The stories you are about to read celebrate love, sex and romance between men. They are a product of the Love Is Always Write promotion sponsored by the Goodreads M/M Romance Group and are published as a free gift to you.
What Is Love Is Always Write?
The Goodreads M/M Romance Group invited members to choose a photo and pen a letter or story prompt asking for a short M/M romance story inspired by the image; authors from the group were encouraged to select a letter or story prompt and write an original tale. The result was an outpouring of creativity that shone a spotlight on the special bond between M/M romance writers and the people who love what they do.
Nearly 150 stories were submitted and published as a ten volume set – as well as an additional special bonus volume with three novel-length stories – titled Love Is Always Write; this edition is Volume One.
Whether you are an avid M/M romance reader or new to the genre, you are in for a delicious treat.
Stories in Volume 1:
ADVANTAGE CROSSE – West Thornhill (contemporary/friends-to-lovers) ALEX & DREW – Justin South (contemporary/teen loneliness) ALTERED STATES – L.E. Harner (mystery/suspense/law enforcement) AMERICAN BOY – Dany Sirene (contemporary/twink/HFN) AND THEN HE SAID I’M BEAUTIFUL – Nallux (contemporary/hurt-comfort) AN ANGEL’S SOUL – S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet (angels/hurt-comfort) ANIMAL INSTINCTS – Kim Alan (contemporary/veterinarian) ARS DAEMONICA – C.C. Williams (paranormal/mage) AT WHAT COST – Kathryn Sparrow (contemporary, paranormal/shifter) BABY, CUFF ME ONE MORE TIME – Stephani Hecht (contemporary/friends-to-lovers) BED OF MY CHEVY – Megan Slayer (contemporary/medical personnel) BEGINNINGS: LIBERATION – Alessandra Ebulu (fantasy/Greek mythology) BETWEEN YOU AND ME – Alex Mar (contemporary/first time) BEYOND DUTY – S.J.D. Peterson (contemporary/sexy marines) BLOOD IN THE WATER – Megan Derr (fantasy/merman)
Words of Caution The stories in this collection are sexually explicit and intended for adult readers. Some stories may contain content that is disagreeable or distressing to some readers. The M/M Romance Group strongly recommends that each reader review the General Information section before each story for story tags as well as for content warnings.
Stephani Hecht is a happily married mother of two. Born and raised in Michigan, she loves all things about the state, from the frigid winters to the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. Go Wings! You can usually find her snuggled up to her laptop, creating her next book or gorging on caffeine at her favorite coffee shop.
When she’s not running around like crazy, trying to get her kids to their various activities, she’s currently working on numerous projects. In the coming months, she has several books coming out with eXtasy Books in both The Lost Shifter Series and Drone Vampire Chronicles, plus a few additional projects that are still in the development stages.
Visit Stephani on the web at: Email her at: email@example.com
The stories in Love is Always Write anthology celebrate love, sex and romance between men. They are a product of the Love Is Always Write promotion sponsored by the Goodreads M/M Romance Group and they are free.
The Goodreads M/M Romance Group invited members to choose a photo and pen a letter or story prompt asking for a short M/M romance story inspired by the image; authors from the group were encouraged to select a letter or story prompt and write an original tale.
From this volume, I've read two stories:
Altered States by L.E. Harner - 3 stars My review.
Beginnings: Liberation by Alessandra Ebulu - 2 stars My review.
This is an anthology of short stories MM romance and covers a wide variety of sub genres from simple romance & first time MM sex to paranormal stories with fallen angels, to were-wolves and were-bears to BDSM light stories of domination, submission and restraint. Have enjoyed all of the stories, obviously some appealed to me more than others. It was good to see gay romance portrayed with some tougher guys too as with the marines story and veterinarian ones too. The premise for this anthology being writers responding to a photograph with or without addition requisites from readers in order to produce this compilation that readers can try for free. I noted several writers that I shall add to my reading list and that may suit my future reading challenges. This is the first of a number of these free anthologies, so thank you writers, MM group on Goodreads, and I shall enjoy reading more of these. I do recommend these to other readers whether you enjoy MM romance or are curious to try one for the first time, these are well written and mostly well edited. Well worth 4 stars in my opinion.
