New adventures for Jack Cannon, the hot cop with his even hotter partner Lucky who specializes in undercover assignments? Count me in! Just from knowi...moreNew adventures for Jack Cannon, the hot cop with his even hotter partner Lucky who specializes in undercover assignments? Count me in! Just from knowing Jack and Lucky, and from reading the blurb, I knew the tension was bound to be high. Just consider this: Jack has been promoted (or transferred, he is not too sure) to the new Threat Management unit, a team created to go up against the most vile of the vile criminals in LA. Lucky is still on some mysterious assignment in London, and doesn’t sound right when they speak. They have been separated for weeks, and neither likes that fact. Of course, staying in touch via Skype and phone calls can never be enough for the two lovers.
As does happen on these dangerous “special unit” assignments, Jack gets shot — under suspicious circumstances, no less, and with a new partner who seems less than able to truly support him — then he is “forced” to take a vacation. Of course he decides to spend it in London so he can check up on Lucky, especially since he hasn’t sounded right for a while now. Jack suspects it is another man… But then Lucky comes to see Jack in hospital and everything seems to be okay. Never for long though, not with these guys!
Lucky is in the middle of an elaborate undercover operation and can sure use some backup. He pulls Jack right in, and let me tell you, what goes down next does need both of these great cops’ attention if they want to stand a chance to come out of it alive. The villains may be tough, but Jack and Lucky combined are way tougher!
If you want to know what’s next for this increasingly close couple, if you’re looking for hot cops, hotter action, and incendiary in-an-out-of-the-bedroom action, then you should give this novella a try – just make sure you read the first two volumes first to get the full effect. I think it’s worth it!
Sometimes what seems like the worst setback in life actually turns out to be a very lucky break. Grayson, a cop demoted for arresting the “wrong” kid,...moreSometimes what seems like the worst setback in life actually turns out to be a very lucky break. Grayson, a cop demoted for arresting the “wrong” kid, finds out that his new assignment writing traffic tickets isn’t all bad. It did make me question if a police captain would really demote one of his officers for arresting someone who was clearly drunk and disorderly, endangering other people’s lives, just because the perpetrator is a senator’s son. Bu then again, I guess it could happen – corruption is everywhere after all.
Even though Grayson is extremely grumpy initially, and who could blame him after the total injustice he has suffered, I loved him because he found such a creative way to get back at all the colleagues who didn’t support him when he needed it. Maybe it’s petty to ticket all his colleagues whenever he can, but it made me smile. And at least it gives Grayson something to focus on other than the misery that is now his job. But then one day he writes out a ticket for a double-parked sports car and his luck totally changes.
The owner of that sports car, Luke, also owns the café the car sat in front of, and what follows is a sweet romance. Some shared lunches, careful flirting, and both men realize there might just be more. That’s when it gets very hot, and the truth about Luke comes out. Not what I expected at all, but I thought it was very, very funny.
If you like stories where coincidence is what makes two men meet, then interest and determination is what makes them keep coming back to each other, and if you’re looking for a sweet, hot read with a touch of humor, then you will probably like this short story.
It was great to finally get Mike’s story. After his brief appearances in the first two books of the ‘Box of Nails’ series, I have to admit I was both...moreIt was great to finally get Mike’s story. After his brief appearances in the first two books of the ‘Box of Nails’ series, I have to admit I was both curious about him and very worried. Being shy is not a problem, but he is clearly scared of simply everyone and everything, and the fact that he cuts is not really a good sign. Paul and Jeff (from book two), do the best they can to be his friends and to take care of him, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Mike needs much more than good friends, and I couldn’t wait to see who would ride to his rescue, so to speak.
Angus is a cop, and a friend of Barney’s (from book one). He first hears about Mike at a party, and he is intrigued. Once he meets Mike, he becomes very interested and decides to help him. Since he used to cut as well, when he was younger, he doesn’t just understand what Mike is going through from a theoretical point of view, he actually knows what it feels like to have that need to bleed out the pain, or the fear, or whatever else it is that bothers a cutter to the point where they need to inflict that sort of harm on themselves. His patience seems infinite, but he is determined, and very slowly manages to gain Mike’s trust. It may start out as him wanting to help, because he can, but very soon he realizes he is beginning to love Mike and wants to be a lot more for him than “just” his savior.
Mike is in a very bad spot. Raped and made fun of, taunted at a frat party three years ago, he feels guilt, shame, and downright nasty. Cutting is a way to let out the bad and the fear, but he is also very aware that it could become his way out of this world, permanently, if he ever needs it to be. He cannot believe anyone would be interested in him, that he could be good enough to be important for someone to love him. It takes him a long time to arm up to Angus, but it seems easy. At least a lot easier than he thought it would be. He cannot believe that Angus really loves him, but the evidence keeps mounting, and when Angus needs him, he is there for him.
