Hi guys, we have four pf Dreamspinner Press’ authors B.G. Thomas, J. Scott Coatsworth, Jamie Fessenden and Michael Murphy stopping by today to celebrate the release of their marriage equality anthology, we have a short interview with all four authors, great excerpts from each of the stories and MM Good Book Reviews is throwing in a $10 Dreamspinner Press credit giveaway! So check out the post and leave a comment to enter our giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
A More Perfect Union
B.G. Thomas, J. Scott Coatsworth, Jamie Fessenden, Michael Murphy
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love.
But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say “I do”?
Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was aright they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix.
To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself—and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.
Someday, by B.G. Thomas
Lucas Arrowood is walking to school on his first day of kindergarten when he meets Dalton Churchill—a boy who stops and helps him tie his shoe. He knows from that moment he is going to marry that boy one day. “Boys can’t marry other boys,” his mother explains, but that doesn’t stop Lucas. He knows what he wants.
He and Dalton become best friends—and then, no matter how much he resists, Dalton falls in love with Lucas. Dalton’s very conservative family can’t accept that their boy loves another boy, but finally Dalton stands up for love and for Lucas. Still, he declares he won’t marry Lucas until it is legal everywhere. He hates the “Commitment Ceremonies” gay men have. They aren’t the real thing. Why bother?
So Lucas waits for his day. The day same-sex marriage finally becomes legal and he can be joined forever with the love of his life.
Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth
Alex and Gio had a big fight, and Alex ran away. Then a fire at home destroyed the life they had built together, and threatened to take Gio away from him.
Alex had always thought love was enough to keep them together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma, his mother has banished Alex from his side.
What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back from the brink? Their memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to just let go is getting stronger.
Still, nothing can keep Alex from Gio’s side. If it’s against the rules, he’ll break them. In stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to bring him back, one memory at a time.
Destined, by Jamie Fessenden
When Jay and Wallace first meet at an LGBTQ group, they have no idea they’ll be dating six years later. In fact, they quickly forget each other’s names. But although fate continues to throw them together, the timing is never quite right. Finally they’re both single and realize they want to be together… but now they can’t find each other! With determination and the help of mutual friends, Jay and Wallace can finally pursue the relationship they’ve both wanted for so long.
It’s only the beginning of the battles they’ll face to build a life together.
From disapproving family members all the way to the state legislature, Jay and Wallace’s road to happily ever after is littered with obstacles. But they’ve come too far to give up the fight.
Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy
Living as an open, loving gay couple in the rural South isn’t easy—even today.
When Jeordi and Tom move in together and come out to their families, Jeordi’s family does not take the news especially well. When yelling doesn’t work, they send in one sibling after another to try to separate the couple. When that fails, they call out their pastor to help Jeordi see the error of his ways. But Jeordi’s love for Tom is greater than anything they throw at them.
When an accident sends Jeordi to the hospital, his family goes too far when they try to keep Tom from visiting his partner. Jeordi and Tom are determined to do everything in their power to gain legal protection so this can never happen again. But when a bigoted county clerk refuses to issue them a marriage license, Jeordi decides a big, bold effort is called for, which is precisely what he sets in moVon so no one can ever separate him from Tom again.
Hey peep’s, we have Bru Baker popping in to tout her newest story My OTP in the anthology All in a Days Work, she chats briefly about workplace encounters and then we have my review of this great anthology, so enjoy the post <3 ~Pixie~
All in a Day’s Work
A guy’s got to make a living. He can do it the conventional way—by selling cars, scooping ice cream, or delivering sandwiches—or he can earn his money as a spy, a historical interpreter, or the host of a myth-busting television show. Whether the men in this anthology are working hard to build their own business or performing in drag at a dance hall, every day has the potential for surprises and the chance to satisfy their lust or maybe find something more permanent. For the guys in these stories, what’s all in a day’s work might be anything but what they expected.
Ice Cream Dreams by Shae Connor My OTP by Bru Baker The Bet by Holly O. Hale Not Quite 1776 by Therese Woodson Extra Mayo by Henrietta Clarke Short Timer by Jenni Michaels Dance Hall Days by Amy Jo Cousins Unmasked by Kay Walker
Title: Grand Adventure Anthology Author(s): Foreword by S.A. McAuley An Unexpected Thing by John Amory The Twinkie Ignition by J.E. Birk When Friendship Becomes More by Sophie Bonaste Isle of Waiting by Sue Brown The Jogger by KC Burn Holding Court by Cardeno C. For Dear Life by Mary Calmes Under the Full Moon by Ellis Carrington Stripped by Shae Connor (2nd Edition) That Place Across the Hall by C.C. Dado Mistaken MD by Phoenix Emrys Cops and Comix by Rhys Ford Last First Kiss by LE Franks Tomorrow by John Goode From Fantasy to Friends by CR Guiliano Witness Protected by Dawn Kimberly Johnson Water Under the Bridge by Mia Kerick A Gentle Shove of Human Kindness by Amy Lane Air (Roads #1.75 million) by Garrett Leigh An Atheist and a Yoga Instructor Walk into a Bar by Rowan McAllister Stalking 101 by Moria McCain Simple Desires by Tempeste O’Riley Object of Care by Zahra Owens Kid Confusion by Madison Parker Fall Train by Jaime Samms The Exhibition by Andrea Speed What You Will by Tinnean Prologue by Brandon Witt Genre: Contemporary/Fantasy Length: Anthology (320 pages) ISBN: 978-1-62798-996-1 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 31st, 2014) Heat Level: Low – Explicit Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts Review: LeeAnn Blurb: On September 1, 2011, TJ Klune wrote, “…it’s not about the ending, it’s about the journey…” in a review of Eric Arvin’s Woke Up in a Strange Place. With those words, two men began a journey of love and invited us to ride along. TJ and Eric have shared so much with us: their wonderful books, their smiles, their humor, their lives, and their inspiring devotion to each other. In December of 2013, their journey took a detour when Eric was taken to the emergency room. He survived the surgery to remove a cavernous Hemangioma from his brain stem, but the challenges TJ and Eric face are far from over.
The authors in this anthology donated their talent as a way to support Eric’s continued recovery, to help bring strength to TJ, and to show both of them, just how much love surrounds them. Grand Adventures is a diverse range of stories about the journey of love. We’re going on some grand adventures for a great cause. Thank you for joining us.
One hundred percent of the income from this volume goes directly to TJ and Eric.
Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4873 Review: As you may know, there are 28 shorts in this anthology. Written by some authors who have met Tj and Eric and others who have not yet met them. The Foreword by S.A. McAuley is a true testament to what great friends Tj and Eric have as well as the Prologue by Brandon Witt. These two parts prepare you for the Grand Adventure you are about to go on.
The authors came together to make this anthology out of love , respect and awe for two brave men who have captured so many hearts by letting us see their love grow through videos and posts. To see them make their way through one of the toughest things possible and still come out smiling in the end. Their love has been truly inspirational and fun to watch grow. The fact that they let us all watch and be a part of their journey together is why we all love them and why this book was put together. To help them was the only thing these wonderful people could do. It was a must, in their minds and they pulled it off brilliantly.
All of the shorts in this book are amazing. The HEA that almost all of these stories have give you just that much more hope that we too, can find what Eric and Tj have with each other.
As you also may know, all the money that is made from the selling of this anthology, the t-shirts and posters sold, will go directly to Tj and Eric to help them with medical costs and renovations needed to Eric and Tj’s new home when he finally gets to go home to Tj and Otter.
