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Lights, Camera…Monsters by Lila Dubois

Blurb: Luke is desperate to save his people. A lifetime of sneaking in to human houses and watching movies has convinced him that if he can make a great movie about monsters, humanity will change its opinion of them. With his friends at his side, all in shiny new human bodies, Luke heads for Tinsel Town.

A rising Hollywood producer, all-business Lena knows a good story when she sees it. Luke? He’s just another amateur who wants to get famous. But Luke’s too gorgeous to pass up. And there’s something vulnerable about him that leads her to throw caution to the wind and invite him to dinner.

One night of incredible sex later, Lena wakes up next to the surprise of her life. She’s sleeping next to a monster. Literally. Appearances aside, she finds herself wanting to help Luke save his people. But they’ve got more to worry about than just human prejudice.Some of the monsters would rather stay in the closet—and to make them all stay there, they’re willing to kill.

My thoughts: This the first hetero romance I’ve read for ages. I have noticed the series “Monsters in Hollywood” some time ago and thought it sounded quite interesting, but then totally lost interest when I switched to m/m stories. Yesterday I read a review over at Literary Nymphs of the third book in the series (“Gone with the monster” – I love the title) which won me over so I went and bought the first one right away.

Lila Dubois cuts to the chase here. I don’t like long prologues and eternal back story on the first 100 pages, but, wow, Luke and Lena had sex so quickly, even I thought that was a bit premature. But then, they clicked from the start, so I could live with it. For a man/monster who never had sex with a human woman and who was quite insecure about how to do it, he was impressive, to say the least. It seems there’s more to monsters than meets the eye indeed. But as Luke’s fellow monster Henry tells him:

…I’ve never had sex with a human either, though she shouldn’t be that different from a succubus, they’re all cut from the same cloth.

Well, thank you!
By the way, the plural of succubus is succubi and not succubae, as referred to a few times in the course of the book.

After a night of the hottest sex of her life Lila wakes up next to a monster. Ok, her initial reaction was to kill the thing, since she thought it had eaten poor Luke, but once she realizes the monster IS Luke she’s ok with it. Astonishingly she accepts the fact hat monsters exist without batting an eyelid. That is explained by the fact that in LA all people are storytellers and believe in the unbelievable. I don’t know whether I can believe that. Just because I’m a storyteller doesn’t necessarily mean I believe in the supernatural per se. On the other hand I can’t blame her. If a gorgeous sex god needed my help and revealed to me that he was a monster I’d probably accept it pretty quickly as well as a given.  
Even Lena’s friends were quite cool about it and they didn’t have the benefit of the night before to help them. I’ve got to totally revise my opinion about the US film industry.

In the course of the book there were the inevitable misunderstandings between Luke and Lena, but to my surprise they were resolved rather quickly, i.e. immediately. They talked about the issues RIGHT AWAY and cleared things up. Unheard of in hetero romance, as far as my experience goes. Plus, Lena had some very sensible friends who actually helped them to overcome some misgivings instead of being a destructive force. Another thing that I haven’t encountered very often in that genre.

The conflict that is hinted at in the blurb is a minor one. When I read the blurb I thought that maybe those opposing monsters and the resulting fight against them would distract from the main couple, but this is not so. The plot focuses on Luke and Lena and all the other characters are simply a nice finishing touch.

Available at Samhain Publishing

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Take me always by Ryan Field

Blurb: Kadin Mahoney is ten years older than his lifelong partner, Gregory. But when Gregory is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and winds up in a nursing home, Kadin decides to move there with him in spite of the fact that Gregory doesn’t even recognize him. His three children aren’t happy about this and his friends think he’s crazy. But Gregory is the love of Kadin’s life, and he’s not going to let him slip away without a struggle.

So he conceives a plan to help him remember their passionate, sexy past. With the help of a notebook computer and a personal blog, he begins telling him the story of two good-looking young men who fell in love with each other during the l950’s in Savannah. One is a recent college graduate, and the other is a thirty-year-old lawyer and divorced father of three. They meet by accident at the movies the day Kadin’s divorce is finalized, and wind up spending a full summer together engaged in every act of true love that is humanly possible.

But it all comes to an abrupt halt in mid-August, when Gregory’s family begins to suspect his forbidden feelings for Kadin. They drag him back to Atlanta early, where he enlists in the army to get even. Five years later, Kadin has moved on with his life and Gregory is engaged to be married. But Gregory sees Kadin on TV, and he goes back to Savannah one more time before the wedding. He only wants to find out what happened to Kadin, but the moment he arrives his clothes come off and their lives are never the same again.

