Alex’s Law by Jayce Ellis


Alex’s Law by Jayce Ellis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Holiday
Length: Short Story (59 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, Masturbation
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Alex Corrigan is in love with his boss, Judge Lawson Daniels, and thinks those feelings are returned. That assumption is sorely tested two days before the court holiday party they’re organizing together, when the venue calls and cancels, followed by a snafu with the caterer. Alex could handle that, but after an intimate dinner followed by a decidedly unromantic e-mail, he’s left wondering about the future of his employment as well as his relationship with the debonair older man.

Law can’t wait to see his clerk again. But Alex is cold and distant in the light of day, and Law doesn’t understand. The party looms in the background, but Law’s excitement is turning to dread. On top of that, someone is sabotaging them, trying to get Alex fired and drive Law off the bench. If there’s any chance for a happy holiday for Alex and Law, they’ll have to find out who.

A workplace romance? Who says it can’t happen…

I haven’t read anything by Jayce Ellis, but I’m glad I remedied that. This book rocked. I loved the characters and the build-up. The author knew how to make the characters dance around each other and seem realistic. I read the author’s bio and see she’s a lawyer. This was why the courtroom portions of the book were so detailed and interesting. I felt like I was right there with Alex and Law.

These two characters were so funny in the way they couldn’t quite figure out how to say what they wanted. I rooted for them all the way. Ms. Ellis wrote with a good knowledge of law, which helped make the story better and deeper. I could feel the passion between the characters and wanted to see them find their happy ending.

If you want a book with a touch of suspense, a little mystery and lots of heat, then this might be the book for you.

Treasure Trail by Nicole Dennis


Treasure Trail by Nicole Dennis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (71 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Owner of Matey’s Tavern, a popular brewpub-tavern in St. Augustine, Florida, Derick Keyes loves his adopted hometown and job. He also harbors a crush on a pirate captain.

Tour guide for the popular Pirate Pub Walking Tour, Christopher Easton portrays a pirate captain as he takes visitors on a guided tour of St. Augustine, stopping at certain taverns for a pint of grog and tales of the golden age of piracy. With a little liquid courage, Chris breaks the cycle when he talks to Derick. Things change between them. Derick wants a chance for more with Chris.

During the Annual Pirate Festival, Derick creates a treasure hunt for Chris after “cursing” him. To break the curse, Chris must find four clues before the final battle on Sunday night. Only then can the curse be broken.

Matey’s Tavern is one of the oldest pubs in St. Augustine. Derrick is the owner and is very happy that his pub is on the regular route for the tourist attraction – the Pirate Pub Crawl. Captain Chris was far and away Derrick’s favourite tour leader, six feet tall of deeply interesting man, Derrick couldn’t deny his attraction to the Captain. But Derrick is painfully shy and doesn’t know how to approach Chris. Chris is certainly interested, but doesn’t know Derrick returns the attraction. Can these two men find their way to each other?

I found this to be a fun story, full of pirate lore and set in the lovely historical city of St. Augustine. I enjoyed how the author worked in a fair bit of history about the city without info-dumping and made it feel relevant and intriguing. Derrick and Chris are both really interesting characters and I found myself drawn into the start of their relationship quite quickly. Readers who like a slower pace to their romances should be as thrilled by Derrick and Chris as I was. I loved how they got to know each other a bit first, talking and spending time and not simply jumping straight into bed.

Readers who like pirate stories should also find this a fun and great read. While the re-enactments and pirate stuff is certainly part of the plot, I enjoyed how it was (for me, at least) a completely different way for the two men to come together. And while both Derrick and Chris talked about a whole lot of other things as they got to know each other, the theme of the pirate tours stayed strong throughout the story – it wasn’t just dropped as soon as the men got to know each other, and I found this quite refreshing.

For a hot, sexy and explicit read this story ticks a number of great boxes for me. I loved both Chris and Derrick’s characters and found myself quite attached to them both almost form the start. With a fun scavenger’s hunt, loads of pirate acting and games and a bit of history about the town of St. Augustine, I found this to be a fantastic book and a great read. I’ll happily be reading it many times to come.

