Milling by Sean Michael

Milling by Sean Michael
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (118 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Toby and Damon’s whirlwind romance continues, but can they find a balance between love and work? Do they even want to?

Toby can scarcely believe that his life has changed so much in less than two weeks, but it has. His predictable little life has gone from routine to sexually adventurous in a matter of days. And to be honest, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Damon’s just as into Toby, more interested in exploring with his new lover than spending all his time at the bar. Luckily things are running fairly smoothly there with his hand only occasionally needed on the rudder.

Their idyllic love affair has a few bumps to withstand, though, in the form of an intruder with a gun. Can Toby and Damon survive what happens next?

Toby and Damon have only been together for a few weeks, but both men have become totally caught up in the whirlwind of their romance. They’re thoroughly in love and wouldn’t have it any other way. After dealing with their own lives for a few days – Damon with his bar and Toby with his sculpting –  Damon in particular is itching for some special time with Toby, and Toby isn’t going to complain at all. When Damon finally sits for Toby, posing for his lover to sculpt him, the fire explodes between them and both know things will never be the same again.

This is a smoking hot book. While it is the sequel to Malting, it’s not necessary to have read that to enjoy Milling. Toby and Damon burn these pages up and I found myself entranced from the beginning. I really loved watching how their relationship grows and expands. Toby is fairly new to everything, both in a D/s relationship and Damon being his first real partner as well. I thought this freshness brought a sense of wonder and adventure to the experience.

While much of the sex is kinky, the love these two men share fills everything. It was a pleasure to read about Toby and Damon further exploring each other and the boundaries of their blossoming relationship. I also really enjoyed how we learn more about each man’s world. I was shown deeper into Toby and his sculpting, and Damon with his pub. Two very intriguing new characters were introduced (I’d love a book about Peter and Christian, please!) and all this added depth and layers to both Toby and Damon. It made me feel like their world, their relationship and their lives were more realistic. There is absolutely nothing wrong with endlessly hot, smoking sex, but the extra depth outside the bedroom made me enjoy Toby and Damon even more. I’ve really grown to love both the characters and the world they inhabit and know I’ll be rereading both these books many times in the future.

There is a small sub-plot, lightly linking Malting with this book and I feel (hope!) the author has left the door open for another book to come. I’m very curious to see how this will turn out and am eagerly anticipating more. This is an awesome story I feel many erotica readers will enjoy. Full of fun, smoking hot sex and awesome characters it’s totally a winner. Recommended.

Pink by Stephanie Burke

Pink by Stephanie Burke
Publisher: Changeling Press LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (98 pages)
Other: M/F, M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

Nothing is ever as it seems, and magazine owner Calita is about to find out how true that statement is. Who is the pink haired, cross-dressing man who has tongues wagging and orgies breaking out in every corner of her offices from his lust dust? And why is he so interested in her?

Pink knows Cali’s not having a good week — mostly because she’s been defending him from his insane family! She’s been harassed, had her lack of a sex life exposed, and managed to get herself cursed by Love and Peace, Pink’s meddling parents. But Pink, lust fairy extraordinaire, is not going to let his boss live a colorless existence. He’s going to do everything in his power to see Cali is never alone, even if she never knows love or peace again!

Now if he can only get her to see that wonderful things sometimes wear skirts and look just perfect in Pink…

Pink is an Urban Sprite who is trying to break free of his father and stepmother’s dominance. When he is happy, everyone around him is also because he surrounds them with his dust which brings about intense desire. Pink is the sprite of lust and everyone he touches can’t seem to stop from acting out their sexual need.

Calita can’t understand what has happened to her brother or the other employees at her magazine. Everyone seems to be obsessed with sex, and then she saw this big guy sitting in her office. From the top of his pink haired head to the bottom of his high heeled feet, this guy was dressed all in pink. Her first thoughts was, who is that and why is it in her office.

Pink was a strange book, it started off with this big pink sprite pumping out Lust dust and everyone around him losing control. I thought that it would be one of those books that I would regret reading but, imagine my surprise when I realized that I was actually enjoying the book. I love reading books about Faes, Were’s, Gods and Goddesses, and Pink had a little bit of all that in it. I loved that Pinks father was the god of Love but didn’t really display any love especially towards him. Love’s wife and Pinks stepmother was the goddess of Peace but didn’t make anything peaceful.