My thoughts: This was totally different from “Pretty Man” the only other book by Ryan Field that I have read. In my review of “Pretty Man” I sort of complained about the lack of romance in it. Well, I can’t complain here.

Kadin and Gregory were obviously meant for each other, even though circumstances separated them for a number of years. That separation was a good opportunity to describe a few sexual adventures of Kadin and Gregory with other men that were pretty hot. I absolutely loved delicious Eddie. As an aside, I have no idea how this guy could drive around town and do things without scandalizing his fellow citizens… Even though I’m no fan of threesomes I almost regretted the fact that Gregory and Kadin turned down Eddie’s offer. That would have been real fun. I know, I asked for more romance and I got it and a scene with Eddie probably wouldn’t have added much to the romance factor, so I shouldn’t speculate about it, but I really liked Eddie.

The story switches back and forth between Kadin and Gregory in the nursing home and the past that Kadin writes down for Gregory to remember. The scenes in the nursing home were heartbreaking. How hard a situation like this must be I can only begin to imagine. The scenes in the past cover the time period from when Kadin and Gregory meet for the first time until when they finally settle down together. However, from conversations between Gregory and Kadin in the nursing home we know that the rest of their life together was just as we imagined a HEA.

I liked the supporting characters, especially Betsy. I liked the way she would have settled into a marriage with Gregory and being quite content with it. And I liked the way she accepted the fact that this was not going to happen. No fuss, no scene, no hysterical accusations. I’m glad for her that she has obviously found a happy life herself with Clem.

“Take me Always” was a great read. Totally different from “Pretty Man” and extremely romantic with a touch of sadness. For people who like a story that focuses mainly on the main couple this is highly recommended. 

Available at Ravenous Romance

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Forbidden Desire by Carolina Valdez

Blurb: Stan Gordon, M.D., is well aware of the unwritten code forbidding sexual liaisons between a physician and those in his charge, but when he provides intimate care for Brian Storm, a seriously injured police detective, he comes dangerously close to crossing the line. When he does, he’s shocked to find desire is forbidden, not by the code, but by the emotional demons with which Brian wrestles.

Tortured while working undercover before they met, Brian knows police policy prevents him from sharing the full story with Stan, yet not revealing the trauma in order to heal his emotional scars threatens to destroy their new and deepening love. If Brian can’t overcome what’s been done to him, will Stan leave him to look for a more responsive man? And will Brian be able to resolve his secret fears that he’ll be unable to function as a cop again?

Review: This is only a novella, I knew this, but somehow I think this would have been much better had it been another format, maybe an extended novella or short novel. A lot of stuff is packed into this, but is not really developed properly. We get a glimpse into the past of Brian when he was working undercover. We were told a lot about how he dealt with it during his sessions with the therapist, but this all was rather vague. When Stan and Brian were together we were told a lot, but not shown. I don’t know, somehow I couldn’t connect to those two men. Not that they were unlovable or anything, not in the least, they were both likeable characters, but the short format reduced the whole story to a description of the story instead of delivering the full thing.

Amber Allure indicates the heat level is 2, which means “Love scenes are explicit, frequent, and often contain graphic language.” Not sure about this one either. There are a few sex scenes, but they are either interrupted (like in the excerpt) or not very explicit – at least not according to what I’m used to. So, no, heat level 2 is slightly exaggerated in my opinion.

Available at Amber Allure

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Letting in the light by Fae Sutherland

Blurb: When Rowan Lee arrived in the small, liberal Provincetown, he heard tales of the eccentric, brilliant, possibly insane Finnegan Clark. A world-famous mystery writer, Finnegan’s been to the top of the bestseller list more times than anyone can count. It’s about the only place he goes, sequestered away in his mansion by the sea.

Enter Rowan. The free-spirited lovechild of aging hippies, Rowan believes all anyone needs is love, and when he makes a delivery to Finn’s mansion and meets the man himself, it’s infatuation at first sight. Not to mention lust. Never mind that Finn’s twice his age and snarls at him more than he speaks to him.

