First, thank you secret-Santa for this one. And I stayed up way too late finishing it. Ooops. Getting up for first day in the office after vacation waFirst, thank you secret-Santa for this one. And I stayed up way too late finishing it. Ooops. Getting up for first day in the office after vacation was tough.
Proviso, I put BDSM but it's pretty light and more power exchange with some light bondage.
Characters like Owen tend to make me berserk. Family honour is everything. I must destroy my soul for family honour. Mal and I both wanted to bop him over the head. When Owen's older brother has an "accident" that puts Owen "next in line for the throne", he agrees to marry a family friend even though he has no interest in her or in women generally and marrying means giving up his job as a forensic hexman and working for the family business. He meets Mal, a thief and gets him off with some of his forensic hex-work but soon someone is out to get Mal and despite swearing to be true to his wife, Owen agrees to bond with Mal and have a relationship for the week until he marries. Owen is submissive and has never been able to indulge as in his circles he would never be respected if his equals found out, but Mal is more than happy to indulge and doesn't look down on him for it.
Of course there is the on-going bad-guy plot from the last book, a transgender character, and there is the requisite parents I want to slap upside the head (hard with a 2x4 but I know it was historically accurate - I would have done terribly back then as a rich person - not that my family would fall into that category LOL). I wanted to stand up and cheer when Owen put on his big-boy pants and did the right thing.
I'm still waiting for Bill and Isaac *stares again at author* to see something. I know it's there. All of the characters make appearances to solve the mystery. I must pick up the Christmas one now. I shall pay more attention and keep an eye out for more installments. Who is behind this wonky plot?...more
I think I read this last year? Maybe this year? I have no clue. Anyway, yay, Cicero's story. Although sometimes I really am clueless. When I got thisI think I read this last year? Maybe this year? I have no clue. Anyway, yay, Cicero's story. Although sometimes I really am clueless. When I got this I was kind of oblivious to what the story was and that it was a follow-up to the first one. Purely by chance (Did I not read the blurb? Perhaps not. LOL) Anyway, pleasant surprise.
I loved Cicero with his flamboyant life and how he and Tom clashed and I also enjoyed seeing Cicero taken town a peg or two when Tom didn't fit his preconceived notions of how big men in charge behave. Granted, he had good reason to believe what he did.
I wasn't exactly sure how the bad guys plot was going to get them the power they wanted. Fear perhaps? But I didn't really care because I was more invested in Cicero and Tom and saw the bad guy coming from a distance. It was great to see Dominic and Rook and the introduction of Owen.
Anyway, it was a real treat to read and I look forward to more. I know book two is Owen and Mal but I'm kind of looking at Bill and Isaac here for a happy ending. Poor pup. *stares hard at author*...more
Okay, I don't remember when I read this, but I remember going "I want Cicero's story". :-) I liked the whole world that was built up, the extreme poveOkay, I don't remember when I read this, but I remember going "I want Cicero's story". :-) I liked the whole world that was built up, the extreme poverty vs those making a go vs the whole role of witches/familiars vs normals (for lack of a better word). I always hate parents who interfere in their kid's lives so felt badly for Dominic whose parents had crushed his dreams by lying to him, but I was happy he got his dream come true. ...more
OMFG, my computer restarted and I lost everything I had typed. In general they were all "okay". I found the historical ones a bit less so as it with sOMFG, my computer restarted and I lost everything I had typed. In general they were all "okay". I found the historical ones a bit less so as it with short story format, I felt like I was missing a lot by not knowing the details of the history.
I particularly enjoyed Feumaidh Mi Ruith (I Have to Run) by Missouri Dalton even thought I felt like I was missing something. There was an undercurrent of paranormal which I never really understood and maybe it's from an existing world, but I still enjoyed it.
I liked Kilt in the Closet by Logan Zachary which is a bit of a ghost story although I never really got why the bad guy was the bad guy except that he was mean and he died so we never find out.
Perfect Working Order by Elizabeth Coldwell was a sweet mild story about old university friends who went their separate ways and reconnect and Miles has something he wants to ask assistance with *wink wink nudge nudge*.
Can’t Stand the Heat by Keelan Ellis - a not so friendly kitchen competion leads to both chefs getting fired. I thought it was very childish and if ICan’t Stand the Heat by Keelan Ellis - a not so friendly kitchen competion leads to both chefs getting fired. I thought it was very childish and if I lost my job the last thing I'd do is sleep with the cause.
L.J. Hamlin’s Cherry Bomb - Not generally a fan of fraternity prank stories, but Carl is set up by his friends not just to go to his first gay bar, but a BDSM bar. It starts rough, but maybe it wasn't really much of a "prank". It was cute.
Coffee and Chaos by Jessica Chase - super-efficient cop is paired with the guy nobody wants. He's good at some parts of the job and there is a hidden reason for the negatives. I enjoyed it.
