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Meentje63

The Way She Reads

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

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.”

Wonderful and Gripping

Snow & Secrets - Rozenn Scott

This book is just wonderful. It starts with a truck load of drama and danger, turns into the sweetest and hottest seduction tale, and then switches back to thrilling and danger-filled before giving us the happiest of ever afters. What’s not to love?

 

If you’ve read the previous Stanford Creek stories you’ll know that Garrett is a bit of an enigma. He comes and goes to and from his home town and family at unexpected times and while he claims to have a rather uninteresting job, everybody is convinced there’s more going on in his life than he’s willing to admit to. In this book we find out exactly what Garrett hasn’t been sharing and boy, is his job anything but boring.

 

Poor Tyler; he falls for the oldest trick in the book and finds himself in the middle of his personal tabloid hell. A few weeks away from the limelight are exactly what he needs and an isolated cabin near Stanford Creek appears to be just what the doctor ordered. Except that he discovers on arrival that he won’t actually be on his own.

 

The attraction between the two men is instant. More than that, Garrett has had a crush on the Tyler for some time. But there are a lot of good reasons for the two men to keep their distance from each other. Except isolation and close proximity soon wear down any reservations either of them may have had. Attraction soon morphs into something more, but it isn’t until danger comes knocking that Garrett and Ty discover exactly what it is they’re feeling for each other.

 

I loved the slow and oh so enticing build up of attraction and sexual tension between Garrett and Ty. And once they give into the pull between them….WOW; they made my Kindle steam up (not to mention what they did to me). I was also delighted to be reunited with the other inhabitants of Stanford Creek and catch up with their lives; I’ve become quite attached to these characters over these three books and I can’t wait to read what I assume will be Kyle’s story.

 

While I loved the whole story and adored both characters, Ty found a special place in my heart because of the growing process he went through. Just when I thought the situation might well get too much for him and half expected him to fall apart, he surprised me by coming into his own and firmly standing by his man, regardless of the danger or the secrets between them.

 

Over all this was, once again, a wonderful and gripping read. RJ manages to time and again create characters that worm their way into my heart and take up residence there. And that’s just one of many reasons I keep on returning to her books.

 

While this is the third book in the Stanford Creek Series it can totally be read as a stand-alone. Having said that, unless you are totally allergic to female protagonists and MF pairings, I have no idea why you would want to deprive yourself of the pleasure that is the first two books in the series.

Wonderful and Gripping

Snow & Secrets - Rozenn Scott

This book is just wonderful. It starts with a truck load of drama and danger, turns into the sweetest and hottest seduction tale, and then switches back to thrilling and danger-filled before giving us the happiest of ever afters. What’s not to love?

 

If you’ve read the previous Stanford Creek stories you’ll know that Garrett is a bit of an enigma. He comes and goes to and from his home town and family at unexpected times and while he claims to have a rather uninteresting job, everybody is convinced there’s more going on in his life than he’s willing to admit to. In this book we find out exactly what Garrett hasn’t been sharing and boy, is his job anything but boring.

 

Poor Tyler; he falls for the oldest trick in the book and finds himself in the middle of his personal tabloid hell. A few weeks away from the limelight are exactly what he needs and an isolated cabin near Stanford Creek appears to be just what the doctor ordered. Except that he discovers on arrival that he won’t actually be on his own.

 

The attraction between the two men is instant. More than that, Garrett has had a crush on the Tyler for some time. But there are a lot of good reasons for the two men to keep their distance from each other. Except isolation and close proximity soon wear down any reservations either of them may have had. Attraction soon morphs into something more, but it isn’t until danger comes knocking that Garrett and Ty discover exactly what it is they’re feeling for each other.

 

I loved the slow and oh so enticing build up of attraction and sexual tension between Garrett and Ty. And once they give into the pull between them….WOW; they made my Kindle steam up (not to mention what they did to me). I was also delighted to be reunited with the other inhabitants of Stanford Creek and catch up with their lives; I’ve become quite attached to these characters over these three books and I can’t wait to read what I assume will be Kyle’s story.

 

While I loved the whole story and adored both characters, Ty found a special place in my heart because of the growing process he went through. Just when I thought the situation might well get too much for him and half expected him to fall apart, he surprised me by coming into his own and firmly standing by his man, regardless of the danger or the secrets between them.

 

Over all this was, once again, a wonderful and gripping read. RJ manages to time and again create characters that worm their way into my heart and take up residence there. And that’s just one of many reasons I keep on returning to her books.

 

While this is the third book in the Stanford Creek Series it can totally be read as a stand-alone. Having said that, unless you are totally allergic to female protagonists and MF pairings, I have no idea why you would want to deprive yourself of the pleasure that is the first two books in the series.