All Rowan wants is to make the world a better place, one person at a time, but all Finn wants is to be left alone. Sparks fly, and if Rowan can’t break Finn’s walls down, he’ll burn them down…one sizzling encounter at a time…

Review:  If I hear the term May/December romance one more time I’m going into rant mode. Really. Why May/December? I don’t get it. Rowan is 24, Finnegan is 49. So what is May and December about them? I prefer the term “age gap” by far.

Right, so Rowan meets Finnegan and from that point on he basically keeps him company, whether Finnegan wants it or not. And, at first, Finnegan doesn’t. However, he changes his mind rather quickly. Too quickly for me. After a second meeting he calls Rowan and asks him over, because “he wants him”. I don’t know, but what we know about Finnegan up to here doesn’t match up with that behaviour. I would have thought (and hoped) he’d put up a bit more resistance. Anyway, he doesn’t, and from then on, it all goes, well, not smoothly – there are a few bumps in the road, but not too many – but quite pleasantly along its way. The sex scenes are pretty hot, Rowan and Finnegan are two heroes you just have to like. Towards the end, to make the whole story not too sweet, and also to give Finnegan a chance to finally leave his house and go into the outside world, along comes Jake, Rowan’s so far best friend, who turns out to be some kind of creep who wants Rowan to himself. That whole incident was resolved rather quickly and without too many problems, and the story ended on a really positive note.

As far as the age-gap is concerned, there were some hints that Finnegan had misgivings about the whole thing between him and Rowan, but they didn’t seem to stop him to pursue what he wanted. So, the angst level here was kept within a limit.

If you like age-gap stories this story is a must read.

Available at Amber Allure

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The Copier Guy by ardveche

I found the link to this story at Whispered Words. The person who submitted it, falconer, added a short blurb: “The narrator has just accepted the fact that he is gay, after about 20 years of denial. Now the Copier Guy may well the one to help him embrace his sexuality.” He/she added that the plot reminded him/her somewhat of “mw smoker seeks seclusion”, a story I blogged about some time ago.

This is not totally far fetched, but for me the similarities ended on the second or third page. Yes, the first person narrator is gay, works as a secretary and sounds lonely at first, but he’s neither such a terrible cynic as Clyde, nor nearly as snarky or as misanthropic. Actually he is a really nice person and falls for the guy who comes to repair the copy machine – and vice versa. That bit reminded me again a bit of “Special Delivery” by Cassandra Gold. But all that aside, this is a really sweet story. Mike and Scott are such lovable, great characters. They meet by chance, meet again with the help of (clumsy) machinations of Mike and fall in love. This all takes place between Thursday and Sunday. I loved it.

You can get the story for free at Nifty.org or ladiesweb.net.

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Mastering Stefan by J. M. Snyder

Blurb: Three years and Stefan’s yet to find that certain someone who can take him to the precipice of lust, dangle him over the abyss, and shove him headlong into the darkness of his own desire. Someone who drives him to the edge but won’t let him fall. Someone he can trust completely, body and soul, someone he can lose himself in. When a local gay bar called the Code hosts a fetish night, Stefan goes looking to be conquered.

There Stefan meets the man of his dreams, known only as “Master.” But when put to the test, can he prove himself worthy of such a man?

My thoughts: I read this book because I’m somewhat in the same position as Val when it comes to BDSM. She explains in a very good post about BDSM and her reluctance to read it why she isn’t a big fan of it and I wholeheartedly agree with her. However she recommended this story in her review of “Mastering Stefan”, so I gave it a go.

I liked the fact that Master was looking for a long term relationship. However, to “test” someone to see whether he is worth it, I’m not sure about that. Master’s name is never given, too impersonal for me. I couldn’t relate to Stefan’s fetish, but I found it interesting to read about it nevertheless. The whole story was sort of cut out of the characters’ everyday life. An episode without an anchor. Admittedly it is a very short story, but had I known a little more about Stefan and Master I probably would have enjoyed it more. But that is just me, I always need lots of background details to get into a story. Still a good read that taught me quite a bit about latex.

Available at eXcessica Publishing

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My heart is within you by Marguerite Labbe

Blurb: The power of heart and soul holds the key to the survival of the last of the ancient vampires. Kristair is running out of time. His race has faded away, prey to delusion and deterioration, and his only chance to live long enough to find a cure is to bind his psyche to a human vessel in a long forgotten ritual.
Kristair’s chosen vessel is Jacob Corvin, a man of passionate stubbornness and fierce loyalty; he has captured Kristair’s fantasies so completely that he is both the vampire’s greatest strength and most crippling weakness. Drawing upon Jacob’s spirit and Kristair’s resolve, they each bind a portion of their souls to one other. For as long as Jacob carries Kristair’s heart within him, the vampire can continue his quest.
Just when they have hope, their mission is threatened by The Syndicate, a group of younger vampires who attempt to force Kristair to teach them his secrets before he disappears like the rest of the ancients. Battling both The Syndicate’s attacks and his unexpected need and love for Jacob, Kristair’s strength begins to fade, forcing him to make a decision that will change his and Jacob’s lives forever.