Taming The Wyld by Lucie Archer


Taming The Wyld by Lucie Archer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (101 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

The Witness Protection Program dumps JD Smith practically at the ends of the earth—in Two Pines, Alaska—to protect him until he can testify against a dangerous gang. He tries to stick to his story and keep his head down, but it’s impossible to ignore bush pilot Jake Wylder, a sexy loner with quite a reputation around the small town.

Flying medical supplies around Alaska suits Jake’s wild streak and love of freedom. He’s perfectly content to keep his romantic encounters casual—at least until he meets JD. Something about the nurse makes Jake think settling down might not be such a hardship. Now he just needs to convince JD he’s serious—which won’t be easy, given his past.

For a relationship to stand a chance, JD must testify so he can return to Two Pines as the man he really is—and Jake must grow into the man JD needs him to be.

Jake owns two bush planes and his company – Wyld Freight and Transport – delivers medical supplies to small towns in the Alaskan wilderness. On one of their supply runs, Jake meets JD. JD was hiding out in Alaska and had no plans to stick around longer than necessary. But can Jake make JD change his mind?

I found this a fun and light-hearted story. Jake was a total player – a bit of a good-natured hound dog really – and while sometimes those kinds of characters really irritate me I have to admit I loved Jake. While he was a bit free and easy with his bed-partners, he was good natured about it and genuinely didn’t mean anything bad by all those one night stands. JD, in contrast, has secrets and despite his attraction to Jake has no intention of starting a relationship when so much of JDs life is a complete mess right now.

I really enjoyed the characters, both Jake and JD were layered and I found them extremely interesting. There were also plenty of very strong secondary characters who I thought helped make the story really great. While much of the plot revolved around JD and Jake circling each other, disagreeing with each other and fighting their attraction, there was a decent sub-plot around JD’s secrets that I found really interesting.

Best of all I loved how Jake and JD didn’t just jump into bed, or fall at each other’s feet and instantly have sex. I loved the build-up of their attraction, the chemistry that sparked and grew until neither one could deny it, even if they did butt heads plenty. I thought this was a well-paced, realistic love story with a great plot and all that wrapped up together made this a deeply satisfying read for me.

With great characters, interesting plot and some steamy sex I feel this is a fantastic book and one I would happily recommend to friends.

Plaid versus Paisley by KC Burn


Plaid versus Paisley by KC Burn
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (209 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Mistletoe

Two years after his life fell apart, Will Dawson moved to Florida to start over. His job in the tech department of Idyll Fling, a gay porn studio, is ideal for him. When his boss forces him to take on a new hire, the last person he expects is Dallas Greene—the man who cost him his job and his boyfriend back in Connecticut. He doesn’t know what’s on Dallas’s agenda, but he won’t be blindsided by a wolf masquerading as a runway model. Not again.

Dallas might have thrown himself on his brother’s mercy, but his skills are needed at Idyll Fling. Working with Will is a bonus, since Dallas has never forgotten the man. A good working relationship is only the beginning of what Dallas wants with Will.

But Dallas doesn’t realize how deep Will’s distrust runs, and Will doesn’t know that the man he’s torn between loving and hating is the boss’s brother. When all truths are revealed, how can a relationship built on lies still stand?

Will has gotten himself a good job and although he is happy and comfortable he never forgets why he is where he is now. Will may be happy at his job but everyone including his friends can see that he is burning himself out. When his boss brings a young man names Dallas to help him Will is more than surprised. Add in the fact that Will believes that Dallas is the reason behind his firing and the sparks fly. There is a strong attraction between the two men but Will believes Dallas to be an enemy. Can the two find a way to a truce to help Idyll Fling grow into the company that it can be?