So please, do yourself a huge favour and get this book, not only for where the money goes but to have a wonderful experience meeting all of these authors and reading their amazing short stories. They are very gifted people who deserve the recognition for their work and unbelievable generosity!
I will definitely be rereading this book again because I so enjoyed every single story in here. I know you will as well.
Blurb: Inventors, pilots, tinkers, and soldiers; magical metals to replace an aging heart or a ruined limb; steam-powered fantasy worlds of clockwork nightingales, automatons, dirigibles, and men. The stories in this anthology visit diverse times in the history of modern man, and the men who populate these tales face war and cruelty, masters and autocrats, illness and poverty and greed. Yet the heat of romance outmatches even the steam engines, and time and again, the gears of love rule the day.
Review: Steamed Up is yet another anthology I not only don’t regret but actually loved reading. Steampunk has a special place in my library, I will devour everything that belongs to the genre, but this anthology was more than just that, it was really well written, with wonderful stories that beg to be read. I think you’ll agree with me when I say that there are all kind of themes among these stories, the constant being that romantic flirtation and love in times that come with their own challenges. In my opinion, this is an anthology you don’t want to miss.
Five to One by Angelia Sparrow ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
I absolutely loved this one. Yes, it gets all my 4 Hearts effortlessly and oh, how I wish I could read the rest of Johnny and Dee’s story. What happens when they reach San Francisco, do they win the race, and do they get their hearts’ desires?
But I’m running ahead. In this little story Dee is a lovely red-haired Irish boy and tinkerer, and Johnny his roommate and friend for the past five years. Their friendship going stronger and stronger with each passing day neither man can imagine a life different from what they’d been living unless it’s slightly more comfortable in the financial department. And there comes the race. Manmade machines that can run 25 miles per hour and race from Boston to SF and the winner win one million dollars.
Can Dee create such a device? Can Johnny pedal it through the country? Can they win their prize?
While trying to make ends meet and make their dreams come true another prize must be fought for and won when in his enthusiasm Johnny realizes he’s in love with his best friend. Fears because such acts are illegal, fears of rejection, all must be put aside and risk if he wants his hearts true desire.
This story was romantic and I loved it, because it was so well described and written, I had no way to avoid getting sucked in it. I loved both characters here and they managed to make an impression on their individuality in such a short little story. The romance between them is not gradual yet it’s definitely not instant either. A brewing love was hidden beneath layers of friendship and when it took form it was not only gratifying but also sweet and tender and yet sexy and adorable at the same time.
I loved this pair and their story and yup, I want more.
The Clockwork Nightingale’s Song by Amy Rae Durreson ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Oh how lovely a story this one was. The second in this anthology and the second I loved reading. It’s wonderful how nicely the balance between romance and tinkering plot was woven. There is this slight emotional tinge between words as the main characters of this story are divided by class and rank.
Lord Gabriel Marchmont is an inventor and Shem a mechanic. While working the Flying Garden – which was a stunning description of a flying mechanical garden – Nightingale Nr 48 ceased to function properly and the inventor had to be called in to fix it, as it was quite a complex little thing. While Shem is a good enough mechanic, he had to call defeat and endure the arrogant Lord and his sneering comments.
But behind the arrogance was hidden a lonely enough heart and when both men find out that their mechanical little bird had fallen in love, hence he ceased singing when he was supposed to – they both fell into a pattern of working/thinking of ways to make the poor bird find a chance to happiness.
The real challenge for Gabriel though was making Shem let go of his safe net and risk his way for his own happiness.
It was lovely I tell you. Gabriel was an adorable character and I felt a little bit sad for him and how lonely he truly was in all that big house of his filled to the brim with brass and gears yet not a soul nearby to care for him. And poor Shem, so much scared of the rank difference and the dark side of things that he didn’t dare making that one last step and find a match for his own lonely heart.
I loved the writing style this author has. The mannerisms of her characters, the way they approached each other, the descriptions of the world where the story is set, and the way she made everything work. Yes, it was indeed a very enjoyable story.
Quite sentimental and sweet this read is a must for lovers of the genre in my opinion.
Ace of Hearts by Mary Pletsch ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts
Ah, a war! Boches against Albians, aeroplanes against dirigibles, and a man against his own fears.
Aeroplane Mechanic First Class William Pettigrew is well aware he is good, yet not good enough. A childish mistake cost him his eye and now his dream of being a fierce pilot is lost forever. He contains himself with being a mechanic for his mother’s lovely planes and spends his days tinkering and fixing and making modifications on them to fit the warfare’s demands. At the same time he contains himself with ogling from afar the gorgeous pilots never daring make a move on them, resenting his weak personality and the fear of rejection that weakens him every time.
But when hero Captain James Hinson makes a turn on his career leaving the dirigibles behind in favor of aeroplanes William dares dream of making a move, of reaching for something rather than lying in wait behind the shadows. As much as he pushes himself though old habits die-hard and it’s only when James is lost behind enemy lines that William is faced with his life’s dilemma: Be daring and charge in the rescue or stay hidden forever behind the shadows and perhaps lose his one chance at love…
That’s the story in a nutshell and I loved it. I loved the language and the words used in it. They were so in balance with this books setting and genre. I loved the action part of this little story so much that I didn’t mind at all the lack of romance, though it was there, subtly poking you with even subtler flirting between our characters.
What I mostly loved was the passion William displayed for his work and his planes. The description of them and the fascinating way they came into the read it was almost catching all that enthusiasm and it managed to hook me in this story so easily. Well, that along with the fact this was warfare had me enthralled within the blink of an eye.
Well what is there more to say; yet another one I loved.
Caress by Eli Easton ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts
Oh dear me, what a wonderful, wonderful story totally deserving all 5 Hearts.
The story is set in London 1857 going back in time as our genius main character Tinker remembers his life and what has happened. This character, oh my, such a lovely work from this author to gift us with such a delightful character. He’s a genius and you can see his unique mind at work when his inner thoughts break in the narration of the story. It makes you want to squeeze him tight if it weren’t for the fear of breaking him in half due to his slight and tender form. His childlike appearance has his poor heart to thank for which was way too weak to support his growth. It replacement with a machine pump, a work of art and gift from his former master didn’t help Tinker grow more, but it did give him endurance…
It is lovely seeing/reading this character. He is so bright and so lovely. His genius is of course taken advantage of and used to create weapons during the war. The deaths they cause haunting his dreams and conscience, but it is also the cause for him finding the one person who ever saw him for himself, for Tinker.
The second character of the story and Tinker’s obsession is Colin. Colin is a musician in his head though he never heard his music being played. The war took him and somehow, despite hating killing people he made to Captain only to be blown to pieces and come to Tinker’s part of the war to make a “laboratory rat”. A voluntary human for killing prosthetic arms to attach. An undoable feat yet one look at Colin’s eyes and Tinker will do whatever he can to save this man from the cruel fate of a crippled soldier, even if it means he’s turning him into a more fierce killer.
“A composer and a maker of miniatures, made to dance to the song of death.”
“An artificial heart, artificial hands, a love outside the lines.”
I just had to add these two lines from the story, they made such an impact with me. I loved this read, it was not only fascinating, it was moving and sweet, and brilliant and I simply adored it. The whole start to finish it was a fantastic read, so totally my kind of cupper, so erotic without any sex scenes in it, so sensual in its sub-lines, so beautiful a love story. I wonder if I’ve been starving for real romance because I’m utterly taken by this read. And there’s nothing more to say than go read it, it’s bound to take you for a lovely ride.
