, or simply wanderers who’ve never known another life. There were the good, the bad, the grumpy, the simple.
This is a rather slow-moving story. Much of the first part is simply life in the carnival, Jonah adapting, stolen moments with Rafe, as Rafe tries to keep their relationship hidden and push Jonah away. There is a bit of drama later with a saboteur in the carnival and Rafe’s family has sought him out to come home as he is now the heir and head of the family, but for the most part it’s just kind of Jonah learning about life and Rafe struggling not to get attached. I thought on the whole Jonah came across as more mature even though he was younger.
I wasn’t sure how they were going to work it out if Rafe returned to England given that Jonah and the carnival folk carried on back home, but it did work out, if a tad conveniently. However I just loved Jonah and his straight forward manner. Despite his super-religious upbringing, he accepted his homosexuality and that maybe there were other ways to live and didn’t angst over it. He got on with life in a no-nonsense way, whereas Rafe seemed to be the angsty one more often than not, worrying about the past and the future, and the present.
These two authors are ones I can pretty much guarantee I will enjoy when reading a historical. While the two men were cautious about being gay in the time, it wasn’t overdone and the secondary characters here played a large role, both in the story and in Jonah’s growth as a young man. So even if you aren’t into historicals much, it’s a very interesting time period and the descriptions of the rather decrepit carnival were fascinating and a bit sad, to see the tawdriness behind the glitter and glow. Well worth a read....more
I'm torn here. On one hand I adore kitsune and I loved Katsura. He was terrific. But Hajime had me so annoyed with his behaviour most of the time. PusI'm torn here. On one hand I adore kitsune and I loved Katsura. He was terrific. But Hajime had me so annoyed with his behaviour most of the time. Push him away, then be annoyed for no apparent reason, have angry sex, push the guy away. Sigh. He had anger management issues. But as I said, I love me some kitsune, so I'll go with 3.5 stars....more
This was a bit of a hard story for me to rate, the writing is strong and draws you in as always wThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
This was a bit of a hard story for me to rate, the writing is strong and draws you in as always with this author, but the romance portion I had my doubts about. Also, it says it’s set in the 1960′s and I wasn’t certain when reading it. It was only a reference to actor James Dean that made me think it was not just a contemporary with a closeted lead character. Chalmers attends one of his sister’s party where she is quite dismayed by having a guest from California who seems too loud and brash for her upper-crust taste. She more or less assigns Chalmers to watch him, and before long he’s finding the man imminently fascinating.
Later they are able to slip away from the party and go to the beach to “talk”. Julian claims his job is to “take care” of celebrities, but it becomes rather clear that he’s more or less a prostitute who ran away from home at twelve and has been in Hollywood ever since. However Chalmers is intrigued and before long they are down the beach in a secluded cove and he’s enjoying Julian’s talents. So much so, he’s even inspired to try giving a blow job for only the second time in his life. Julian tells him that if Chalmers wanted to come to California, he’s be happy to get him into see the right people and he’s sure he could make it in Hollywood, “look me up” and then they go back to the party, with Chalmers wondering that despite his friends, family, job and home being in New York, if maybe…
That’s where things kind of fell apart for me. Sure, he’s fascinated by Julian at this party when he’s rather giggly on champagne, but I’m thinking in the cold light of day, there is no way he’s going to give up his life to go to California on a whim and the words of a prostitute who claims he has connections. I have visions of him arriving on Julian’s doorstep only to have that awkward moment when you realize the other guy didn’t REALLY think you’d actually take him up on his offer. So I just couldn’t see them as a potential couple, but maybe I’m just a pessimist.