I've read this a while ago and didn't take notes on all the shorts so here are my thoughts on the ones I did write down:
ADVANTAGE CROSSE - It was a bit too short and had too much sex. ALEX & DREW - It was a nice short even though the beginning was a but confusing since the writing style is different ALTERED STATES - This one was written a bit messy because it's hard to follow when the character(s) have multiple names that they are being called when the pov stays the same. Sometime it was Travis and then in the next line it was Boudreaux. It seemed like 2 different people. What I did like about the story was that it suddenly became a paranormal one. But it didn't end and now I want more. AMERICAN BOY - Was an okay story, nothing much to it. AND THEN HE SAID I’M BEAUTIFUL - Definitely not my cup of tea. AT WHAT COST - Was a great story even though it was on the short side. BLOOD IN THE WATER - As usual, Megan Derr is amazing and wrote a great short story about a merman and a prince! What's not to like?
I didn't like the second story. At all. Not because of the subject, I can read every kind of book, I just didn't like the way it was written. The second half of the book is pretty good though ! I might have shed a tear or two (I did, really). Going to read Volume Two :) !
Alex & Drew by Justin South (contemporary/teen loneliness)
Altered States by Laura Harner (mystery/suspense/law enforcement) 3.5 stars - After finishing this story, I scrolled back up to the top of the page, saw the title out of the corner of my eye and thought, "OH, now I get it!" So yeah, I actually thought the ending was kind of cool and it redeemed a lot for me. I was starting to get annoyed when Sam was in the hospital and talking a lot about that separate murder case but then it all came together and I actually thought it was a cute little twist.
The story itself was good. Jumpy at first to give you enough background on Sam and the situation but once the case started it was pretty straight forward. The Lieutenant and her decision did piss me off though and I wish we'd gotten a little resolution on that
American Boy by Dany Sirene (contemporary/twink/HFN) - So/So reviews, I'll probably skip this one.
And Then He Said I'm Beautiful by Nallux (contemporary/hurt-comfort) 2 stars I gave this 2 stars instead of 1 because it was well written. I gave this only two stars because I don't think I could hate any two people more. Jared was an ass. What he said at the end totally contradicted his previous behavior. "I didn't realize I had to not sleep around, and actually go out with you more than just for sex, and introduce you to my friends for you to know I care about you..." Umm... how the hell else is he supposed to know, jackass?!?! You don't have to tell him but you do have to show him, and you did no such thing. And Casey was just flat out pathetic. Fine, it happens. Then he grows a backbone, sort of. Then he realizes what he's doing and they have a talk and he leaves... then he tries to take it all back. Uhg, ridiculous! I was skimming by the end because I just couldn't stand them being all cutesy even after they talked Casey still held back stuff he wanted to say. Just, uhg. But the first two sex scenes were hot if you could ignore the fact that Casey was pathetic. By the way, what's the title? I don't remember Jared saying he was beautiful. ??
An Angel's Soul by S.L. Armstrong (angels/hurt-comfort) 3.5 stars - Well, the nakedness in the story was opposite to that of the picture, but I suppose I can forgive the creative license. :) This was a sweet story, and of course I loved Raziel. The only thing that annoyed me in the middle was Cole's selfishness and obliviousness . I like that they didn't totally erase his feelings for Daniel all of a sudden, and acknowledged that healing would still take time. And I like that it wasn't too insta-lovey .
Animal Instincts by Kim Alan (contemporary/veterinarian) 2.5 stars - At first I though it was ridiculous that Cal had another run-in with Winston so soon after the annoying oh-no-a-dog-is-on-my-feet-whatever-will-I-do? (Umm... move your feet?). But it turned out to be cute how the bulldog was used to constantly bring them back together with his matchmaking ways.
It was hard for me to like this story too much because I just did not like or understand Cal at all, or his appeal. He's kind of a jerk with a short-fuse. At the end of the story they allude to some of his issues but it's all too vague for my liking, and I still don't feel like I know him or that it justifies his actions. The BDSM component seemed really random, and just came out of nowhere to all of a sudden explain everything.