Review: The story is told in alternating first person. One chapter it is Kristair’s, the next it is Jacob’s POV. Even though I’m not a fan of first person, I really liked it like that. Almost always the chapters start exactly where the last one ended. The excerpt should give you a good idea of what to expect.

I used to read a lot of paranormal romance, but usually when it comes to gay romance I prefer contemporary, non-paranormal settings. How come that it seems that my favourite series are paranormal nevertheless? I don’t know, but it’s true. Apart from Ariel Tachna’s “Partnership in blood” series, which is definitely my favourite, this one comes in a close second, even though only one book is out so far. It is the first volume in the Triquetra series.

I’m a total sucker for stories with couples having a mental or emotional connection. Thank God this has nothing of the sappiness that sometimes goes with it. Both men are self-assured, stubborn and don’t budge easily, yet their connection is very strong, they feel a lot for each other and will do anything to make sure the other is alright. I liked how the story developed, the problems they had with Jacob’s friends and the Syndicate. Jacob didn’t give in easily or quickly, but once he did, he was 100% committed.

SPOILER!

I absolutely loved the final confrontation with the syndicate, the fight, even though we only got glimpses of it, since Kristair and Jacob were otherwise engaged. The way Ussier rules his city is pretty impressive, he was a great supporting character. The ending left me totally stumped. I knew already from the blurb of the second book that this is what would happen, still I was speechless. I was very happy to see that Jacob killed Roland so ruthlessly without any qualms and that he was not forgiving towards Tony. I was afraid that he would go and accept what happened without taking some sort of revenge, which, I suppose, would have been the noble thing to do, but no, and thank God for that.

The last paragraph left me hoping for a happy ending some time later on. This was a great way to finish this first volume. Good thing that September is not too far away.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

There is a very long excerpt available that covers the first two chapters.

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Recovery by CB Potts

Blurb: Adam can’t wait to get back to civilian life after months of military life in a war zone. Things don’t go as he plans, though, when his Army buddy and lover dumps him without so much as goodbye, and his family starts pressuring him to make decisions he’s not ready to deal with.
When Adam does tell his dad his plan for the future, his father asks him to wait long enough to help out an old friend who lives in Texas, and sends Adam off to decompress some in the back country. There, Adam finds Calvin, a man who knows what it’s like to be lost, and who knows just what Adam needs to find his way again. Can Calvin and Adam clean up Calvin’s land, and Adam’s life?

Review: I read a review of “Recovery Ranch”, which is the sequel to “Recovery”, over at the Literary Nymphs. When I saw that this is another age gap romance I just had to have it. Not that I was too thrilled with the last cowboy books I read, but I hadn’t read anything by CB Potts, so I gave it a go.

This is a short story, which – for a change – did not go medias in res but took its sweet time to get going. In fact it took so long that I was wondering whether there was enough room left for the actual romance. Calvin and Adam meet on page 23 of 60, for me that didn’t leave enough room for the proper development of their romance. The remaining 30 odd pages stretch over quite a few weeks, even though we don’t experience a lot of them in detail. I suppose as far as timeline is concerned Calvin and Adam had enough time to fall in love (they slept together rather quickly), I just didn’t get to read enough about it. Also, in this story the age gap between the two men doesn’t play such a big part and is no cause for tension or anxiety. I liked both characters enough to want to read the sequel, though. Hopefully there will be more focus on the age difference and a possible conflict resulting from that.

Available at Torquere Books

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WMSmoker seeks seclusion by PirateGrrl

Clyde, a chain smoking, snarky, misanthropic secretary falls slowly and against his will in love with Sam who worms his way into Clyde’s life. The story is told completely in first person from Clyde’s POV and in present tense. Clyde doesn’t change that much in the course of the book, he’s still the guy who hates people in general and his colleagues in particular. The only difference now is that he’s in love with Sam. I absolutely loved it. At a word count of almost 83.000 words it is a long read, so make sure you set apart some reading time.