This is book two from the Fabric Hearts series. I am enjoying my visits to this world. Plaid versus Paisley gives us Will’s story. We met him in Raven’s book. Will has a reason for hiding out in the server room and it has more to do with his last job than anything else. I loved getting to see Will’s past and his reasons for his actions. When Dallas arrives we see the attraction that these two have for each other but their past plays a large part in their present. Misunderstandings and assumptions lead to pain and heartache. Can the men figure out that their love worth fighting for or is it too late? I enjoyed watching Will and Dallas find their way. Their love is stronger than they realize and seeing the work that they put into it makes for a nice read.

The author does a wonderful job of moving this story along and keeping the reader interested. Will and Dallas are both strong characters full of emotions. Their story has its ups and downs and it pulled me right in from the start. I was quickly immersed in their story and kept turning the pages to see just what would happen between the two men. Not only did Dallas and Will have a lot to say but the secondary characters also made themselves known making this a well rounded story and I hope that this is not the last time we get to visit this world.

Add Love And Mix by Sean Michael


Add Love And Mix by Sean Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (197 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Firefighter Jason “Jase” Weller and EMT Scott Bronson are living the perfect life. They work together in jobs they love, they live together, and in their downtime, they still can’t get enough of each other. It’s been six amazing years. Then on Christmas Eve, Jase’s former lover Elsa shows up with a six-year-old girl in tow. The strung-out junkie claims Kerry is Jase’s daughter and it’s his turn to care for her, and then she walks out.

Shocked at both the fact that Elsa is now a junkie and that he has a daughter he never knew about, Jase nonetheless steps up to the plate as her father and Scott offers his full support. Having an instant family comes with plenty of challenges, and the two men work to deal with sweeping changes in their lives and to make things right for Kerry.

It’s not going to be easy, and their new circumstances test them and their relationship like nothing ever has. They’ll need all the love they have for each other, and the love they discover for their daughter, to keep from breaking apart.

Jase is a fireman, and his lover Scott is a paramedic. They’ve been together for six years and are both blissfully happy. On Christmas Eve though, Jase’s ex-lover finds him and dumps a small girl on him, claiming the child is his daughter. Can Jase and Scott work things out while juggling the needs of a little girl as well?

I am a huge fan of Sean Michael’s but haven’t read many of his straight M/M contemporary romances. This one was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Jase and Scott are a long term, solidly committed couple who have their entire world turned upside-down when Jase’s young daughter is brought into their lives. I found the whole story really well paced – time moves forward, but not so fast that the reader isn’t exposed to all the many, massive changes in both Jase and Scott’s lives. And while everything is not glittering rainbows of happiness, I did love how the entire story had a positive focus and spin on everything.

I quickly became very emotionally attached to Scott, Jase and Kerry. I wanted to see how they worked through all the changes and problems that arose. I loved seeing them trying to reconfigure their family and relationships both together and as couples – Jase with Kerry, Kerry and Scott etc – and this lent the whole story a feeling on a warm, fuzzy and family-focused story. While there is plenty of very steamy sex between Jase and Scott, I truly felt like the main focus of the story was the three of them building and forging a strong family dynamic.

Readers who enjoy these kinds of character based stories with plenty of ups and downs should love this book as much as I did. I liked how the author didn’t shy from pointing out all the pitfalls, problems and concerns both Jase and Scott found in this new road of theirs, but at no point did I feel like these issues were over-dramatized or like there was overwrought emo put in for no reason. This read like a very realistic, interesting and enjoyable story and one I could easily see occurring in real life.

A brilliant, warm hearted story and one I greatly enjoyed and can recommend.

His Needs by Kris T. Bethke


His Needs by Kris T. Bethke
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (113 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When State Trooper Travis Kinslow is injured right before Thanksgiving, the only positive is that for once he won’t be working during the holidays. Since he has no family, Travis was absorbed into his best friend, Joe’s, and he considers them as good as his own. Everyone except Joe’s brother Noah. Travis has been in love with the younger man for much of his life, but he’s always kept his distance.

