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It Was Always You

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,028 ratings  ·  190 reviews
Join these bestselling M/M authors as they bring you tales of love, lust, and laughter...between friends.

Featuring seven brand new novellas, each answering the question—what happens when the one meant for you was right there all along?
Kindle Edition, 506 pages
Published October 3rd 2016 by Christina Lee
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  1,028 ratings  ·  190 reviews

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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

Listen up, peeps: "All money and proceeds for this anthology will be donated to the charity One.n.Ten."

Located in Phoenix, Arizona, One.n.Ten serves LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 14-24: "We enhance their lives by providing empowering social and service programs that promote self‐expression, self‐acceptance, leadership development and healthy life choices."

What's not to love about that?

The stories in this anthology range from 800 to 1,200 Kindle locations. Read them all or pick and cho
Tanu Gill
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rough Edges by Cardeno C: 4 stars
It was a sweet story. I liked Kyle and Brent. I liked their story. It was a sweet buildup to their happy ending.

Unexpected Turn by Ella Frank: 5 stars
This was my most favourite story from the whole anthology. It has put the author on my to-stalk list, and I can't wait to read more of her books! Connor and Tyler were simply adorable. I loved how their story progressed. It was simply pitch perfect for me. I wanted to read a full-length novel about them.

Dare You To
It Was Always You is a collection of friends-to-lovers stories. All money and proceeds for this anthology will be donated to the charity One.n.Ten.

Rough Edges by Cardeno C. - 4 stars
My review.

Dare You To by Riley Hart - 4 stars
My review.

Leaning Into Love by Lane Hayes - 2 stars
My review.

The Sweetest Goodbye by Christina Lee - 4 stars
My review.

Please Don't Go by Felice Stevens - 2 stars
My review.

Perfect Catch by N.R. Walker - 3 stars
My review.

Alba and Her Secrets..♥
4.5 'Always You' Stars!

Want a good dose of MM short stories and help a charity by doing it? It Was Always You is perfect for you then! I LOVED THIS SO MUCH <3333

I decided to read it because I love Ella Frank so much and now I have discovered many other amazing authors that I will be sure to check out because I fell in love with their story telling! Such a great collection of shorties: great characters, full of emotions and sexy love stories, MM fans you don't want to miss this!

My overall rating
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m
 photo image.jpg1_zpsj9liukdg.jpg

I'm going to give this an automatic 5 Stars because it's for charity, but I am going to write concise reviews for each story individually.

Rough Edges by Cardeno C. 4 Stars.

I initially skipped over this one. After I had read some other ones, I
came back and finished it. I needed to get past the first chapter. I have to facepalm myself because this was actually pretty good.


-Enemies to lovers
-Sweet romance
-Low angst
-Brent. He was just awesome and deserved every bit of happiness.
Sep 14, 2016 marked it as back-burner-for-now
Shelves: mm-anthology

Gay Book Review's September 2016 Guest Grinders column highlights the It Was Always You Anthology by Felice Stevens Riley Hart Christina Lee N.r. Walker Lane Hayes Ella Frank and Cardeno C. Exclusive 99¢ pre-order: All benefits to
~All money and proceeds for this anthology will be donated to the charity One.n.Ten.~

Best friends, former enemies, or just long lost acquaintances...whatever the case, what do you do when your soulmate turns out to be the one who was right there all along? This is the theme of this anthology, and before reviewing each story separately, I'm telling you that I highly recommend it. It's fun, well written, and there's something in here for every taste.

Rough Edges by Cardeno C ~4.5 stars

This is now one of my favorite anthologies ever! It was steamy, which is rare with an anthology!! And some of my fav authors were included, so I knew it would be a win!

The theme of this anthology is friends to lovers, a personal favorite. Here we go with the breakdown:

Rough Edges by Cardeno C
3 stars
This one was a typical CC, but I really disliked Kyle for his judgy and downright hostile attitude.

