Heidi Cullinan revisits Logan, MN and a favorite couple when a newcomer to town and finds an invitation to more than just the holiday festivities. The last installment in Cullinan’s Minnesota Christmas series gives readers the gift of erotic delights when a committed couple decides to add a third to their relationship. What first starts out as a physical connection that allows for some hot and heavy playtime soon turns emotional when love enters the equation. Cullinan addresses the various issues surrounding polyamory relationships in a frank and respectful manner though she didn’t completely sell me on the legitimacy of this relationship. The relationship centered on Gabriel being the common denominator. I never felt the connection between Arthur and Dale went any further than mutual affection. A faint suspense subplot adds tension to the story and helps to cement Dale’s place in Logan. Regardless of my issue, I felt Cullinan did an excellent job with the romance and showing that love is what we need it to be. I enjoyed my visit back to Logan and look forward to visiting again soon....more
**spoiler alert** I picked up this book for review because I do enjoy the redemption of a grumpy hero. I didn't even get 16% in before I realized the**spoiler alert** I picked up this book for review because I do enjoy the redemption of a grumpy hero. I didn't even get 16% in before I realized the hero was beyond grumpy-he was an arse. There is also a rape scene that is presented more as dubious consent though I didn't see any consent. All I saw was resignation. The hero verbally expresses he doesn't want what is happening and the other man continues to engage in sexual congress with him. The hero ends up just letting the other man get him off and nothing is said. When someone says get off me, leave me alone and you don't stop what you're doing-it's rape. ...more
The second in Lynda Aicher’s BDSM male/male series builds an intense, emotional connection between an uptight sadist and an adrenaline junkie masochist whose personal demons push him to seek out dangerous situations. As this couple’s pain play begins to take on a deeper sensual meaning, their barriers drop right along with their inhibitions. Warning: There are scenes of self harm and extreme pain play scenes....more
Fans of Abigail Roux’s Cut & Run series are sure to enjoy Dimon’s newest M/M action-packed romantic suspense that revolves around a pair of CIA spies who enjoy some deep and sexy undercover operations in and out of the bedroom. The secrets, lies, and betrayal will shock readers as this pair of lovers learn the hard way the price one pays when one has to choose between their country and their hearts.
Charles offers two young men the adventure of a lifetime in the first installment of a spinoff of her popular Charm of Magpies series. A sensual romance and intriguing mystery blend to create a potent concoction in this action-packed romance. Compelling dialogue, detailed world building and a richly plotted storyline will leave readers wanting more as Charles leads her lovers down the path of no return.
Crispin Tredarloe needs to get his unstable powers under control after it is discovered that his mentor was a warlock in disguise. Forced to prove his good intentions to the Justiciars, Crispin is offered one last chance at redemption or his life may be forfeit. The only bright spot in his life is his secret lover, Ned Hall. Ned is a waste-man whose disdain for anything magic is beginning to place a strain on his and Crispin’s relationship. When Ned’s neighbor dies under mysterious circumstances, Ned and Crispin discover an ancient entity is being raised, one that could destroy London. With no help available, can the pair find and stop the person behind the deaths on their own? ...more
Us picks up about not long after the end of Him. Ryan Wesley and Jamie Canning are happily in love and starting their new lives in Toronto where Wes has achieved his dream of playing for a pro hockey team while Jamie is offered a job coaching hockey in a youth league. But it’s not all rainbows and snuggles. Though they both agreed to keep their relationship a secret from the public till after the hockey season is over, it didn’t seem that much of a hardship when they had the sanctuary of their home. When a nosy and noisy team mate of Wes’s moves in next door and infiltrates their lives, that promised bit of privacy is gone and tempers begin to flare. As Wes and Jamie start to drift apart, they wonder if they can withstand with the world is throwing at them.
Readers were utterly charmed by the first book in this series-Him. A deliciously sexy, bittersweet, and humorous friends to lovers contemporary that uses the bond of friendship and hockey to build an even deeper connection while dealing with family, friends, homosexuality, and the consequences of when their relationship is discovered.
I admit to being a little worried when I heard there was a sequel coming out. Sequels based off of a popular romance that ended on a definite happy note often run the risk of becoming a recap of previous events with a few minor changes or a loaded gun shooting manufactured drama at us left and right. Luckily, this sequel suffers from neither issue. Us is a continuation of Jamie’s and Wes’s love story; the next chapter in their lives. The same charm, humor, and delicious sexual heat saturates this story as Bowen and Kennedy use alternate POVs to pour Wes and Jamie’s hearts out. They deal with not only the everyday ins and out of their lives but also the fact that unlike most couples, they have to hide their relationship. This places undue stress on them. Add in the fact that Wes’s job takes him away for long periods of time, leaving Jamie feeling even more isolated than he already does, and it all adds up to further problems. Emotions run the gauntlet as Wes and Jamie feel the mounting pressure but find themselves unable to communicate effectively beyond the bedroom.
We might be awful communicators lately, but turning each other on has never been a problem for us.