As an ER nurse, Noah is a caretaker by nature. When his brother’s best friend is hurt, he’s happy to help Travis while he heals. He’s only ever allowed himself to think of Travis as the next best thing to an older brother, but by the light of the Christmas tree, Noah finally sees Travis’s true feelings. And in that moment, everything changes.

When faced with opposition and a Christmas nothing like they imagined, will their hopes for the future be enough to carry them through?

Travis is a decorated state trooper, but after he gets hit by a speeding car during a routine traffic stop he wakes up in the hospital, in a lot of pain. Noah, the brother of his best friend, is a nurse in the hospital and the man Travis has yearned for, for almost twenty years now. Can Noah and Travis finally push past the brotherly relationship they have, now Travis truly needs Noah’s help?

I really enjoyed this story. It is a slow, well paced romantic story of two men who have known each other forever, and been as close as family, but when their circumstances change they can each finally admit to feeling far deeper about the other than they’ve ever admitted. I loved how the slower pace of the story really let me get a feel for the characters and enjoy their situations. This is all told from the first-person point of view by Travis, but I really loved how the author showed through small hints and gestures exactly how Noah was feeling too. I never once questioned the deep love was felt equally by both men, even though we never actually see anything from Noah’s perspective.

The build-up and chemistry in this story was phenomenal. I really loved how Noah and Travis came together, both growing and still learning and discovering things about themselves and each other. The sex – when it finally arrived – was smoking hot and deliciously written. I was already heavily invested in the relationship and both men by then so the graphic intimacy was just the icing on the cake for me. I really feel that this is such a wonderful, well paced and emotional, romantic story that readers of all heat levels should enjoy it. Only readers who strictly avoid M/M romances might not enjoy this story.

With a huge extended family, and plenty of interesting and vibrant characters and plot I found this to be a well rounded story. With a strong, heartwarming and family centered theme, this slow building romance between Travis and Noah was an excellent story and I one I expect to happily re-read a number of times in the future. An excellent story.

Limitless by SJD Peterson


Limitless by SJD Peterson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (193 pages)
Other: M/M, BDSM, spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lilac

Even within the context of the Underground BDSM Club, Joshua’s desires are dark and extreme. Hopelessly addicted to pain and the high it gives him, he has no limits. Joshua would quite literally rather die than use a safeword, and he accepts that might be his fate. As much as he depends on others, he has yet to find a man who can gain his trust, and he has little hope that he ever will.

For Nash, acquiring Joshua from another Dom at the club is only the first step in what will be a long and arduous road to lure the young man back from the brink of self-destruction. He must do the impossible and win Joshua’s trust, and he must be the one to set limits in their exploration—something he’s unaccustomed to as a Dom. But Nash knows dominance doesn’t always mean pushing a submissive’s boundaries. It’s about establishing a bond and fulfilling another man’s needs. In Joshua’s case, he’ll have to strike a balance between meeting the young man’s expectations and drawing firm lines that will save Joshua from himself.

A young man hell-bent on pain and death crosses the path of a kind and understanding Dom, and they try to make things work through a series of scenes of escalating sex, pain play, and love.

Petersen is a good writer when it comes to the emotional and erotic sides of BDSM. I can’t attest to her expertise, per se, but her stories read well. Her fluent and effortless writing especially shines in character creation when she gives us fascinating, realistic, multi-faceted men who are flawed but still deserving of love. In this, though, the characterization is a bit odd. Namely Joshua who’s supposed to be an uneducated street kid–but who speaks using adult, educated language that often threw me and pulled me out of the story. Apart from that, no complaints.

The plot in this one is a little thin. Joshua, the sub, has a yearning for pain that’s so all-encompassing that it borders on a death wish. Nash, the Dom, falls for the man at first sight, takes him to his place, writes up a contract, and then tries to convince Joshua that there’s plenty to live for. It’s not complicated, so there’s a bit of repetition here. Some scenes, while hot, feel like area that’s already been covered. But this is a work in progress, trying to talk someone off the ledge. Also, since the blurb suggests Joshua’s problem is deeply engrained into his personality, he steps off the edge of self-destruction quite quickly. Nonetheless, a plot doesn’t have to be overly complex to be compelling, and this story, stacked full of sexual and sensual scenes, has a magnetic pull that kept me at the edge of my seat throughout.