Get or read it for free at Fictionpress

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Feathers by Vincent Diamond

I wasn’t too thrilled with it. I liked Brandon’s character, but Ramon’s shilly-shallying really grated on me. He wanted to, but couldn’t go through, and that went back and forth for ages. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but I just didn’t connect with the story at all.

When Brandon couldn’t have Ramon, he went and looked for one night stands who resembled Ramon. Can’t say I cared for that much either.

Lily from I love books gave this a very favourable review, though. So check it out yourself!

Available at All Romance e-books (Publisher Lethe Press)

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To find and to keep by Serena Yates

Blurb: Four years ago Ryan’s parents disowned him for being gay. To escape their threats, he ran away to Canada. Now his twin sister Nicole is getting married to his best friend Peter, and Ryan will risk anything to attend. Help arrives in the most unexpected form: Peter’s older brother Daniel, the man Ryan had loved from afar.

Review: There are some aspects in this story that I really liked and some that I couldn’t really connect with.

The story is extremely sweet. And when I say sweet I mean it. Nothing destroys the atmosphere, except for a short intermezzo with Ryan’s parents, to which I will come later. Everybody is very nice, understanding, supportive. When Daniel meets Ryan in front of the church, there is an instant connection and nothing can sever it again. The reaction of Ryan’s sister and Peter, her husband and Ryan’s old friend, was just what Ryan needed. I don’t mind sweet stories with only little conflict, so that is not what bothered me about this story.

What I didn’t find so great were the following:

  • Daniel went to the church that evening because he followed a gut feeling. Fair enough, we all have them, but it was too vague for me. He just felt like he had to go there. It is possible, but somehow it was mentioned too much in passing only afterwards. I would have liked that to be explained or explored a bit more.
  • Ryan’s parents were just horrible, but for such villains they faded into the background too quickly. They kicked him out, disowned him, lied about his leaving, made threats to even harm his friends if he let them help him. Reason for all this: he’s gay. I’m not saying there are no such people, but that was just too much. When Ryan met them at the wedding, there was a short moment where I thought, now is the moment where the conflict will erupt and get settled one way or the other, but it didn’t. The moment went by and nothing… After that they were gone with one more short mentioning of them.
  • Daniel and Ryan were both virgins. Possible again, but feasible? I don’t know really, it didn’t feel right.
  • Daniel and Ryan have known the other for a long time. Loved each other without knowing that their feelings are returned. Now found each other again. Made love. Unfortunately there was no sexual tension to speak of, at least I didn’t feel any. And without tension there is not much fun.
  • Daniel’s proposal came way too fast. He proposed the day after they met again. Even considering that they have known each other for years  before Ryan left, they were only friends at the time. A bit more together time before deciding to get married would have been better.

Even though the initial storyline sounded good, there was stuff that just didn’t work out for me. That’s why the story wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been. But if you like it sweet and without any complications whatsoever, this might be for you.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

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Special delivery by Cassandra Gold

A really sweet story. The office atmosphere was pretty realistic. All the secretaries being hot for Tim, yeah, those UPS guys have something going for them. Mark was so shy and self-conscious, you just had to love him. Again, as I already said in my review for Fool for love, two guys take it slow and mean it. Nice change! A lovely and quick read.

Available at Freya’s Bower

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Win and Lose by TC Blue

Blurb: When Luzien Bascombe finds himself lost in the middle of more snow than he’s ever seen in his life, he starts to expect things he’d rather not. Like death. What he doesn’t expect is to find someone like Win out there in the middle of nowhere, and he really doesn’t expect to find himself falling for Win so quickly.

Winston St. James doesn’t know what to make of the young man he finds on his doorstep; not even when Luz makes it clear that he wouldn’t mind a bit of fun in Win’s bed. He does know that Luz has a life to get back to, though, which becomes harder and harder to accept. The world is never perfect, so when Luz has to go, he tries to make the best of things. Will Luz and Win get past their old hurts and take a chance on each other, Win or Lose?

Review: It seems to me that TC Blue has a preference for the lovers getting separated for some reason or other at one point in the story. And even though I know this and don’t like it I keep going back to reading her stories nevertheless. Why do I do it? Because the scenes when the two guys finally get back together again are irresistible. TC has a knack of writing love scenes that just work for me. Period. No matter what else happens in the story – and I am not saying that the storylines don’t work, they do – the love scenes alone would be making it worthwhile. I can’t put my finger on it, but for me they just do it.

