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Meentje63

The Way She Reads

My thoughts on everything I read; good, bad and indifferent.

A Double-Edged Sword AND A Weekend at the Edge

A Double-Edged Sword - L.M. Somerton

I’ve become somewhat (understatement of the year) addicted to the Tales from the Edge. I love the combination of suspense, love story, BDSM, and very hot scenes these books give me almost as much as I adore the characters featured in these stories.

 

A Double-Edged Sword tells the story of Christian and Becket who are perfect for each other. Becket needs to be in complete control as much as Christian needs to surrender totally to his Dom. From the very start of the story it is clear these two men are meant to be together, which makes it all the more cruel when Becket’s job throws a spanner in the works and upsets the apple cart. Now these two men have to figure out what they are together when their roles are less clearly defined.

 

If I’m honest I have to admit that the subsequent conflict was far less angsty than it might have been. In fact, I think I would have preferred it if Christian and Becket had had to fight a little bit harder before resolving their issue. (Yes, I know that is strange, coming from me with my aversion to angst, but there you have it.)

 

But, as issues with a story go, this one was very minor. Overall I enjoyed getting to know Christian and Becket better and following them as they get closer together. The scenes between them are (of course) very hot and I absolutely adored Christian and how he responded to Becket’s dominance.

 

I am so happy that the characters I fell for in the earlier books all make a reappearance in this one. Olly, as always, made me laugh out loud whenever he appeared on the page but it was equally as much fun to spend more time with all the others. I’m so glad I’m only half way through this series right now. I’m very much looking forward to whatever may be coming my way next. In the company of all these ‘Edgy’ men I have no doubt I’m going to be in for a treat.

 

 

A Weekend at the Edge

 

 

Tales from the Edge #4.1

Free Short Story

Buy Link:      Pride Publishing

 

The blurb

 

A rare free weekend provides an opportunity for Heath and Aiden to reaffirm their roles as Master and sub. When Heath sets Aiden a challenge the prize is very tempting, but sometimes losing can also bring rewards.

 

My thoughts

 

As stated above this is a short story. In fact, I feel it would be safe to describe it as a scene rather than a story. But what a scene.

 

In A Weekend at the Edge the focus is on Heath and Aiden as they get to spend some rare and much needed time together while everybody else is away. Aiden has intrigued me from the moment I first ‘met’ him. I love his ambivalence when it comes to submission. He constantly fights Heath’s dominance and his inclination to submit to it and yet, the moment he stops thinking about it and just goes with the flow (as indicated by Heath) he can’t deny that it is exactly what he needs and craves.

 

Did I mention these two are hot together? Because, phew, they are. What’s not to love about a prolonged session of tease and denial? You’d almost feel sorry for Aiden—almost but not quite.

Wonderful and Sweet

Analog to Digital (2016 Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug) - Posy Roberts

Analog to Digital is a wonderful and sweet Christmas story, a bit of a comedy of errors really.

 

Poor Ethan, for years he’s been telling his boyfriend, Toby, that he’s not interested in marriage just because he believes that’s how Toby feels. Deep inside Ethan wants nothing more than to be Toby’s husband but he can’t figure out how to share that truth. A visit home for Christmas and to watch his sister and her husband exchange wedding vows for the second time within a year is about the last thing he wants to do. But Toby insists and Ethan loves Toby, so they go.

 

Things go from bad to worse when Toby keeps on disappearing on Ethan, going off on missions he never has a satisfactory explanation for. Ethan moves from bemused through uncertain to fully convinced that Toby is hiding something from him and maybe even putting distance between them.

 

What happens next probably won’t come as a huge surprise to the reader but Ethan certainly didn’t see it coming. I read the final fifth of this book with a huge grin on my face and happy tears burning in my eyes once or twice, delighted to see Ethan get everything he thought he would never have.

 

As always Posy Roberts gave me characters who felt real. Sure, I wanted to slap Ethan once or twice for allowing his doubts to cloud his mind so very fast, but whether I liked them or not, his thoughts and actions were realistic. Toby was utterly adorable, even if he should have realised the turmoil he was creating for Ethan. In fact, I guess it was the fact that these two men weren’t perfect and did stumble once or twice, that made me like them so much.