The character of Calita was strong and she didn’t take nonsense from anyone, since she really didn’t believe in stuff like that, she actually thought he was transgender. After all he did wear a skirt and dressed like a woman. I enjoyed Calita because she didn’t bite her tongue, she told off his parents when they came to try and bully Pink into leaving with them. I also like that she gave him a closet as his office and told him that she would tell him when he could come out of the closet. There were a few humorous tongue in cheek moments in this book like that one which helped make the story flow nicely.

Pink is definitely a cute story, it is short but you do get a sense of who the characters are and you root for Pink and Calita to find their way to each other.

Heart of the Serpent by N. J. Walters

Heart of the Serpent by N. J. Walters
Hades’ Carnival Book 5
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (95 Pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

Just when you thought the Devil had gotten his due, he’s back for more.

Hades’ Carnival, Book 5

Now that the five-thousand-year curse that kept him and his fellow shapeshifting warriors trapped in animal form has been lifted, Mordecai doesn’t quite know what to do with himself. He is free—in theory.

Hell left its stain on his soul, and his relationship with the warriors who once trusted him is uneasy. The only bright spot in his life is Jessica, whose shining innocence he dare not taint with his inner darkness. But it’s getting harder and harder to stay away from her.

Jessica longs for the days she and Mordecai shared an easy friendship. Now he seems as distant as the stars. He denies there’s a problem, but she’s determined to penetrate his shields.

Hades has been plotting his revenge from his prison. He can’t harm Mordecai without harming himself. But there’s nothing to stop him from wreaking havoc by hurting the one woman Mordecai would give his life to protect—Jessica.

The Lady of the Beasts is free from Hades’ prison, the curse over her warriors has been broken, and the warriors are free.

For Mordecai, life should be wonderful, but he still feels tainted by his time spent pretending to be Hades’ strong right hand. His brother warriors have forgiven him, and they have gone on with their lives with the women that freed them. But Mordecai feels his soul is tainted, and that he doesn’t deserve to be happy after all he has seen and done. The only bright light in his life is Jessica, the woman that returned his soul to him during the battle to defeat Hades. Jessica doesn’t understand why Mordecai can’t move on, and is saddened as he continues to pull away from her. All she wants is to be with him, but that seems to be moving further away every day. When the warriors discover that, although they are all safe from Hades, the women who helped them, Jessica and Tilly, are still in danger. When Jessica falls to a curse from Hades, will Mordecai step up and do what needs to be done to save her? Will Jessica find love with her wounded hero, just to lose it all? Or will these two find a way to beat Hades once again?

Heart of the Serpent is Mordecai and Jessica’s story, set in the world of Hades’ Carnival, but a bit later in time. Hades’ plot to take over has been revealed, but that doesn’t really stop him from trying to cause more havoc. I like this world that N. J. Walters has created, and I enjoyed going back to see how the warriors were adapting to modern women. I was so glad when Ms. Walters extended this series to include the three warriors we had not seen much of…Mordecai, Phoenix and Stavros.

Mordecai is a strong and intelligent warrior, patient and determined to stop Hades while pretending to do his bidding. He seemed like such a bad man, but there were indications that all was not as it seemed with him. When Jessica is cursed, Mordecai once more steps up, willing to do whatever it takes to save the woman that saved his soul. I liked Mordecai, because he was strong enough to accept what needed to be done, and willing to take the responsibility for his actions, even though he was mistaken in his ideas.

Jessica is a strong and courageous woman, ready to do battle with demons and even Hades himself if need be. But when it looks darkest, she only wants Mordecai, to be with him as long as she can. I like Jessica’s strength and determination to get what she wants, even as her physical strength is falling to the curse. Watching as she finally convinces Mordecai of her true desires is a pure show of will.

There are demons, and curses and battles still to win, but with Mordecai and Jessica, time is in short supply. Once they realize how to beat Hades, the story takes a hot and passionate turn and the reaction from the resident bad boy himself is a treat. I enjoyed seeing Hades once again get his due, and enjoyed his frustration at being thwarted once more by the warriors. This is a hot romance, perfect for anyone looking for some fantasy, hot romance and demon fighting expertise. But be warned, there may be tears mixed in with the passion and laughter.