The Galatea’s Captain by Anka Grace ♥♥♥3 Hearts
Ah, the mysterious Galatea’s Captain who remained a second throughout the read to Kamil’s claim for main character. In this read, we have a philosopher, a scholar, and a pacifist Kamil who has had a bad trip overseas resulting in him losing his foot. The Duchess of Althea and her husband the Duke find the most promising man to fix him a prosthetic leg made from a rare organic metal.
This whole story takes place at Galatea, Captain Tales’ ship, but what we mostly read about is how Kamil passes his days and how he slowly begins to fall for the charming young Captain who is a master tinkerer as well.
There is no real romance here and most of the flirting between the two of them was simply mentioned rather experienced so we miss this contact with the characters, the attachment if you will. To top it all, it remains a flirt and nothing else till the day Kamil leaves the ship with his prosthetic in hand to go to the hospital and have it attached. They say good-bye there and I really felt lost at that. There is no more budding and strengthening a relationship, the pair is apart and when the end of this story came it simply held no power over me even as it had a happily ever after.
Atop all the lack of romance there was a lack of real tinkering as it happened behind closed doors and we only had a slight glimpse of a little mouse chasing a lovely bird. Other than that, though the whole Steampunk feel was a bit crippled here and in general, the read felt a bit lacking.
However, I still liked it, not only it wasn’t bad, but also it was quite decent and well I do have a love for these read. I simply wish there had been a better focus and development of the characters.
Screws by R.D. Hero ♥♥♥2.5~3 Hearts
A wanna-be inventor young Julius has to first go to University and learn tinkering. If only his father would agree and forego his dreams of seeing his son a lawyer. In an attempt to disparage Julius from his “pipe-dreams,” his father arranges a job at the screw factory for his young son.
Appalled at first Julius soon find consolation at his working buddies, especially Hank who is more than handsome and so very the material of wet dreams for young Julius. Drawn to this man, literally bewitched by him Julius gets into the routine of hard work and months go by without him noticing, his dream no longer being the obsession it once was. But Julius forgot that his father only meant to scare him with hard work, believing that Julius would soon relent and succumb to his will. Now daddy dear wants to take his only son out of the low rank factory and sent him off to higher education even if it’s that dreary engineering.
As his dream comes closer, Julius realizes he might be losing something even more important and he might never have the opportunity to chase it down again. His love for Hank needs him to be bold and finally go ahead and spell it out.
So this read is totally lacking the Steampunk quality, but it’s quite good on the romance side of the equation. Julius is young, naïve and arrogant at first verging on obnoxious even, but soon changes his tune as lust first and love later hit him head on. The classic sentence-turning-prize theme and it was quite lovely. Now if only there was some inventing happening there to balance this out and give it a bit more depth, some more story to it. I honestly expected the kid to make something and drive himself out of the slum, but the author had other intentions here.
So, while not a fascinating read to make your head spin, this was not bad either and well, Hank had a certain appeal, even as I never found out why he tolerated the little prick at the beginning.
The Clockwork Heart by Kim Fielding ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts
Sweet, foolish perhaps in its romantic approach my cynical side says, but sweet and lovely read.
To fall for a golem, to have your hear thaw out of its ice and to finally feel emotions but not toward other human, toward a golem, a machine.
Dante is a man lost and forgotten. His father threw him away because he couldn’t stop adding his imagination to the uninspiring clocks his father fixed or made, turning them into ornaments. His imagination crushed by his own blood and other masters, Dante preferred living on his own, resembling a beggar and quite poor, rather than being further oppressed.
He made his life searching through the scrapheap’s at the wasteland and finding, repairing, and reselling broken things. Until one day, he stumbles upon a real treasure, a golem.
Badly abused the golem at first seemed un-repairable. But a weird thing about those automatons, they were made to resemble a human a bit too much and Dante slowly succumbed to the machines moaning and pleas and put all he could to fix him up. Talon now became a source of joy and even though he could make a great deal of money out of him the very thought of selling Talon has Dante’s heartache. Weird that his heart would feel something after being convinced for so long that it might have been a clockwork instead of flesh and blood, all due to a lovely imperfect golem…
As I said, a sweet and romantic read and a very enjoyable one at that, this story is quite nicely written focusing more on emotions and a slowly growing trust/love relationship. The inner works of Talon were never closely viewed as Dante was not his creator and he didn’t know how he worked at all, so Talon retained that air of magic about him throughout the read. I actually like that, as I liked the imperfections both characters had. It made them somewhat more approachable even as I was a bit apprehensive of the human/machine relationship that unfolded.
Overall, I was left with pleasant feelings from this story going as far as saying I liked a lot. Definitely recommended.
The Golden Goose by Mark Lesney ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts
Oh hilarious read this one. A thief whose luck failed him mid-robbery goes through a series of events that make you laugh and laugh, only to end up in the backyard of a crazy inventor’s house the moment he was about to be… violated. On one hand the cops chasing him on the other a gorgeous young gentleman about to be molested and possibly killed, our thief who is totally against violence manages to save his gentleman in distress.
Viscount Gordon Dennis has sold everything he had for his invention and is nearing his goal. With his former footman being a near murderer he’s left hanging and in need of help. So what better choice than the man who saved his life, even if he’s a bit shady with the police on his tail and stolen jewelry upon his clothes.
I loved the story. The plot easily captivates you and the action comes fast and furious at you. Gordon is a lovely character, a bit naïve yet so adorable and our thief, Joshua Clarridge – whose name is only mentioned once, once in the whole read – is one of those characters that are brilliant and smart and cocky and have the world against them yet they prevail only to fall for the most unlikely situations all over again. When he falls in love with the mad/naïve penniless scientist, it only made sense that it would be his luck to have a Viscount at his feet worth nothing valuable. What a thief hah!
Romance wise unfortunately, this read didn’t quite have me there. It was too fast and came out of nowhere. No grounds to base those feeling and all that risk. But in the chaos of unfortunate events it went amiss and one could easily overlook it, I think.
Overall, I loved it and had some serious laughs.
Spindle and Bell by Augusta Li ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts
An exquisite story this one traces the life of Spindle-Reed, a mix of a man from of several races, unwanted, cast off. In the times when a terrible disease plagues the country, when air is filtered and people have to walk around with masks to protect themselves, the same mask hides Spindles ugliness, or so he’s made to believe from his “charitable” caretaker who controls Spindle’s life by way of doping him with opium. As a thank you for his caretaking, Spindle uses his special talent to climb like a spider and flow through rooftops like an uncanny night-bird to steal from wealthy houses and return for more of the same. Day in, day out until one night everything changes.
When Spindle meets sick, genius, and astonishingly beautiful Bel his entire life changes and everything gains a meaning. Bel doesn’t see a mix match of an ugly man in Spindle, rather a gorgeous, marvelous creature, and he’s in awe of how could Spindle ever think he’s ugly in first place. Bel shows him a new life, gifts him with the precious gift of all, love, and yet another, freedom. But Bel is too sick, and while his genius has managed to find a cure to the plague, it’s too late for him to survive the illness.
There is nothing that can be done, but live the life that he has remained best he can, and what he wants is to spend a night, a single night free of his golden cage. That Spindle swear will gift his precious Bel no matter what. But the shadows of his life aren’t far behind and are always watching Spindle, ready to jump at him when he least expect it and drag him back to the dreamlike fog of drugs and dead-end life.