 

If you’re in the mood for a Christmas story that will lift your spirits and make you grin hugely, I’d recommend you pick up Analog to Digital asap.

Utterly delightful

The Road To Frosty Hollow - Meredith Russell, R.J. Scott

The Road to Frosty Hollow is such a sweet story; I couldn’t help but read it with a smile on my face from start to finish. Sure, my heart ached at times for the past demons and present fears both Nick and Cameron deal with, but overall I just luxuriated in the comfort of their getting together and the adventures they had along the way.

 

I greatly enjoyed how the authors took my biggest pet peeve when it comes to romances—protagonists not communicating with each other—and turned it into not just a plausible but the only logical story-line. In this story’s context talking to each other, baring their souls and feelings, early on would have been unbelievable. Nick and Cameron haven’t seen each other since they shared one kiss ten years earlier. They had no idea about the feelings they had for each other at the time of the kiss and now they have even less of a clue. While privately they admit to themselves that the attraction they’d felt in the past is possibly even stronger now, they keep that fact to themselves and well hidden. Both of them struggle with unresolved issues, fears and insecurities, and are disinclined to share them. Watching Nick and Cameron as they slowly open up to each other (and themselves), spurred on by the travel plans and challenges Nick’s sister has provided them with, was a pure delight.

 

The journey our two men undertake was fun but I smiled as soon as it became clear Nick and Cameron were about to visit a place I’ve become very fond of over the past few months. I won’t say what place though because I enjoyed the surprise so much I don’t want to deprive others of the same pleasure.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my road-trip with Nick and Cameron and was rooting for them to come together every mile of the way. Sometimes all I want is a relatively angst free, uncomplicated, yet engrossing story, which is exactly what The Road to Frosty Hollow was—utterly delightful.

Mesmerising

Bullet - Garrett Leigh

I have this thing about Garrett Leigh books. I love them, the style of writing works perfectly for me and without fail I connect with her characters. But that’s where it gets complicated, because I connect almost too well with them. These characters get under my skin, claw their way into my heart and demand that I understand their issues, feel their pain…and I do.

 

Levi Ramone in Bullet worked his way into my consciousness slowly but surely. At first he appeared to be a tough and somewhat selfish guy. While his reasons for working in the porn business were selfless and went, as far as I was concerned, well beyond what anyone could expect of him, his approach to the scenes he shot came across as single minded with very little room for consideration for his scene partners. But then, as I got to know Levi better, I discovered his attitude is nothing more (or less) than his unconscious method of protecting himself and his feelings. If he doesn’t let people in, they can’t hurt or betray him. His tough outer shell served to protect his fragile core and it works like a charm until, that is, Sonny.

 

The interactions between Sonny and Levi took the story from raw and at times brutal to touching and beautiful. Despite Levi’s resistance, Sonny manages to slowly break through his defenses and open him up to the possibility that all he has been avoiding and fighting for years might be not only something worth exploring but also something he needs in his life. If I did have an issue with this story it is that I would have loved to spend at least a little time inside Sonny’s head. As much as Levi’s story captivated me and as thrilled as I was to get to know him better and understand his motivations, I never really understood why Sonny wanted to help him even while Levi was almost hostile towards him. Having said that, not getting Sonny’s motives didn’t stop me from loving every single encounter between him Levi.

 

As for those encounters; they were hot. Few things are as erotically charged as a man pushing his boundaries and discovering that he loves what he has been fearing and rejecting for as long as he can remember. Levi’s voyage of discovery as he gets his head and body used to the idea of bottoming was powerful, both on a mental and a physical level, and kept me mesmerized.

 

I read book two and book three in this series some time ago and loved them, which makes it all the more surprising it took me so long to get around to reading Bullet, but I’m delighted I got there eventually. I’m even happier to discover that there’s a fourth book in this series to come in the not too distant future. I’ll have to find the time to re-read book two and three before Brave releases.

Gripping and touching

Just Hear Me - L.A. Witt

I saw the video this short story is based on long before I read the words. Both the video and the blurb tell you everything you need to know about this story, so I won’t go into that.