Unexpected Turn by Ella Frank
3 stars
Also a typical Frank story, but cheating is cheating. And both M
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read these out of order...I chose to skip around, I will review them in the order I read them.
~Dare You by Riley Hart~
**4.5 Stars**

I had to jump ahead and read this first, and it was fantastic! I loved the friends to lovers story, it had a lot of emotion and steam. I think Austin's passion for his job working at the outreach center and how that affected Dare was my favorite part of this story. They each challenged the other and found life was so much more rewarding when they stepped out of th
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars

I jumped on this one fast because (a) it's an anthology with seven friends to lovers stories AND (b) the proceeds go to a great cause.

And ... it was a mixed bag for me. There were a couple of stand-outs. I especially loved the Christina Lee story. In my view, this is the perfect friends to lovers story. Lots of good emotions. I've only read one other book by her so I think I need to check out the rest of her backlist!

My second favourite was the Cardeno C. although this felt more like
This M/M anthology – which focuses on stories featuring friends-to-lovers – possibly has the best line-up of M/M authors of any anthology I’ve read to date.

Rough Edges by Cardeno C.
(3 Stars)

This one had a bit of an enemies-to-lovers vibe working for it. Unfortunately, I found Kyle fairly unlikable – his reasons for assholery be damned. Brent was a sweetheart, though, and the sex was pretty sensual, so points for that.

Unexpected Turn by Ella Frank
(Not read – yet!)

Although Ella is probably my fav
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: charity
Christmas and Hanukkah (the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication) is coming soon and let's open our hearts and share love with this great cause.
"All money and proceeds for this anthology will be donated to the charity One.n.Ten, which serves LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 14-24"

If you're either a fan of MM best friends-to-lovers relationship, distinctly developing through sex, or a charitable person dedicates to LGBTQ community, you should give a go to this opportunity.

“I’ve never
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
A really great collection of short stories that made me smile

I loved these shorts!! I especially loved that they are all friends-to-lovers, which is my FAVORITE trope.

Not all of the shorts are 4 stars, but overall I enjoyed at least something in every single novella. I highly recommend!

On to the next!
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of M/M romance
This book is so cute. After four months I finally finished reading this. It never usually takes me that long to read books but this is 500+ pages and I've been reading it on the side, whenever I have free time. This is a book of seven short stories of M/M romances between two long time friends. Each story revolves around a different pair of friends who begin to fall for each other over the course of the short story. I really love this book as a whole, but I had a few shot stories I didn't like, ...more
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, mm-fiction
All money and proceeds for this anthology will be donated to the charity One.n.Ten.

A really good anthology that's full of sweet, hot, and cute romances. Plus proceeds go to a good cause. What's not to love?
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mm, gay-book-reviews
**5 stars** for the amazing cause this anthology was created for.

Thank you to all the authors who contributed to this anthology where all proceeds will be donated to charity One.n.Ten.! You guys rock for doing this!

I love the theme of this anthology. Whether it was a classic best friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, opposites attract, or second chance romance, all stories had an underlying sweetness and yearning for a happily-ever-after. The most amazing thing? There are 7 novellas to go th
Sue bowdley
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Rough Edges by Cardeno C

This one the first of the anthology was a lovely read....I wasn't keen on Kyle at first but was sure there was a reason for how he treated Brent....And I was right...How they got together was beautiful and the ending just right....x

Unexpected Turn by Ella Frank

This one was quite tense to read....I've only read Try so far by Ella Frank but I loved this one.....Straight guy Connor and his gay best friend Tyler......On the way to Ty's sisters wedding Connor starts to realise
Katrina Passick Lumsden
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
For the most part, this is a fairly satisfying anthology. Sweet stories and all. However, in more than one story, the "I need to tell him, no I can't" internal monologues got a little annoying. There were also some unfortunate lines.

"... Arms akimbo across her ample chest."

That's not how "akimbo" works.

"His touch felt like fire: warm, delicious, and all-consuming."

I'll give N. R. Walker warm and all-consuming, but what person who has ever encountered fire thinks of it as feeling "delic
A big thanks to all of the authors who donated their time, skill, and passion in order to contribute to this anthology benefiting the fantastic One.N.Ten organization. You guys rock! :)

See status updates for my feelings about individual stories.
Maria Rose
It was Always You is a charity anthology of male/male romance stories from a host of accomplished authors, all tales of acquaintances and friends discovering love right in front of them. The proceeds from the sale of the anthology go to One.n.Ten, an LGBTQ youth support center. They all contain pretty steamy love scenes and happy endings. I enjoyed all of the stories in the collection!