The scene on the couch was hot, but other than that I actually didn't like how heavily focused on sex this was from the beginning. It's not that it's erotica, far from it, it's that it is all Jordan can think about. Not only is this kind of boring but it makes their connection feel shallow to me, like that is Cal's only appeal.
It did have several funny quotes though, usually from Cal the few times he wasn't being a total douche.
At What Cost? by Kathryn Sparrow (contemporary, paranormal/shifter) 3 stars - This was really sweet, although I wish Dev hadn't spent quite so long being an idiot because I really hate when people waste their lives like that, just sad. But it was an interesting twist, with the differences between wolf and bear shifters, and their reunion had me tearing up. It could have easily ended there but I'm glad it went on with the little twist , it gave the story an extra depth and tension and allowed it the wrap up some lose ends and have a complete HEA .
Baby, Cuff Me One More Time by Stephani Hecht (contemporary/friends-to-lovers) 1 star - I was really excited about this one; handcuffs, nerdy guy, alpha guy, what's not to love? Unfortunately, it just didn't work for me. For one, I think the author tried to cram too much history into this. It could have just been a great guy-meets-guy but she had to have them know each other previously... OK fine. Then there's all this crazy stuff going on with Brian (Kips brother and Ansen's former BFF) that wasn't necessary to the plot and was too much given the length of the story. Then half the story is kind of excessive "witty" banter/reminiscence between the two MC's. I don't need to hear 3 different stories about way-back-when that try show a relationship/feelings between these two guys. I just didn't feel the connection. And lastly, credibility. So these two guys both love each other forever, but never say anything, then they meet up again out of the blue and are like "hey I loved you!" "hey me too!" and now their a couple?! Eh.
Bed of My Chevy by Megan Slayer (contemporary/medical personnel) 1 star - I don't even know what to say. First of all, one of the most annoying things in the world is someone who is so insecure they constantly say negative things about themselves, even when they haven't really done anything to warrant it. SO unattractive. Also annoying, someone so cocky they say things like "I know who I want and I don't take no for an answer." Umm, seriously?!
This story couldn't decide what it wanted to be. If you want to be a sweet romance about two people finding each other again after so many years, then have them meet, go on a wonderful date, and maybe hook up. Don't have the cocky one tell the insecure one that he wants to take him out and then switch to "we're going to my house so we can fuck like rabbits." Umm, maybe he doesn't fuck on first dates. Maybe he'd like a first kiss first to decide for himself. Maybe you're a douche.
All the conversations were stilted and didn't flow. There were plot holes and inconsistencies all over the place I kept trying to persevere and hoping it would turn around, but then at the very very end, they just HAD to slip in an "I love you." You just had to do it! Highschool crush + a few conversations + one screw does NOT = love! It slowly went from three stars to two and was creeping lower but at that I'm afraid the author lost me completely. Just didn't feel ANY connection and didn't particularly like either of these guys.
Beginnings: Liberation by Alessandra Ebulu (fantasy/Greek mythology/menage) - Not a big fan of menage so I'll probably skip this one.
Beyond Duty by S.J.D. Peterson (contemporary/sexy marines) 4 stars - This was sweet and hot and just right. It ended well and right where it made sense to end, but I'd love an epilogue . The author did a great job incorporating the picture, even explained the matching tattoos!
I really loved reading this group of books for the same reason i enjoy most mm romance- it touches the real and emotional aspects of relationships involved; and when it has only just enough erotica without making it over-sleazy...even better. Love is Always Write Four has a collection of stories from some of my very favourite authors of male/ male romance; also some interesting stories i had previously read. Authors like Megan Derr, Elyse Night and Erica Pike and stories like The High King's Golden Tongue and Helpful Paws; i was also introduced to many other stories and authors i had not previously encountered, thankfully. I loved seeing how the authors involved interpreted the most random pictures, paying attention to detail...Pretty amazing how they do that, when mostly i just saw a random bloke, or two doing things or hanging out in those shots.