The same here. Win and Luz (I’m pretty slow, I must admit, I only got the pun with the title when it was explained in the story, :-)) are so great together and feel so much for each other, it’s a pleasure to read about them. Once again they wouldn’t admit it to each other and it takes some time and work for them to figure everything out. In fact I had a slight problem with that because from what happens in the story they actually knew what was going on. At one point this happens:

Win wasn’t sure of how he was going to make things work, but he for damned sure would. Even if it meant closing up shop and moving to the city. Any city. There was no way he could give this up.

Only a little later Luz picks up this:

Win was just making an offer, Luz figured. Sort of. He thought Win was just putting it out there that if Luz was interested, he would be willing to see what might happen.

So, this should really settle the whole thing. Win wants more, offers it tentatively to Luz and Luz recognizes it for what it is. Luz knows that he, himself, is interested. So, what’s the problem? Why does he leave without admitting to wanting more if he knows that this is what Win wants, too? Win might not have been aware of the fact that Luz returned his feelings, because he never expressed them that openly, but Luz should have been aware of Win’s. But this was only a minor thing, and possibly I’m just pernickety.

This is a sweet story that pretty much focuses on the couple and their feelings and thoughts.

If you like cabin romance with hot love scenes and great guys, get it!

Available at Torquere Books

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Seeing love by Sean Michael

You would think that this story has a lot of potential for conflict. A middle-aged, blind businessman and a young rent-boy hired as a reader. There is an age gap, difference in backgrounds, outside pressure. All those could make both their lives miserable, but there are almost no problems whatsoever. A slight disturbance with the usual evil ex, which is resolved quickly and we go back to the regularly scheduled program. If you like a typical Sean Michael story, get it.

Available at Torquere Books

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Diving in deep by K. A. Mitchell

Blurb: You never forget your first time.

Cameron Lewis loves his job as an instructor/trainer for a water safety firm that inspects water parks. He gets to travel from March through September, always moving on to something different. When a strange emptiness starts plaguing him, he chalks it up to turning thirty.
He manages to shake off the feeling—until he walks into a classroom and discovers that the eye candy in the front row is actually a very grown up version of his best-friend’s kid brother.
Noah Winthrop never forgot his first time. Scary, painful and then absolutely amazing—and with Cameron, the guy he’d always wanted. He’s had a crush on his brother’s best friend since puberty and now nothing will keep him from finally getting Cameron Lewis to notice him.
Even though Cameron once rejected him, Noah is determined to get it right this time.

Review: I can’t really say I was too impressed with either one of the two guys.

Noah has had a crush on Cameron that never went away. He had other relationships, but Cameron was always in the back of his mind. Fair enough, but at some points I felt that he let this crush that turned to love rule him. In a lot of scenes I wanted to tell him to just leave for Christ’s sake and let Cameron see what it feels like to be the one left behind. Of course, Noah didn’t want to do that, because he was in love, but sometimes you just have to do stuff you’re not happy with.

I didn’t like Cameron very much. He rejected Noah when he was 15, which is understandable. Then after one night of hot sex a few years later he just left without even a note. After meeting again Noah declined Cameron’s invitation, which I was quite happy about, but unfortunately this was about the only time that Cameron didn’t get what he was after right away. Of course, this is due to Noah’s giving in all the time, but still, Cameron took everything for granted. He often thought of Noah as a “brat”, a term I don’t associate with someone you sleep with.

And sleep with each other they did. A lot. Loads of hot and hotter sex scenes. In fact, sex was the solution to the problems that were never discussed but rather smothered with kisses and subsequent shagging. They hardly ever sat down and actually talked about Noah’s issues with Cameron being away most of the time or Cameron’s issue with going to the family Christmas party. Only when Noah realizes he wants more than Cameron is willing to give, he finally walks out the door. Which, in turn, finally causes Cameron to sit down and think about what he wants and that he has to bloody work for it. I just couldn’t connect to Cameron and his attitude of being the superior, smug older man who needs nobody and has it all under control.

If you like a lot of sex scenes and a couple with problems that they don’t address openly until the very end, this is the book for you.