Rough Edges by Cardeno C

Rough Edges takes two men, Kyle and Brent, who have a totally different way of living th
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Slick's review posted at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

This anthology of gay romances of realizing your perfect match has always been in your life was highly enjoyable, a whole lot sexy and fun to boot. While some stories were stronger than others, they were all good and the proceeds from this boxed set go to an organization that helps LGBTQ youth and young adults embrace who they are and become actively engaged in their communities and empowered to lead. Enjoy

*4.5 stars*

I loved this anthology. It was written by some of my favorite authors and with the theme friends-to-lovers

Rough Edges by Cardeno C. *4 stars*

MC: Kyle and Brent

This was more a enemies-to-lovers story. Kyle “disliked” Brent the first time they met. He was a uptite, prejudiced against Brent’s way of living. Having come from a poor home and having worked hard to get to the place he was now, he didn’t understand people that didn’t have the same drive. I thought Brent was a very nice and
Cassandra Caress
Review for UNEXPECTED TURN by Ella Frank
*** ARC received for an honest review ***

OMIGOD! Ella Frank knows how to write M/M with all the emotions, the build-up, the struggles, the sexiness.
Connor and Tyler have been best friends for years. While Connor is straight, Tyler is your typical gay. You can't help but love them both right from the beginning with all their quirks. A road trip to join a wedding definitely has a huge turn of events.
Ella Frank knows how to grab her readers emotionally and
Tracy~Bayou Book Junkie
**copy provided by authors/publisher in exchange for an honest review**

(Review) It Was Always You Anthology

5 Stars

This is probably one of the best anthologies I've ever read. The stories contributed are not only written by some of my favorite authors, but friends to lovers is also one of my favorite tropes. The one thing all of these stories share is that the person you've been looking for and are meant to spend the rest of your life with, may just be right in front of you. Best friends make th
Oct 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mm
3.5 stars

Nice collection of short stories all with the friends-to-lovers theme.
It did take me a while to finish all stories, and I didn’t like them all as much, but overall I enjoyed this anthology.
Final rating 3 stars rounded up to 4 because yay for charity :)

Rough Edges by Cardeno C:
3 stars
Unexpected Turn by Ella Frank:
2 stars
Dare You To by Riley Hart:
4 stars
Leaning Into Love by Lane Hayes:
3 stars
The Sweetest Goodbye by Christina Lee:
3 stars
Please Don't Go by Felice Stevens:
2 stars
Perfect Catch by N.R. Walker:
3 stars
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it

Not my favourite anthology I have to say, that honour is split between Lost and Found and Wish Come True, but there were some good stories in this one, and the authors have given their stories for free in aid of a really good cause. 3.5 stars rounded up.

The stories I liked....Rough Edges by Cardeno C.[although Kyle was a complete Dick at the start], The Perfect Catch by N.R. Walker, Leaning into Love by Lane Hayes and finally The Sweetest Goodbye by Christina Lee [which kind of surprised me by h
Lelyana's Reviews
Guys, this one is a feel good story about friends to lovers. What's not to love. Written by some of my favorite MM authors, this one is must read. I usually avoided anthology, but this one is hard to miss... And all the money you spend for this book, goes for charit.

ALL PROCEEDS will be donated to the wonderful charity -->


I loved the idea of this story. CC is one of those author who can mixed the cuteness and hotness at the same time. Kyle and Brent k
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rough Edges by Cardeno C.: 4,5 stars, great read, but a bit too short.

Unexpected Turn by Ella Frank: DNF; can't stand anymore of this 'why am I suddenly attracted to him? What is your problem, tell me?' Boring, unbelievable, getting on my nerves. Don't need that.

Dare You by Riley Hart: 5 stars, wonderful read, well rounded and there was even an epilogue!

Leaning Into Love by Lane Hayes: 3.5 stars, good enough as a short introduction into the series, as a stand-alone it's too much bare-bones and n
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Cardeno C. - CC to friends - is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno's stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ev ...more

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