 

What I do want to say is that this short tale really captivated me. Both men’s despair and pain almost leap off the page to grip you by the throat. It would have been easy to portray Jordan as the villain of this piece; after all, he does desert the man who loves him dearly without saying goodbye or explaining his actions. But Jordan has demons to deal with. How do you choose between a calling and the love of your life when the two are not compatible? How do you throw away all you thought your life would be for something you know the world at large, the church you’re a member of, and your family rejects and sees as an abomination.

 

Darius’s anger is so understandable. Five years have passed since Jordan walked out on him and yet it might as well have been yesterday for how raw Darius’s pain still is. Of course it is exactly because of the depth of the feelings both of them have for each other that their coming together, when it does happen, is such a powerful and memorable moment.

 

This is a short story. We get some background and the feelings both men harbour today, five years after they’ve last seen each other, and we aren’t told anything about what will happen to them after their reunion, although a relationship appears to be on the cards. This could have been frustrating (I wouldn’t be surprised if it is for some readers) but for me it worked because in these few pages L.A. Witt managed to convince me that Darius and Jordan will find their way. I don’t really mind not knowing exactly how they’ll manage that or what form their life together will take, the fact that they are heading that way was enough for me in this tale.

 

This was a gripping short read about two tortured souls coming together after way too much time apart and as such I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Hotter than Hot

Limits (Damon & Pete: Playing with Fire Book 4) - Tantalus, Meredith Russell

This is the fourth short story / chapter in Damon and Pete’s story. We’ve followed them as they moved from what could have been a single, very hot and kinky, encounter to discovering that there might be a lot more for the two of them to explore as well as a growing bond between them.

 

In this instalment they take Pete’s introduction into the world of BDSM a long way further. Preparations for and subsequently attending the Folsom Street Fair reveals that Pete’s appetite for submission and kink goes further than Damon could have dreamed it might. As a result, their kinky day out is not just about discovering what Pete’s limits might be, because it turns out that Damon has a limit or two of his own when it comes to his boy.

 

As limits are pushed and feelings deepen it seems that Pete and Damon are on their way to establishing a wonderful dynamic and relationship until a ghost from his past shows up on Damon’s doorstep leaving both the characters and the reader to wonder what this might mean for the fledgling bond between them.

 

So, to start with what for me was the bad news, this story ends on a cliff hanger and I’m not a fan of those. Having said that, as cliff hangers go, this is a good one; I can’t deny it left me on the edge of my seat and very impatient for the next instalment in this tale. I find myself totally invested in Damon and Pete and can’t wait to find out what this latest development will mean for them and how they’ll overcome whatever obstacles they may encounter. Of course, I do need those answers soon (are you listening, author dearest?).

 

If you like your fiction kinky and enjoy stories in which sexy times are the main focus without neglecting feelings and growing affection, I can’t recommend the Playing With Fire stories enough. The characters are intriguing, their interactions fun and extremely hot, and the writing is smooth and a pleasure to read—what’s not to love.

Sweet feel-good story

Of Love and Corn Dogs (Of Love And... Book 1) - Parker Williams, Jae Ashley

Of Love and Corn Dogs is, for the most part, a sweet feel-good story featuring two adorable, be it at times frustrating, protagonists I couldn’t help but fall for.

 

Ricky is such a good guy. He’s nice. He just wants people to be happy, doesn’t appear to have a selfish bone in his body, and charmed me from the moment he appeared on the page.

 

Darwin was a different story. Initially he came across as rather short and stand-offish. Of course the fact that he at first appeared to be rather arrogant made it all the more wonderful when he revealed himself as a thoroughly good and warm-hearted man.

 

I read most of this story with a huge grin on my face as these two men find their way towards each other and in the process brighten each other’s lives. Of course it isn’t all plain sailing and I’ll happily admit to feeling the urge to slap first Darwin and subsequently Ricky for being short-sighted fools and almost destroying what could be. But, I could understand their reasons for doing what they did, even if I didn’t agree with them.