Mild angst and drama begin to slowly fill the storyline as their relationship begins to show some cracks. Bowen and Kennedy do a fabulous job of painting a realistic picture of the issues this couple is experiencing. Wes is flourishing his rookie year on the hockey team and while he wants to tell the world that Jamie is his, he doesn’t want his relationship to overshadow the team. Jamie finds solace in his coaching job but a homophobic fellow employee only adds to his insecurity and increasing anger. These restrictions are isolating them with no social outlets to fall back on. There is no mingling of their friends for fear of what they will inadvertently reveal. Wes and Jamie truly love one another and it shows but they are still learning one another. Both choose to push aside their issues, using excuses to avoid dealing with the problems at hand until a serious event breaks through their barriers and forces them to confront all their anger and fears.
“I think he blames me for everything.”
Though Jamie and Wes are the heart of this story and I loved watching them learn to be a couple and fight for their love, I have to say that a new character, Blake, completely stole the show for me. I don’t think I have laughed so hard over an auxiliary character. His enthusiasm and friendly nature outweighs his obliviousness as he wiggles his way into Wes and Jamie’s lives like a lovable obnoxious puppy. Of course, he more than proves his loyalty and friendship when Wes and Jamie need help and Blake jumps in with no questions asked. Plus, his fear of sheep is adorably weird. Jamie’s parents and siblings are rocks in their corner and Wes’s teammates give him the support and continued friendship he feared he would lose once the season was over and he made his announcement.
“Swear to god, Wesley, sheep are the devil.”
The ending is a mixture of heartfelt sighs, a few tears, and some healthy laughter as Wes and Jamie discover that their coming out wasn’t the catastrophe they feared. They triumphed over one of the greatest obstacles in their relationship and we are once again left with the feeling that this couple has what it takes to go all the way.
Kindred’s latest erotic endeavour is a concoction of paranormal fantasy, alternate world blending, mystery and suspense when a young man is freed from his involuntary imprisonment and decides to impersonate his dead twin sister in order to reclaim his heritage. Engaging dialogue, rich worldbuilding and well-developed main characters are a trademark of Kindred’s writing, but the romance and storylines didn’t quite develop on the same level. The premise promises a rich gender-fluid romance, but the uneven pacing and occasional rambling scenes leave the impression Kindred was at a loss on which direction to take at times. The multiple plotlines didn’t always work well together, causing some confusion, and the romance felt forced rather than a natural progression between the heroes.
Sebastian Swift was framed as a child for his twin sister’s murder and left to rot in a mental institution. When a freak storm frees him, he learns the truth is far worse than he ever suspected. His uncle has seized control of the estate, passing off his illegitimate son as Sebastian, and has been draining Sebastian of his powers through drugs. With the help of some friends, Sebastian poses as his twin sister August and arrives at the estate, determined to discover who murdered his sister and gain back control of his heritage. Macsen Finch refuses to let anyone interfere with his plans, even an attractive young woman who he is sure is nothing more than a gold-digging imposter. As Sebastian and Macsen grow closer and secrets are revealed, they find themselves firmly at the center of a conspiracy that could destroy them all. Sebastian knows he must gain control of his powers before it’s too late, but he fears the ones he loves the most are the ones who seek to stop him for good. ...more
Favorite Quote: “Kiss me Caesar. I‘ve waited all day for you.”
Caesar Romano and his sexy PI boyfriend, Dan Albright, have settled into somewhat domestic bliss as Caesar now spends most of his time with Dan at his Staten Island home and commutes to work aka civilization. While Caesar is happiest at Dan’s side there is still a hint of insecurity in their relationship. A home invasion opens the door to possibilities that Dan is being revisited by his past, something Caesar is still in the dark about. As Caesar muses over Dan’s continued silence into his past, he is ambushed by his business partner and best friend, Poppy, into appearing on tv to promote their store. He also learns Poppy withheld the fact they are catering his ex-boyfriend’s current lover’s art exhibition. YIKES! As if that wasn’t bad enough, his cousin Joey, who is also Poppy’s boyfriend, wants him to help plan the most elaborate and surprise worthy proposal ever for Poppy. WHEW! As Caesar tries to keep up with everything going on, he also finds himself in possession of a stinky stalker who is somehow connected to Dan’s newest job. When push comes to shove, though, Caesar grabs tight and goes on the ride of his life.
It’s been five years since the second book, Trust Me If You Dare, released though very little time has passed in the storyline. There is very little recap of the previous two books; Gregg choosing to pick up where she left off. So, if you are a little fuzzy on the last two books, do yourself a favor and schedule a quick re read or find yourself a well written review to refresh your memory.
Told from Caesar’s rambling and amusingly testy point of view, we watch as he is unintentionally tossed into a series of high octane situations that hilariously develops and resolve over a two-day period. Caesar Romano’s life plays out like a slapstick comedy of errors with a dynamic and eccentric cast of characters who all add to the laughter and appeal of the story. Manic pacing, witty dialogue, exaggeration galore, and a well plotted multidirectional mystery romance seems to go in fifty different directions, but Gregg has a method to her madness and brings everything together with the skill of an expert genealogist.