The story begins when Nash has already seen Joshua before many times which made me feel like I’d come into the story in the middle. Plus, the story ends really abruptly, like practically in the middle of a scene. Perhaps some, including the author, might think the story is fine ending there, but I felt like there was way more story there but I didn’t get it. A matter of personal taste?

After all that you might think this isn’t worth your time. But you’d be wrong. Because this is a solid story of the darker side of BDSM. Many readers probably aren’t familiar with pain play and how it can be an outlet for people, the way it is for Joshua. BDSM offers him controlled situations where he can let go and enjoy pain. He longs to have limits but has never met anyone who’s taken him beyond that point. Nash instinctually understands Joshua, so they click well. This is a fascinating subject, and this tale opens a door into it. I rather liked it, and can’t wait for more.

This is part of a series, Underground Club, but can be read as a standalone. I recommend this to everyone who’s intrigued with BDSM, the Dom/sub relationship, the concept of pain mixed with pleasure, and flawed, realistic men who more than deserve a happy ending.

Andre In Flight by Laura Lascarso


Andre In Flight by Laura Lascarso
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (116 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When up-and-coming Miami painter Martin Fonseca encounters youthful pretty boy Andre Bellamy washing dishes in the kitchen of La Candela, he swears he’s known him before, intimately. But Andre only arrived in Miami weeks ago, after running away from small-town Alabama and his abusive father. When Martin discovers Andre trading sexual favors for a place to stay, he offers him a room in his studio apartment. As roommates only.

What starts as a playful friendship turns into something more as Andre begins posing for Martin, whose true passion is painting fantastical portraits. Martin’s obsession with Andre grows until they are sharing more than just flirtatious conversation. But when an eccentric art collector buys one of Martin’s paintings, Martin’s past jealousies resurface and threaten to destroy what he and Andre have so lovingly built.

When Andre starts working as a dishwasher Martin is drawn to him, unable to put the handsome young man out of his mind. Andre left a bad situation in Alabama and is slow to open up to Martin. Can the two men work things out?

I found this to be a really interesting, complicated erotic romance. I really enjoyed how Martin and Andre took the time to get to know each other, and the slower pace made their friendship and eventual relationship felt far more realistic to me than the quicker “meet and fall into bed” style erotic romances that are out in the market lately. I enjoyed the complexity of both Andre and Martin’s characters. There’s a small supporting cast and toward the end a big twist in the plot. While this twist takes quite a leap of faith (and has a very slight paranormal-ish bend to it) I found it extremely interesting – keeping my attention firmly embedded in Andre and Martin’s story.

While initially there is only a small hint of underlying sadness, I couldn’t help but feel as the story progresses that what started out as a lovely, almost romantic M/M romance became quite a lot darker. Martin and Andre have a somewhat rocky relationship and especially toward the end I felt the cracks in their romance are really starting to show. I found it impossible for most of the story to work out whether Andre or Martin was in the wrong – or indeed if either of them were – as the story really is quite complex. The two men have what I feel are real problems – Andre has been abused and in some ways is very young and naïve, Martin is temperamental and I felt he had difficulty communicating his true worries and feelings to Andre clearly. Far from a criticism, I felt these flaws really made Andre and Martin both appear far more realistic and understandable to me.

Readers who like plot-twists and unusual storylines shouldn’t be disappointed in this story. I feel that readers looking for a light, happy, fluffy read probably won’t find this a suitable story as it is quite complicated and especially toward the end I found it a little dark. With a happy ending, interesting and multi-layered characters and a whole bunch of twisty plot, this is a good story that I feel should appeal to many readers.