 

This story features quite a few fabulous secondary characters. I adored Henley (Darwin’s chauffeur) and Maria (his cook) but there were others who made me smile. In fact, as I said before, this whole book made me happy. This is a thoroughly enjoyable feel good story and as such it was exactly what I needed during a somewhat sad and difficult personal time. It was impossible to not fall hard for both Ricky and Darwin and root for them from the start. Just as I now find myself very curious about ‘corn dogs’ and longing for a good shake. J

 

In short, I highly recommend this book if you happen to be looking for a story that will make you smile and lift your spirits. In the meantime, I’ll be investigating other solo novels by Parker Williams. I have no doubt I’m in for a happy surprise or two.

Delightful

A Bond of Truth - K.C. Wells

This book was such a delight to read. It had the perfect combination of sweet romance, hot scenes, relationship angst, and suspense to keep me fully entranced and eager to keep on reading.

 

The three men in this story all managed to seduce me as individuals as well as part of their triad. Prince Arrio was such a charming combination of cocky certainty and virginal insecurity he made me smile. Prince Kei on the other hand is mostly an innocent, having been raised in almost complete seclusion. If it wasn’t for the visions he’s had for as long as he can remember, he would have been completely unprepared for what he encounters. As for Dainon, he was my favourite and totally stole my heart. I loved the battles he fought with himself and his feelings. Having to overcome the grief he’d been holding close for long years was difficult enough for this man; coming to terms with the fact that he’s attracted to not one but two much younger men is almost too much for our warrior. But he wouldn’t be the man I came to adore if it hadn’t been for his courage in the face of circumstances he could never have predicted for himself.

 

I think what I loved most about this story was the equality between these three men despite their different backgrounds, upbringing, and expectations. They each had their moments of doubt and insecurity just as each of them had opportunities to shine or take the forefront. And it is exactly because the power dynamic in their developing relationship wasn’t a foregone conclusion or even something set in stone I fully believed in the bond they were forming together. They complimented each other in the best possible way to ultimately form a perfect union together.

 

It was a pure joy to get another glimpse at (now King) Tanish and his husbands Feyar and Sorran and to see them still going strong, still deeply in love and all three equally invested in the life and happiness of their adopted son Arrio. However, while I would certainly recommend you read A Bond of Three before reading A Bond of Truth, I don’t think it is actually necessary. This second book can be read and fully enjoyed as a stand-alone.

 

It won’t surprise anybody when I say that this story contained quite a few extremely hot scenes. The fact that these three men are all experiencing everything they do together for the first time only set the temperature soaring even higher. But, none of it would be as memorable as it is if it wasn’t for K.C. Well’s talent to perfectly combine heat with tender sweetness. Many a happy sigh escaped my lips while reading this book.

 

Finally I have to say that while I fell head over heels for the two triads in this series, I have fallen for the world they live in just and hard. I can only hope the author will decide to visit Teruna again in the not too distant future. Surely there’s another triad to establish?

Favourite in Series so far

Dancing on the Edge - L.M. Somerton

This story is different from the first two in that the two main characters are already in a committed and very close relationship when the story starts. In fact, the reader is almost lured into a false sense of security in the first few chapters of swoon-worthy love and steamy scenes. Alistair and Carey are clearly made for each other and their issue isn’t whether or not they’ll get together but whether they’ll manage to stay together when faced with Alistair’s father who is very determined to not only break them up but also cure his son from his gayness.

 

And that brings me to the second difference between the earlier titles and this one. This book is heavier on the angst and feels than the first two stories were, or maybe it is just that the tension lasts longer. But my heart bled for Carey as he barely manages to keep himself functioning without Alistair. As for poor Alistair; his situation hurt me as much as it infuriated me. To know that there actually are parents who would put their kids through torture as described in this book, that there are people who believe that reversion therapy is actually a viable option, is almost impossible to believe.

 

Mind you, this book isn’t all angst and fear. We get glimpses of all the other characters we’ve come to love in this series as they all work together to save Alistair and see two new relationships starting. And I especially appreciated the emphasis on the strength of submissives in this story.

 

““Carey, who is the stronger in a D/s relationship?”

“The sub”, Carey responded automatically.

“Who holds the power?”

“The sub,” Carey cursed as her realised what Joe was doing.”