Still, despite my doubts as to the romantic potential of this pairing, it’s a well written little erotic story with some fun outdoor action and an air of a different era....more
This was an interesting story for the time period and setting alone. A rather unusual one. Haluk runs a coffee shop (which is technically illegal) andThis was an interesting story for the time period and setting alone. A rather unusual one. Haluk runs a coffee shop (which is technically illegal) and has had a boarder for the last five months Aydin. Aydin puts on puppet shows, sort of morality plays. Things are going well until an elderly man asks about Aydin who you then realize is on the run but he refuses to tell Haluk from who or why and even after they spend the night together, he runs rather than involve Haluk. However when the security forces come looking for Aydin, they murder Haluk’s shop assistant, leading to Haluk accidentally killing the guard. Eventually it comes to light who Aydin is and he’s released from his duties, with basically a warning to get out of town and since the Sultain is going to clamp down on coffee houses, it seems like a good plan.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the puppets and the coffee house and the characters who hang out there, although some of the details of the political hierarchy and court life kind of left me a bit lost as I’m not familiar with that era in history. Still, while I’m not overly a fan of historical stories, I quite enjoy it when they are set in a bit older time or at a time I’m unfamiliar with because it adds more interest like in this case even if I didn’t understand every detail....more
Knights of the Round Table meet zombies. Sufyan is a Saracen who now works for a religious leader in England, basically doing his dirty work. On his rKnights of the Round Table meet zombies. Sufyan is a Saracen who now works for a religious leader in England, basically doing his dirty work. On his return he comes to a village where they tell him an evil beast reigns for three nights and a silver knight (who Sufyan saw following him) comes to fight it. Sufyan figures the whole things is a hoax and agrees to help the knight. That night in the church the fiend attacks and Sufyan is surprised it is real and much more powerful than he could have imagined. They are unable to defeat it and find it’s hiding place and the next day he tries to find out who the knight is, noting he seems far too old-fashioned to be local and no one seems to recognize the knight’s name. That night the fiend manages to bite Sufyan (but they do destroy it) and Everard offers him a choice, die of the poison in the bite or join Everard.
I don’t want to reveal too much about the zombie and Everard, but I quite enjoyed this as they fought the creature together and during the day there was a lightness to their relationship with some banter between the two men, the skeptical Saracen and the holy pious knight....more
While I found this story interesting and it kept me reading, even though I suspected the ending,This review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
While I found this story interesting and it kept me reading, even though I suspected the ending, I also found it a bit like pulling teeth to figure out the story. It is told from Roderick’s point of view and you get this feeling that he expects you to already know what’s going on, as if you are somehow a character in the story, and should know the details surrounding his arrival in the community in question, and about his mother’s death. Little tidbits are revealed as the story progresses and in the end, you do know everything you need to know, but it’s a bit frustrating at times not really understanding what his happening or why. Yet it’s not that same feeling you get when you think “Was there a prequel and I missed it?” It’s hard to describe, and some people may find it an intriguing method of storytelling, and I didn’t dislike it, it just left me a bit off, not a bad thing perhaps.
Anyway, it would appear there is a “werewolf” problem in the area, and everyone seems pretty accepting of the werewolf concept, in fact the beast frightened Roderick’s mother so badly that she died as a result. He’s part of the local gentry, although more by nature of the title his mother bought with their money, when they moved to the UK from America. Roderick never feels he fits in, but he makes an effort to deal with the locals as they discuss their plans to catch the werewolf, and what they’ll do with him.
He is particularly taken with Lord Staynesburgh, a young man of similar age, and convinces him to help him find a dog for his property, ostensibly for protection, but it appears to be more of an excuse to get Lord Staynesburgh alone and confront him about the fact that he caught Roderick outside a special “club” *wink* *wink* in London, however he is unable to raise the issue. Roderick is very obviously attracted to him, however Staynesburgh shows no interest beyond polite friendship.
As the full moon arrives, Roderick finds another man on his property who plans to capture the werewolf, and who attacks Roderick nearly killing him as well. When the werewolf is caught, Roderick must try to stop the man and help the creature in question. The historical time period was well done without being overwhelming to my mind. There were dark back rooms in pubs where the gentry smoke and gossip, the dog breeders facility, and the out buildings on Roderick’s property all well described. I could visualize them all quite well, and got that sense of the time and place with a tinge of doom and fear overriding it all as the werewolf runs amok once a month killing livestock.