Librarian's Delight

Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles - Eli Easton

“I sucked on his tongue like it was made of cocaine, chocolate, and orgasms.”

 

Full disclosure first: I am a librarian in my day job so I may have been a wee bit prejudiced when it came to this story, its setting, and the characters involved. J

 

And this story is all about a library and its more than dedicated head librarian, Mr. Miggles. Having said that, the story is told from Toby Kincaid’s perspective. He’s the twenty-four year old assistant librarian who has looked up to his boss ever since he started his job, just as he’s intrigued by the sad aura surrounding him.  While it doesn’t occur to Toby that he might do more than ‘just’ admire Sean Miggles, those of us who read between the lines soon pick up on that fact.

 

When, as it says in the blurb, Sean Miggles is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Toby decides to step up to the plate and not only save his boss but also the library they are both devoted to.

 

I loved how the library was described in this book. Libraries are so much more than ‘just’ a collection of books; they are vital to local communities in numerous ways and this story shows that in vivid detail. And, just as the library in Toby and Sean’s hometown is under threat, so are libraries almost everywhere, which made me extra invested in this story. When Toby rallies the troops (also known as borrowers/library visitors) to state both Mr. Miggles’ and the library’s case to the local council, the book got an almost magical quality, very fitting for a seasonal story.

 

Mr. Miggles fascinated me from the moment the book started and the better I got to know him and the more I learned about his past, the more I grew to adore him. Unfortunately Toby didn’t work quite as well for me. For about the first half of the book he rubbed me up the wrong way, which had probably a lot to do with the Justin situation. Once he got his shit together and decided to step up to the plate, he more than redeemed himself though. By the time this story reached its happily ever after I was fully invested in both Toby and Sean Miggles, as well as their future together.

 

This was an easy, mostly angst free, but captivating story. Mr. Miggles past and his present predicament give the story drama while Toby mostly made me smile or grimace. The story takes its time before getting steamy but when it does….

 

Overall I can only say that I thoroughly enjoyed this story and was delighted to have four hours without interruptions to read it from start to finish in one sitting – Reader’s (and librarian's) delight.

Christmas Perfection

A Family for Christmas - Jay Northcote

A Family for Christmas was exactly what I needed in my life right now—a light, sweet, sexy and very romantic story which gave me all the good feels. Both Rudy and Zac sneaked their way into my heart for different but equally good reasons.

 

Rudy is just cute. He’s dreadfully shy and rather insecure when it comes to approaching Zac, who he has been attracted to ever since he started for the same company. The fact that it takes a liberal amount of alcohol for Rudy to make his approach leads to consequences that are as embarrassing as they are, ultimately, the reason the two men start to bond.

 

Zac has good reasons for being stand-offish. His life so far has shown him, time and again, that he’s not wanted and that people can’t be trusted so he doesn’t let them in and tells himself he’s comfortable on his own. Except that once he’s entered the loving madness that is Rudy’s family home, he can’t convince himself of that anymore.

 

I loved Rudy’s family. The way they just accept Zac in their midst and are happy to embrace his (presumed) relationship with Rudy was heartwarming. In fact, that is what I loved about all of this book; the easy acceptance of ‘issues’ that are so often the points of heartbreak in the books we read. There’s a trans secondary character in this book and it was wonderful how his transition gets mentioned but only in so far that it becomes clear that it isn’t something remarkable but rather totally accepted. – Can we look forward to a book about Erik maybe?

 

When I finished the book I had somewhat blurry eyes and a silly grin on my face—in short it was perfection. If, like me, you’re in dire need of love, smiles, Christmas cheer and lightness in these dark times, do yourself a huge favour and read A Family for Christmas.

Wonderful and hilarious

The Misadventures of Doc and Dirk, Volume III - Dan Skinner, Tina Adamski

“I found him to be the equivalent of a nineteen-year-old, hyperactive Borg: resistance is futile.”

 

This is the third episode of these ‘misadventures. While I strongly advice and highly recommend that you read these (short) books in order, I have to admit you would get away with starting with book two or book three. Dan/Doc has been kind enough to include a ‘this is how we met’ chapter at the start of each of these instalments. So even if you’ve so far managed to miss Dan’s post about Dirk on Facebook and are completely new to this fabulous partnership, you won’t be lost, no matter where you start reading.

 

What attracts me most to these books is that while they appear to be about Dirk, the ‘muse-nerd’ we learn at least as much about Dan/Doc as we do about his young apprentice. I imagine it works in real life as it appears to do in these tales; Dan/Doc is helpless in the face of Dirk’s curiosity and enthusiasm. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he never set to reveal as much of himself as he does, but sorta fell into it as a result of Dirk’s inquisitiveness.