 

While this was very much Alistair and Carey’s story, Olly—as always—played a starring role and managed to be both endearing and totally hilarious in the process. In my previous reviews of books in this series I have more than once referenced Olly’s bratty and oh-so funny attitude towards life and submission. I think the time has come to back my words up with an example, even if he does make a valid point.

 

“Olly snorted. “Doms like to think they know best, but half the time they are too blind to see what’s right in front of their alpha-male noses.””

 

While I loved the first two books in this series I have to admit that this one is my favourite so far. For me this story held just about the perfect balance between wonderful love story, hot scenes, angsty moments, and intriguing suspense. I’m so very happy I still have a good few (long and shorter) titles to go in this series. This is, for me, reading delight at its best.

Addictive

Living on the Edge - L.M. Somerton

This is the second title in the Tales from the Edge series and while I think you could probably read this story as a stand-alone I would strongly recommend that you readReaching the Edge first.

 

You can always tell when I’ve fallen for a series. I don’t usually enjoy reading several titles by the same author in quick succession, preferring to break them up with other books instead. So whenever I do pick up a sequel as soon as I finish the earlier title it is a safe bet that I’ve stumbled across books that have captured my heart. And boy, have I fallen for Tales from the Edge and the characters who dwell there.

 

This second book in the series focuses on Heath and Aiden. Heath Anders is Joe Dexter’s business partner and like him a Dom. Aiden Keller is a clever computer hacker in trouble who ends up at ‘The Edge’ and under Heath’s supervision. Both men realise they are attracted to each other from the moment they first meet, but this wouldn’t be life at ‘the Edge’ if there weren’t obstacles to overcome before the two men can act on their feelings.

 

Heath feels he can’t demand Aiden’s submission as long as the young man has no choice but to obey him. Aiden, on the other hand, may have fantasised about submitting but that doesn’t mean he’s willing to give in to those feelings especially since he can’t quite see submission as anything other than a weakness.

 

It takes a growing friendship between Olly and Aiden for the latter to realise that there is more to a D/s relationship than he could ever have imagined. But just when he and Heath are on the same page and starting to explore new (for Aiden) territory, the past interferes and threatens to permanently separate them.

 

I think I enjoyed this book even more than I did Reaching the Edge, probably because I got to know the characters even better in this book. Heath features in the first book too, and Joe and Olly play a major role in this story. And I honestly can’t think of any scenario in which spending more time with Olly wouldn’t be a wondrous thing. The lad’s cheekiness never fails to bring a smile to my face. As brats go he’s in a league of his own, although Aiden is a very close second, keeping Heath on his Dominant toes all the way.

 

I like the way BDSM is portrayed in these stories. The sadistic tendencies of the Doms are as enticing as the submissive yet bratty characteristics of their subs are. This book makes it perfectly clear that the relationship between D and s (when done correctly) is one of mutual respect, understanding, and consent without beating the reader over the head with long explanations.

 

The wonderful combination of love story, scorching hot BDSM scenes, and suspense combined with a wonderful lack of relationship angst means that these books could very well have been written to my personal specifications. The fact that I now find myself after falling for Heath and Aiden as hard as I did for Joe and Olly makes these books rather special. I think it won’t surprise anybody when I say that I bought Dancing on the Edge as soon as I finished reading this book.

On the Edge of my seat

Reaching the Edge - L.M. Somerton

This book and the series it starts off came highly recommended from sources I trust, so the decision to buy the ‘Reaching the Edge’ was an easy one to make. Now that I’ve finished the book I have to admit it was also a good decision. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and couldn’t help but fall, hard and fast, for Joe and Olly.

 

If there is such a thing as a perfect (fictional) Dom, Joe fits the bill to a T. He’s caring, protective, loving and not without a delicious sadistic streak to keep things heated and his sub guessing.

 

Olly on the other hand is a wonderful combination of bratty and submissive. He longs to give himself over to a Master who will give him what he needs and love him. Even the terrifying events in his recent past haven’t killed that desire or made him fight it. When he meets Joe he finds everything he’s always wished for and the fact that he isn’t afraid to show his bratty side only goes to prove how much he trusts Joe.