Caesar has a strong voice and presence in the book. Witty and self-deprecating, he is a slightly uptight hipster who loves his job, boyfriend, bestie, and family despite their unintentional ability to drag him into trouble. All his relationships carry a wee bit of drama and outrageousness that only adds to his overall appeal. Especially when you match it to his almost fanatical need for control and order.
His romance fits right into the general zaniness of the story. Caesar and Dan are well matched in and out of bed. Opposites in all the best ways, they attract like magnets. Dan grounds Caesar in all the best ways when he gets a little to wound up while Caesar keeps Dan on his toes and stops his occasional slides into the darkness. They are adorable with their sexy flirty banter that confirms the serious chemistry brewing and bubbling between them.
“We both needed that. It took the edge off.”
“You are ever on the edge.”
“Only with you.”
The mystery is somewhat obscure, revealing slowly through story. Scores of potential villains riddle the landscape and Gregg keeps us well entertained as we try to follow the clues. Caesar’s amateur sleuthing is award winning and leaves you giggling as he inadvertently keeps stumbling into the fray. Seeing Poppy, the Romano’s, and of course, Jean-Luc again always guarantees a good time will be had by all. We finally get some solid background on Dan’s creepy ex and I love Dan goes out of his way to reassure Caesar that he and their relationship matter to him.
“In case you’re late to the party, Romano, I’m not into women. I’m into you.”
A couple of items did bother me, though. One being the continued manipulation of Caesar by those he loves. Dan and Poppy are masters at it and while Caesar calls them on it multiple times, Dan merely flashes his sexy dimples while Poppy says, “I’m sorry,” for the umpteenth time. I also wish we could get some of the story from Dan’s point of view. I’m ready for Dan to fully expose his past or, at least give an explanation as to why he won’t. He seems determined to keep silent on certain things that really make no sense. Like his new car. Why not tell Caesar where it came from?
Regardless of a few qualms, With This Bling is a fun sexy romance with a strong mystery base. Fans of the series will love the direction Gregg is going with Caesar and Dan and I can only hope we won’t have to wait another five years for the next installment.
Favorite Quote: “The guy across from me was a cherry-red Ferrari and I was a rusted out John Deere tractor.”
Officer Dominic Voss is slowly recovering from falling off a building while in pursuit of a suspect. On medical leave until he recovers, Dominic is seeking out a much in demand physical therapist to help him get back to crime fighting duty.
Orlando Frederick knows all about wanting the impossible. After losing someone precious to him, Lando focuses all his energy into helping others recover from pain even though he is unable to heal from his own. When a sinfully sexy cop begs him for his help, Lando is shocked by the punch of lust that zings him.
The attraction between them grows from a slow simmer to a burning inferno in no time but Lando has already loved and loss one stubborn man…his heart can’t risk another break. While Lando heals Dominic’s body, Dominic sees Lando needs some healing of his own, but Lando isn’t making it easy. Dominic will have to show Lando that love is all about taking risks and sometimes the worse pain of all is not losing, but never trying.
Leveled is the bridge that links Crownover’s Marked Men series to her new spinoff series- Saints of Denver. It is also the perfect farewell for all the fans who have waited patiently for Crownover to ‘lay Remy Archer to rest for good. If you haven’t read the Marked Men series, I wouldn’t start here. Nor would I use this as an introduction to the Saints of Denver series. This novella addresses a long standing storyline that has flowed beneath the entire Marked Men series and was the main conflict for book one-Rule.
SPOILER FROM MARKED MEN SERIES!!!! Remy Archer hid his love for Orlando Frederick from the world, going as far as to use their best friend, Shaw Landon, as his beard. When Orlando has enough and tells Remy either he comes clean with their relationship or their through, Remy leaves and ends up getting into a fatal car accident. For years Orlando blamed himself for Remy’s death and because of Remy’s secrets, wasn’t even able to seek out or offer comfort to the Archers. It’s only after Rome Archer comes home for good that Remy’s double life comes to light and everyone begins to see that no one knew Remy at all.
Leveled picks up years after Remy’s death. Lando still grieves for Remy and walls himself off emotionally to ensure he never suffers that sort of pain again. Now a physical therapist, Orlando helps others get back into fighting shape. When an old friend asks him for a favor, Orlando agrees to see a cop who was injured on the job. When Lando meets Dominic the sparks fly. This built, broody, sexy, scarred, warrior affects Lando something powerful and he experiences something that reminds him of his love for Remy. And that scares him to death.
“The instant I laid eyes on the big brooding cop, it was like a full body assault. There was nothing easy or comfortable about it.”
Dominic doesn’t come looking for anything but help when he meets his new physical trainer but he finds much more when he meets Lando. A tall sexy ginger with a lean build and freckles that beg to be licked and kissed. Dominic knows Lando feels the attraction too but he quickly nips it in the bud when Lando tells him he doesn’t date his clients. Dominic takes offense and the sparks turn to flames.
“You are distracting good looking, Dominic, but I don’t date my clients, and I don’t think I could even get involved with a cop.”
“I don’t know what I find more insulting, the fact you just assume I want to date you or the fact that I’m a cop somehow makes me beneath you. You have a lot of nerve, Mr. Fancy-Pants, a lot of nerve and a lot of ego.”
