It is pretty much accepted wisdom that it’s hard to find someone to love who loves you back. Some people may have it easier than others, but those are...moreIt is pretty much accepted wisdom that it’s hard to find someone to love who loves you back. Some people may have it easier than others, but those are not the ones whose story gets written up in a romance novel.
Travis, one of the main characters and the narrator of this story, has two big obstacles he needs to overcome. One, he has a five-year-old daughter who seems to hate every woman he introduces to her; it may have to do with the fact that her mother dumped and divorced Travis because he wasn’t earning enough money, then packed her stuff and vanished never to be seen again. Not a way to impress your child! I am not surprised Penny isn’t chomping at the bit to get a “new mommy”. Travis’s second issue is much worse: it is his own perception. He is bisexual, always has been, but finds it much easier to “go with societal flow”, so to speak, and look for a woman as a partner. Never mind he never really likes any of them, and never mind all signs point to the fact he is falling in lust, if not in love, with Spike. In his stubborn head, he has to find and marry another woman. Sheesh!
Spike is a vet, and in charge of the pelican feeding program Penny is such a fan of. He is attracted to Travis, and really likes Penny, despite her willful ways. He is also very understanding of Travis’s need to make money (after the ex cleaned him out financially), but he has his limits. Spike agrees with Penny that Travis does need to take the occasional break, and he wishes they could get closer than the few hot weekend encounters they have shared. But when Travis keeps stalling and distancing himself, Spike tells him enough is enough, and to either admit what they are to each other, or leave him alone.
It takes a major eye-opener for Travis to get the message, but when he does? Let’s just say that the ending made me vey happy! If you’re looking for a cute story about a stubborn man with a cute kid, if you like reading about everyday men with everyday issues but extraordinary love for each other, and if you’re looking for a sweet read with some hot action, and lots of laughs, then you wil probably like this short story.
Cute, short, and hot, this is a first scene between a new Dom and his sub for the night. I have to admit that I almost stopped reading when the Dom dr...moreCute, short, and hot, this is a first scene between a new Dom and his sub for the night. I have to admit that I almost stopped reading when the Dom drank a glass of wine ("to calm his nerves") before they start. WHAT????? That is just dangerous, and I would have expected the sub to safeword at that point - what with a new Dom he doesn't know?
While the rest of the story is cute enough, more kinky than strict BDSM, there were too many things missing for me to really get into it. Almost no emotions, no discussion between the participants (and no mention of a previous agreement), all changing to a sudden overflowing of enthusiasm once they've both come. Just not my thing, I am afraid. (less)
Cool story set in the old west with some intriguing paranormal elements. Homosexuals will get a man lynched, if he's found out, and the ability to par...moreCool story set in the old west with some intriguing paranormal elements. Homosexuals will get a man lynched, if he's found out, and the ability to partially/occasionally see the future is just as dangerous.
Lucas has been saddled with both. He is the narrator, and boy, does he know how to get in trouble! His plan of getting Ambrose's attention may work, but it also puts him in mortal danger.
Ambrose is the strong, brooding type, silent but utterly dangerous when upset. Still, he seems to have a soft spot for Lucas - though I doubt he'd ever admit it! And he might be a cowboy, but there is something about his past hinting at more.
If you like adventures set in the old West with a touch of paranormal, if the strong man coming to the rescue of the reckless, slightly stupid guy sounds like fun, and if you're looking for a slightly mysterious read with a few twists,then you will probably like this short story.(less)
This was an amazing read. I enjoyed the sequel to Blood Pond so much, I’m beginning to wonder if DJ is trying to turn me into a horror fan?!? Nah – no...moreThis was an amazing read. I enjoyed the sequel to Blood Pond so much, I’m beginning to wonder if DJ is trying to turn me into a horror fan?!? Nah – not going to happen. But – as long as the blood-curdling 'horrificness' is balanced with the kind of psychological angle, romantic relationship and quality writing to be found here, I have found that I can definitely appreciate a mystery.