Beck & Call by Emma Holly

Beck & Call by Emma Holly
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (245 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, F/M/M, M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Anal sex, Forced Seduction, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Women can’t keep their hands off billionaire Damien Call. The mysterious mogul has it all: fast cars, killer looks, and a brain that just might be his best asset.

Mia Beck loves her job at a PI firm. Her coworker Jake stars in most of her daydreams, so seeing him everyday is no hardship.

Jake hasn’t believed in human goodness since he worked black ops for the CIA. Romancing innocent Mia is unthinkable, no matter how enticingly submissive she seems to be. Then a case of corporate espionage forces them to pose as a dom/sub duo, to catch the eye of accused wrongdoer Damien. No fantasy is off limits for this voyeur—until the attraction the pair exerts lures him to go hands on . . .

Ready for an erotic romance that will blow your socks off? Give Beck & Call a try because Ms. Holly loaded this novel up with all the good stuff. The author introduced three characters that are all unique, quirky in their own way, and how they all mesh is a wonderful orchestration of personalities.

Damien is the aloof control freak with money to burn and a heart to protect. Jake is hardened ex-military with some experiences that inadvertently come in handy but who is doing his darnedest to stay away from the innocent and delightful Mia. Mia is the sweet custard filling in the middle of the treat. Yes, she’s a nice girl with a yen to please those she cares for but there’s nothing vanilla about this girl. She thinks she’s bland but when a case comes their way at the investigative company she works for, it means taking on a new challenge where her special skill and sunny personality provides the edge they need.

In the course of the case, Mia finds out more about herself than she thought possible and it’s very exciting. The reason why it’s such a page turner is the fire and sparks that erupt between Jake and Mia. The seduction was set in motion in the first chapter and the rest of the book takes a reader on a journey of sexual exploration, revelation and relationship development. Ms. Holly has perfected the telling of a romance while between the sheets, in the kitchen or wherever else passion overtakes her characters. Interspersed throughout are insights into what makes the characters tick because the point of view is told through all three characters, but Mia’s POV is a bit more prominent.

While reading the love scenes I saw the characters share secrets and insights about themselves which made what they were doing less about sex and more about falling in love. It wasn’t just about touching each other’s bodies but their hearts. The hardest heart to reach was Damien’s. His situation was unexpected and I really felt for him. However, once the HEA was reached, I had the distinct wish that he, with Jake and Mia at his back, would stand up once and for all to the perpetrator of his greatest hurt and stand tall and proud and tell that person that they had no more power over him, that he found people who love and believe in him. Because that is what Damien found in Mia and Jake – people who really won’t let him down, who believe in him and love him no matter what. And for me, that was the absolute most stupendously wonderful and powerful moment in the book. If I had to choose whose story was most compelling, I’d choose Damien’s.

Less a reader think this novel is only about sex, I have to mention the very devious little drama that plays out. There’s a bit of corporate espionage going on but I had no idea which way it was going to go, and when the conflict came to a crisis point, Ms. Holly presented a gripping and exciting conclusion which included a bit of military style help, cool gadgets and some crazy and delusional people to mess things up. It was very action packed.

If I could ask for things to make this book better, it would have been to get a clearer insight into Jake, to understand how Jake fit into the club scene. It was sort of hinted at and it was definitely titillating and intriguing but I was left unsatisfied. I can guess it was because it might have detracted from the main story but … just what was Jake and Curtis’s connection when they gave each other those looks? Did I miss something? One thing is for sure, this book is easy to re-read, so maybe I’ll figure it out with round two. A clever thing I did figure out was the novel’s title. I got a kick out of that.

Beck & Call is truly a romantic erotic story not to miss. Fans of Ms. Holly can be excited about this one; it’s a great showcase of her storytelling strengths. I’m a happy reader.

Soul Fire by Nichelle Gregory

Soul Fire by Nichelle Gregory
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (179 Pages)
Other: M/F, M/F/M, Anal Play, Toys, Menage
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia

Married almost ten years, Aimee and Kaden are committed to facing any challenges within their relationship together…even if it means exploring unexpected forbidden desires.

Aimee’s life goes into a tailspin after her husband, Kaden, reveals he’s had an affair. Devastated, Aimee’s unsure whether to call it quits on their marriage or to forgive him. Meanwhile, she turns to Van, Kaden’s colleague and friend, for solace, but comfort turns to sizzling sex and mutual feelings she never expected.

