The Eager Boy by Sean Michael


The Eager Boy by Sean Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (193 pages)
Other: M/M, BDSM, Toys, Spanking/Flogging
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

An Iron Eagle Gym Novel

Eight months ago Robin Secoya left his lover and master, Stack Lobond, because he didn’t believe Stack really cared about him. He was sure that for Stack, any warm body would do, and Robin wasn’t willing to be just a warm body anymore.

A chance meeting at the Iron Eagle Gym brings them back together, and old feelings aren’t far from the surface. They decide they can’t pass up a second chance at romance. But this time, it isn’t just Stack’s demanding career as a big-cat vet putting strain on their relationship. Robin also has a new job that takes up a lot of his time.

Will their kinky love affair crash and burn a second time, or can they find the balance that will allow the passion between them to flourish?

Robin and Stack had broken up because Robin felt Stack simply wanted a warm person to fuck and he was tired of that being all their relationship was built around. But when Robin joins the Iron Eagle Gym – a gym geared towards the BDSM community – he and Stack find each other again. Can this time be different for them both?

I really enjoyed this character-driven BDSM story. Both Robin and Stack have a serious history together, but have been broken up for a while. Poor communication between them and Stack’s demanding job drove their relationship to the point where Robin was lonely and feeling truly neglected, and after trying to talk about it a few times he decided to leave. So there is baggage and complications between them in trying to mend their relationship and find their way forward together.

Usually I don’t enjoy the style of stories revolved around patching up a broken relationship – normally the reasons for the relationship failing are either too weak and leave me feeling like they were simply a plot device, or they are genuine and serious enough I don’t always feel the reconciliation is believable. I was really happy, therefore, when the author made this story both believable and serious enough that I found the story both gripping and realistic. Also, there wasn’t some “easy fix” where Robin and Stack just had a long, serious conversation and their relationship magically worked perfectly. They both had to continuously work at it and put in some serious effort – which made the whole plot even more believable to me.

Also, there was plenty of deliciously hot and kinky sex. Both men had a strong history together, and clearly still loved each other deeply – so the sex between them was both hot and intense. Neither of them had any issues in the bedroom and that wasn’t where their relationship problems lay, so the fact there was oodles of sex throughout the story didn’t feel like padding but more the easiest medium for Stack and Robin to connect together. I feel the author did a great job of balancing the “loads of sex” aspect of the story along with the trickier and more emotional “patching up the relationship” aspects of the plot. I appreciated that neither Robin nor Stack were 100% to blame for the break up, both had been somewhat at fault and both needed to learn certain things and work on their romance together. I was really pleased this wasn’t a case where one party was at fault and their issues were unbalanced, there were problems on both sides and they each had to keep up the effort and that kept things evenly balanced to my mind.

I really enjoyed this story and found it full of interesting sex, a strong romantic/relationship based plot and with two interesting and vibrant characters. There were a few familiar faces from previous stories – though this can absolutely be read as a stand-alone – and a few new faces that will hopefully be showcased in upcoming stories. A great read and one I will enjoy again in the future.

Divulging Secrets by Lynn Burke


Divulging Secrets by Lynn Burke
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (81 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Candace Lake’s testimony against her father landed her in the Witness Protection program. With a new identity comes a new beginning, one based on lies and loneliness. How can she find someone to share her future with when a relationship without trust at its foundation won’t stand the storms of life?

Tom Berkley didn’t expect his new tenant to make him question his solitary lifestyle in the backwoods of Maine. He also didn’t expect to be caught up in the secrets of her past that bring his own tragic ones to the forefront of his mind.

The sizzling chemistry between them can’t be ignored, but when the threats from Candace’s turbulent past catch up with her, can she trust Tom enough to protect her from the price on her head?