I know this story won’t be for everyone and I did enjoy it, despite my frustration at times of wanting to know what the heck they were talking about until I was informed after the fact, but the setting and atmosphere drew me in and I did want to see how it all ended. For those looking for a traditional romance, this isn’t that either. There is a dancing around of “I like you” at the end, but realistically could there be a traditional romance for the men given the time and place? Unlikely, however it’s not a sad ending either, just rather leaves it open to interpretation. Worth a read for those who like historicals and it’s a true werewolf story, not shifter....more
As a fan of ancient Greek mythology I was eager to take on this edition of the time-travel storieThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
As a fan of ancient Greek mythology I was eager to take on this edition of the time-travel stories offered by Dreamspinner Press. Despite not quite connecting with the characters, I do enjoy ancient historicals vs the usual time periods we tend to see in romantic fiction.
The story begins with Achilles and his lover Patrocles at the time of the Trojan war. Achilles refuses to fight with Patrocles for fear that the Trojans will take him as well as Helen, if only to be vindictive. Patrocles goes to fight and is struck down by Hector and Achilles then goes after Hector to seek his revenge, however that pesky arrow to the heel strikes him down. Meanwhile, Patrocles is waiting for Achilles in the Elysian Fields and is told that Apollo cursed Achilles soul to remain bound to the arrow, but that Patrocles could possibly free him by going back to the land of men.
The story then flashes foward to Padraig, a scientist who has helped perfect a time travel machine and he has also discovered why he felt like he never fit in. Through dreams he realized he is Patrocles and he must destroy the arrow, now in a museum, in order to free Achilles. He plans to travel to the future, just as the earth is about to be destroyed by a dying sun, to free Achilles, dying himself. However Achilles sends him back and he survives only to find himself treated by a doctor who bears a striking resemblance to Achilles.
I really enjoyed the ancient history part of this story, because as I said, it’s my thing, what I was left more confused with was the whole method of freeing Achilles soul from the arrow. Despite knowing Greek mythology is mixed in with a healthy dose of Greek history, I’m not sure the arrow that killed Achilles is around to be in a museum. How would you know? And why the elaborate plan involving an exploding sun and a wormhole to destroy it? It seemed overly complicated and mystifying. It just said he found out through a dream how to destroy the arrow. But it never made much sense to me.
There was some confusion for me, and the doctor, if the soul in the arrow was just destroyed, then how could the doctor be alive? But he’d been having dreams about Padraig, and… well, I think all those difficulties with time travel seemed to come roaring forward for me and with the short format there really wasn’t away to explain it except, just be happy, it all worked out, don’t worry why.
Save for the very first portion of the story, Patrocles and Achilles (Padraig and Archer) are not romantically involved, the thrust of the story is Padraig trying to release the soul of Achilles or recovering in the hospital after his time travel trip, thus I never really felt connected to Padraig and Archer as a couple. Still, despite some of my issues, I enjoy a story that brings ancient history into the mix so fans of Greek mythology/lore will likely enjoy this one for that aspect alone....more
I’ve been meaning to read this for some time. I had read the author’s short story set in this time period and really enjoyed it and Jen had said goodI’ve been meaning to read this for some time. I had read the author’s short story set in this time period and really enjoyed it and Jen had said good thing about this book. So I finally settled down and picked it up. I don’t think it’s any secret that as a rule I’m not a fan of historicals. It’s just not my thing, not that I never read them or haven’t read some I’ve quite enjoyed, but I don’t usually pick them up. But I think the trick is that I just never hit the time period that worked for me. Now I don’t know if it’s just the time period or just this author, but it seems the 1920/30s are my thing. I just adore the stories I’ve read set in this time and this was no exception.