Committed to her marriage despite everything that’s happened, Aimee wonders if Kaden will be as forgiving as she has been for the sake of their relationship.

Kaden wants Aimee’s forgiveness. He’s willing to do anything to make things right, but wishes he could experience with his wife the same kind of spicy encounters he had with his lover. He’s shocked to learn the details of Aimee’s kinky tryst and jealous of the bond that exists between her and Van. Kaden doesn’t plan on losing his wife to another man, especially now when he and Aimee are finally being honest about what they need from each other.

Can their marriage survive and thrive with their new wicked passions?

After ten years of marriage Aimee Ryan finds out that her husband Kaden has cheated on her. She is hurt, devastated and disappointed, and so she turns to her friend Van for comfort and support. Van offers his support but he soon finds that he is completely attracted to Aimee and Aimee feels the same way about him. So instead of holding back and not exploring these feeling, Aimee gives in and has an affair with Van who also happens to be her husband Kaden’s colleague.

Kaden Ryan was feeling lonely and unloved by Aimee–she seemed to never make time to be intimate with him so he turned to his friend Van’s assistant Tonya for sexual soothing. For him it was just sex nothing more but when his wife Aimee found out he knew that he had hurt her. Kaden had to find a way to get Aimee to forgive him and to give their marriage another try. He had to find a way to put the spark back into their marriage.

Soul Fire is book three in the Souls Entwined series, and it’s all about the sexual awakening of Aimee and Kaden, and how they brought their marriage back from the brink of divorce. Their marriage and sex life was routine, with each wanting more from the other but did not know how to ask for it. However, once Kaden found out the things Aimee did with Van, he wanted to recreate it and embellish on it

The characters of Aimee and Kaden as well as Van and Tonya helped create a story that was interesting and enjoyable. Nichelle Gregory created characters that pulled you into their story and made you root for them. There was a little Dom/sub action going on with all four characters which was entertaining but never fully fleshed out. We got a glimpse of the role Tonya played as a submissive to Kaden, and also the same with Aimee and Van. Kaden made Aimee describe what she and Van did and then he recreated it with her; however he never said what he and Tonya did.

Also, I couldn’t quite understand how Van went from being in love with Aimee and willing to be a part of a threesome because he just needed to be near her, to dating Tonya. There was no explanation and knowing how hurt Aimee was with Kaden cheating with Tonya why would Van date someone who hurt the woman he professed to love? Also the ending of the book was abrupt and left a lot of questions unanswered.

Soul Fire is a good story to read, it will leave you with questions but it will also show you how two people who think they know one another can come to realize that there is always more to learn.

Ménage on Moone Mountain by Bella Settarra

Ménage on Moone Mountain by Bella Settarra
The Men of Moone Mountain Book One
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (267 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F/M, M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

Her legs can run, but her heart can’t hide.

While on the run from a violent ex-boyfriend, Brooke finds herself being looked after by Travis and Kent, two gorgeous bi-sexual cowboys. While every instinct she has tells her to keep running, the pull that these men have on her is so strong that she hesitates…and gives in. For now.

Travis Beaumont and Kent Freeman enjoy a loving relationship on Moone Mountain. But when Travis rescues the beautiful young Brooke Adams, both men end up falling for her. They’ve almost given up on their dream of adding a submissive girl to their “family” to make a ménage relationship. However, she refuses to tell them much about herself, although her nightmares and scars are a sure indication that the girl’s in big trouble.

When Brooke’s ex catches up with her, he’s intent on wreaking revenge. Can the love of her two cowboys give her the strength necessary to overcome his torment? And can the skill and courage of the two men lead them to save her before it is too late?

Kent and Travis are certainly a dynamic duo of sex, strength and confidence. These two together would be the undoing of any female’s will. Brooke does not stand a chance against their charm, yet he seems to hold her own and stick to her guns when it comes to them, as she refuses to put herself into another deadly situation.

Kent and Travis really are everything I would want in men. They are have great values and seem to just be all around good guys. Granted, Kent can push a bit too hard at times, but that is why he has Travis to help balance him out. They are only missing the submissive female of their dreams, and I so wish I was in Brooke’s shoes to be that girl to help complete their ménage.