 

Younger Dan’s disastrous birthday pick-up is a hoot, as is the story Dirk shares in return, if only because they reminded me of one or two ‘oh my God, how did I end up in this situation’ experiences from my own life.

 

I’ll share a few random quotes and thoughts, just because I can.

 

“Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat with Dirk. He just becomes a bigger cat.”

 

I had to google ‘Tootsie Pops’ but once I had, Dirk’s comment made perfect sense—as did his mother’s response. (And that’s all I’m saying; read the book if you want to know more).

 

I love this description of Dirk:

 

“I remind you that this is a young man who not only thinks outside the box, but doesn’t recognize that there’s a box in the first place.”

 

As I’ve come to expect by now, I read this book with a permanent grin on my face, except for those moments when I found myself laughing out loud. But, these stories are more than light-hearted fun to me. They paint a beautiful picture of a developing friendship, of loyalty, and of what it takes to really get to know someone. The Dirkisms combined with Dan/Doc’s observations about them and the person who makes them, while always making me smile, also make me think that we should really pay more attention to other people and try to look beyond the obvious first impressions. This episode ends on a wonderful tale about Dirk and cat ears (which I’m not going to share either) and a quote we would all do well to take to heart when dealing with the quirks of others:

 

“It made me realize what we see as odd… may simply be something that makes someone else more comfortable.”

 

I’ll end this review with a wish, which is also my plea aimed at Dan/Doc and Dirk; please, whatever you do, never stop sharing these wonderful scenes with us.

Dark and fabulous

A Cowboy's Home (Montana) (Volume 3) - RJ Scott

This is, without a doubt, the darkest of the Montana books so far. If The Rancher’s Sonwas at times hard to read, this story made me want to read with my eyes closed at times. Justin broke my heart time and again. The hopelessness of his situation, and his determination to not endanger his family and friends, his certainty that he doesn’t deserve to be loved or that he’s incapable of feeling an emotion like love ever again; all of it made my heart ache because it was so very understandable. And yet, through all of Justin’s pain, while he’s fighting doubt and feelings of guilt and inadequacy, the one thing that keeps him grounded and stops him from falling apart altogether—or giving up and dying for that matter—is the presence of Sam. With Sam’s fingers in his hair, Justin can go on for another hour, another day.

 

So yes, this book made me feel all the feels, even if they were dark emotions for a large part of the book. They couldn’t be anything else. Nobody goes through what Justin has been forced to endure only to shrug it off again. So while I’m no good with angst and found it hard to live in Justin’s head at times, it all made perfect sense and I found myself grateful that the author had not given a miracle ‘love heals all’ sort of resolution to Justin.

 

In the two previous books we got to know Sam as a flirtatious and cheeky chap. This book shows there’s a lot more to the man. Underneath his lighthearted attitude hides a painful past he can’t completely shake. And that is probably the reason he is so good for Justin. Sam is not inclined to discuss his personal history with others and is willing, up to a point, to accept the same from Justin. When he does insist on answers it is because he thinks Justin needs to give them rather than a result of a personal need to know. All he knows is that he feels a connection to the man who was all but dead when he found him.

 

I’m not going to reveal exactly what Justin went through and had to do just to stay alive and keep himself from completely losing his mind. All of that should be revealed, as it is in this book, slowly and by Justin himself. Suffice to say that while there were moments when I wanted to shake him and tell him to just trust Sam and relax already, I spent most of my reading time wanting to wrap him up in my arms and keep him safe.

 

Overall this was an at times very hard to read, heartrending but ultimately fabulous and very satisfactory story that kept me on edge for longer than I’m usually comfortable with, only to lead me to the happy but not too perfect ending it needed. I can’t wait to read book four and spend more time with all of the Montana gang.

A Story to Cherish

Falling Down - Eli Easton

‘Because when you didn’t have home something thirsty inside you shriveled up and died a little more every day. The tether that connected you to the earth wore a little more thin.’

 

Oh wow. This book just grabbed my heart and ran with it. Josh has been dealt such a lousy hand by life I just wanted to wrap him up in my arms and keep him safe…and warm. Boy did I want to keep him warm. Just eighteen year old he’s gone through enough pain and despair to bring the strongest of souls down. Life has never given him a break so it’s no wonder he’s tempted to just leave life behind in the hope that whatever comes next will be kinder to him.

 

Mark hasn’t had an easy time of it either. Always feeling the odd one out and not manly enough in the house where he grew up, he hoped that joining the marines would prove he wasn’t weak and sentimental but all it did was show him that he wasn’t made to kill or be surrounded by dying and violence.