An astonishingly beautiful story, made even more so for the short length it has yet lacking no detail or development. The characters are stunning, adorable, and appealing. They make you want to read and read and hope that the story never ends. There is no happily ever after for them and indeed the story leaves you with a bittersweet taste, but it’s that that makes it so worth reading. The utter realistic approach in this total fiction is fascinating and though it could be dark and heavy, it is neither.
I also loved the take on the disease. It felt like the 18th century England with the industrial revolution thrown in there, the mankind suffering from its greed for progress with citizens being either too rich or too poor, making for a huge social gap. There is simply so much to this story without putting a burden or making it a heavy read. I loved reading it and even though the ending was near heartbreaking, I loved it more for it.
Untouchable by Lela M. Wier ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts
Going after Capone? Not an easy feat, that sneaky son of a bitch is slippery like eel. But Federal Agent Rawson has it in his mind to get him and shut his business down.
Meanwhile green Federal Agent Aldis is sent to “help” him and at the same time keep an eye on him and report back for any misgivings.
As things would go, the silent brooding older man is as strong an appeal as booze for an addict for young Aldis, and he can’t help being charmed by this “heartless” man.
The plot quite simple yet engaging as it gets. The stalking and observation of the suspects, finding the missing puzzle and finally getting to the bottom of the mystery while not overly complex it was still enticing, with the final big BAM giving the entire plot an increase of intensity.
The romance between the agents is subtle, hints and quiet flirting, secret and unvoiced seduction. Everything hidden in the deepest layers of the heart until the big blast makes them reckless enough to dare a move. Even that is quite slight, feather-like even and all that surrounds you is this huge sense of manly eroticism, stoic and hard, with a romantic flair you can’t help get lost in. I loved it really, Rawson being my favorite, all this macho persona with his clockwork heart and steely attitude. His softening to Aldis gentler ways was gradual and made for a lovely quality when they finally decided to move on to life together, even as there were not much said if any at all.
Overall, it was a lovely story and strongly recommended.
Swiftsilver by Bell Ellis ♥♥♥♥♥4.5 Hearts
Aww! Yes, this is one of those stories that drag that “aww” out of you no matter if you want to or not.
Seamus, oh my, what a character. An apprentice for a cruel master indeed. Not a day went by that he wasn’t reminded he was in debt to his master for taking him out of streets and given a home. Not once was he praised for his work. Not once was he given the slightest of freedom. Even his creation when sixteen, swiftsilver, had to remain in shadows, well hidden for fear of punishment. Everything that happened, from the sky pouring rain to the heat of summer was his fault, and could very well be punished for no reason at all. Yet he endured.
Thio; you simply can’t love him enough. Exuberant, overly optimistic, adventurous, and a dreamer. The cherry on top, the son of a Baron. And he went on crashing with his invention and dreams right on Seamus’ doorstep, marking the start of a unique friendship and a love like no other.
These two characters are marked by innocence, both of them but Seamus the most as he was not allowed nothing at all in his nineteen years of life beside the apothecary work. Their entire relationship at the beginning is that of two utterly different boys in station, lonely in their own way, finding a real honest friendship in each other, matching each other’s personalities and balancing them. Seamus giving steadiness and slowing Thio down a bit from his fast and furious motions, helping and smoothing his crashes, while Thio fueling Seamus’ dreams and giving him freedom he hadn’t dared dream of.
When they made that final step into being lovers, I must say it was almost magical. All their innocence was so very adorable and lovely to read while they explored each other. Youth’s enthusiasm was no match for the feeling that flowed through the text so easily and made you float with them to the wonders of lovemaking. Together they experimented with science by day and with love by night and made you feel young again, excited and happy.
This was a story that actually covered twenty years so as you imagine it was quite wholesome, the end melting you like butter on a hot pan. I feel boneless right now and so very languid, sated with reading for the time being and I’m just so satisfied with this read. A wonderful, wonderful love story.
Blurb: What happens after “happily ever after”? No matter how long they’ve been together, the couples in this anthology find that keeping a relationship alive takes work. Whether its job conflicts or family issues, the seven-year-itch or just plain stuck-in-a-rut routine, these men face the challenges of keeping the spark alive with humor, creativity, and romance.
Oh wow, I don’t know what I expected, but this was really, really short. No matter, as short as it was it made up with its sweetness, literally.
Matt and Jacob have been friends since they were seven and boyfriends for five years now. Fifteen years they’ve been by each other’s side and now that they’re finishing college, real life awaits. But one thing remains more real than anything does; their love for each other.
On their fifth anniversary, though Matt has a special surprise for Jacob. Let’s say something akin to a trip down memory lane.
Loved it. Yes, I know. Normally I don’t care much for sweetened and mushy stories, but once in a while, I love to indulge that little girl hiding deep inside me with “aww-inspiring” love stories.
At First Sound by G.S. Wiley ♥♥♥3Hearts
A very nice story about to actors in the late 20’s I’m suspecting. One a former actor, Soren, with no hard feelings for his lost career. The other, Booby, feeling trapped in the copy/paste style of his scripts. Both in love, both hiding it from the world for having it wide in the open would only mean the end of it all. At their two-year anniversary, Soren’s surprise manages to make Bobby see what’s really important in his life.
I don’t know, I liked, of course, I always like stories of the past, but there was something about it. There was this feeling, like a building anticipation for something. I kept expecting the shoe to drop you know, but no, this is another sweet little story of two lovely men celebrating their love.
What made me an impression and captivated me was Soren. This character was so very interesting and made me want to know him better. Yes, Bobby has his appeal too, his relationship with his family (his mom) enticed me and made me wish for a closer look, but it was Soren that captured my deep interest. You think we might see a more developed version of this story? I sure hope so.
Dream Lover by Nico Jaye ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts
Ah, a lawyer and a freelance writer. Can it work? Can a person who has such a demanding work schedule make a life with a person whose lifestyle is so unpredictable? The opposites do attract indeed, yet how long do they keep that flame burning without crashing them down?
Aww damn, what a sweet and hot and sexy and sentimental story this one was. Yup, I gotta say I fantasized some angst for it in my head as shown above in my introduction, but even without it, this story was quite lovely.
Brady (the lawyer) is one hell of a dreamy lover indeed and Chris, well; let’s just say there aren’t many who’d be as understanding as he was.
A lovely story for two contemporary fellas full in love with each other.
Happy Holidays by Anna Butler ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
“Do you know what day this is?” A harmless question right? No matter how you examine it, what angle you approach it, or how much you shake it. It seems quite harmless…
Oh, the humor bleeding in the lines of the text is delicious. You just gotta love Anna’s playfulness. Ah, I’m still laughing with this story. It’s fun-tastic! Meh I just loved these guys.
And guess who my favorite character was here. No guess! Lol, yeah it was Kit.
Kit and John have been partners and lovers for fifteen years. They started small and finally their designing firm is handling more accounts than they can manage. It’s all good though, they manage just fine and their boundaries of where work stops and where their life picks up make for a good settling.
But Kit’s been playing little games lately out of nowhere. Games that always keep john on his toes. After fifteen years together, they still have their time of fun, but what is the meaning of this constantly repeating question day after day after day?
Did I say I loved this little story? No? Damn, oh well, I loooved it! There!
The Responsible One by Eva Clancy ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts
Snow White on steroids? Damn, what a line. I’m so stealing this. Moving on!
Being in a relationship and having secrets? Hmm, how long do you think that will last, especially when those are sexual secrets? Nothing remains hidden forever, and while it does, it eats you alive from inside out. Sometimes, sometimes it’s just better to let your truths out. You never know what might happen, and people might surprise you.