Available at Samhain Publishing

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Promise of the heart by Chrissy Munder

Second chances is always something I enjoy reading about. I liked the characters and how they interacted. What I could have done without was the love scene right at the beginning. I don’t care very much for scenes like this without context and without knowing the relationship between the characters. In fact I skipped most of it. Other than that I liked it a lot.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

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Gently down the stream by Connie Bailey

Blurb: Heading to his country home after a long week of work, Matthew Janssen meets a young man on the train – a startlingly handsome young man named Albin, who claims he can read Matthew’s mind and show him his most hidden desires.  But when he wakes at his stop, he’s alone.  Leaving the terminal, Matthew dismisses the incident as an erotic daydream – until he collides with the same young man, who’s just missed the last train.  Albin insists he’s never seen Matthew before, but Matthew isn’t about to let him disappear a second time

Review: This is a very short story, but a lot happens. It is not action packed or anything, but a man in his forties changes the course of his life completely.

When Matthew meets the mysterious Albin on the train he has no clue what he has in store for him. The young man makes Matthew realize that his whole life so far has been a façade to cover up what he really wants. Albin fans a hidden fire and evokes dreams that Matthew himself has never acknowledged. Pretty good going for a short train ride. After Matthew meets the “real life” Albin he decides to act according to the newly made discoveries and take the bull by the horns.

I liked the whole set up. I liked Albin, or rather both of them. I liked how Matthew didn’t shilly-shally about, but simply did what he felt like doing without any further qualms. I liked the surreal atmosphere when he met Albin on the train. I liked how Matthew and Albin II interacted later on. They were just good together from start to finish.

If you are looking for a slight paranormal touch and lovable characters, a very short read (only 25 pages) and yet a decent plot, read it!

Available at Dreamspinner Press

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Larry Fletcher checks out of the Heartbreak Hotel by D.G.Parker

Blurb: Jaded and hurting from a recent breakup, Larry’s not exactly having the time of his life in Vegas for his best friend’s wedding. But his luck begins to change at the Love Me Tender Wedding Chapel, where The King not only marries his friends, but takes on the challenge of teaching Larry to Viva Las Vegas and enjoy some Burning Love.

 

Review: I got this story simply because I loved the title. “Heartbreak Hotel” is one of my favourite songs by Elvis, so I had to get it.

It is short, we don’t know much about Larry, just that he got dumped four months ago and is heartbroken. But of course, he has to attend his friends’ wedding. Those two are madly in love and if I had had to be around them a bit longer they probably would have gotten on my nerves. You know the typical smooching couple. At the wedding Larry meets Elvis who is determined to get him out of his funk. As it happens the King turns out to be a well-endowed stud indeed.

Larry was moping around a bit naturally, but once he is out with Elvis he quickly gets into the swing of things. The story has some really funny lines, something way too rare in romance. Often it’s all about angst, complications, problems of some sort or other, so to read a story which is pure fun and shows lots of humour is really refreshing.

A fast and fun read! I need to check out other stuff by D. G. Parker soon.

The story is part of Dreamspinner’s June’s daily dose “To hand and to hold”, but also available separately at Dreamspinner Press (Scroll down, there is no anchor).

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The Squire by Shawn Lane

A rather short historical. However, I thought the time in between Duncan’s leaving and Sir William finding him was way too rushed. Duncan left furtively and disappeared. The next scene is set a few weeks later and Sir William turns up to look for Duncan at the place Duncan is working at. Even though I’m not into prolonged separation of lovers, this was too short and cut off even for me. The blurb is here slightly exaggerated.

Available at Amber Allure

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Chosen by Sean Michael

This is the sequel to Need. There are a few situations where I thought, right, now the conflict is starting to break out but it never did – not really. Bast and Trick are having sex so often, it’s amazing they have time for anything else at all. Bast’s friends got on my nerves towards the end. The story is wrapped up nicely and comes to a satisfying conclusion.

Available at Torquere Books

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His Gift by Clare London

Blurb: Steven Macklin wakes up in a ditch one morning in foul, wet weather with no idea where he is or how he came to be there.  He’s seriously injured but struggles across bleak heathland to find shelter.  The only house he can find appears weather-beaten and deserted, although he’s too sensible a guy to fall for the cliché of a spooky ghost mansion – isn’t he?  But when he collapses and is taken into the house by the handsome Eliot, he finds himself in a very disturbing situation – and also in the bed of this strange, very possessive man.

Review: This was surreal from start to finish. The whole atmosphere is very spooky, we don’t know what time the house is supposed to be in, what strange parallel universe. No other people are around, it’s really eerie.