Even though we get alternating points of view, I couldn’t help but feel this was more Lando’s story. Emotionally poignant and filled with moments of heartache & passion, Leveled touches on several topics, the most important being forgiveness and learning to let go. Crownover writes a sexy, steamy, sorrow touched love story about two men who must deal with their own demons if they want to move forward with their lives and each other. Both are standing on the edge and it take some heavy duty loving, honesty, and a little help from their friends to give this couple their happily ever after.
“We are worth taking risks and venturing into the unknown.“
Crownover also includes a tiny excerpt from Built, the first in her Saints of Denver series, which is scheduled to release January 5, 2016.
Favorite Quote: I took one look at you, and I felt like someone’d punched me in the face.
Deacon Reid spent his life on the wrong side of the law until his sister dies and he’s forced to fight for custody of his niece. Now on the fast track to respectability, Deacon buys a business and plans to settle in the small town of Half-Moon Bay. When he meets the local bookseller/landlord, Deacon feels like he’s finally come home.
Lang Harris is shocked when a tiny tornado dressed in a purple tutu and combat boots invades his bookstore, followed by her gorgeous uncle. Lang hasn’t been with anyone for a long time but Deacon tempts him like no one ever has before and he’s willing to take this chance at happiness.
As Deacon and Lang slowly take their relationship from friends to more, they discover not everyone wants Deacon and Zig to settle down happily ever after in Half-Moon Bay. Someone who’s willing to kill to get what they want.
Fish Stick Fridays is a sweet and spicy romance contemporary with some delicious suspense, a pinch of mystery, and some hot steamy loving. Watching two seemingly opposite people come together is a fun trope to read, especially when the author is as talented as Ford. Steady pacing, well balanced plot lines, witty dialogue, and dynamic characters grab hold and don’t let go as you sink into the story.
Family is the cornerstone of this story you learn as you get to know the protagonists- Deacon (Deke), Lang, and Zig. We learn that family isn’t always what you’re born into but who you choose to surround yourself with. It was refreshing to interact with two mature adults who have responsibilities that couldn’t be conveniently tossed aside until the protagonists need a reminder.
Deacon Reid hasn’t had an easy life but it didn’t harden him as you would expect. This lone wolf makes a 180 when he is thrust into parenthood with the custody of his niece. Selling off most of his belongings, Deacon sets out to make a better life for him and Zig by buying an auto repair shop in a place far away from the neighborhood that was slowly killing them both. He’s an interesting character. His rough exterior hides a heart of gold. He owns up to the mistakes he’s made in his life, making no excuses, and doesn’t see Zig as his chance at redemption. He genuinely loves her and wants to give her the very best shot he can at a better life.
“I won’t let you go. I won’t let any of you go.”
He has a unique style of parenting that will have you chuckling as he and Zig negotiate their way through punishments and discipline. She is a handful with a vibrant and strong personality and left me laughing throughout the book. Deacon gives her a very long leash. He doesn’t want to break her spirit…just help guide her in the right direction.
“No take backs. Uncle Deke says only assholes do take backs. Rule one of life is don’t be an asshole.”
Lang is the yin to Deacon’s yang. The bad boy and the nerd. *SWOON* A quiet, conservative, unassuming book seller and property owner, Lang is alive but isn’t actually living. Brutally attacked and left for dead, Lang has been essentially hiding while his body and mind heals. He too had a less than stellar childhood with his uninterested father and drama fueled mother. Lucky for him, he had a grandmother who understood Lang and tried to protect him. Meeting Deacon and Zig is like being hit with a battering ram. For the first time in years, he feels a sexual attraction for someone without the ever present accompanying fear. Lang’s cautious, as to be expected, but Deacon and Zip slowly absorb him into their world and give Lang a future to look forward to.
“I want things from you that scare me.”
The romance proceeds at a soft pace with Lang and Deacon debating the pros and cons of being together. There is a little bit of an “insta love” feel to it though I found the presentation acceptable. These are two adults choosing to pursue a relationship with no ridiculous melodrama or contrived misunderstandings. Ford has created real people with real issues. They are easy to relate to. Their joys, fears, wants, and needs are laid bare and we are allowed to share in their journey.The execution, offered in dual points of view, flows smoothly and gives readers the ability to see where their mindsets are at during key scenes. Dialogue is their foreplay-leading into some passionate love scenes.
Lang glanced up at him, a profane angel sucking the tip of Deacon’s cock, and he nearly came at the sight of his lover’s handsome face flushed with desire and lust.
A personable cast of secondary characters will steal your heart right along with our protagonists; each one a solid and necessary presence. Some familiar faces from other books are present while new faces appear and offer our budding little family the help and hope they need. Lang’s interactions with Zig are heartwarming. He doesn’t see her as competition or a way to win over Deacon. He genuinely cares for her as a person and grows to love her as much as he grows to love her uncle.