Remi left England and his father behind when he refused to marry a woman to fulfill family obligations. He has since made a success of himself running a purple tea house. He’s also become good friends with an older antiquarian and when he goes to visit is shown some of the new finds the man got from Egypt. One of the items is an amethyst cat which would look perfect in the tea house, however most of the things he sells are fakes (openly sold as replicas) so they don’t think much of it. However, earlier there was someone who calls himself the “Gentleman thief” who stole something from a museum in Cairo, unfortunately in a storm, the item became redirected. Guess where?
When the man drugs the shop owner to get information, in comes Pinkerton detective Hawk who sets out to find the thief and in the process, meets Remi to whom he is instantly attracted. Before long he’s more worried about protecting Remi when the thief breaks in and attacks him, and maybe the thief is more than he first appears. I really enjoyed Remi’s insistence to be true to himself and his wonderful relationship with shopkeeper Tom, a true friend. Also seeing Hawk slightly confused by his strong feelings for Remi, rather than his usual casual attitude towards men was fun and I swear the details are so fun. Is that really what it was like in that time period? Did they use that language? I have no clue, don’t care. I’m a historical wallpaper reader. I want it to be fun and like movies or TV.
Jeepers Creepers, Hawk was used to fellas dropping hairpins, but this kid was dropping pianos
Accurate or not, it’s how I imagine it, a time when “holy fuck” wouldn’t have cut it, even with a hardboiled detective. It makes for an enjoyable read along with the clothes, furniture, the tea house, all of it reminded me of an old film noir movie. So if you enjoy historicals I think you can’t lose with this one and even if like me, you’re not a big fan, you may enjoy this as more like reading/watching an old movie than a sometimes dry historical novel with a romance....more
This short story has a quite unusual setting. It is set in Chicago in the era of prohibition, thThis review can be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.
This short story has a quite unusual setting. It is set in Chicago in the era of prohibition, the time of Bugsy Malone and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, but with a paranormal twist. The existence of witches, demons, pixes, etc. seem to be fairly common knowledge, although they keep a low profile, and our lead character Ian works for the special police force that monitors these creatures. As well, being gay seems to be fairly well accepted, or as well as it is perhaps today, given that Ian is separated from his family due to having a boyfriend, Billy. Ian also has his own paranormal abilities.
A large part of the story is Ian’s attempts, with his partner and the help of a witch who works for their department, to find the coven who is poisoning “legal” whiskey and thus save Billy’s life. He does manage to find the information he needs, but at a price. The fairy king helps him, but in exchange for Billy’s life, Ian must work for the fairy king after 25 years.
I got a sense from this of some of the old movies that had the hard-boiled detective. This is set in a time when cops went around beating people up and getting in fights and no one though twice, but Ian has a bit of that devil-may-care attitude. He makes the odd slightly snarky comment about the people around him, and there are moments of humour tossed in with the seriousness of chasing down the witches responsible. It also forced Ian to look more closely at his relationship with Billy which has been up until this point kind of a on-off not so serious affair, but the though of losing Billy makes him rethink and decide to man-up and tell Billy.
So it’s a bit nontraditional in the romance department, as for a large part of the story Billy is semi-comatose and dying, but when they finally reunite it was sweet and a bit sad because you know Ian only has 25 years. I would be curious to see what happens in 25 years, when it is time for Ian to leave Billy or when he has to explain what he did in order to save him. I think there is potential for more of these men in a rather intriguing world. I would definitely keep an eye out for more stories set in this world as it rather appealed to me....more
The first paper book I've read in a while. Its taken forever for me to finish, not that it wasn't good, I just don't usually read paper books anymore.The first paper book I've read in a while. Its taken forever for me to finish, not that it wasn't good, I just don't usually read paper books anymore. Recommended by Wave and Erastes. Agatha Christie mystery meets gay slut. It was humorous and yes everyone was boinking everyone but the main character was just so damn likeable you were okay with it. And I'll be honest, I didn't quite figure out the why of the mystery or the details of who until the end. I loved that whole era of the AC mysteries so it was very pleasurable to experiece that. I have The Secret Tunnel waiting in the wings. ...more
This story follows an interesting premise, of two souls forever connected, soul mates I suppose, and the parallel lives they lead through time. The stThis story follows an interesting premise, of two souls forever connected, soul mates I suppose, and the parallel lives they lead through time. The story parallels two couples, Demetrios and his older lover/mentor Andreas, who live in Ancient Greece and are Spartan soldiers, and Demetrius and Andrew. who are college students and neighborhood friends.