Here is my review of each story
1. Goodbye Philip by Summer Devon 4 stars (LOVED the story idea by Urbanista and the story itself...enjoyed that.Also the transition of the story, how it is very similar to real life. I believe it is what many who posted pictures expected from this and it stayed through to that...i liked that)
2. Halycon Cats by Derekica Snake 4 stars too (There was something about this story- maybe the setting, Travis style of speaking, or the presence of the were-cub, Roddie- that seemed particularly different from the style of many other paranormal books I've read that have elements of romance, whether male or female based and also those that include 'were'.)
3.Half-Baked Potatoes 4stars
4. A hard dazed knight 5 stars (Really enjoyable. i like how Jay who one might interprete to be the hard-ass in the story turns out to be misunderstood and is actually kind of sweet.I think i identify a lot with his character. Also, i like the play around theatre, and introduction of others into the story.
5. Hard Ride by Danni Keane 2 stars (This on i enjoyed the least, because i expected so much more especially with the photo description and note from Justin (...I like a big, hard,throbbing monster between my legs...) Motorbike, you pervs. One of the characters was rather stupid.. or okay.. slow; which made the twinky one rather annoying. i also think he is a little insane, heh heh. i think the end made it somewhat better, when Mr. Twink acquired a little bit more understanding (or acquired more heart). He was that hasty... or the author's interpretation was a little off)
6. Heart of Slate by Trinity Lee 4 stars (Really liked this.. very nice, very sweet, nice plot...enjoyed it A LOT)
7.Heartstrings by Jessa Ryan 3 1/2 stars (I always enjoy the musician versus normal guy tales and this was no different. For me it's 5 star material but a lot of things got very annoying. Zeb's obnoxiousness and the transition in some parts of the storyline. all those phone calls that i couldn't really see achieving much. i felt it was a little over-prolonged and could have ended at a certain point. However, all that was aimed at passing a particular message and i think i got it eventually. Still wouldn't be fair to put it at 5 stars though, with all the inconsistencies.)
8. The Hearty Boys by Andi Lea 4 stars (Really nice)
9. Helpful Paws by Elyse Night 3 stars (Good story. Had read this before. Really enjoyable for a short tale)
10. Hi, Honey by Natalie Logue 5 stars (Really enjoyed it. Has spy elements, a good '"uh oh", and sheepish grin' situation. Bad boy turned good, and a superhero moment... Excellent)
11. Hiding Mariah by Cheryl Dyson 4 stars Great contemporary tale. Game nerds. role playing. Interesting, but confusing in certain aspects. 5 star material, but for the confusing aspects.)
12. The High King's Golden tongue Definitely 5 stars (No question... I love Megan Derr. Exquisite writing. Exotic location. Exquisite plot. Exquisite character play. Reminiscent of familiar Chinese stories of old (Mulan, old Chinese stories, story books I'd read, et cetera)...Very Megan Derr. Of course I'd read it before. Still didn't stop me from reading it again. This was one of the first mm stories I'd read, and built a love for lengthy mm books with excellent plot, darling characters and a lot of heart.)
13. His True Nature by Silvia Violet 4 1/2 stars (first rtime read by this author and i truly enjoyed it. very enjoyable. Good for some laughs. Interesting Characters. HEA. Sweet sex scene as requested by the author. Like the twist where you think it might be a first-time experience for one of the characters, but it's not actually... really different.Great.
14.How i lost it on planet x by Gabbo De La Patra 4 stars (The only sci-fi related story (very cool). No HEA they say for the lovers. other characters would argue the point. was a little uncomfortable with one or two areas; thus the four stars.
15. I won't let go by Anna Lee 5 stars (Nice,simple story. An almost loss. Very touching, very realistic)
Great anthology for those who are new to the genre or fans.