Brooke is someone who you immediately want to protect and would be willing to fight besides. It is clear to me that she has had a rough past, but it did not break her the way it would many people. She still has inner strength and fight left in her. Enough that she ran to try to change things, shame she doesn’t think she can trust anyone, as the people around her truly want to help. They did not blame her for that and either could I. I just wanted her to realize that what she needed was right in front of her, as long as she had the courage to take it.

The plot of the story was amazing. With BDSM erotica I have read a few stories about a so called Dominant who is really a control freak looking to destroy what they see as a weaker person. I am glad Brooke did not let this happen to her, and I think it also helps teach people as well as prove to be entertaining. The dynamic definitely keep me interested from beginning to end, especially with the various twist and turns the story takes at times. I would definitely recommend you read it, and would certainly read it again myself.

Acting Out by Mia Watts

Acting Out by Mia Watts
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (66 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

Who wouldn’t want Hollywood hottie Cree Radek? When Evan Walker, Cree’s assistant, gives in to temptation, he’s sure Cree only wants a one-nighter. Evan has plans of his own, and falling in love isn’t one of them.

Cree Radek is one of Hollywood’s hottest stars. He’s an unapproachable alpha wrapped in black leather and spikes with ice-blue eyes lined in black. He’s hard to read and all kinds of sex-on-a-stick.

Evan Walker works for Cree as his assistant. Long hours and living arrangements make it impossible to keep things professional. So, when things get steamy, Evan sees himself as an easy target. But for Cree, Evan is a lot more than a one-night stand.

Family business takes Evan away in the middle of filming. Cree says he wants him back, but can a celebrity be faithful to a regular guy?

Working in Hollywood as an assistant to one of the hottest movie stars alive wasn’t exactly how Evan Walker pictured his life, but it was his only option if he was to find the man who abandoned him and his mother. While playing gopher for one of the country’s biggest stars, Evan bides his time, waiting on the information he needs to turn his mother’s life around. What he doesn’t plan on is falling hard for Cree Radek.

Evan Walker is a conflicted soul. He wants to find his father so he can go back home and take care of his mother. But, the longer he’s around Cree, the more he wants to stay right where he is. I loved his desire to be there for his mother and to care for her, even if it meant giving up what really made him happy – Cree. What I didn’t quite care for was the way he overreacted to protect himself from getting hurt. I get that, no one wants to look the fool, but he went a little overboard. But, in the end, he swallows his pride and does what he should have in the first place, redeeming him in my opinion.

Cree Radek is an enigma for most people, hiding behind black glam eyeliner and leather so that no one really gets to know him. Trouble is he’s extremely reluctant to let anyone ever get to know him. I was thrilled when he and Evan made that connection and found that they could be at ease with each other. His fear of being used and exploited combined with Evan’s fear of getting hurt really create a huge wall between the two that comes tumbling down in a very epic manner. To Cree’s credit, despite his hang ups, he has a big heart and seems to forgive easily enough. Lucky for Evan.

Acting Out is a sweet and sexy story of two rather lost souls trying to find their romantic footing with one another. Despite everything thrown at them, they tough it out and find a way to make it work, even when neither thinks there’s a chance. A hot little story about honesty, forgiveness, and second chances.

Screwdrivers, a Hammer Short Collection by Sean Michael

Screwdrivers, a Hammer Short Collection by Sean Michael
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (147 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Want to catch up with what three of the Hammer Club’s most popular couples are getting up to? Then the nine stories this anthology featuring Marcus and Jim, Billy and Montana, and Simon and Jeremy are for you.

The stories in this anthology have been previously published on their own and include: Groceries, Deck the Sub, Water and Steel, Hands Tied, Market Day, Tanny and the Cage, Heaven Sent, Brownies, and New Legs, New Year.

This book is a nice collection of short stories that all revolve around a few couples. In these shorts, we meet Jim and Marcus, Billy and Tanny as well as Simon and Jeremy. Each of these couples has their own story to tell and if you follow this author and The Hammer series you will recognize their names and may have even read their stories. However this collection gives us short glimpses into their private lives. These men are devoted to one another and will always be each other’s rock. Each couple must face their own dilemmas and readers are taken along for the ride.