The first interaction between Demetrios and Andrew, happens when Demetrios goes off to lick his wounds because Andreas is getting married (as is expected and the norm) and Demetrios is jealous. He comes across Andrew who has never admitted to gay leanings, but both men are instantly attracted to each other. When Andrew awakes he thinks it was just a dream, however it happens again, and later in the story, Demetrios makes a trip to modern times, which was quite amusing as he’s fascinated by modern technology.
There are parallels in that Andreas’ future wife is determined that she will not sit at home and wait for his man while he has a relationship with his trainee, and she’s not shy about telling Demetrios to get used to it. And when Andrew’s parents, who are conservative family values people, catch him and Demetrius in bed together, they threatens to toss him out of the house. So there are parallels to life, and also some case for “the grass is always greener” to crop up as both men experience the other’s time.
As I said, an interesting premise, and as I have studied ancient Greece, I loved the details about Sparta, and it was interesting to see that some things, like annoying parents who don’t “get it” happened 2000+ years ago as well. However I never really connected with Andrew and Demetrius, as much as Andreas and Demetrious. Maybe it was their use of language. They didn’t sound like American 19 or 20-year-old college kids. Their conversations seem more stilted, using large words and abstract concepts that felt awkward to me. As well, at the beginning of each chapter Chaos and Dreamweaver gave little intros which did explain the soul bond thing but also seemed to make a social statement about accepting your sexuality, however it was done in an ancient Grecian style I suppose, and after a while I just found myself skimming those introductory paragraphs rather than trying to twist my head around to truly understand what they said.
However, as I said, despite the niggles about the modern-day interaction and the chapter intros, I loved the Andreas/Demetrios storyline, and I would have been quite happy to see an entire story just about them, how they came to be paired up, the development of their relationship, and more about the Spartan life, and of course Andreas dealing with his shrewish wife. That I think would be an interesting story in itself. Those who like ancient Greece will appreciate this, or if you like the concept of soul mates through time. ...more
Flynn is a native American shifter who feels compelled to check out wood henge which was supposedly built by his ancient ancestors. While the3.5 stars
Flynn is a native American shifter who feels compelled to check out wood henge which was supposedly built by his ancient ancestors. While there, something weird happens and he wakes to find himself the captive of two native warriors. At first he thinks it's a gag, but soon realizes he has gone back in time and that he's in a society ruled by a high priest who is a shifter. They two men talk about "testing" him, and it becomes clear that the high priest must be gay and there is a test to see if he can be aroused by women, and the current high priest in training is a bad guy who gets off on creating tension and blood shed. Both Koda and Amara were childhood friends who are now in conflict over power, however both believe it's their task by the jobs to keep Flynn chaste before the test. Little do they realize he's as gay as they come and this is right up his alley and he soon realizes that it's up theirs as well, although their culture doesn't allow for gay warriors. After the big show-down with the bad guy, Flynn decides to defy convention and take the two men as his spouses rather than the bevy of twinks that are usually reserved for priests. This is kind of a wild twist on time travel and shifters and menage. It's very sexy and each character was quite distinct. I found Amara a bit of an ass, but he came around, especially once he accepted his desire for Koda and Flynn. If you're in the mood for something sexy and a bit different a good choice.