Advantage Crosse by West Thornhill I really enjoyed the humor in this story. Greg and Jeff have been skirting the attraction that they feel and Jeff decides to take matters into his own hands. I would love to see a second book with these two. Adult read
Alex and Drew by Justin South This was an incredible intense book. Alex is living a life of horror. He has no escape. Until Drew. Drew is his shining light that leads him to incredible peace, happiness, acceptance and love. I would adore another book about the two of them. Be aware that there are intense graphic scenes of sexual violence. The ending is wonderful. Highly recommended Adult read
Altered States by L.E. Harner (Laura Harner) This is a 40 page prequel to the trilogy. There is violence, no HEA or HFN with a cliff hanger ending. Adult read
American Boy by Dany Sirene Super short story at about 28 pages. Likable characters, but not enough length for development. This would be a great lunch time book. Adult read
And Then He Said I Was Beautiful by Nallux This one left me struggling with the emotions it evoked. Jared is the picture of selfish, narcissistic behavior. Casey has been hurt too many times and when Jared, once again, blows him off, he's had enough. Jared comes across as so self indulgent and more of a bully than anything. Even at the end of the book I have very little hope for a complete turnaround. Casey has been the only one giving in the relationship. Casey finally draws a line only to find himself willing to erase it. He's willing to live with the scraps Jared throws his way just to keep him. I found it disturbing but compelling and more than a little real. I liked that Jared took a moment to really see the damage he'd done to Casey, but in the next breath he was trying to turn the blame back to Casey. Honest emotional baggage and reactions. Adult read
An Angel’s Soul by S.L. Armstrong Terrific mix of modern romance and paranormal fantasy. Poor Cole has lost the love of his life and is doing everything in his power to numb the pain. Raziel is sweet and compassionate to a fault. Nicely done dialogue. Lovely ending. Adult read
Animal Instincts by Kim Alan I really enjoyed this story with its romantic comedy flavor. I loved Jordan's persistence once he decides to pursue Cal. Cal is more than reluctant to open himself up to Cal. I would really like to see this fleshed out into a full length book or a second book with these characters. Adult read
Ars Daemonica This was quite an enjoyable book for me. The story concept was really interesting. The overall flow of it nicely done, but left me wanting a lot more details. I liked the characters and wanted to know them more intimately. I would love to see this fleshed out a bit more especially at the end. I liked the writing style and will be looking for more from this author. Adult read
At What Cost by Kathryn Sparrow Decent little book. I liked the premise for the story. The characters were interesting enough that I would have liked this to a longer book. I think that the author should flesh out the story and release it full length. Adult read
Baby, Cuff Me One More Time by Shephani Hecht Super short at only 21 pages. This would make a great start to a book but is really not much more than a scene as it is. The characters are interesting enough that I wanted to know a lot more. Adult read
Bed of My Chevy by Megan Slayer Not terribly long but has plenty of substance. I enjoyed Carson's inability to keep his inner monologue, well...in. Alec's bluntness was refreshing. Instead of pages of dancing around one another and misunderstandings, Alec just jumped right to the heart of the matter. This would be a great full length book. Adult read
Beginnings: Liberation by Alessandra Ebulu I love Greek and Roman mythology so this book was appealing to me from the start. The characters are likable but the writing jumps a bit. Not too distracting but noticeable. The different take on Medusa was interesting. Adult read
Between You and Me by Alex Mar Not quite sure how to review this one. The genre is not something I'd usually go for. The premise is what causes me to pause. If Cam and Jace were friends, roommates or acquaintances it wouldn't be an issue. The writing style is a bit unique but nicely executed. Adult read
Beyond Duty by S.J.D. Peterson This is a short prequel for the Beyond Duty series. Lots of depth of emotion. I really connected with the characters; more Gunny since he's more of the focus. I loved Mac's assumption that they would be married. Very sweet ending. Adult read
Blood in the Water by Megan Derr Terrific twist on the Little Mermaid tale. I was pulled into the story from the first page. The characters are memorable. Adult read
The 5 stars is an overall rating. It's not possible to rate every story in the book unless you do it in the review, which is what others have done and that's what I'm also gonna do.
But firstly an overall review.
Volume 1 in this series of 3 books contains mainly contemporary stories, some short - some long. It has a little of everything, meaning it ranges from Friends-to-lovers to paranormal plots. If Paranormal isn't your thing, then skip the stories, by all means and the same goes for any other story in the book. I myself didn't read a few, but that's mainly because the summery didn't catch me.