After Lila had turned state’s evidence, helping put her father in jail so her own sentence would be more lenient, she’d gone into Witness Protection and left everything of meaning in her life behind. Choosing her new name and deciding to start again in Maine, Lila wasn’t keen to have the rest of her life revolve around lies, but she had no choice. Tom is an ex-SEAL and enjoys his farm and quiet life. He’s initially reluctant to have Lila – now Candace – on his property but he figures it’ll only be for a few months till she gets her feet solidly under herself and then she’ll move on. The fact she stirs his blood unlike anyone else is just a minor annoyance he needs to overcome. While their attraction grows they both have secrets and lies that become harder and harder to keep.

I found this to be an enjoyable story. Lila (who is referred to as Candace once she takes on that new identity) was a deep and complex character, which absolutely thrilled me. An only child in an exceedingly close-knit family with her mother and father I got the strong impression Lila was protected and spoiled and her life before the story was smooth, clear sailing. I was pleased she genuinely had no idea of her father’s criminal activities (I think I’d have found it vastly more difficult to enjoy or like Lila had she been a knowing participant in that) and while it was selfish of her to sell her dad and most of his partners in crime up the river to lessen her own sentence and gain access to witness protection I can certainly understand why she did it and I couldn’t fault her for her actions.

With her whole world turned upside down – and having to leave all that behind her – I actually came to really enjoy Candace. Now, obviously, Lila and Candace are the same person – just different facets of the true character/person Lila/Candace is, but Candace is someone who I can see myself being friends with – a modern woman learning her own independence, teaching herself to cook and do a grocery run, searching for a job and opening a bank account, lusting after her hot, ripped neighbor. Despite the lies surrounding Candace’s past, Candace was someone I genuinely could see myself being friendly with. Candace struck me as the quintessential girl-next-door, with a real life and real problems and plenty of secrets and a past.

I felt the pacing of the story was really good – not too fast and not too slow – but I also found the plotting exceptional. Tom’s knowing/guessing much about Candace’s past was intelligent and some exceptional writing. It also solved the problem (and my only twinge of concern when picking up the book) about how to get around Candace uttering lie after lie of her history and past. I usually am not a fan of stories where the entire relationship is built on a stack of lies (even for a good cause – like Witness Protection), but I found the author did a brilliant job of keeping the story real but also giving a fresh (to me, at least) reasoning behind why Tom wasn’t duped and went into the relationship with Candace with his eyes wide open. I *loved* this aspect of the story and it was like the final piece of the puzzle clicking into place for me, no worry and concern about Tom reacting to being duped, no guilt and baggage for Candace feeling like she had to build her relationship (as well as her new life) based on endless lies. It was glorious and I’d rate this easily the best style of story like this that I’ve read in years.

And of course the sex is steamy hot. Like any modern woman having to start again from scratch with a deliciously hot ex-SEAL literally on her doorstep, the eye candy alone would be worth the price of admission. My only tiny disappointment was that it was mostly chemistry building up between Candace and Tom throughout the story. While they both do eventually come together and cement their relationship in a sexual sense this is right at the end of the story. I loved the fact the plot, character growth and increasing tension was so well written and such a large part of the story-line, but readers looking for a strongly erotic, sexual story might find this one aspect slightly lacking. When the climax was reached, however, it made the wait – and explosive chemistry between Candace and Tom – worthwhile to my mind.

A well plotted, character-centric story with plenty of steam and chemistry, this was a great read and one I can highly recommend.

Woman Of His Dreams by Sam Crescent


Woman Of His Dreams by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (41 Pages)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Tulip

Reese and Julia have never liked each other. From the moment they met, they clashed. She thinks he’s a man-whore, and he believes she’s an entitled bitch with her head always stuck in a book. One night, one argument, too many drinks, and those views change. Instead of being annoyed by her, Reese just wants to fuck her—and one time is never enough.

After just passing high school, and failing college, Julia is trying to pass classes at night courses, but she’s failing that, too. Coming from a family of high achievers, she hasn’t found her place in the world. But one night with Reese and her ordered world comes to a halt.

Their “sex dates” turn into something more as they share themselves and what they care about, and Reese comes to realize that Julia is the woman of his dreams. He’s willing to fight to take her as his own, but can she trust him with her heart and not just her body?