A Country Boy At Heart by M. A. Church


A Country Boy At Heart by M. A. Church
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (118 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Hot damn, what more could a country boy want? Bass Pro Shop is finally opening in Tennessee. Nick plans to check out all twelve indoor acres chock-full of hunting, fishing, and boating in the Memphis Pyramid on the Mississippi River.

City boy Sandy wonders yet again how he let himself get talked into attending a grand opening for a hick hunting store. His geeky heart prefers the energy of the city. Little does he know all that is going to change due to a freakishly tall glass elevator—and Nick, the high-school crush who’s suddenly taking a second look at him.

A moment of panic while trapped in the elevator leads to a spark neither expected. Getting out is the least of the challenges they’ll face if they want to try to put their differences aside and find out if love is possible between a city boy and a country boy.

Nick and Sandy had been friends through high school until Nick got in a fight to defend Sandy and ended up coming out of the closet. Hurting and still shocked by what he’d done, Nick had snapped at Sandy and the two hadn’t spoken at all in the years since then. When they bump into each other will they both finally be able to reconnect and forget the past?

I enjoyed this lighthearted romance. I was really pleased when Nick and Sandy patched up their friendship very early on in the story. While that aspect of the plot – the fight, their silence with each other etc – felt a little forced and clichéd to me, having them both talk through it all at the beginning was a good way to put that back in the past where I felt it belonged and allow Nick and Sandy to start fresh again. I also really liked the pacing of the story. The chemistry grew between them with a good intensity and I was pleased that we as readers were shown who Nick and Sandy were as characters before they both jumped into bed together.

There were a few twists in the plot (around one of Nick’s friends, Hank, in particular!) that I really enjoyed and found surprising. I also found the sex refreshingly sweet. Nick might be a country boy and a working farm hand, but I loved how very sensitive and sweet he could be with Sandy. I felt the author did a great job in making both Nick and Sandy’s characters realistic and manly without being over-the-top macho or too alpha-male, which is something I do grow tired of as a reader.

I found this to be a heart-warming and emotional story with engaging characters and a few surprises along the way that made this a deeply enjoyable read for me. A lovely book I can strongly recommend to any reader.

Settling Down by Nicole Forcine

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Settling Down by Nicole Forcine
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (97 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

It’s been six months since Tim and Jae got together, and they’re giving Domestic Discipline an honest try. But when conflicting events conspire to interrupt their life, Tim starts to fray at the edges. He’s doing his best to handle everything, but he still struggles with unaddressed issues, both past and present. And seeing Tim trying to hold it together is breaking Jae’s heart.

There has to be a breaking point, and when it arrives, it’s Jae’s turn to take the reins, to provide them both with what they truly need.

Jae and Tim have been together a while and are trying to settle into Domestic Discipline together. While the fantasy of living a hard-core BDSM lifestyle together suited them both perfectly, these things never go as easily to plan as one could hope. Can they manage to settle down together?

This is an interesting short story about a couple who are into the BDSM lifestyle. I loved how the author managed to open my eyes to elements of the BDSM lifestyle that I hadn’t read about particularly before, and more importantly showed me in the context of Jae and Tim’s loving relationship not only how it could work, but explained a lot of Jae and Tim’s needs and thought process behind it. Better yet, it didn’t come across to me as info-dumping or like a how-to manual. By showing me Jae and Tim’s perspectives and explaining what they needed and received from their version of the lifestyle I could not only discover their need and love for each other, but also learned a lot about BDSM in a manner that I haven’t found from other books.

I also really enjoyed how the author balanced Jae and Tim’s lifestyle with such understandable, real-life type of problems. The first serious parental visit for the new couple, worries about when the right time to move in properly together might be, hellish ex-boyfriends and how to juggle work crisis’ with quiet together time. Jae and Tim, while heavily into the lifestyle, were also completely relatable to my mind with the sort of concerns and problems that every couple have. Sprinkle in some laughter and a healthy dose of chemistry and this story ticked a lot of the happy boxes for me.

I found this to be a fun and emotional short story, full of laughter, interesting tidbits about the BDSM lifestyle and wonderful characters. A great read.