The conflict weaves in and out, heightening the tension and throwing a little shadow on Lang and Deacon’s relationship, as Ford keeps us in suspense as to who exactly the intended victim (s) are and why. The climax and reveal happen simultaneously towards the end, wrapping up the mystery and leaving readers secure in this family’s future. I look forward to reading more about this tiny town and it’s very interesting residents.
Favorite Quote: “Fuck the guy, take the girl, save a soul”
Raze is a medic for Underworld General and a supernatural night club. He is also a seminus demon (sex demon) who has a bit of a problem. He’s gay. Unfortunately, he can only obtain the sexual release he needs to survive with females. 30 years ago he met a succubus, Fayle, who saved his life and now services him when he needs relief. Raze appreciates what Fayle does for him but neither are interested in each other and her possessiveness is beginning to wear on him. Raze has accepted his fate but when he meets a sexy man, he wonders if it’s possible for him to not only have what he needs…but who he wants.
Slake is an assassin for a demon run law firm. He escaped his violent homeland and made a deal with the devil (or someone pretty close to Satan) in order to survive but now finds himself on a deadline. He needs to retrieve a succubus and deliver her pronto or he forfeits his soul forever. The stunning medic he recently met has all his engines firing at full throttle but when he discovers his target, Fayle, is the only thing keeping the Raze alive, he finds himself caught in a trap of his own making.
As Raze and Slake look to find some middle ground, Fayle’s jealousy turns deadly, and suddenly Raze and Slake are fighting for more than their right to love. Now they’re fighting for their lives.
If you are anything like me, you glom Larissa Ione’s Demonica series with an unholy passion. I continue to wait breathlessly for each little niblet Ione releases in this world. When I heard she was writing an MM romance…my grabby hands went into hyper drive. As always, this wickedly dark and gritty paranormal world continues to thrive with it’s dynamic characters, devious plots lines, steamy sexually intense romances, and engaging often humorous dialogue.
Raze and Slake are a delightful addition to this world. Both are intelligent, gorgeous, honorable men who haven’t had the easiest of times. Ione weaves a sensual “lust at first sight” romance and divulges just enough into their backgrounds to help fan the flames of desire and attraction. Delicious love scenes and some unusual but well plotted twists helps these boys towards their happily ever after. Fans will delight in seeing cameos of various beloved characters who pop in and out to help Raze and Slake. My only qualm is the blurb claims Fayle and Raze are best friends but the storyline doesn’t support that. Their relationship is anything but friendly and decidedly one sided.
Once again Ione has given us a much desired and sexy glimpse back into her world and reaffirms that in the PNR genre, she is definitely royalty.
The third installment in Cullinan’s delightfully sassy Minnesota Christmas series brings the story of three grumpy friends to a close when the last maThe third installment in Cullinan’s delightfully sassy Minnesota Christmas series brings the story of three grumpy friends to a close when the last man in their circle finds love and happiness. Sweet seduction blends nicely with some x-rated high jinks when a younger man sets out to prove he is more than old enough to satisfy the man he wants in his bed and his life. Lust and laughter give the holidays plenty of sparkle as new and old friends come out of the woodwork to lend a helping hand.
Derek Sawyer has it all with a fiance, a good job, a romantic getaway cabin on the lake, and his dog, Gracie. When his best friend and coworker, Victor, sexually assaults him on a business trip then turns around and files harassment charges against him at work, Derek loses everything. Alone and scared, Derek is stuck in a web of fear and shame that is tightening around him every day.
Officer Russ Thomas owns the cabin next door to Derek. Though immediately attracted to Derek upon first meeting him, Russ isn’t about to come between a committed couple. A comfortable neighborly friendship develops between Derek and Russ. When Russ runs into Derek after not seeing him for a few weeks, he notices something is wrong. Gone is the happy go lucky man he has come to know and in its place is a scared and angry man. Having worked with victims of sexual assault before, it doesn’t take Russ long to figure out what has happened to Derek. With Russ’s help, Derek files a police report and restraining order against Victor in hopes of gaining back his life. But Victor doesn’t see what he did was wrong and Derek’s actions only serve to anger him more.
As Russ stands by Derek, being the rock at his back as he slowly tries to recover, Victor refuses to give up and soon Derek finds himself fighting for more than just getting his life back…now he’s fighting to stay alive.
Violated is a thought-provoking and sobering tale that addresses sensitive subject matter. Male on male sexual assault happens far more often than it’s reported and the aftermath for the victim and everyone around them can be devastating. Fessenden effectively identifies and reveals the physical and psychological effects that rape has on the person assaulted and the continued emotional and mental assault they face as they struggle to find justice. The plot line sets up well, introducing us to the players involved and the roles they play in the protagonist’s life. The timeline is revealed in a concise and clear manner with no confusion or questionable scenes. That in itself was part of the problem. Fessenden does a good job of telling you of Derek’s pain, sorrow, and confusion – but the emotional connection I was expecting didn’t happen. I was never able to make the jump from reading to feeling the story through Derek’s eyes and emotions.