If you like stories about wounded men who need time and lots of love to heal, if you want to see what it’s like to be afraid all the time only to find out there is a better way of living once the right man comes along to help give you the courage to face your fears, and if you’re looking for a very angsty yet sweet read with an ending like a modern-day fairy tale, then you will probably like this novella.
What a truly fascinating story! Set in the future and a time when AI (artificial intelligences) are a lot more powerful than they are today, this stor...moreWhat a truly fascinating story! Set in the future and a time when AI (artificial intelligences) are a lot more powerful than they are today, this story asks the question of “what makes us human” in a slightly different way than comparing us to aliens or the robots of Isaac Asimov. They would also have had to be AIs, but back when he wrote his amazing novels in the 1950s, human science wasn’t advanced enough to ask the question in those terms. But the topic is the same. And with chess programs already able to outwit the human brain, it really only is a matter of time before we face the kind of problem Michel faces in this story: what is the difference between an AI that has gained self-awareness and has developed feelings using circuits and software and a human, who does the same thing using a brain and chemicals/hormones?
Michel is a fairly normal fifteen-year-old. Not in the way he lives his life as an Interpol kid, perpetually moving from country to the next, wherever his parents’ skills in fighting terrorists are needed. But in the way he looks for friends, companionship, and, very specifically, a boyfriend. Now, he has been told by his parents not to talk to strangers on the feeds (read: online), but what does he do? Exactly. He is curious, and when he meets this boy called Benny in a chat room and they start talking about pets, things develop quickly, and suddenly they are dating. Never having physically met, of course. And once they do meet, well, sort of, since Benny isn’t real? All hell breaks lose, of course.
Michel realizes that Benny isn’t real in the sense that Michel is physically real. But the way he thinks, asks questions, and learns is very real. He may be a powerful AI, but who says that self-awareness is unique to humans? And aren’t feelings a logical consequences of consciousness? They are in humans, so Michel begins to see how they might be just as real for software originally developed by humans. All of these questions are asked, and some answered, in this amazing story that will probably make you think about AI and “intelligent computers” in a very different way.
If you like your science fiction a little on the speculative side while still founded in “real” science, if you enjoy reading stories that try to define what makes us human and a machine a machine, and if you’re looking for an entertaining, yet thoughtful, way to imagine what might happen if software development continues to advance the way it has so far, then you will probably like this story. Teenagers of today may end up having to grapple with issues like the ones in ‘Binary Boy” when they are adults in thirty years or so… maybe earlier.
The idea of having a "designated bottom", a guy who doesn't even think of topping, is one that fascinated me from the first time I read the blurb for...moreThe idea of having a "designated bottom", a guy who doesn't even think of topping, is one that fascinated me from the first time I read the blurb for this anthology. Since I am someone who likes variety, in all areas of my life, I find people who know what they want and stick with it really interesting. And, to put it carefully, I was not disappointed. While the theme of "wanting only one thing" was the same across all the stories, the variety in how that plays out is amazing.
Czech Me Out by BA Tortuga A strong cowboy, a determined food truck owner, and both of them discovering they are more than interested in each other makes for a very hot story. Korde may not have come to Austin expecting to find out all kinds of things that can happen when two men hit the bedroom, but Josh is more than willing to teach him. The result is an incendiary encounter… and then some.
The Mistell by Katey Hawthorne What starts as a “mistell”, as in a “tell” or statement in a gamer’s chat that has gone to the wrong recipients, hence the “mis” part, quickly evolves into gamer-geek Pete getting to know a newish group member better than he’d thought possible. Full of gaming references and nerdy talk, this story made me laugh and definitely rates as good entertainment for those who like that sort of “slightly outside of reality” feel.
Faster Bobcat by Julia Talbot What a cute story! It has two somewhat weary cat shifters (each for his own reasons), who also happen to be fascinating characters, a lot of emotions, and some very hot action when the two men make it to the bedroom. The underlying message of needing trust before you can open up, and what happens if one partner is ahead of the other, gave this short story an additional level that really appealed to me.
Little Square of Cloth by Sean Michael The “hankie code” is a great way to communicate, publicly but without words, what a gay man is willing to do or not do. It is also, as this story shows, borderline dangerous if misused by a well-meaning but reckless “friend” who thinks he knows what a newbie wants or needs. Luckily, the unwitting sub in this story is rescued by a great Dom and all ends well for everyone concerned. Actually, that ending in the club is just the beginning of some very hot exploration and experimentation.
Sgt. Hardass by Shannon West Anger can be a powerful motivator. But when the need to take revenge at any price becomes overwhelming, nobody wins. And, as Jake in this story finds out, once love is added to the mix, as much as he denies it, the whole volatile mixture is more likely to do irreparable damage than anything else. With a setup of rather complex emotions that all boil down to “he hurt me, so I want to hurt him”, this story is an emotional roller coaster as well as in interesting character study of someone who thinks he has it all under control, only to find out he’s been deceiving himself. I watched it all In horrified fascination, pretty much like the often-quoted train wreck, and have rarely been as grateful for just the right twist at the end as in this case. Phew!