I really loved that all the unanswered questions from the first book were answered here. It was great to see how August and Bruce have managed to build a life for themselves, and I liked that they managed to survive this newest test of their love. Because, for me, as much as the story was about solving the mystery and finally figuring out who was the murderer behind it all then catching him – it was just as much about two lovers trying to deal with horrific events in their pasts. Yes, they had started to deal with it in the first book, and had continued to do so in the intervening 5 years. But, in the end, they couldn’t truly come to terms with any of it until the riddle was solved.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you're a horror fan: you will love this book as much as the first volume. And if you're not: like me, this sort of story has enough psychological depth to be attractive. Just - read it during daylight hours. It helps!
Cute little story involving a lost young man, the cowboy who finds him and some hot insta-lust. Neither Ricky nor Bryce may have expected to meet and...moreCute little story involving a lost young man, the cowboy who finds him and some hot insta-lust. Neither Ricky nor Bryce may have expected to meet and almost immediately fall for each other, but when they do, they certainly don't hold back.
Ricky is on the run from his old life. Kicked out by his parents, he'd hitch-hike across country and only his last ride turned into something he wasn't ready to accept when the truck driver wanted more than Ricky was willing to give. Now he's at loose ends - except for the hot cowboy he runs into when he is too drunk to watch where he is going.
Bryce has turned into a loner, but when a kid runs into him, and he realizes the guy needs help, he offers him a job on his ranch as well as a room and food. His resolve to see this as a business arrangement lasts less than twenty-four hours, but he does the decent thing and leaves everything up to Bryce.
If you like hot cowboys who are nice on top of attractive, if you're interested in reading about two men who both are a little lost and lonely until they meet, and if you're looking for a light, fun read then you will probably like this short story.(less)
Finally I got to find out more about Roman and Kendrick’s story – only it is way more complicated than that. While it was a relief to see both Roman a...moreFinally I got to find out more about Roman and Kendrick’s story – only it is way more complicated than that. While it was a relief to see both Roman and Kendrick, who were secondary characters from book one, get their own story, there is the additional complication of Clatcher, who came to my attention as another secondary character in the previous book. These three men are in an awful situation, and I wouldn’t want to be any of them! “Indecision” is exactly the right title and what an amazing story this turned out to be!
With Roman loving Kendrick, only to see him die at the hand of evil shape shifter Ailiwen, and moving on when Clatcher comforts him, Roman has to now decide between Kendrick and Clatcher. Kendrick has come back from the dead (since his special dragon power turned out to be much like that of a phoenix) only to find he has turned into a fox shifter and the love of his life seems to be in love with another dragon – Clatcher. And Clatcher has loved Roman from afar for so long, finally has the man’s attention, only to see him turn back toward Kendrick… What a mess!
Roman is an easy guy to love. He used to be the dragon clan’s second in command (until he eloped with Kendrick and was replaced), is Aris’s best friend, and has loved Kendrick from afar while Kendrick was still hung up on Aris. When Kendrick finally gets over that (since Aris is now mated) and turns to Roman, he couldn’t be happier. But thanks to evil Ailiwen that happiness doesn’t last long, Kendrick dies, and all Roman feels is the need for revenge. Clatcher is the only one who keeps him sane. And then Kendrick returns – and Roman is in trouble. He does the honorable thing and returns to Kendrick, after all, they are mated. But Roman is truly torn, finding out that his feelings for Clatcher won’t just go away, no matter how much he wants them to vanish.
Kendrick, for me, was a difficult character to get to like. He’s had an on-again-off-again relationship with Aris for years, but doesn’t seem to respect the fact that Aris has found his true mate in Conner. As he suffers through “losing” Aris (even though he never really “had” him), he begins to see Roman and ends up falling in love and finally finds some happiness. But when Kendrick dies, and suffers through everything that follows, I began to feel for him. And now? He finally has Roman back only to realize the man may love Clatcher. His biggest problem is his lack of self-confidence, and that definitely gets in the way. Kendrick keeps thinking in terms of “whom does Roman love more”, and it takes him a while to figure out a solution that will make all three men happy. Oh boy!
Clatcher was a bit if a stranger for me, since he hasn’t previously played a major role. All I knew about him was what learned in book seven, and his support of Roman, even though a little selfish since he loves the man, made me sympathize with him. He also immediately withdraws when Roman choses Kendrick, since he knew from the start that Roman loved Kendrick and not him. What an awful situation to be in! He is ready to leave, despite both Roman and Kendrick telling him they want him to stay. But really, what is he going to get out of seeing the man he loves mated to someone else?