 

The relationship between these two men develops at high speed. Joe is a goner from the moment he sets eyes on the sub with his golden locks, while Olly can’t believe his luck that a Dom as powerful and handsome as Joe would even take an interest in him. In fact, if I do have on reservation when it comes to this book it is exactly the speed with which trust and a loving bond were established. While I adore love-at-first-sight stories and always enjoy stories in which relationship angst is not a major theme, I would have expected Olly to struggle a bit more before submitting so completely to Joe. Given everything he’s gone through, his lack of doubt almost from the start felt a bit too good to be true. Surely he would have been traumatised after all his bad experiences.

 

Not that his minor issue interfered with my reading enjoyment. This story is well written, gripping from the start and off the charts hot, not to mention that it features two intriguing and highly entertaining protagonists. The balance between suspense and erotic love story was exactly right for me and the BDSM dynamic between Joe and Olly was as beautiful as it felt authentic. In fact, I enjoyed this journey to ‘The Edge’ so much I went and bought the second book as soon as I finished the first one. I’m not usually a fan of reading several books in a series in quick succession but I may just have to do just that with these ‘Tales from the Edge’

Testosterone fest

Alpha Barman (J.T's Bar Book 1) - Sue Brown

If I had to categorise this book using only one word I’d say ‘testosterone’. The title may be ‘Alpha Barman’ but I feel it could just as easily have been called ‘Alpha Males running amok’.  Mind you, I’m not complaining. There’s nothing wrong with a group of macho men flexing their muscles while coming to terms with long standing issues and imminent danger.

 

This is a tension packed story. There’s the sexual tension between Jake and Mitch, anything but diminished as the result of two years apart. The two men are drawn towards each other despite resentment and lack of contact. And while Jake and Mitch try to resist the pull between them with less success the longer they’re forced to be together, they also have to deal with the threat of Riley making his way towards Jake, and the fact that not everybody is convinced that Riley is actually guilty of the crime he’s been convicted off. Throw in a secondary love story between a former colleague of Jake’s and his present day business partner, and you have a tension-filled drama on your hands. Having said that, I have to admit that the way the Riley story-line played out didn’t come as a surprise to me.

 

I loved the tension between Jake and Mitch and the way they fought the bond between them to no avail. And when they do give in to the feelings they still have for each other, it was a thing of beauty, not to mention scorching heat. I enjoyed the banter between all the men and the love, loyalty, and friendship they tried to hide behind insults and teasing.

 

Alpha Barman is a fast paced, well written, tension filled, and thoroughly enjoyable read. It’s the sort of story I love to lose myself in while the pages almost turn themselves. I’m glad to see this is obviously the first book in a planned series, even if the last line of the book, while clearly setting up the next story, also came as a bolt out of nowhere. I’m very curious to see where these characters and stories will take me next, because as far as I can see, anything is possible.

Spellbinding finale

Snow in Montana (Volume 4) - RJ Scott

To say I was looking forward to Snow in Montana would be a gross understatement. Apart from the more than enticing blurb for Ryan and Jordan’s story there was still the Justin and Adam situation to fully resolve. For the most part this book gave me exactly what I was hoping for but….

 

I have to admit I’m a bit torn about this book. On the one hand I loved it. Ryan and Justin’s story was adorable, almost angst free, and a pure delight to read. It makes a nice change to read a book where one partner isn’t more or less forcing the other to step out of the closet and it’s even better when the outing, when it does happen, is more or less drama free and helping the relationship move forward rather than setting it back. I always love it when a book takes me by surprise or a story develops in a way I didn’t expect and that was definitely the case when it came to Jordan and Ryan. These two men were so cute together. I loved the doubts Ryan harboured underneath all his strength and the determination and honesty of Jordan.

 

I could have done with fewer characters whose names started with ‘J’.  Jordan, Justin, Jason…more than once I confused one for the other. I get that in a series with as many characters as the Montana books it is impossible to not have characters with similar sounding names but when all three showed up in same chapter my addled mind had a hard time keeping up.

 

I’m also not entirely sure how I feel about the resolution of the Adam – Justin situation. On the one hand it makes perfect sense that their situation doesn’t suddenly find an easy answer or clean cut solution. On the other hand however it didn’t feel as if any more questions had been answered when the book ended, just that Adam had come to terms with the fact that the past would always remain somewhat murky. And while that certainly fitted the situation and felt realistic, I would have liked a bit more clarity.