A varied character base helps to keep the story moving at a steady place though Fessenden’s focus remains almost solely with Derek. When he does break away to other characters, the story loses itself and becomes even more disconnected. I found Tim and Victor to be weak links and they really shouldn’t have been. They were purported to have strong ties to Derek and I would have liked a more time to have been spent developing them and the reasons why they acted as they did. Instead, Tim and Victor serve as merely plot devices to give the story the villains it needed to push Derek towards his supposed HEA.
Russ had stronger characterization and I liked seeing him and Derek connect first as friends. He tries to give Derek the space and support he needs though his job as a police officer and his attraction foreshadows his need to protect Derek at all costs. He doesn’t push (too much) which I thought was appropriate considering. Again though, I felt as if I was being told of their feelings without seeing it actually happen. This gave the relationship a forced feeling as if the author wasn’t sure of his characters intentions . There were also some scenes that were supposed help us better understand Russ but they don’t really add anything to the story or procure the desired effect. Russ’s adventurous sexual hook ups wants us to see he’s looking for a solid monogamous relationship and his sister’s news hints that he understands Derek better than Derek or we think. Yet, It’s all very awkwardly presented and out of sync with the rest of the storyline.
Regardless of my issues, Fessenden does do justice to this main topic and those involved. He wraps it up in a realistic manner; Derek isn’t magically cured. He struggles until the end but with help is trying to get on with his life and making strides in his recovery. While this wasn’t quite the story I thought it would be as it didn’t solicit the reactions I expected, it is a story that I appreciated for the honesty and compassion Fessenden used in writing it.
Favorite Quote: The thread between them-the love between them-wasn’t a chain, or a tether. It was a lifeline.
Captain Iain Sinclair is leaving the King’s service to embark on another adventure, this time in India as an undercover agent. Before he leaves though, he wants to make amends and rekindle his friendship with James Hart. James was a childhood friend of his who accepted him for exactly as he was. When James reveals his heart to him, Iain cruelly pushes him away and has avoided him ever since.
James has loved Iain since they were boys. He has done nothing but put himself out there only to be rejected by Iain at each turn. After Iain humiliated him the last time, James declared himself done and has gone on with his life, determined to forget Iain and his love for him.
Iain only has one chance to convince James to forgive him but James’s indifference is something he has never encountered before. Iain is forced to take a deep look at why he rejected James in the first place and decide if his reasons for mending their friendship are as purely motivated as he seems to think.
Unnatural is a spin-off set in Chambers’s passionate and bittersweet Enlightened series. Fans will remember seeing Captain Iain Sinclair while Mundo and David were in the London attending to the King. As with the Enlightened series, Chambers’s writes an angst-ridden M/M romance facilitated by guilt and fear. Set in the regency period, family and society values play a large role in the reasons these friends go their separate ways in the first place. The story reveals in both the past and the present, allowing us to see the awkwardness in these two former friends and the reasons behind it.
Much of Iain’s issues stem from his father’s treatment of him. Appearance is everything to Iain and his father’s approval is the standard on which he lives his life. He can’t allow his attraction to men to develop into an tendre for someone; something that could have easily happened with James. His family’s name and honor is at stake. James was easy to like and relate to. A gentle man who wears his emotions on his sleeve. He is prone to honesty and his friendship with Iain was an important part of his life.
While I enjoyed the story. It’s well written with interesting characters and an engaging descriptive base, I found this one didn’t draw me inasmuch. There were no subplots to bracket the romance. Nothing to really draw our heroes away from their own issues; essentially creating a vacuum that mainly consists of Iain chasing after James demanding his forgiveness and James struggling not to fall back into his old patterns of codependency. The tension and action left me feeling like we were reliving the same scene over and over.
Their chemistry was muted because Iain is forever pulling James into his orbit then tossing him away because of his fears. Iain can’t seem to let go of his self doubts or his uneasiness at the fact he prefers men. There was a large part of me that felt their attraction was merely a residual effect from their childhood. It never felt mature or fully developed.
While most will like this easy flowing friends to lovers romance with it’s low key manner, I would have enjoyed it more had there been less shame and fear and more time spent with our heroes loving one another.
Jeanette Grey builds a sexy dirty romance between a jock and a geek that focuses on getting what you need opposed to what you think you want. MiscommuJeanette Grey builds a sexy dirty romance between a jock and a geek that focuses on getting what you need opposed to what you think you want. Miscommunication seems to be considered foreplay between these two men who cross the finish line without even knowing what they are competing for. Crisp, clear writing, erotically charged scenes, and a viable storyline keeps the reader engaged but the unnecessary conflict and internal angst drags on for far too long.
Read the rest of review in the July issue of RT Book Reviews Magazine ...more
Favorite Quote: You’re the only real thing in my life.
Cory Easton is a tattoo artist at Raw Ink and has just gotten out of a relationship that lost him his boyfriend but gained him a dog. Openly gay and still coping with a past tragedy, he finds his eye turned by a gorgeous reclusive tatted skateboarder who haunts the park where he walks his dog, Chopper. When Chopper decides one day to make a break for it, it’s Cory’s crush who comes to the rescue.