If you like slightly complicated three-way relationships with lots of angst and emotional drama, if you want to know how Roman manages to reconcile the fact he loves two men, and if you’re looking for a tension-filled read with lots of hot shifter-on-shifter action, then you will probably like this novella.
This was one of those books that gripped me from the first page. Why? Basically, the conflicts Erik faces are tough (both as an athlete on a professio...moreThis was one of those books that gripped me from the first page. Why? Basically, the conflicts Erik faces are tough (both as an athlete on a professional level and as a man in his personal life), he clearly has no idea how to deal with his emotions, and he suffers before the story really starts. There is also something about his voice, the way he thinks and avoids dealing with life that struck me as realistic and kept me wanting to know what's next. Of course, by the time Tyce is introduced, I was already hooked!
Erik is a hockey player with a very defined image of what he should be like, and whom he should be attracted to. From the very beginning it is clear that, deep down, he has a different opinion, but it is equally obvious that "he cannot give in" to what he most wants. As the story develops, the full extent of the disaster that is his life as a college senior and future hockey professional unfolds: his father terrorizes him, he has a fiancée he doesn’t love, and the one person who was his best friend and secret lover is unreachable for him. The self-recrimination is terrible, and the emotional mess he is in made me cringe.
His initial lack of ability to change this was quite embarrassing, I mean, for a guy of 22 or 23, he had not really grown up to form his own opinions, always falling in with what his father wanted. Now, he is finally paying for it. The rest of the book is about the process of digging himself out of this hole, the new terror that awaits him once he frees himself, and the emotional growing up that follows. Spellbinding, as well as highly frustrating, when he has a relapse – or two.
Tyce doesn't have it easy either, buy mainly because he loves Erik deeply and the man walking away from him almost killed him. I totally sympathized with Tyce, and the way he deals with the situation is admirable. He is also very giving and has some great friends, all of which helps him to deal with Erik's emotional growth spurts.
If you like stories that make you squirm and push you to the edge of your seat, if you enjoy reading about men who have a lot of emotional growing up to do, and if you're looking for a great love story, you will probably like this book.
And the adventure continues! In the third installment of this exciting series (that definitely needs to be read in order), Elijah is now a firmly esta...moreAnd the adventure continues! In the third installment of this exciting series (that definitely needs to be read in order), Elijah is now a firmly established character in the world of DungeonCrawl. He knew it as a computer-based adventure game here on Earth, but he has somehow managed to enter the world he used to play in, and is participating in a “game” that is now his increasingly complicated new reality. The plot has deepened, a throne is at stake, and with Elijah and his lover Sarin having chosen sides, they are off on a mission of reconnaissance. Everything ends on another mini-cliffhanger, so I guess there will beat least one more installment.
Elijah has a clever plan: get as close to the king as possible, pretending to be at his service, so they can figure out how much he knows and what he plans to do about it. The reality of actually having to kill people if they want to be convincing hits Elijah hard, and while he had no problem doing this while sitting at his computer, it was all pretend, after all, when he is confronted with the actual situations, it is a different matter. Only his determination to prevent huge injustice and possible war keeps him going.
Sarin plays Elijah’s wolf companion, but he has a few aces up his sleeve both in wolf and in human form. Whether it is to perform all kinds of interesting magic, or making passionate love to Elijah, Sarin is totally motivated. His hare-brained idea at the end had me screaming “no way”, and Elijah isn’t happy either, but it seems to be the only way forward. Sarin is determined, and I’ll have to wait for the next story to find out what happens. Hmph!
If you’re into action/adventures of the slightly fantastical kind, if you’d like to see an increasingly loving couple band together and fight overpowering odds, and if you’re looking for a read that gets more tension-filled and action-packed by the moment, then you will probably enjoy this third volume of the “what happens when a computer game comes to life” series.
As hot as cowboys and the stories about them can be, especially when rodeos are involved, there is always the underlying threat of serious injury. Yes...moreAs hot as cowboys and the stories about them can be, especially when rodeos are involved, there is always the underlying threat of serious injury. Yes, there is danger in ranch work as well, but it’s a whole different dimension when you’re talking bull riding and bucking horses. Tragically, as this story shows, deadly injury doesn’t even have to strike during work. One of the main characters’ friends, James, falls off his horse when they are just goofing off, and breaks his spine. He is not expected to recover.