ADVANTAGE CROSSE – West Thornhill (contemporary/friends-to-lovers) - ★★★★★
ALEX & DREW – Justin South (contemporary/teen loneliness) - ★★★★★
ALTERED STATES – L.E. Harner (mystery/suspense/law enforcement) - DNR
AMERICAN BOY – Dany Sirene (contemporary/twink/HFN) - ★★★★
AND THEN HE SAID I’M BEAUTIFUL – Nallux (contemporary/hurt-comfort) - ★★★★
AN ANGEL’S SOUL – S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet (angels/hurt-comfort) - ★★★★★
ANIMAL INSTINCTS – Kim Alan (contemporary/veterinarian) - ★★★★★
ARS DAEMONICA – C.C. Williams (paranormal/mage) - DNR
AT WHAT COST – Kathryn Sparrow (contemporary, paranormal/shifter) - ★★★★★ (I would give it 10 stars if I could!)
BABY, CUFF ME ONE MORE TIME – Stephani Hecht (contemporary/friends-to-lovers) - ★★★★
BED OF MY CHEVY – Megan Slayer (contemporary/medical personnel) - ★★★★★
This one's my favourite and I'm totally going to read more! :)
AMERICAN BOY – Dany Sirene 1 STAR
AND THEN HE SAID I’M BEAUTIFUL – Nallux - 2 STARS
Erm, this one had promise but, seriously, the characters suck! Jared is possible the world's biggest dickhead - I hated him SO MUCH - and Casey is pathetic! He flexes his backbone a little near the middle - and I was all WHOOOOO!! GO, CASEY!! LEAVE THE BASTARD!! - but he goes right back to telling Jared he can treat him however he likes just as long as he doesn't leave.
AN ANGEL’S SOUL – S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet 2.5 STARS
ANIMAL INSTINCTS – Kim Alan 1 STAR
Everything about this story is annoying.
ARS DAEMONICA – C.C. Williams 1 STAR
AT WHAT COST – Kathryn Sparrow 1 STAR
BABY, CUFF ME ONE MORE TIME – Stephani Hecht 2 STARS
I won’t rate this on two accounts: I haven’t read them all (I probably will eventually) and they are different, it wouldn't be fair to use a single rating for them all.
What I read so far:
And then he said I’m beautiful – this was actually a re-read, I liked it a lot the first time around and wanted to read it again. I liked the idea behind it and the fact that for a short read it managed to transmit a lot of emotion. Casey and Jared were very different and to make a relationship work between them was not easy, as the story revealed but very satisfying to see it done. (4 stars)
Advantage Crosse – a short sex scene, didn’t really buy their relationship. (2 stars)
An angel’s soul – the idea for it was good, but I wasn’t sold on the angel. ( 2.5 stars)
At what cost- a nice shifter story. Had a great potential for angst and emotion but didn’t fully come through. Still, it was good. (3 stars)
Between you and me – twincest, but too short for me to get into it. ( 3 stars)
Blood in the water- a very sweet fairytale. Little mermaid with a HEA. As I side note, I read the original version when I was little and I cried my heart out. It reminded me of that but on a happy note
Okay, I admit I am somewhat biased towards this Anthology, given that I am one of the five-man (woman?) team who produced this collection of 11 Anthologies on behalf of the M/M Romance Group. But I do think there is something for everyone in each Volume, so while each individual story may not be a five-star read for you, there will be at least one that will reach out to you. Throw in the fact that all these wonderful authors donated their time and talent for the members of the M/M Romance Group in the group's Love Is Always Write event, I can't help but rate it 5 stars
As one of the group who worked on editing and proofing these stories and helped put the anthologies together I might be considered biased, but these anthologies are definitely worthy of the 5 star rating.
Short stories by a number of different m/m authors across a wide range of genres, topics, places and events all based on a photograph and a readers letter - brilliant premise to start a story. Enjoyable read, stand out stories by Stephani Hecht, Megan Slayer and SJD Peterson.
My favorites in this volume were "Ars Daemonica" by C.C. Williams, which was a fun demon romance; "At What Cost" by Kathryn Sparrow, because of its interesting mix of shifters; and "Blood in the Water" by Megan Derr--a merman story I really loved. I definitely enjoyed the PNR stories in this one.