 

However, all of the above didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying this book and reading it from start to finish more or less in one sitting. RJ Scott is a master storyteller with a special talent for creating characters who make a lasting impression. In these four books she created not only an extended family I came to adore but also managed to turn Montana into an extra character, as vivid as the people inhabiting it. Crooked Tree Range has over the course of these books turned into a place so real I’d love to go and spend a holiday there.

 

So while Snow in Montana wasn’t my favourite book in this quartet, it was, without a doubt, an intriguing and spellbinding finale and a pure pleasure to read.

Ultimate Comfort Read

Saving Jason - K.C. Wells, Michael Craft, Meredith Russell

The wonderful thing about Christmas stories for me at least, is the pure comfort I get from reading them. There’s something about the combination of sweet romance and Christmas wonder to make losing yourself in the story a pure delight. And that was certainly the case when I read Saving Jason.

 

This is the story of two men ever so slowly getting to know and appreciate each other before falling, hard. But even once the mutual attraction has been acknowledged through the sweetest (and hottest) of kisses, the seduction game remains tantalisingly slow and all the more enticing for it. And when these two men take their mutual attraction beyond kissing…. Let’s just say all of us should experience our first time as Jason does.

 

While I liked David a lot in this story I have to admit to a weak spot for Jason. The vulnerable older man totally captured my heart. He’s so sure he’ll never experience love, he’s resigned himself to being alone. He lives, he functions, he owns and runs a popular coffee shop and volunteers in homeless shelters; it’s a life, but like his apartment it is basic and bland. His slow awakening to life, opportunities, attraction, and ultimately love was a wonder to behold and a delight to read. He’s the sort of man you want nothing but the best for. If you could, you’d wrap him up in your arms and keep him safe. After all, Jason needs saving.

 

David goes on a journey on his own in this story. While it may be up to younger David to slowly lead Jason down the path of loving a man, it is through Jason that David finds himself opening up to the world. Not that he was bad or indifferent before Jason; it’s just that he wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on around him. When Jason opens his eyes, David is the first to do what he can to help.

 

There is never any doubt that these two men will come to their happy ending. There’s little to no angst in this story, and it’s wonderful and sweet and sexy. If you enjoy a May to December story, and/or a sweet Christmas story, and/or a first time lover story…in short, if you enjoy a story that will feel like a warm blanket and open fire on a cold day, you’ll want to read Saving Jason.

Bah-Humbug to the Joys-of-Christmas

Teddy Bears (2016 Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug) - Brandon Witt

‘Teddy Bears’ is the most adorable bah-humbug to the-joys-of-Christmas holiday story. It is quite impossible not to feel for Brian McKay. He’s such a nerdy dork he both made me smile and broke my heart. To say this man has body issues would be a gross understatement. He doesn’t like the way he looks and can’t believe anybody could possibly find him attractive. In fact, he is so certain he’s destined to be alone he’s even given up on dreaming about a happy ending. His dislike of Christmas runs very deep and is rooted in bad childhood memories, and as the day comes closer, Brian gets ever more grumpy.

 

Enter James Olsen who is everything Brian desires and admires in a man and therefore completely out of Brian’s reach—right? Wrong! When James looks at Brian he doesn’t see an overweight and unattractive nobody, he sees a man he wants to spend time with. All he needs to do is convince Brian that he is really interested and not just feeling sorry for him.

 

The story of Brian’s slow realisation that not only is James really attracted to him but he also deserves that interest is wonderful and very well written. Rather than through a blinding moment of insight it is James’s wooing of Brian through an interest in his hobbies, an obvious attraction, and a genuine date, that Brian comes to accept his own worth.

 

I loved how this book was both very sexy and almost innocent at the same time. The contrast between the free-for-all nature of the bathhouse and Brian’s almost prudish self-consciousness was both poignant and very clever.

 

Brian being willing to settle for the memory of one good night with James all but broke my heart. His subsequent journey put it back together again in the best possible way. Brian’s belief in Christmas miracles came through James, for me it came through Brian’s courage and Brandon Witt’s wonderful writing.