Prince of Paupers by Kiernan Kelly On the surface, this story is simply hilarious. A prince of some unnamed country, haughty, spoiled, and only used to the best of everything, throws himself into the rescue of his best friend’s impoverished mother and family. His observations of real life, never experienced by himself to date, are funny, and the typical energy and effectiveness with which he orders everyone around (or tries to, it doesn’t seem to work on his friend’s younger sisters and brothers – not one bit) may seem overdone, but is actually very necessary. The underlying message of why he does all this and how good a man he really is warmed my heart and had me smiling for a whole different reason.
Switching It Up by K.C. Wells This is a very entertaining story that made me laugh several times. The idea of “switching it up”, or trying something new, is shown in several different ways here. There is the main couple, Jay and Dean, but then there is Jay’s straight coworker Brenden as well, and he plays a very central role in getting Jay and Dean to see there might be more potential between them.
In a series of four heartwarming short stories, this book tells the tale of ex-Marine Josh, who is raising his nephew Seth, and Brett, a divorced man...moreIn a series of four heartwarming short stories, this book tells the tale of ex-Marine Josh, who is raising his nephew Seth, and Brett, a divorced man who has custody of his daughter Amanda and may be out, but has plenty of retribution to fear from his ex-wife. Both men face the choice between being safe and being happy, and over the years covering these snippets from their lives it becomes increasingly clear which of the two is the one thy are going for – everyone else’s opinion be damned.
Josh is an ex-Marine and runs a tight ship, even at home. The scene where he “inspects” five-year-old Seth’s clothing before the kid’s first day of school is hilarious, and shows how much love there is between these two. Seth’s school is private and run by Catholic nuns, but Josh thinks this is best. When faced with a horde of mothers or another one man holding his daughter’s hand, Josh quickly makes a choice and stands with the only other father in sight. The two kids become fast friends, and the men begin a careful get-to-know-you dance.
Brett is an accountant, works from home, and has sole custody of his daughter. He still lets her spend time with her homophobic and bigoted mother, and that doesn’t make things easier. It’s not the focus of the story though, the key point for Brett is to figure out how he and Josh might fit together. Brett is very realistic about what he wants, and when he sees how compatible he and Josh are, he lets nothing stand in their way. Great guy!
Inevitably, the school makes trouble when Seth begins to refer to Brett as “daddy”. Luckily, by that time, Josh and Brett have figured each other out and know just what to do! The situation makes them think about the longer term, and when an unexpected relative of Josh’s turns up, the men are ready to stand united. If you like sweet romances, if two men figuring out what they want from life while raising kids sounds interesting, and if you’re looking for a read that is as sweet and funny as it is hot, then you will probably like this collection of four linked short stories.
The seventh book in the ‘Of Dragons and Wolves’ series proves that there is no need for Templars or hunters to have an evil enemy. George, the difficu...moreThe seventh book in the ‘Of Dragons and Wolves’ series proves that there is no need for Templars or hunters to have an evil enemy. George, the difficult head of the wolf council, proves that it is quite sufficient to have one of him around to create suffering and mayhem. With both men of the focus-mating in this book very hesitant to go ahead, there are bound to be problems on that front alone. Add the rest of the ongoing storyline around the evil full shape shifter, Roman still out looking for him with Clatcher who won’t leave his side, and various other developments inside the dragon castle, and you’ve got quite an explosive mixture.
Kyle may have figured out a way to escape the unwanted advances of George, the repulsive head of the wolf council who has already appeared as a growing irritant in previous volumes, but the only thing that will work will affect the rest of his life. And he didn’t even want to be mated in the first place. And when Aiken strides onto the scene and, in retaliation, beats up George for all to see, he briefly wonders if he wants to mate such a violent man. Still, it is the least bad option, so he goes with it. And what a surprise when he slowly gets to know Aiken!
Aiken is one of the last warrior dragons still left who is able to fulfill the terms of the peace treaty, but he only agrees because he wants to help out Aris, his high dragon, not because he wants or thinks he deserves another mate. Seeing Kyle practically molested changes things for him, and he runs to the wolf’s defense, but there is a difference between protecting someone and mating him. Then Aiken discovers that he isn’t as over his first mate and how she died as he thought, and he cannot even look Kyle in the face, never mind do anything else the man so clearly wants.
And as for the secondary storyline, involving Roman and Clatcher (and some nasty Templars) – I was deeply touched by what finally happened. But now, against what I expected, I am and not a little worried about Clatcher! Luckily the blurb for the next book in the series gives me some hope on that front…
If you liked the previous books and want to catch up with the various dragons and wolves of Black Mountain, if you enjoy reading about two men who don’t really want to mate at all, never mind each other, and if you’re looking for a read with some interesting new developments, lots of excitement, and some very hot wolf-on-dragon action, then you will probably like this novella. As ever, I can’t wait for the next book! Unfortunately, since I have now read all the previously published installments, I am going to have to wait until next week’s new release…