While this story is a paranormal, it’s set in a place that is reminiscent of the Old West. Hoke is a protector in what could be considered Purgatory.While this story is a paranormal, it’s set in a place that is reminiscent of the Old West. Hoke is a protector in what could be considered Purgatory. It’s very much like an Old West town, people know they are dead but they have nothing better to do, so they live as if they were alive. However if they go outside of the town limits, the Hellborn will get them, and then they are gone to Hell forever. It’s not really clear, but I suppose if you behave, you get to go to Heaven as well.
On patrol at night, when the Hellborn sometimes try to sneak in, Hoke smells Shiloh, you find out later, Shiloh was his lover ,whom he believe shot him in the back a hundred years ago when he died. Shiloh tried to come to him before and he shot him and he’s prepared to do it again. However when the Hellborn attack, he takes Shiloh in and learns the truth about what happened.
This definitely feels Old West, they talk with accents of a sort, they don’t have electricity or modern conveniences, and yet the whole battle for souls on the part of Heaven and Hell, with Hoke forced to act as protector is quite different.
The story is told in bits and pieces. Pieces of the puzzle are revealed as it goes along. Why Hoke is so angry at Shiloh, and it’s not only because he believes he shot him, and what their relationship was when they were alive are slowly revealed. It rather unfolds as they talk, and finally get to the truth. There is an underlying sweetness to the two men and the relationship in the past, tempered by being rough tough men of the Old West, especially stubborn Hoke who was Sheriff in his little town.
While the story is paranormal and the whole Heaven/Hell/Purgatory thing plays a role, the primary story here is Hoke and Shiloh and their reunion in the afterlife and the chance to clear the air. If you like paranormals in unusual settings, this is a good choice, as the author’s usual strong writing is there along with great descriptions of Helltown and the wearying life fending off the bad guys. ...more
This is a series of short stories or vignettes dealing with King Arthur's court and his knights. In this version they are all into boys and several knThis is a series of short stories or vignettes dealing with King Arthur's court and his knights. In this version they are all into boys and several knights get their romances told in each chapter, although some spill over into two and of course they are all intertwined. In this story, Arthur falls in love with Lancelot who came to deliver a message from the French king. He's oblivious to one of his knights jealousy, and while he is away warding off the Danes, Morgana helps the knight trick Lancelot into betraying Arthur and he leaves crushing Arthur. Now Arthur and his knights are facing an invasion by the French king who is being aided by Morgana and the betrayer. This was cute and sexy with semi-realistic touches, referring to bathing once a month and the use of clothing names that I really didn't understand, but I got the general idea. I just chose to ignore things like a lack of hygiene. LOL Some knights were fey and vain, others more regular guys seeking a companion like themselves, some questing for greatness and sworn to celibacy. If I had a complaint is that the ending is left very open to interpretation at the big battle scene where you know that several knights are killed, and perhaps even Arthur, and yet Merlyn sees them all together later. So I'm not really sure. I found it rather sad ending. ...more
Ryuichi is a samurai who left his master because he was unworthy, however that's a no-no and now no one will hire him and just as he's about to commitRyuichi is a samurai who left his master because he was unworthy, however that's a no-no and now no one will hire him and just as he's about to commit suicide at the foot of Mount Fuji, Kaji a kitsune (fox shifter) speaks to him. He promises Ryuichi a good job with his master if he will marry him. Ryuichi heard that kitsune women were hot so agrees and they marry. However that night he's in for a bit of a surprise. Kaji is a guy. Eeek. However after a minor freak-out he is all about honour and commits to being a good husband. After a few years he has risen to a high rank and he notices one of the other guards flirting when Kaji. When he catches them having sex he finally realizes that he loves him and is devastated. Can they fix it up? This was a very cute story and I'm not sure how to describe it, but it just has a feel of a fairy tale or something about the language usage that gives you a whole other vibe. It's very cool how it didn't feel like contemporary language I guess would be the way to describe it. Hard to say, but I really liked the theme of not just doing your duty and being a good husband, but giving your heart fully....more