 

Between Brian finding his happy ending and Spike and Angel (read the book if you want to know who they are) this story was nothing short of adorable. As Christmas stories go, this one is a keeper!

Gush-fest

The Farther He Runs: A Kick Novel - Lynda Aicher

I received my copy from Loveswept through Netgalley in return for an honest review.

 

The Farther He Runs is the third book in the ‘Kick’ series but can, in my opinion, be read and thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

 

This is one emotionally charged book. Finn and Tanner put themselves through an emotional wringer and pull the reader right along with them. From the opening chapters, when they say goodbye to the brother they lost, through the doubts and raging sexual tension, to finally giving in to a love and attraction they’ve both been hiding for years, they kept me hooked on their every thought, action, and feeling.

 

When Tanner and Finn at last give into the heat flowing between them (after what may well be the hottest workout known to men) it means that Tanner can at last show sides of himself he’s been hiding for decades. He embraces his gayness and allows his submissive side to surface.

 

“He’d never be a submissive in the purest sense of the word. Yet he longed to give his control over—even for a little while—to Finn and know, without question, that he’d be safe.”

 

Even more stunning than Tanner’s willingness to give his all in the aid of Finn’s recovery, is Finn’s growth from broken and close to desperate victim, to strong and dominant survivor. I found myself cheering him along every time Finn recovered another part of his old self as he and Tanner spend time together and push him towards life again.

 

“Lust blazed. Want called. Desire begged.

And Finn responded. His dominant side breaking free to take everything Tanner was offering.”

 

Finn’s journey was a marvellous thing to read. There are no short cuts for him; he doesn’t get an easy ride. Every step is hard, painful, and often frustrating and yet he perseveres because Tanner won’t allow him to fail. I felt such joy as he grew, got stronger, found himself again, and became all he had always been; everything he had lost.

 

Tanner on the other hand…. *sighs*. What to say about Tanner? On the one hand he took my breath away. Everything he’s willing to do Finn, the way he opens up, gives all of himself to the man he’s loved in secret for years, is nothing short of stunning. He bears his soul and hides nothing because his love runs deep and he’ll go to hell and back if it means helping Finn to become the man he’s supposed to be again. And yet…. When his leave is up and it’s time to say goodbye I could have taken him by the scruff of his neck and shaken him like you do a naughty puppy. Boy did he frustrate me. I wished for means to dive into my Kindle and confront him, tell him to embrace and accept himself as Finn does and stop hiding. I had a hard time reading that part of the story. In fact, I seriously considered skipping it. Part of that was my inability to deal with angst, especially when it happens to two characters I’ve come to care deeply about, and part of it was pure frustration with the character. I didn’t, of course, because if an author is able to make me get that drawn into a story it’s impossible not to read every single word, no matter how painful they may be. And of course it paid off...in the most wonderful fashion. Tanner may have needed a bit of a push, but when he does come through, he bloody shines.

 

These guys are, at times, literally able to read each other’s thoughts. The first time I encountered that it made me frown for a moment and then I loved it. Because I know it to be true that once you know someone well enough, love them deeply enough, and spend enough time with them, you do reach a point where you know what the other is thinking, long before they open their mouth. And Finn and Tanner had loved and known each other for a long time. And, what’s more, they’d been in situations where being able to communicate without words had literally been a matter of life and death; being a Marine will do that to you.

 

“Love me like no one else ever has. Be my strength when I can’t be strong. My courage when I’m scared shitless. My confidence when I’m doubting.

“I will. I do.””

 

Lynda Aicher has always had a habit of messing with my heart. More often than not her stories take me beyond my emotional comfort zone. But every single time I’ve allowed her to take me where I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, she’s rewarded me by giving me the most memorable of reading experiences. This story may have pushed me harder and further than any of the previous ones; it also had me crying happy tears when it ended. I totally recommend this steaming hot, emotionally engrossing, and very memorable story featuring two men I’m not likely to forget any time soon.

 

And with that, I apologise for yet another gush-fest.

 

“Finn was his point, and Tanner would have his six for the rest of his life.”

 

And

 

“Tanner was his point, and Finn had his six.”