I really enjoyed this short book.

The only thing that could’ve made this book better was if it was longer. As usual, Sam Crescent almost set the pages on fire with this steamy not quite enemies to lovers romance. Reese and Julia were charming characters who had some misunderstandings to overcome in their relationship. They were more afraid to love than anything so it took a while to trust each other with their real feelings.

Sam Crescent delivered a sweet romance that flew by way too soon for this satisfied reader. I adored Reese and Julia. Their slow burn romance was wonderfully described to pull me into the story. I was more than happy at their happy ever after ending. I am already looking forward to the next Curvy Women Wanted book.

Capturing Clint by Laura M. Baird


Capturing Clint by Laura M. Baird
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (47 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Clint let Chrissy, the adorable nerd, slip through his fingers while in college.

Ten years later, after a chance encounter, Chrissy will use her sexy confidence to ensure that doesn’t happen again. Clint is more than interested but doesn’t feel worthy, and it’ll be up to Chrissy to show him how good they can be together.

Clint’s best friend, Beth, had introduced him to Chrissy. Clint was in his last term before graduating, and he was determined to focus on his studies, but he just couldn’t manage to get Chrissy out of his head. Clint and Chrissy were thinking that things were really going somewhere when Chrissy had to leave suddenly due to a family illness. It’s years later when they finally cross paths again. Will past hurts keep them separate? Or can they finally build something beautiful together?

I found this to be an interesting and fun short story. I really liked both Clint and Chrissy’s characters – particularly Chrissy’s timidness and book-ish manner. I found it refreshing that Chrissy managed to be both a modern woman, but not overly bold or brazen. I wasn’t keen on the abruptness of the two paragraph explanation that Chrissy suddenly went home due to her mother being ill. It made the “college” section of Chrissy and Clint getting to know each other and the jump forward ten years in time to them actually starting a relationship quite jarring and I thought it derailed the smoothness of the story somewhat.

That said, I ended up kind of thinking about the book in two different parts “college time” and “grown up” life. While I wish the segue between the two had been a bit smoother and better-described, the two parts themselves were great. I found this to mostly be a character-driven storyline/plot, as in the attraction, then beginning of the relationship between Clint and Chrissy is the driving force of what the story is about. I enjoyed the secondary characters – Beth and Zac – and found them to be both interesting and multi-layered, not simply there to add the requisite “friend” to the storyline. Indeed, a part of me hopes there might be a story revolved around Beth some time in the future as there was a slight hint at her new career and “grown up” life that could prove interesting.

With a lovely happy ending and a really good, warm feeling I loved the wrap up to this story too. The sex – while hot, wasn’t envelope-pushing or extreme. I feel most romance readers who like a bit of spice in their story should find this book overall really good and happy. As a quick read it’s a great one for picking up when you don’t have a lot of time and I’d happily try more works by this author.

Devious Tactics by Katy Swann


Devious Tactics by Katy Swann
Publisher: Totally Bound
Length: Short Story (62 pgs)
Other: M/F, BDSM, Flogging, Spanking, Toys, Sensation Play, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

She’s been caught in his playroom. Should she leave or should she resort to devious tactics to get what she wants?

When Sami Jenkins is offered the chance to write a major scoop for her newspaper, she jumps at it. All she has to do is find proof that a successful businessman is a drug dealer. If she succeeds she will land a promotion that will secure her future as a top investigative journalist.

But Sami isn’t prepared for Jet’s powerful charisma when she meets him. As an ex-Air Force fighter pilot, Jet is both commanding and charming, leaving Sami confused by her attraction to him. When she attends a party hosted by Jet on his lavish yacht, she sneaks off to search his office. Sami doesn’t find any evidence of drugs, but what she does stumble across leaves her speechless. She has inadvertently found Jet Whitely’s extravagant and very kinky playroom.

When Jet catches her he gives her a choice. Either he calls the police and she can explain to them what she was doing there, or she can stay and discover the delights that his playroom has to offer. But can she trust someone she suspects of being a criminal to tie her up and do unspeakably delicious things to her body?