Yeah, I’m making it sound so much more interesting and intriguing than it really was, not fair of me. But, it was hot! It actually turned kinky; with a lite D/s touch, that surprise-surprise was well written. And you know me, I just love that take control-give control situations. Nothing ever depicts trust the way such scenes do.
So Owen is having a real problem with his lawyer boyfriend. Typical of a lawyer really, they all put work above it all, even love. Letting him down every damn time is really pissing Owen and things need to change. Now!
So after Tom leaves for work yet another Saturday, Owen attacks the house like Snow White on steroids. (Gosh, I loved this line, still chuckling with it) He goes on and cleans everything to let steam off, which surprisingly he does. But when he takes it a step further, checking out Tom’s cloths for things he might want to give to charity so their wardrobe takes a breath, he discovers a hidden plastic bag in one of Tom’s suit bags.
Yeah, what came next was a mixture of events that ranged from HOT to sweet and lovable and damn it. Just read it, you’ll love it. I sure did!
Home on the Range by Anna Martin ♥♥♥3Hearts
Whoa, whoa boys, stop fighting. Meh, what is it with cowboys and their temper? But as fast as they light, that fast they cool down in this story at least, for we’ve seen some strong-headed cowboys in several books keeping at it for years.
But anyway, here the temper is short lived and something spicy since the after-fight snuggling is pretty good. And who can blame Colt really. Being away for months trying to find investors for his ranch, Colt comes back to find his husband, Gray, has hired someone else to run the ranch. Now from what I gathered, there was some fright of change and a spark of jealousy that caused Colt’s yelling, but damn, you can’t expect an artist like Gray to run a ranch on his own, right?
And while it was lovely reading about cowboys again I had this unexpected feeling when the end hit me full force and out of nowhere. It felt like I flat out smashed in an invisible door. God, my head hurts.
The Cat’s Out of the Bag Rowan McAllister ♥♥♥3Hearts
“I’m average in almost every way: cock, looks, height…” There, that line right there was the one that made me think “yup, I’m gonna love this shorty”. But when the furries came out, I melted.
Ah what a blast this story, how much fun it was. There is Michael, the diva, the drama personified, with the overacting imagination and the overwhelming personality. And man who temper, those waterworks, the sniffling. He really made me want to slap him a few time just for the sake of seeing if that was his kink. J
And then, there was Joel. Sexy Joel with his little secret that got blown to pieces when he got busted from his of six years boyfriend. Joel, Joel didn’t you know lies have a very short span of life.
But all is great, because despite the incredibly dramatic storming out of a relationship act Michael pulled, the next kiss-and-make-out night was pretty hot and kinky what with the tuna casserole and the tiger-print bedspread and god, how can one forget the leopard briefs.
It was so fun I’m still on a playful mode. J
Like an Old Sweater by Elizabella Gold ♥♥♥3Hearts
Temptation, temptation, I wonder why is it so thrilling. Even as Jeff reminds himself of having a boyfriend for seven years, he can’t help but be tempted by wickedly sexy Tim, with his charming grin and strong come-and-get-me vibe. But then again Ethan is the famous author, always having people throwing themselves at him, proposing him and… Surely, Jeff deserves some attention of his own, even as he’s just a librarian.
But no matter how the hectic life of an author takes away their time of the day, no matter the mundane things that come and overshadow their life together, one thing’s a constant. Their love!
So when everything might seem to reach rock bottom, their playfulness rises for the occasion and turns things upside down, changes the mundane to sparklingly sexy, and turns the lovers of seven years to near teenagers and their love games to a fun ride of joy.
As for me, well, I might not have liked the intro into the story, but I definitely jumped aboard as it progressed.
Change of Heart by Rhidian Brenig Jones ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
My, oh my! What happens when after years of “ordinary” a new face comes in the picture? What happens when the cold tendrils of doubt slither down your spine and grip your heart?
Of course, nothing and no one would ever matter if you didn’t feel like you’ve settled a bit too much and took some things for granted. It wouldn’t matter at all I might add f you had evolved in your relationship, grown with it, instead of staying stagnant, rooted in spot.
But there you have it, things have stayed stale for too long and a youthful predator is rounding the corner. What do you do when you don’t know how to do it in first place?
Lovely and quite British. I couldn’t take my eyes from this read. Charlie’s dignity in confronting his lover, the very cool head, and that “iciness” Englishmen are so often accused were simply delicious. I can feel the taste of it still. And of course, the turnabout after the confrontation, I believe this was the best one yet – Wilde is such a honey-trap isn’t he? – even as the idea has been exhausted in this anthology.
But as I said, you simply can’t resist this one.
The Thing I Love Best About Mitch by Dawn Douglas ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Well damn! I wanted to be playful and funny about this story too, and at first, it seemed like I could really go down that path, but Hell if it didn’t turn me to mush by the end of it.
Tyler; there are many things he loves best about Mitch. He loves best the fact that Mitch’s growling voice when he irritated can make undergrads shake in their boots, yet has no power over him. He loves best the fact that ever since day one they met he knew this was the man for him. He loves best the fact that it took years for this amazing guy to give in to his love, but when that happened he gave it completely. He loves best the fact that as crazy wealthy as Mitch is, you’d never thought it if you took a look at him, or his house, or his car, or his furniture. He loves best the fact that Mitch can turn him inside out without even touching him. But what Tyler loves best about Mitch is…
Well read it already. You’ll love it; the mixture of humor, playfulness, eroticism and heady sexual intensity, and love is pretty fabulous. Hell, as I said, it turned me to mush. Who’d have thought eh?
Looking Back by Rob Rosen ♥♥♥3Hearts
Ah, the uncertain future, the stagnant present, and the truly gone and over with past. Yet can a trip down Memory Lane revitalize the present and shed light to the future?
At this point, I must make a statement about the futuristic feel of this book. A computer that merges shared memories and wearing a helmet lets you see it as if a video? Fabulous! Fantastic! Brilliant! Moving on!
It is so very difficult to escape familiarity. We crave it, we long for it, we seek it, but when we get it, what then? Does it start suffocating us? Or is it the fear that familiar things are not exciting anymore. That when we don’t say that L word often enough, the feeling itself will get transparent and fade away with passing years? What does it take to wake up deeply buried under the press of time feeling? Can they, truly awaken?
Well read this lovely little story to get a glimpse of that. For what it’s worth, I liked Mack best.
Quarter Moon Over a Ten-Cent Town by Stephen Osborne ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Absolutely delightful being introduced in this story by the town’s Gossip, Mrs. Gardner, whose age shall remain unknown, in a voice full of the humor.
“It’s almost as if they’re regular people,” she will say when giving us the intro of Dylan and John’s life together. And good God you want to strangle her so much, yet at the same time, strangely you don’t.
But back to the story of this delicious couple whose sunny days are now being cast in gloom and doom when at one of their parties John finds Dylan kissing his best friend in the middle of the living room, surrounded by the other guest. While of course that was attributed to a truth or dare game, John’s mind began a downslope into the pits of doubt and fear. All the while Dylan is wondering why on earth his lover is slowly slipping away from him.
In his delirium and stupidity, Dylan convinces himself that his lover is more attracted to his own type of men, the macho, butch guys who fight MMO and can hold their own. So of course, he would ask John’s best friend to teach him how to box. Can you see the hilarity yet?
You will not be able to resist that brilliant writing of this little story, as the author’s narrative voice is so much fun, so hilarious. I’m still laughing my head off.