Steven is down to earth, yet he can’t seem to withstand the strange attraction that Eliot represents. He’s basically putty in Eliot’s hands. We know nothing about Eliot apart from the few facts that he himself gives away. And even those don’t tell us much about his past, his family, his “affliction”. Steven is “his gift” that he wished for and was given and that’s that. Strangely enough in the course of time Steven accepts this more or less until one day he’s bound to leave to find out more about himself.

The love scenes are very sensual and I could easily see why Steven doesn’t really care to leave most of the time, ;-).

I can’t really say more about the plot without giving away the end which came as quite a surprise. The story is not very long and I just couldn’t put it down,  I just had to know what is going on in that strange house.

Available at Aspen Mountain Press

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The Professor’s secret passion by M. L. Rhodes

I found Aidan’s qualms about starting a relationship with Nate somewhat exaggerated. The situation was totally different from the one that made him keep his distance. But I don’t know enough about life at US universities, so I might be totally wrong about this. Other than that I liked the story a lot. Nate’s declaration of love that came somewhere in the middle of the book is about the sweetest one ever. I absolutely loved that part!

Available at Amber Allure

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The one that was lost by TC Blue

Blurb: Elliot is a player until a traumatic evening sends him running    a friend’s errand to Boston, where he meets up with Jamie. Jamie’s a former short-term lover, and the two get along well enough, but Elliot doesn’t want a relationship. Jamie and Elliot end up being friends who are very attracted to each other, separated by distance.
Jamie likes Elliot and thinks they could have some fun together, right up until he realizes he wants something more, but Jamie tells himself it will never work. After they spend a night making love, the intensity of which scares Elliot enough to run away, Jamie tries to put Elliot behind him. When Elliot realizes what he’s given up, he goes looking to get Jamie back, but will Jamie make it easy on him?

Review: I liked Elliot a lot in the previous book “The one that got away”. He’s young, attractive and a player. In the last book he hooked up with Jamie for some encounters and that was that for them. Part of “The one that got away” was replayed again, this time from the POV of Jamie and Elliot, which was great to read. The two men get along well enough, but didn’t really care to know each other any more than on a physical level.

A bad experience makes him leave for Boston where he meets Jamie again. I totally loved how Jamie helps Elliot out here. Not only does he make him feel ok again – sort of –, but also he manages to distract him, to become close friends with him and to make sure he was reassured that he was fine.

After Elliot leaves again Jamie’s dads keep him busy. I must admit that I wasn’t too pleased with those two guys. In fact they annoyed me a lot at this point. Jamie is an intelligent, educated man who can make his own choices. Mike is definitely out of the race. Elliot is a good looking man, smart, even if not as educated as Jamie, and a bit younger, but so what. Why those two condescending, well-meaning fathers think they have to reprimand Jamie for his choice of friends is beyond me. Yeah, he is not like Mike. Tell you what, the way Mike behaved in “The one that got away” didn’t scream common sense and grown-up behaviour to me. The way he acted at the beginning of this story when he found out that Jamie and Elliot had spent the night was just as ridiculous. What business is it of his? So, to use him as a role model for any future partner for Jamie is a bit over the top, to say the least. I can’t help thinking that even TC Blue herself is not too fond of him; I sure am not. Towards the end of the book David and Russell eventually redeem themselves again. Not that I care for them now, but at least they tried to be fair.

Elliot is really good at self-delusion. When even he can see that Jamie is not only a sex partner to him any more he starts to deny it to himself. Jamie on the other hand is nothing but honest with himself. He analyzes everything to tiny bits and acts on it. Where he goes where his mind takes him, Elliot goes with his gut feeling. He wakes up and feels scared and uncomfortable? He gets up and leaves without another word or note. This time the leaving of a character was much more understandable for me. Michael’s leaving in the previous book was uncalled for, but Elliot’s makes perfect sense from his point of view. Amazing that this seemingly “superficial” and flighty man actually seems to know Jamie better than Jamie knows him. Totally out of his known character. He probably has never known anybody as well as he knows Jamie, including himself.

I so liked the way he and Jamie got back together again, the wooing, the gifts, aw, lovely. And the “re-unification scene” at the end of the book left nothing to be desired. “The one that was lost” is going to be a definite favourite. If you like some angst, insecurities and fear of commitment, great guys who are not only lovers but friends and great supporting characters (however much I didn’t care for them) read this!

Available at Torquere Books