Boy, oh, boy this is a hot story.

I love the work of Katy Swann, so I knew I was in for a treat. The story flowed well, there were twists I wasn’t expecting and have I mentioned the hot factor?

This isn’t a story for the faint of heart. If you’re new to the BDSM genre, this one might be a bit of a shocker, but in a good way. I loved the chemistry between Sami and Jet, even when she hated him. I felt the trust and devotion, too.

As I said, there are twists to this story. It’s more than it seems and I’m glad. If you’re ready for kink, some heat and a good story to go with it, then this is the book for you.

At First Bite by Caitlin Ricci


At First Bite by Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: eXstasy Books
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Other: M/M, Masturbation
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

On his way home from work, Castor, a werewolf, is grabbed by a group of young vampires. Thinking quickly, he tells the vampires that he will only submit to their elder first, which means that they can’t bite him until that elder gives them permission. But Alexi isn’t interested in sharing his new wolf with anyone, and after they realize that they’re mates everything starts going to hell.

Not what I expected and it’s a good thing.

I like the work of Caitlin Ricci. Her books are always interesting and pack a punch. This book was no exception. Instead of the usual, vampires using humans, the vampires run the show. They can bite whom them want, but don’t always kill. I liked how Alexi wasn’t out for vengeance or anything. He was rather reluctant. He’s a solid vampire, don’t get me wrong, but he’s still got a human side. I wish I could’ve been able to see him more, but I did like him.

Castor took a little time to get to know. I liked him because he didn’t back down, but he was so tense. I didn’t get right away why he was tense, but once I did, it made perfect sense.

The two character didn’t seem to be compatible at first. I liked how they had to work themselves out. The ending was a tad abrupt and I would’ve liked more–but that’s because I enjoyed the story. I wanted to see them flesh out the relationship. What made them change their mind?

There isn’t a ton of sex in this novella, so if you’re looking for a stepping stone into paranormal or vampire romance, this might be the one to start with. If you’re looking for a quick book for a lunch hour read, then this is the one you want.

Partners In Love by Rebecca Brochu


Partners In Love by Rebecca Brochu
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (31 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When an unplanned and unwanted remodel of his apartment leaves Detective Dylan Vancarr homeless, the natural thing for him to do is turn up on the doorstep of his best friend and partner, Tyler Wilky.

An arrangement meant to last only for a night quickly turns into a surprisingly comfortable new life for the both of them.

While living with Tyler and realizing just how easily their lives mesh, Dylan quickly begins to realize that he may have found a partner for more than just the job.

He may have found a partner in love.

When Dylan’s apartment is wrecked who else could he possibly crash with except his colleague and partner, Tyler? Can they each take this chance to act on the simmering attraction boiling between them and build a relationship together outside of their work?

I found this to be a funny and rather macho M/M romance. Written in the first-person perspective I would have personally preferred to get to know Tyler’s character a little better, but can understand how difficult this task would have been for the author given the very short page-count. I was also left a little puzzled by the manner in which Dylan and Tyler’s relationship grew. For two men whom I found to both be rather macho to have almost the entire relationship seem to almost accidently flourish it just felt odd to me. Neither man made overt moves and while a part of me absolutely loved this incredibly different and fresh tactic in an M/M romance, a larger part of my brain just couldn’t find it at all believable. Two macho, alpha men and neither made the first move? Neither wanted to rock the boat or stake a claim? Neither man even hinted at the deeper undercurrents in their relationship? It just didn’t jibe with anything remotely logical or believable to my mind.

That said, I truly enjoyed this book. I laughed a lot, I really liked both men’s characters and felt attached and invested in their relationship – I just struggled to find the growth of their relationship realistic. Once I disconnected my brain and simply sat back and enjoyed the ride though, I really did find myself enjoying the story far more. The story seems to be told very tongue-in-cheek and while completely from Dylan’s perspective (and I really did miss hearing at least a little from Tyler’s) the jovial, macho story really was a fun ride to be a part of.