Jude York keeps to himself for very good reasons. When he helps Cory catch his dog, a tentative friendship begins to form. But Jude is a complex mystery and the rumors swirling around him has Cory on edge as he notices Jude’s ties to the local motorcycle club. As Cory and Jude spend more time together and their attraction grows by leaps and bounds, Cory begins to wonder if he can handle what Jude’s secrets may reveal. Because Cory has already been devastated once and Jude could very well be the one that finally destroys him.
There You Stand by Christina Lee is #5 in her Between Breaths series but can easily read as a stand alone. A debut M/M romance hits all the right feelz buttons as Lee pens a bittersweet romance between two people who are carrying some serious emotional and physical pain. A slow steady start filled with sexual tension and tentative chemistry allows more than ample time for our boys to meet, grow a viable realistic friendship, and eventually gain the courage to take their relationship to a new level. Intriguing subplots and interesting secondary characters takes the story beyond a simple romance; adding some delicious drama and suspense.
Lee does a fabulous job of balancing the romance with the mystery surrounding Jude. Strong writing and a steady pace allows us to follow along with no confusion. She doesn’t rush the protagonist’s relationship, allowing it to grow in a realistic manner as she slowly reveals the background information needed to understand where both men are at in their lives and the reasons they are hesitant to completely open up.
”We were both hiding…”
A lush and steamy sexual relationship gives us open scenes with a firm emotional base. I enjoyed that Lee doesn’t rush this aspect and use the bed as an instant solvent for Cory and Jude’s issues. There are strong external factors that complicate this relationship that demand resolution before anyone can move forward. Lee draws this particular storyline out thoroughly, giving it the seriousness it demands.
“Goddamn it, why do I have to play guessing games with you?”
“Because I don’t want your life to be in danger…simply from associating with me.”
“It’s too late, I’m already involved.”
A dynamic secondary cast brings in people from previous installments while introducing new faces. I love the camaraderie that Cory enjoys with his fellow employees. Lee gives Cory a full bodied social life that plays out well against the solitary nature of Jude’s. The inclusion of the MC is slightly predictable in the setting they are used but their characterization and actions ring true and gives clues to possible future storylines. Another M/M? We can always hope. :)
The conflict resolves easily and off-screen. I would have enjoyed more interaction with the villain . As it was, all information concerning him is second-hand so the gravity of Jude’s past and current situation didn’t flesh out as dramatically as I think Lee intended. Regardless There You Stand is an engaging story that will appeal to lovers of romance across the board. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
Cherish & Blessed are actually two separate novellas bound into one book for it’s second print. Cherish was originally released in 2012 and because of that I have decided to review each one separately.
Evan and Matt have been a couple for many years, having built a life and home together with Evan’s children. Though it was rough in the beginning when Evan fell in love with man after his wife’s death, the trials and tribulations seem to have faded.
Or have they?
Evan and Matt get the surprise of their life when the oldest daughter, Miranda, starts talking marriage to a boy she just met three months ago and then decides to invite the boyfriend and his family home for Thanksgiving. When it becomes obvious Miranda hasn’t been completely honest with the boyfriend, his parents, or herself, Evan and Matt will have to step in to ensure that Miranda knows she is cherished.
I have been a fan of this series since the beginning. Though not a huge fan of the ‘gay for you’ trope, Michaels’ does a fabulous job of building Evan’s and Matt’s relationship, starting with a friendship that morphs into attraction, than love at a steady and realistic rate. Michaels’ doesn’t shy away from the issues when dealing with the children, a deceased spouse, and homophobic relatives.
All of Evan’s kid’s have accepted Matt into their lives except for Miranda. She has had the hardest time accepting her mother’s death and the inclusion of Matt into their lives. Humor and mayhem lead the way as Miranda’s power play not only causes her family grief and embarrassment but also places strain on her relationship with her boyfriend and his family. Evan and Matt band together, along with her siblings and some friends to help Miranda see that her mother hasn’t been forgotten and that Matt is not a threat to her father’s love for her. I did approve of the manner in which it was handled. No kid gloves were used and Miranda got a rude but much needed awakening in how her behavior was unacceptable across the board. Personally, I think she got off rather easy but her issues run deep and it will take more then one weekend for her to overcome them.
As always, the chemistry between Evan and Matt is explosive and sex fueled but in here it is tempered by love and a quiet but fierce tenderness. Early on in their relationship, Evan would have pulled away from Matt in order to deal with this issue but now Evan embraces Matt and holds on tight because they are a couple-a team-and Evan will never let Matt go. Matt’s relationship with Evan’s children (the ones who like him-lol) continues to sweet and engaging as he truly adores them and vice versa.
Jim and Griffin find themselves floundering in their relationship as both are ready for something more permanent but scared to broach it to one another. Matt and Evan are looking to reconnect emotionally and physically as careers and two children still at home leave them very little alone time. When Daisy and Bennett invite the two couples to the Hamptons to celebrate the christening of their new child, the weekend opens the doorway to some much needed communication.
I have to admit I wasn’t as enamored with this installment. The story jumping between the two main couples was abrupt causing the flow to be shaky and not as well developed as her other installments. Jim and Griffin hold no appeal for me. I never connected with them as secondary characters. Michaels’ doesn’t really resolve Jim and Griffin’s communication problem and basically an epiphany that Jim has to ‘magically’ fix their issues. I did enjoy seeing Daisy and Bennett and Helen and Shane. Everyone has come such a long way.