These stories are full of emotions and there are some intense sexual scenes between the subs and their Doms. The love and devotion between these men is so strong in these stories that you can just about reach out and touch it. I enjoyed getting a look at each of the couple’s intimate moments and loved all of the men. They all have unique relationships that give each man just what he needs. Every man is different; from a shy quiet sub to one who goads his Dom and another who needs something entirely different. I loved the differences in all the men and their relationships. While every relationship is different the love and trust is the same and just as strong. Love comes easily for these men and is shown freely.

While you can read this collection by itself I think that reading their initial books would make this a much better read and understanding of what these couples have gone through and the love that they have for each other. This book enhances their original stories and should not be missed.

Not Broken by Dana Marie Bell

Not Broken by Dana Marie Bell
True Destiny Book 5
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (156 Pages)
Other: M/M, M/F/M, Ménage, Anal Sex/Play
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

Three hearts are stronger than the sum of their scars.

True Destiny, Book 5

Slade Saeter endured centuries of torture, longing for the day he could claim Magnus Tate and Sylvia Grimm as mates. Now freedom is his, but nightmares still plague this son of Loki, and he fears his lovers will believe him too fragile to bond.

Magnus never thought he could have the woman of his dreams, not when she was broken by his own father, her heart shattered by Thor’s infidelities and their ultimate divorce. But Slade’s determination gives him a glimmer of hope.

Never one to let anything keep her down for long, Sylvia has long since healed from her ex-husband’s betrayals. But accepting her own stepson as a bonded mate? While it’s something she can wrap her body around, her heart is another story.

As three war-weary, damaged hearts slowly find balance among them, they form bonds of surprising strength. But with danger descending upon them with the fury of a Valkyrie, time is the one thing they may not have.

Not Broken is the latest episode in Dana Marie Bell’s marvelous True Destiny series.

Now that his twin has found his mate, Magnus Tate feels the pull to settle down as well. He has always known he might find a mate of either gender, but when he learns that Loki’s son, Sleipnir (aka Slade) is his, he is delighted. When Slade tells him they have a third yet to claim, he is stunned to learn that it is the one woman he has desired his whole life; his former step-mother, Sylvia. But he also knows that she has been firmly under his grandmother’s control, and against his side of the family. When Sylvia comes to Magnus and Slade and tells them she wants to escape, along with Sydney Saeter (Logan’s ex-wife) they are thrilled, but cautious. If she is sincere, they may get the woman both want in their lives. They agree to a trial period, and as the forces that side with Grimm attack, they work alongside Magnus and the rest of the family to thwart the attacks. Can three wounded souls manage to come together and heal each other? Will Sylvia be able to convince Magnus and Slade of her true intent?

I love this world, with the Norse gods living in modern times, and it is my favorite literary ’soap opera’; just when you think everything is clear, Ms. Bell throws another curveball at you, bringing characters in and scrambling the story just a bit more.

Magnus is strong and determined. He is protective of his family, and that family just keeps growing. He has wanted Sylvia since she was married to his father, Thor, but has been afraid she will never see him for himself. I like that, when the opportunity presents itself to have everything he has ever wanted, he remains cautious, hoping for the best, but expecting nothing. With Slade, he has found a sort of contentment, but when Slade tells him that Sylvia is theirs, he is optimistic that they can have it all.

Slade is Loki’s son, and was tortured almost to death by Grimm before the family freed him. He is strong in spirit and determined to have the two people he has foreseen as his mates; Magnus and Sylvia. Still recovering from his torture, he still is willing to protect what is his, and learns that his father never stopped loving him, which gives him strength to keep going. I like Slade, with his core of inner strength and his totally off the wall sense of humor. He brings laughter into Magnus’ life and to all those he touches.

Sylvia is determined to break with the family that has controlled and abused her for so long. She didn’t realize she was as brave and strong as she was, until she took the future into her own hands and asked Magnus to help her make the break. She is stunned when Slade and Magnus claim her, and is determined to prove she will not bring disaster down on the growing Tate/Saeter clan. I liked watching as she realized how Magnus felt, and as she overcame the idea of having a relationship with her former step-son.