With just the one short – but very steamy – sex scene readers looking for a hard-core, sex-laden M/M might not find this the right story for them. But readers who relish the build up and chemistry between their heroes should find this a great, short read.

Coming On Strong by Faye Avalon


Coming On Strong by Faye Avalon
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (55 pages)
Other: M/F, Spanking
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Lexi McKenna nursed a crush on James Mallory since forever, but he was the bad boy who never looked her way, except to protect her. Until the night she turned eighteen, and he noticed her. But just when things were getting interesting James called a halt, crushing her teenage heart. Seven years later she’s finally in a position to make him finish what he started. And this time she’s not taking no for an answer.

As a professional escort, James Mallory has learned to separate sex from emotion. He’s made himself into a sophisticated lover adept at pleasing his clients, but dark memories haunt him and bad blood still flows in his veins. So while Lexi seems determined to tempt him, there is absolutely no way he intends on dragging her down to his level.

But Lexi has other ideas, and faced with her considerable seduction skills, just how long can James hold out?

When Lexi worked a two-week stint, temping at the Talbot Escort Agency she discovered that her childhood crush, James actually worked there as an Escort. Lexi had wanted James practically forever, but he’d made it crystal clear that his best friend’s little sister was off limits and – even though he might be tempted – he wouldn’t go there. James finds himself somewhat trapped when Lexi hires his services. His reputation as an escort is flawless and he’s proud of it – for good reason. Sex is just his work. Clinical. Emotionless. How can he keep his pride, his career and his sanity when Lexi gives him an offer he simply can’t refuse?

This is an interesting short story. I was really pleased that the first part of the story was told from James’ perspective. While the perspective does change from James to Lexi back and forth through the story I was especially pleased to get this insight into James’ character.

I also found the whole story was actually quite emotional – and I found this was wonderful. James had been pretty harsh in his turning Lexi down seven years previously, and James got major brownie points to my mind by admitting he hadn’t thought through his rejection of Lexi and how it might effect the young woman. But when we as readers are shown that James had been at war previous to this rejection, had served his country and seen things that forever change a person, my heart totally went out to him. No one likes an unfeeling character – but I personally am willing to give an awful lot of lee-way to a hero who hasn’t fully recovered from his experiences out in the field. I felt it completely explained – and absolved – his actions and really set James up as an impressive character and hero in my eyes.

It took me a while longer to really enjoy Lexi’s character. While I felt for her and was impressed that she’d decided to take matters of setting herself up with James into her own hands and into her own control – I really feel like she overstepped a little. Her machinations felt a little too close (in my personal opinion) to emotional manipulation – Lexi stating pretty clearly that if James decided to not have sex with her at the end of their evening then Lexi would simply go out “trawl a bar or two” until she found a man who would be intimate with her. And throughout the start of their evening “date” she continually tried to twist his arm into giving her what she wanted, simply so she could dump him and “pay him back” for the previous hurt. It all just felt a little too harsh and mean to me. Additionally, regardless of whether someone has paid for sex, I feel pretty firmly that anyone (man or woman) saying “no” should be respected and adhered to. Sure, Lexi convinced James – but again, it was all just a little too close to emotional blackmail for me to really enjoy it and feel comfortable.

I think plenty of readers, however, won’t get the strength of this vibe from the story that I did. I have no doubt that a lot of readers will really enjoy this steamy story. It’s sexy and modern, and while I personally didn’t believe the chemistry between Lexi and James, I feel that readers who don’t get bogged down with the questionable antics of Lexi might be able to appreciate their attraction to each other. The sex is hot and plentiful and I thought it was really well written. Readers looking for an emotionally complicated, sizzling and sexy read might find this a quick and interesting story.

New Vocations by TA Chase


New Vocations by TA Chase
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (52 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Two men who believe in second chances meet and their lives are never the same again.

Layne Daly comes to participate in the American Royal. He’s there to show off the abilities of the retired thoroughbreds he adopts straight off the track. He wants people to know these animals can do so much more than race. He has three horses there to do exhibitions in reining, barrel racing and cutting. When his usual groom gets sick, he has to hire someone fast.