Reboot by S.H. Allan ♥♥♥♥♥4.5Hearts
Who needs enemies when you got such delightful friends? I certainly wouldn’t want to be best pals with Mike.
It is like that, one night out with their friends that a misunderstanding happens. Flynn getting in an argument with Mike and Josh being distracted by his overly intruding work, that he missed parts of the argument and when in need to put his fifty cents he completely screwed up.
One thing led to another and before he knows it, he’s finding his lover withdrawing farther and farther away from him. The inevitable approaches fast and their working schedules seem to add to that chasm between them.
Oh dear me, I nearly thought this story would have a HEA, but to be sure there is one and damn it if it wasn’t gorgeous. Absolutely perfect and filled with emotions that swept you away. Lovely, lovely story indeed.
The Making of a Family by Caitlin Ricci
This story took me back a little. All right, not a little, more like a lot. It started weirdly with a leaving scene. As Arden gets an early plane to return home, he expects to find his lover, Serio, there and happy for him. What he finds instead is Serio trying to leave the house, their life together, with only a note as an explanation.
The reason behind Serio’s attempted escape for me was not enough to evoke such a decision. I didn’t like him, and I found Arden overly understanding. In addition, this story was very mournful, so gloomy, and the length of it wasn’t sufficient to explore the “lost-child” theme. Some emotions simply need more space to properly evolve.
As it was the MC seemed simply thoughtless, rash, and lacking understanding for the man with whom he wanted a family.
Didn’t like it so much.
Remember When by River Clair ♥♥♥♥♥4.5Hearts
Is how you remember meeting the love of your life the same as said love remembers too, or are those memories slightly different and not quite what you thought it were?
When Ben takes Aaron through the places, they first met, had their first kiss, first said “I love you” and a treat for their fifth anniversary, he envisioned it quite differently from how it turned out. It didn’t help that Aaron’s memory was not on the same page with is. So it was natural for him to brood, snap, and think that they were not on the same page in their life too.
But sometimes people surprise us so much that the only thing left to do is cling tight and never ever let go.
Fabulous little story, loved it. There was a time where I thought Aaron couldn’t possibly save this on, but damn. Lovely job on making Aaron so damn adorable and irresistible. This couple is one of my favorites out of this Anthology.
How to Date Your Husband by A.C. Valentine ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Oh, this was fun. How to spice up your marriage in five dates.
After ten years being with a person, do you think there are things you don’t know about him? If so, you’re in for a treat, because as always people never cease to surprise us.
And that is exactly what Mike learns when he makes up his mind to drag his husband Ryan in this little scheme. The way I saw it, it was fun and funny. Too many things made me smile and laugh out loud. Some events even evoked that “awww” sound from my mouth. I loved both characters and was amazed how different they were ten years previous (mostly Mike), and I went fanning myself when certain hidden kinky fantasies made their appearance. The professor really had his role down to a T and damn it if Mike wasn’t sexy as Hell.
I think this story was a hit as well.
And right here ended this Anthology. Normally I don’t like them so much, but this one crawled its way into me. I quite enjoyed it and if you’re looking for a number of stories that will make your heart beat faster, your emotions to rise and consume you, and have a fabulous time through the duration, don’t hesitate. I think it’s totally worth it.
Author: Heidi Champa, Cari Z., Matthew Vandrew, Chris T. Kat, Avery Vanderlyle, Kim Fielding, R. Cooper, Emily Gould, A.J. Marcus, Skylar Jaye, Minerva Wisting, Lily Velden, Kate Pavelle, Liz Makar, G.S Wiley
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 13, 2012)
Heat Level: Moderate (total book)
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: Lions tigers and bears Oh! My! Whether ist a dog or cat or something more exotic, the animals in this collection of m/m stories serve as the catalyst for bringing lovers together. No matter how the encounter begins, by the end of each story, with a little help from their finned, furred, or feathered friends, our heros have discovered some animal magnetism of their own.
This is a great collection of 15 stories where animals of some sort are catalysts for romance. Some are sweet and some are very hot. All were very cute and fun to read. I will break each down with a heat rating for ya!
A Few Too Many by Heidi Champa
Heat Level: Explicit
Ted takes his dog, Jake, to the annual Highland Games. After winning, Jake gets into the cups sitting around of booze and gets sick. Ted rushes him to the vet to find that the usual veterinarian isn’t in. a new very sexy vet is there instead.
I found this story so cute, I laughed until I about cried. Then it got so hot at the vet’s office.
If you like dogs, men in kilts, hot vet, and hot man-sex you will love this.
Having a Ball by Cari Z.
Heat Level: Explicit
Jimmy comes to snake sit at his older brother, Michael’s, house, after, Michael’s wife died in an accident. Michael had to take his daughter, Kelly, to visit her deceased mom’s family for two weeks at Christmas. Jimmy is left with instructions of how to care for the snake and an emergency contact in case of problems. The emergency contact is a neighbor upstairs. Circumstances bring Jimmy to call on the neighbor. What happened that he had to call the neighbor? What happened after he called the neighbor? All I’m telling ya is read this story… it’s cute.
This one was sweet, also. You can’t help but feel for Jimmy being creeped out about babysitting a snake. Things that happen afterward are pretty hot.
If you like sort a sad stories, snakes, friends to lovers, History lessons, and hot man-sex you will love this one.
Along Came Spiders by Matthew Vandrew
Heat Level: Mild
Hedge is on his way to work when an earthquake hits. A woman says a man may be injured and has a basement full of spiders. Hedge is a nurse and goes to help. Alec a police officer that was just going off duty tries to keep Hedge from going in, but Hedge insists. They get trapped temporarily inside with loose spiders.
This was such a sweet romantic story even if it had spiders on the loose.
If you like police officers, male nurses, a sweet romance and spiders you will love this one!
Cuddling Up by Chris T. Kat
Heat Level: Explicit
Paul was leaving work and it was raining cats and dogs (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun), so he goes back into the big cat house at the zoo where he works. (Real cats like lions and leopards and stuff)When he gets inside he finds Noah, his relief cuddled up with the Snow Leopard and her cubs. He watches, afraid if he startles them the leopard will hurt him. When Noah finally exits the cage, Paul confronts him and an argument ensues. Paul goes into the shower to cool himself off and get out of his wet clothes. Noah follows him in.
I loved this story it was so sweet the scene with Noah and the snow leopard and the story of why he was in the cage. The sex was really hot, too.
I recommend this if you like, Snow Leopards and cubs, sweet stories, and hot man-sex.
New Tides by Avery Vanderlyle
Heat Level: Mild
Steve had to take a job on the east coast and his boyfriend Eric had stayed on the West Coast. He works in aquatics with crabs. After three years and trying the long distance relationship and failing they still kept in touch some and Steve really hadn’t moved on. Eric had. Steve’s favorite possession is a pencil with a crab on it that Eric had bought him when he graduated school. His pencil keeps coming up missing and found in strange places. The new co-worker, Jan, studies octopi and has one named Cleo that he is studying its behavior. How does Cleo Bring Jan and Steve together when octopi aren’t one of Steve’s favorite marine animals?
I love this story it. It’s a sweet story about a man not wanting to let go of his love, but a strange occurrence helps him put Eric in his past and find new love. Even with no sex mentioned this story was so good and exciting.
I recommend this story to anyone that likes a sweet story with no sex, Octopi, crabs, marine biology and sexy men.