Alan was there when it happened, and he is about as shaken up as can be. Not just because he is going to lose a friend, but because seeing the effect of a fall like that makes him think about his own choices. He thought the rodeo was the most important thing in his life, more important than living with his lover Colby. He left in anger, the man hasn’t responded to his last few calls, and Alan realizes he has been an idiot. He can only hope it’s not too late!
When Colby hears about James, and how hard Alan has taken it, he hopes the man will make it home to him. Yes, he’s been a little pissy about the fact the guy left him behind, but he still loves Alan with all he is. The relief when Alan makes it home is tremendous, and their reunion turns very hot, very quickly. Colby doesn’t even hesitate when Alan asks if he can stay – for Colby, his ranch had already become Alan’s home a long time ago.
If you like stories with a touch of tragedy that makes men rethink their priorities, if hot cowboys are your thing, and if you’re looking for a short story about two men who are passionate enough about each other to admit they were wrong, then you will probably lie this short story.(less)
Short and sweet, this story features two very hot cowboys, a herd of alpacas, and some hot summer loving “up on the mountain”. With the age difference...moreShort and sweet, this story features two very hot cowboys, a herd of alpacas, and some hot summer loving “up on the mountain”. With the age difference between Skeet and Dan bothering Dan, and the fear of being thought of as stupid worrying Skeet, there is just enough tension for a short story like this to make things a little interesting. That and the increasing heat between the two men was definitely enough to make me smile – and keep me amused as I read about their antics.
Skeet is pretty young and has made some stupid mistakes, always looking for trouble, or so it seems. Dan is older and is trying to help Skeet from making things worse for himself, so much so that he’s even come out to Skeet to make sure the young cowboy knows he’s not alone. Skeet is so attracted to Dan he can hardly control himself, and when Dan catches him jacking off (out in the open!) during one of their breaks, the game is up. And from the moment Dan opens up, there is no going back.
If you like hot cowboys, or if you’re looking for your first story about two rugged men making a living out in the open all summer, if two men who both think they are unacceptable to the man they really want sound like an interesting pair, and if you’re looking for short, hot, and fun, then you will probably like this short story.(less)
High school is a crucial time for many people, a time when they decide who they want to be, or at least what sort of a person they will become once th...moreHigh school is a crucial time for many people, a time when they decide who they want to be, or at least what sort of a person they will become once they grow up. While reading stories set in that time are interesting, I find the ones that look at people thirty or forty years later even more fascinating. They offer the opportunity to look at what really happened, and in the case of “King”, who used to be a hero and feel like a hero when he made his school bully-free, there was bound to be a grand story. Right? Wrong. The way King sees it he is a total failure. For me, the real story unfolds in this book and it is all about how he got to that point, and how an unexpected turn of events helps him see the truth of the effect he has had on so many lives – which does make him a hero. Just of a different kind than he expected.
King’s last good deed of his high school years was, as far as he was concerned, no different than any of the others he performed. Keeping the bullies powerless and giving the kids who need it the courage to stand up for themselves was what he and his merry band of helpers was all about. His great dreams crashed though, and now he lives a boring, closeted life, never having left town like he intended. He may still work small “miracles”, but he doesn’t see them as really important. Boy, does he have it wrong!
On his fifty-seventh birthday, a new chapter of his life begins. Not that he realizes it at first, nor does he expect anything to change. He is too old. Right? Wrong again! His friends have organized not just a party, but an encounter with King’s own hero, Rex Rodman. Their encounter sets in motion a chain of discoveries, discussions, and events that reveal a lot of unexpected truths and teach King some valuable lessons. I loved the road the author took me on as King and Rex maneuver their way around obstacles, preconceptions, and accepted “truths” that turn out to be not so true after all.
If you like stories about second chances, if two men who seem destined for very different things end up discovering there are many more options than they thought sound like an interesting couple, and if you’re looking for a slightly different kind of romance that revolves around self-discovery and learning to be honest with yourself, then you will probably enjoy this novel.(less)
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 they 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.