Carl Stewartson used to love coming to Kansas City for the rodeo. He’d ride broncs and hang out with his friends. But since his career-ending injury early in the year, Carl has been spinning his wheels, trying to find something to do with his life now that he can’t rodeo anymore. He runs into Layne and offers to help him with his horses.

Together, they have to deal with not only the stress of the event, but also starting a new relationship. Second chances are what Layne does best and he’s more than willing to give Carl the opportunity.

A nice, hot short story.

I know the work of TA Chase will be fantastic, so I was excited to read this. I’ve read others by this author and haven’t been let down. This story is no different.

Two men, hot for each other, but unsure the attraction is mutual. Great trope. I liked Carl being a little wary of Layne. He knows he attracted, but hey, things might not work out. Throw in the need to work together with the horses and there’s great tension. Layne isn’t looking for anyone, but when opportunity strikes, he won’t shirk his duty.

This is a good story for anyone wanting to dip their toes into reading the M/M genre. It’s a hot, quick lunchtime read you won’t want to miss.

Second Go-Round by Lynn Burke


Second Go-Round by Lynn Burke
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (88 pages)
Other: M/F, BDSM (very light), Toys, Anal Play, Voyeurism/Exhibitionism
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Christine Gemberling doesn’t enjoy breaking hearts, but she has yet to find a man who knows how to handle the package between his legs well enough to satisfy her needs. No man has held her interest beyond a second date—much less her love.

Until one sultry night with an Elite Escort rocks her world like never before.

Professional escort Jarod Zimmerman has a strict code when working with clients—no emotional attachments. But the beer-drinking, football loving Christine and her curves push beyond his control, until the guarded playboy finds himself craving another go-round with the only woman intriguing enough to make him break his own code.

With her defenses stronger than his favorite football team, it will take more than Jarod’s talents in bed to change her stance on relationships. He’ll have to sacrifice his heart when the unexpected circumstance thrown their way threatens to rip them apart forever.

Christine is sick of boring, unfulfilling hook ups, men who simply don’t – or can’t – use their physical gifts to help her get a similar level of sexual satisfaction they do. She’s tired of it but doesn’t know how to change her luck. And then a friend finally comes through with payment on a previously made deal, and Christine is set up with Elite Escort Jarod. She finds him to be a delicious hunk whom she hopes can fulfill all her fantasies. Will Jarod live up to his hype?

I found this to be a fun and sexy short story. Christine is a modern woman who knows exactly what she wants sexually and is hungry and eager to get it. There’s no sweet “getting-to-know-you” phase to this story and considering Christine hired Jarod for a night of fulfilling sex I can’t really blame either of them. I enjoyed the chemistry and sexual tension between them both and wasn’t at all surprised at some of the kinky games the two played together. The story has a cracking pace and is definitely heavy on the sex and erotic desires of both main characters. Most of the plot centers on Christine and Jarod’s sexual needs and the building of their romantic relationship. Some of the sex is kinky – but I didn’t find it too dark or deep and feel most erotica readers shouldn’t struggle with anything raised in the sex scenes. There’s plenty of consensual play and a bit of kinky spice – but nothing that I found outrageous or too envelope pushing.

The chapters shift from Christine’s point of view to Jarod’s perspective. Since the story is written in the first person I found this really helped me connect well with both characters and so I thought that was skillful writing on the author’s part. I personally find first-person writing sometimes leaves me not feeling as attached to the characters but thankfully with the shifting perspectives this wasn’t an issue for me with this story. I particularly liked seeing how much Jarod was affected by Christine and how he struggled to try and retain his usual arms-length, professional escort emotional detachment. That made their chemistry and romance a lot more believable to me than if they’d both just taken one look at each other, had sex and fallen in insta-love. It helped sell the realism and emotional depth of the story to me.

For a hot and heavily-sexed short story this was a great quick read with interesting characters and plenty of steam for a quiet night in.