Care and Rehabilitation by Kim Fielding
Heat Level: Mild
Ira is a history professor he is in mourning of losing his long- time partner to leukemia. He has his partner’s dog, a St. Bernard and she finds a baby bird. Ira is told of a person the takes birds in to rehabilitate. When he gets there, he finds the person is an ex student of his, that he had a mild crush on when he was in Ira’s class. Ironically, Caleb had had a major crush on Ira, too. Caleb is also in mourning of losing his mother a year ago and had taken over her business of taking in the injured birds that needed rehab. Can a baby bird and a St. Bernard be the path to both Ira and Caleb’s healing?
I absolutely loved this story. It has no actual sex, but the story is so sweet, yet sad with a happy ending.
If you love Birds, dogs sad but sweet stories of love lost and having to move on this one is super great!
Butterbean and the Pretty Princess Make A Home by R. Cooper
Heat Level: Moderate
Riley and Eli are roommates. Eli is the best roommate Riley ever had. But, Eli and Riley are so different. Eli is quiet, large, and hairy, and from a wealthy family. Eli has tattoos, designs them and runs around with his friends that talk about Eli. Riley has been staying home more finding he enjoys Eli’s company. One night on his way home he finds two kittens in a box in the trash. He brings them in and Eli flips out. He is terrified, and thinks he has allergies. Can two abandoned kittens bring together two friends?
This story was so cute. Eli’s reaction to the kittens is hilarious.
If you like friends to lovers romance, a cute funny story, tattoos, and kittens you will love this one.
Jonno by Emily Gould
Heat level: Mild
Ethan took a job in the wildlife park because his partner Louis had been giving him a hard time about not working. Their relationship seemed to be falling apart. On his first day at work a squirrel named Jonno bit him. He had to go to the onsite medic, Mitchell. He and Mitchell become good friends. Can A mean squirrel bring two friends together?
This was another cute sweet story. I felt so sorry for Ethan. Louis is such a prick. Ethan and his squirrel Jonno’s relationship is absolutely hilarious. The buildup of Mitchell and Ethan’s relationship is so sweet.
If you like squirrels, funny stories, sweet romances, and friends to lover’s romance. Stories with a great relationship with no sex this one is a must read.
On Eagles Wings by A. J. Marcus
Heat Level: Moderate
One day out hunting with his eagle, Gavin, a Falconer, finds Heath, a ranger on a cliff. He had been pushed by a poacher and broke his leg. Gavin rescues him. They both have been friends for a while and both live out in the wild alone. They find themselves even closer.
This is a very sweet story of a rescue that brings friends to lovers.
If you like eagles, hunting, wilderness, sweet hot man-sex and friends to lovers check this one out.
Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road by Skylar Jaye
Heat Level: Mild
Gabe has chickens as pets. His neighbors don’t mind since he shares the eggs. Tracy and her son just moved across the street. Tracy came back to the country sick to spend the rest of her time. Aaron is having a hard time adjusting. One of Gabe’s chickens keeps getting out and going to Tracy’s, Aaron keeps returning her. Aaron isn’t into one night stands and Gabe isn’t into commitment. Can a wandering chicken bring these two together?
This is another really cute sweet story of an animal bringing to men together as friends and possibly more.
If you love the country, stories with a bit of angst, chickens and friends to lovers, this one is a must read.
Tears for a Broken Sun by Minerva Wisting
Heat Level: Explicit.
Akira runs a flower shop his parents left him. He has a crush on a customer that comes in every Friday. they have even had dinner a few times as friends, but he thinks Luca is straight. Wan, Akira’s dog is acting strangely this day. An earthquake comes and its bad and his house is wrecked inside. He starts walking the dog seeing people leaving for the shelters afraid of a tsunami. Wan keeps acting strangely so they head to shelter after seeing people on buildings. Luca comes up on a bicycle and gets Akira to run. A tsunami comes and they barely make it to a deserted building. Akira is upset his entire house is destroyed and his shop. Why did Luca come to save him?
A very exciting keeps you on the edge of your seat story.
If you like a story with excitement, sadness, and a sweet friends to lovers. This one is great!
Stripped Bare by Lily Velden
Heat level: Explicit w/some slightly vulgar language
Nick is an artist and at one of his exhibits a handsome stranger comes in. He eyes one of the works then leaves. The next day he shows up at a talk and asks so many questions Nick feels he was stripped bare. After the talk, the customer meets with him and wants him to hold the three orbs until he can meet with his partner. Michael shows up at his shop one day and Nick’s parrot, Ollie, that has a foul mouth talks way too much. Does the fowl mouthed fowl bring them together?
This was a cute fun story. I loved the descriptions of the art and the story behind Ollie. It’s hilarious and hot.
If you like art, parrots and hot man-sex give this a go. It’s hilarious. Fun and fast paced.
Wild Horses by Kate Pavelle
Heat level: Mild
Kai is nearly homeless and having to scrounge for food. Desperate, he picks a man’s pocket. He gets 60 dollars and a new iPhone. Atilla raises horses and runs a teaching school and his entire life is on the phone. He has money and doesn’t care about the 60 bucks. He sends a message and says you can keep the money, but please return the phone. He leaves another message you are much better than this. Kai feels bad and finally decides to return the phone. He goes all the way to Atilla’s horse ranch and gets overheated. One of Atilla’s horses that are wild and the only horse Atilla hasn’t been able to train takes up with Kai. How does a wild horse change a homeless desperate man’s life?
I liked this story. It was interesting how Atilla was so kind and generous to Kai. I had one problem with this story, however. I was reading and rooting for Kai and Atilla and the story just stopped. It really didn’t end or allude to an ending. It just felt like she ran out of time and cut off the story. I would have loved to found out what happened to Kai and Atilla.
If you love horses, stories full of desperation and a Good Samaritan keeps returning her. This one is for you.
Show and Tell by Liz Makar
Heat Level: Explicit
Damian is a kindergarten teacher and self-professed animal killer. Sam is the new owner of the local pet store. Damien is blackmailed by one of his students to get a new classroom pet after his latest tragedy. He goes to the shop to find a snake and meets the new owner, Sam.
I think this was one of my favorites. It’s fast past sweet and so funny. These kids… the things they say. The story is sweet, hot and full of humor.
I recommend this one to everyone. But especially if you like snakes, turtles, dogs and funny kindergarteners, and hot man-sex.
The Conch Republic by G. S. Wiley
Heat Level: Mild
Randy is unemployed and living with his mom in Key West. He gets a job in a tourist shop and meets Jack. Jack collects Conch shells and has a conch museum.
This is a sweet romance. I found it a bit rushed and it just suddenly ended. I’d have loved to see more of the romance between Jack and Randy maybe less of Randy’s sister Brett.
If you like beaches, Conch museums, stories about authors and book readings. Try this one.
Blurb: Ahoy, me proud beauty, shiver me timbers! I ask ye to sail me jollyboat on the high seas, lubber, but will ye dare to accept? On offer be a pirate’s life full of danger and risk, and not just to yer neck, but to yer very virgin heart! There’s many a bodice to be ripped–or perhaps I should say many a codpiece to be snapped–and should ye be graced enough to cross bones with a corsair, don’t be an addlepate! Heave ho, lad, handsomely, and show him how ye bury yer treasure!
Pirates didn’t only sail the high seas in historical times. Modern-day renegades and futuristic rebels are just as ripe for adventure and plunder. No matter the time, place, or circumstances, bad boys steal affection as often as they salvage treasure, and in these stories of romance, a rogue’s black heart always conceals a center of gold.