Lynn Townsend’s Had Me at Cheese Fries - A male nurse and an orderly dealing with April's Fool nonsense at work grab some dinner after shift and start a slow start to a relationship. Sweet story.
Kangaroos Next 200km by Asta Idonea, - A British guy travelling with friends accepts a drunken dare and ends up lost in the Outback and is rescued by a trucker. Bonus points to the author for the passing nod to figuring out visa issues after the 3 month period is up and not just pretending he can move willy nilly. (pet peeve)
Moonlight Masquerade by D.M. Roberto - Baker gets random roses on his doorstep, but also meets his hottie new neighbour. Who is the secret admirer? It was ok. I do like stories with bakers.
DC Lowry’s Rough Love - I think a pretty realistic story of college students who make assumptions and don't really communicate about what they need. Throw in the sensitivities if an IR relationship and ingrained relationship ideas from a conservative upbringing to one of the more sex-laden stories..
Lila Mathews’ Rough Waters - not always a fan of the story with the best friend who turns on the gay friend in high school to protect his jock status, but I though he seemed genuinely contrite (stuck sharing a cabin on his school reunion cruise - must be freaking rich high school LOL) and there is acceptance that 17 or 18 year olds make dumb mistakes. So it worked for me.
Tomatoes and Mangoes by Monica Wang - the only f/f, I didnt see it as teasing, more doing things to make the other girl feel badly or be embarassed. The girl asks why someone is speaking Mandarin, and she's told it's Korean (it wasnt, it was Mandarin) and makes the girl feel like she's half-racist for assuming it was Mandarin. Why? I didnt get it, and not because it was f/f.
Cassandra McMurphy’s The Date - Another frat prank, this one more mean with a guy set up on a blind date. Of course the girl is a guy, the brother of the head frat guy no less. However as revenge they have dinner anyway and end up having a great time, and maybe the frat boy is not so straight after all. Embarassing prank backfires.
Trickster69 by Charles Payseur - much as I kind of lean to the Loki-Thor ship, I'm just not a fanfic reader and couldn't get into it. If it's your thing it will be enjoyable.
So I enjoyed most of these. Most lean to HFN given the short format but they tend to be fairly low-angst, so would be good to read them now and then if you need a palate cleanser after a heavier book....more
I found the first story about a pair of magical shoes that turn a curmudgeon into a nice guy in love with his valet, a little dark. Probably more likeI found the first story about a pair of magical shoes that turn a curmudgeon into a nice guy in love with his valet, a little dark. Probably more like fairy tales of old. The shoes start to take over his body and sounded kind of gross to be honest. But intent ends HEA of course.
The second is a man tasked by his future-MIL to find a magician who will find missing magical wedding rings. He doesn't want to marry the girl but must or lose his inheritance. He find a man he's instantly attracted to but he can never really remember. This happens over and over until the wedding day arrives and the truth comes out. It is fairly repetitious given the nature of the story, but it ends well with even the young lady getting her HEA. I enjoyed it....more
I do have a soft spot for those turn of the century traveling circus stories. Not sure why, but something about running away and joining the circus woI do have a soft spot for those turn of the century traveling circus stories. Not sure why, but something about running away and joining the circus works for me. I loved that it took him a while to accept his fate in the circus but then saw the upside to maybe being there with others like him. I also liked the twist with the devil and maybe he's not quite so bad... for a devil. :-) It was nice to see him have more depth than just the evil guy waiting for the souls to come his way.
I did keep thinking "god, they must be so filthy" all the time, but I just tried not to think about it too much, especially when in the throws of passion. LOL
I do enjoy this author's style so I think her fans will love this. I did not read the first one as I'm not a fan of musician stories but a quick glance shows me that it's the same devil. Not sure that would have made a difference to my reading or not, knowing who he was, but I enjoyed it anyway. ...more
I kind of loved this against my will. These two little psychopaths should be on that show The World's Child Killers where their reign of terror is revI kind of loved this against my will. These two little psychopaths should be on that show The World's Child Killers where their reign of terror is revealed. Yet, the author managed to separate out their dirty deeds which they only did to earn money and stay alive (when they weren't killing people for revenge) and OMG, how filthy they must have been 24/7. It's kind of a co-dependent relationship with Gabriel keeping "Drake" alive in the city and showing him the tricks, while Drake manages their money and makes sure they have fuel, the rent is paid and that when Gabriel goes into his psychotic breaks that he takes care of him. There is much wanton violence which should have made them revolting "heroes", yet I was cheering for them to get away. So I'm very conflicted. I feel like the upstanding law-abiding citizen in me should have been horrified, but the romantic in me was firmly on their side. Sigh. But I couldn't stop reading and I enjoyed every minute of it....more
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