 

There’s a very poignant scene early in the story when Mark sees Josh walking down the road and recognises the empty look in his eyes exactly for what it is; the desire to give up. So when he’s given the opportunity to help the younger man, he grabs it with both hands.

 

Two wounded men slowly come together, and as they fix an old house together, they gradually fix each other too, even if neither of them is aware of that for the longest time. Once the feelings they’ve been developing for each other at last come out into the open, their coming together is beautiful, heart-warming and enticing. It isn’t the solution to all their issues though; it couldn’t be. The burdens they’ve been carrying for so long won’t be erased by amazing kisses and mind blowing orgasms alone.

 

The descriptions in this book took my breath away. Seriously, I’m in awe of the way Eli Easton made me see all the fall colours on the trees and had me experiencing both the beauty and the ice-cold danger of the snow. I didn’t even have to close my eyes to see the bridge and the pond because the writing took me there, planted me right in the middle of setting of this story.

 

This book touched me deeply, especially Josh. His wish, not so much to die, but to not have to live anymore, resonated with me. In fact, almost everything in this story hit me right in the heart in one way or another; Mark’s wish to do the right thing for Josh when he couldn’t quite figure out what might be best for himself. Josh’s determination in the face of hopelessness. And more than anything else, the way both men fought to find the strength to be the person the other man needed—all of it had me turning the pages as fast as my eyes could read the words.

 

All of the above may well give you the impression that Falling Down is a story with wall to wall angst. And in a way you would be right. But in a far more important way that is not what this story is about at all. This is a story about hope, about recognising opportunities and embracing them, no matter how scary it is, and about love being more important and stronger than fear and despair. Or, to summarize, this is a story to cherish.

Sweet and Fun

Stroke of Luck - Posy Roberts

Stroke of Luck is such a sweet and fun story, even if the title seems completely inappropriate at first glance. Because initially everything that can go wrong does go wrong for Marc and Cas.  Poor Marc is trying to come to terms with having lost everything he owned in a house fire when he first runs into Cas. A misunderstanding makes Cas all defensive before he shows he’s actually a nice guy in the most simple but wonderful of ways.

 

When they meet again, only a few minutes later, the circumstances are even worse. In fact, you’d be excused for thinking these two men were doomed from the start. Except that fate sometimes plays a strange game with people, as Marc and Cas soon discover. Wherever they turn they end up running into each other because even if they don’t know it yet, they are meant to be together.

 

I’m impressed with how well Posy Roberts managed to deal with the complex issue of the relationship between Cas and Maisie in a mostly lighthearted and virtually angst-free manner. And the way this book ends is nothing short of perfection. To say it left me with a huge grin on my face would be a gross understatement.

 

Posy Roberts always effortlessly draws me into her stories. Her characters tend to be charming and fascinating, her descriptions are vivid and the dialogue sparkles. And when it comes to the sexy times…hot barely covers it.

 

If you’re in the mood for a fun, far from predictable, and very satisfying read, I highly recommend Stroke of Luck. In the meantime I’ll thank my lucky stars that I discovered Posy’s books and that she keeps on writing these wonderful stories for me to enjoy.

Thoroughly Entertaining Comedy of Errors

Romancing the Wrong Twin (Dreamspun Desires Book 21) - Clare London

Oh boy, I’d call this a rom-com if it wasn’t for the feelings of the two men involved in the story. Not that this is an angsty or sad book, far from it, but I couldn’t help feeling for Aidan and Dominic as they deal with feelings they never expected to have while in a situation they thought they would hate.

 

I adored both Dominic and Aidan. Dom is such an adorable grumpy straight-shooter with almost no filter on his mouth. He made me smile every second time he opened his mouth, I think. Aidan on the other hand is a thoroughly good man, finding himself caught in a situation where he has to be less than truthful with a man he’s growing close to in order to give his twin the assistance he needs. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place. And Aidan, being who he is, puts his brother’s needs well ahead of his own, almost with disastrous consequences.

 

As we all know, I don’t have a lot of patience for stories in which the main characters withhold information from each other to the point where their major issue is (almost) exclusively a result of that silence. And—you guessed it—this is exactly such a story. But, given the series this book is part of, and the personalities of both men involved, it did actually work very well in this book.

 

I enjoyed reading this book. There was so much in it to make me smile. From Dominic’s grumpiness, to Aidan’s confusion over how to be his twin, to photo-shoots involving blue underwear, I think I may have had a grin on my face from start to finish. If you’re in the mood to lose yourself in a thoroughly entertaining comedy of errors, look no further than Romancing the Wrong Twin.