Review: Daniel is a captain in the Royal Navy when his crew forms a mutiny against him and finds himself adrift in a small boat and then picked up by pirates. James is the pirate Captain Merric. His crew fish out a Navy captain from the sea who turns out to be a childhood sweetheart.
This is a cute read where two childhood sweethearts are reunited after 16 years apart; only for one to be a Navy captain and the other a pirate captain. Daniel tries to fight his renewed feelings for James knowing he has to return to England and James decides that Daniel is his and will do anything to have him. An enjoyable short story.
Ellen Holiday – Touched by the West Wind Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3, Genre: Historical, Pirate Length: Short (16pgs)
Review: Tom and Bren are part of a pirate crew. These two young men have been best friends for years when they realize that the way they feel has changed.
This is a sweet romance of two young men who discover their feelings have changed and what they feel for their friend is love. It is a sweet exploration of their feelings as they embark on an innocent physical exploration of each other. A sweet romantic story.
K.R. Foster – The Golden Galleon Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4, Genre: Contemporary Length: Short (12pgs)
Review: Flynn and Jason own the Golden Galleon restaurant together, as well as being life partners. Flynn is having a nice relaxing day off reading his favorite author’s latest novel when he gets a phone call from a desperate Jason begging him to come in on his day off.
Flynn is unhappy to arrive at the restaurant only to find that Jason lied to him, Jason asks him to go to the office where he makes it up to him in a hot and horny manner. A sweet, hot and sexy short.
Emily Moreton – My Hand in Yours Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½, Genre: Fantasy, Pirate Length: Short (10pgs)
Review: Jack is a peace keeper for a coastal town. Robert is a pirate. They come together for primal needs and continue to do so for over five years whenever Robert is in town.
For over five years Robert comes to Jack whenever he is in town, when he is offered work on the Nether Shore, he asks Jack to make a huge decision. This is a nice sweet short.
Jana Denardo – Ghost of Jupiter Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Science Fiction, Inter-species Length: Short (35pgs)
Review: Telek is a Chimera (genetically engineered species) having been sold to the highest bidder he is now being transported. Al is a privateer who has raided a space craft, what he finds on board is more than he could have ever expected.
Telek has been bred to fight and kill. Chimera’s are feared as many have no control over themselves; a few can control themselves. Telek is one of the few. He begins to trust the privateer captain and wants more from him. Al trusts Telek not to hurt or kill him but he doesn’t want Telek thinking that he has to offer himself up to stay safe. Between them is a want to protect the other and a relationship based on trust. A great read I would love to see more from this writer.
E.S. Douglas – Officer and a Gentleman Pirate Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4, Genre: Historical, Pirate Length: Short (16pgs)
Review: Geoffrey is a lieutenant in a British Colony; Captain Jones is a pirate he captured after bumping into him outside a tavern.
Jones uses his wiles to try to seduce the lieutenant so he can escape. Geoffrey tries to deny himself but fails; leading to the pirate escaping, but with instructions on how to contact him again. What will happen to these two men when they meet up again? A charming story which shows opposites attract.
K.J. Johnson – Objectivity Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3, Genre: Modern Pirate, Interracial Length: Short (27pgs)
Review: Matthew is a photo-journalist on assignment to get the dirt on African pirates. Achmed is the pirate leader who is trying to show Matthew why they have resorted to piracy.
Matthew battles his attraction to the pirate leader who has made it clear that he could kill him at any time. He also struggles to understand why these men have resorted to piracy. Meanwhile, Achmed is trying to make the photo-journalist understand why they rob the rich. When Matthew is injured on Achmed’s boat by an American soldier they both give in to the attraction. A nice story that could be built on for a future novella.
Cornelia Grey – Worth the Price Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Historical, Pirate Length: Short (31pgs)
Review: Edward is a lieutenant in the Royal Navy who has been captured by pirate Captain James O’Shea. When the pirate captain visits him he attacks him with a passion which surprises even him.
Edward ends up risking his life to save James. James ends up giving himself up to save his crew but what will Edward do when his Commodore tries to go back on his word and just how far will Edward go to rescue his pirate. A great short with some intense passion and it was really well written.
Juan Kenobi – Peter and the Lost Boys Heart Rating: ♥1, Genre: ???? Length: Short (15pgs)
Review: Peter is approached in a bar by Kap. Kap takes him to his home to discuss a job and Peter meets the lost boys.
Well there is no sex, no kissing, no nothing; just some sexual innuendo and a job offer. This short story felt more like a small clip from a much longer book.
M.J. O’Shea – Irish Red Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4, Genre: Historical 1713 Length: Short (11pgs)
Review: Chris is a tavern owner and Brian is the pirate captain, Irish Red. they have to keep their love a secret and Brian has promised that this will be his last trip.
Chris is waiting for Brian to return. He’s been waiting months and months when he hears the rumor that Irish Red has been killed. He struggles to go on with his life after that; until one night when an intruder enters the tavern. A wonderful short story that has a lot of emotion.
Piper Vaughn – Black John Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4,Genre: Historical 1715 Length: Short (15pgs)
Review: Juan thought the love of his life had died 5 years before. That is until he is washed up on the beach. He thinks this is his second chance, but Jacob has other ideas.
Jacob can’t believe that there are men living and loving openly together on this Island and even though he has found Juan again the fear is too deep. He will be leaving on the next cargo ship. It isn’t until Juan suffers a life threatening injury that Jacob realizes just what he could have lost.
Cooper West –Rough Trade Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Science Fiction, Pirates Length: Short (29pgs)
Review: Audacity is kinda like the captain of the Helos A.I. Battleship Carthage which turned to piracy before Audacity joined her. He’s trying to bail out one of his crew when he bumps into a desperate doctor who needs to get off the space port fast. Sag is a doctor and is pretty shocked that the space craft he is on is a pirate ship but he’s so glad to be off the space port.
This is a great read, I loved the story-line and plot and thought Audacity and Sag were great together.
B. Snow – From a Simmer to a Burn Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3, Genre: Historical, Interracial Length: Short (31pgs)
Review: Sule was a slave who escaped his Dutch owners. He has an anger that is so great that it burns constantly no matter how many fights he’s in and he hates all things Dutch. Olaf is Norwegian but can only communicate with the other crew in Dutch. Sule hates him for reminding him of the Dutch.
This is a good story about overcoming your anger to accept something that much better; if only you can accept what is offered and stop fighting the present and to start forgetting the past.
Riley Shane – On the Wings of Lir Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Steam punk, Pirate Length: Short (17pgs)
Review: Hugh is determined to capture the pirate Patrick Kelly. Kelly is raiding air-ships that are carrying children that are heading for the whore houses. When Hugh finds this out he has a choice to make.
This is a great story that I would really love to see made into a much, much longer story. Hugh is shocked when he finds out the truth behind the raids and he also finds Kelly to be extremely attractive. Kelly thinks Hugh looks like an angel and goes about persuading Hugh to look deeper.
Maggie Lee – The Winds of Change Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Historical 1717, Pirates Length: Short (33pgs)
Review: Cook and Seb have been friends for a year; Cook is firm in his belief that Seb will remain faithful even when Cook sleeps around. That conviction is shaken when they find berth on Edward Teach’s ships.
I found this to be a great story, where one man finally realizes that he can’t have his cake and eat it, too.
Overall Review: I have to say that I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, as always with an anthology you have your gems and then you have the plastic beads. I have to say that the gems are definitely worth reading in this anthology. There is some hot sex in some of the stories but in quite a few there are other sex acts and sometimes it’s just thoughts of sex. A lot of the pairings are good and quite a few of the stories are well written. So I would recommend this if you love pirates…or not.