Matt and Evan are sweet, sexy, and funny as usual with both continuing to open up more both physically and emotionally with one another. Certain long term issues are coming up and choices must be made.
Michaels’ ends both novellas on a soft positive notes, letting readers know that the couples we have come to enjoy continue to work towards their happy ever after.
It pains me to give it 3.5 stars because I enjoyed the other two books so much. I did like this one but I wanted more. I wanted to see Tate and Lo3.5
It pains me to give it 3.5 stars because I enjoyed the other two books so much. I did like this one but I wanted more. I wanted to see Tate and Logan as a couple doing regular things. Movies, dinner, anything that didn't automatically have a sexual ending. Yes, I can't believe I'm saying this, but the sex was overwhelming. These guys couldn't take a leak with out making it a sexual experience. I was also disappointed in the resolution of the ex boyfriend conflict. All that hype and he basically goes away when told to. Watching Tate and Logan become a committed couple was very sweet and Tate resolving with his father and ex wife was heartwarming. I enjoyed their banter and genuine love for one another.
A Barlow Lens is the second book in Noble’s Circle series. A sexy little lightweight romantic suspense that uses the past to fix the future. Our heroes, Wyatt and Va,l are busy planning their wedding and getting ready for the Belmont Stakes when an old friend asks for help in solving a decades old mystery. Wyatt and Val shift though the surviving paperwork and slowly piece together the truth as to what happened that fateful day and the events that led up to it. But someone doesn’t want Wyatt and Val to find the truth. In fact, they don’t Wyatt and Val around at all.
This is my first time reading Elizabeth Noble. I didn’t realize this was the second in a series when it was presented for review. You don’t have to read the first to understand this one though it’s advisable if you want more background on the protagonists and how they became a couple. It starts out well with a solid storyline, decent conflict, personable cast of characters and an interesting premise. The flashing between past and present is easy to follow though there are issues which I address at end of review.
The mystery is interesting and I enjoyed the parallels Noble makes in a homosexual relationship in the 1920’s and running it side by side with a homosexual relationship in the present. Our couple from the 20s had to hide their relationship and I admit the things they come up with to hide it are unique but a little too much serendipity. I do feel the short length of the story hobbled Noble’s fleshing out the plot lines she had running. Noble places the most emphasis on Wyatt and Val’s relationship and we get a good amount of emotional and physical scenes. They had believable chemistry and their loving relationship translates well to paper.
The end of the story is a mixture of confusion and deflation. The mystery never evolves beyond linear point. We don’t experience the investigation; it’s mainly tell. The flipping between past and present is interesting and I enjoyed meeting Tom, Phillip, and the others from the past. The problem is that it’s presented from Tom’s point of view ( a dead man) and we are left with a paradox. How are we getting the internal thoughts, feelings, and actions of a dead man? How are Wyatt and Val discovering this? Some of the basic facts could be discovered in letters and documents but not the actual scenes of their love affair. The resolution for the mystery comes at us fast as the answer is right in front of all their eyes and could have just as easily been solved by anyone taking the five minutes to look. We also never get the villain’s motives for his actions. Was it his history with Wyatt? His assumed homophobia? Or was there something in the old boxes of evidence? You get the feeling it was a combination of the three but no confirmation.
Regardless of the strong start, A Barlow Lens just doesn’t add up in the end. I think the story would have been far better had Noble increased it’s length in order to suss out all the individual storylines or narrowed her focus and battened down on the most important.
Elijah Carter is a young man who is treated like a simpleton because he is deaf. Gay and ashamed of his sexual orientation and penchant for pain, he aElijah Carter is a young man who is treated like a simpleton because he is deaf. Gay and ashamed of his sexual orientation and penchant for pain, he allows himself to be sexually abused by the owner of the local saloon, Harlan Crane.
Grady Mullins, a cattle rustler, wants Elijah too but unlike Harlan, he doesn’t want to control him. He gently pursues Elijah, trying to show him he has choices in life, but Elijah is unable to separate himself from the vicious cycle he is caught in.
When someone Elijah loves is taken from him, Elijah begins to spiral down a dark path towards vengeance and despair. Caught between love and hate, Elijah learns to take control of his own destiny and is forced to make a choice. A choice that could end his life or free him forever.
Sweetwater by Lisa Henry is a somber bittersweet coming of age story that addresses the stigma of homosexuality (both internally and externally) and the cruelty shown those with disabilities. Set in the boomtown-South Pass City- in the 1800s, Lisa Henry paints a vivid picture of life in a small western town that is only one step from extinction. You can taste the dirt and grit permeating your nose and mouth while experiencing the almost maniacal atmosphere that surrounds a town built on greed and gold. A fast pace and clear concise writing tells us a story that appeals to our sense of justice and innate need to champion the underdog. An interesting cast of characters reside here. Not all together likable but dynamic in the realistic roles they play in this town and in the hero’s life.