This is a story of three wounded souls, none complete on their own, but together they are so much more than apart. There are dangers around every corner, and some surprises I didn’t see coming that were an absolute delight. New additions to the family, besides Sylvia and Sydney, folks I hope to see in the future as Ms. Bell continues to spin this web of intrigue and passion to include more of the God of the Norse mythology. I recommend this for those with the imagination to believe in the unbelievable, and get lost in the passion and heat of True Destiny.

A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews

A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (238 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Lilac

When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything?

In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else—something he can’t name.

Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family and community.

Now that they’ve found each other, are they willing to lose it all?

Two Amish boys discover sex and love, but their secret is a tough one to keep from a strict, traditional Amish community.

This story reads absolutely authentic and shines in every aspect. The characters are down-to-earth, warm and relatable. Though written in third person, we get the story solely from Isaac’s point of view. Isaac is nervous but courageous, his fascination toward men partly sexual and partly simply a boy intrigued by a different type of men (the English, as in everyone who isn’t Amish) and a different kind of life. David has an easy persona, calm and kind and approachable. Isaac’s crush on him is reciprocated, in secret, as they begin their work relationship as carpenter and apprentice, and evolve into friends and lovers.

The author seems to know, understand and empathize the everyday life and struggles of the Amish people, their attempts to be true to their faith, their poverty, the strict rules they adhere to, and the way they work the land as farmers and herders. But… Andrews also reveals how the Amish youngies in secret watch movies, listen to Lady Gaga, and use smartphones. Their inquisite approach is shown in a gentle manner, as kids being fascinated with the world, in an essential way no different than any other kid on the planet. It’s not rebellion, per se, but simple curiosity which acts as a driving force of the plot.

We’re also shown the flipside of this rigid world stuck in medieval times through both Isaac and David. Isaac’s big brother, Aaron, went wild, as they say, and left home, now shunned by their Amish community. David’s brother, on the other hand, died in an accident—one involving drugs, booze, naked girls, and a car, though there’s way more to the story than that. Because of their family history both Isaac and David are constantly under the pressure to conform, to deny their true nature, and not act wild. In fact, their fictional Amish community, Zebulon, is far stricter in their interpretation of the Bible than other Amish communities. That’s one of the reasons why David has a secret carpentry workshop with his friend, June, as he uses electricity and even sells his pieces to the English.

If you let go of your expectations of what constitutes a literary work of an Amish gay affair, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I had some preconceived notions of what the story would be like, but I wasn’t prepared for how good this story is. For example, there’s a lot more sex here than I initially surmised. A lot more. These surprising sex scenes are organic in the sense that they flow naturally and realistically for two young men, one eighteen and the other twenty-two, who neither have been with a man or a woman before. Their touches are tentative at first but as they grow to realize their nature and how far they can go, that changes them, the need to be true to themselves warring with the compulsion to conform. Naturally, they are eventually discovered in the act by a friend.

The plot moves equally naturally. We’re shown the everyday life of the Amish in detail without being overwhelmed. We’re shown how everyone expects Isaac to get his own buggy and marry Mary, who also happens to be David’s younger sister. Her sights have been set on Isaac since they were kids. Due to the death of David’s brother and a tragic, needless accident befalling his mother, David is trapped. The peer pressure of this tight-knot community, from adults and young folk alike, is enormous. No wonder kids cave under that kind of psychological and physical pressure, even if they are filled with questions about nature, the Bible, the world, etc. The situation overall gets worse when the adults, including religious leaders, refuse to answer these questions; they don’t even allow these subjects to be discussed or acknowledge their existence. That partly explains why so many young folk leave and never come back.

Like I stated above, this story has a lot to offer if you forget any expectations. I expected this to be way more tragic and sad than it actually was. This particular Amish town stuck in the past, without electricity or other means to improve their lives, are shown in a sorrowful light but we aren’t required or encouraged to hate, fear or pity, let alone like or love them. We are given the opportunity to form our own opinion, as nothing is forced down our throats, no propaganda either way.

The Amish in general seem to be stuck in an age where the belief systems of the adults is passed on to their children. Not unlike a lot of world religions. What a person believes is his or her own business; when that faith is turned into a tradition and the following generations are forced to follow blindly and strive under that yolk, that’s when things get tricky, wrong, and dangerous. That’s the reason why stories like this, both real and fictional, exist. To remind us how essential freedom of religion and freedom of choice truly are.