Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael


Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (204 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When his three-year-old daughter is kidnapped, Eric Wilson doesn’t have many options, and time is running out. With nowhere else to turn, he reaches out to his ex, influential businessman Brock Vencenza, whose money and contacts might be able to save Josie.

Brock never got over Eric’s loss, and he’s more than willing to help when Eric needs him most. Together with law enforcement and private security, they embark on a twisting investigation to find the little girl—and who wants to hurt her and destroy both men in the process. Under the circumstances, confessing he still has feelings for Eric would be inappropriate, but Brock can’t deny what’s in his heart. He doesn’t know if their love can be rekindled or if he can even protect Eric and Josie. But one thing is certain: Brock’s determined to be the hero in reality that he is in Eric’s eyes.

Despite their love for each other Brock and Eric simply hadn’t been able to fit properly into each other’s lives. Even though it had been many years since they’d broken up when Eric called for help with the emergency of his daughter’s kidnapping, Brock dropped everything to help. Against all odds they both find themselves wanting to try once again to make it work. Can this time go better?

This is a strongly emotional story that I totally loved. I got immediately sucked into the kidnapping of Josie – Eric’s daughter – and couldn’t stop reading from there. Brock and Eric are both well-drawn characters and vibrantly jump right off the page. Even though there’s plenty of drama surrounding Josie’s kidnapping and the action that follows on from there, so much of the rest of the story is normal – kiddie pools and bedtime stories, eating cookies and regular bedtime routines. I feel the author did an amazing job of showing both the normal level of day-to-day living but also had plenty of action and family drama too. This made the pace of the story feel super fast but also helped make what could have been a completely unrealistic plot feel not just understandable, but relatable too.

The romance between Eric and Brock bloomed at what I felt was a lovely pace. Even though there was plenty of history between the two men, it was quite some ago, so I feel that the rebuilding of that relationship was critical. Instead of just jumping right back into bed, both men had plenty to re-learn about each other and I loved how this was given a lot of time and shown thoroughly. This chemistry between Eric and Brock, filling in some of the gaps and both of them understanding where they’d gone wrong in the past, this all helped me feel that the foundation of their new relationship – despite all the drama and action of other things going on in both their lives – really helped make me believe, thoroughly, in the new relationship they built together. It felt realistic and strong to me and I loved this. The chemistry between them sizzled and when they finally did become intimate together it was like the perfect culmination of all that had been brewing and growing between them. I felt it was perfect and I loved it.

While there is a lot of drama, action and the initial kidnapping of Josie, overall I found this to be a lovely, emotional and exceedingly well written story. The romance between Eric and Brock was strongly written and – despite the exceptionally dangerous circumstances – realistic. I could see both men as completely normal men in an extraordinary situation. Best of all their love and the coming together of their little family was a wonderful story and one I know I will eagerly and happily read numerous times again. Strongly recommended.

New Game, Start by C.S. Poe


New Game, Start by C.S. Poe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (38 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Reclusive medieval scholar, Edgar Royal, has a crush. On a guy. Not a big deal, except that said guy, Walter Chase, is a famous online gamer who has no idea Edgar even exists. Edgar has harbored these feelings for nearly a year, and when Walter announces on Twitter that he’ll be visiting New York City as a guest at the GamerOn convention, Edgar decides he’ll be one of the thousands of fans who responds to the message.

He definitely doesn’t expect to be singled out by the humble, gorgeous, out-and-proud heartthrob. And when it comes to dealing with people, Edgar’s skills are pretty nonexistent. Even with Walter giving all the right signals, Edgar lacks the courage do anything about the mutual attraction growing through their online courtship. He’s always been better with the written word, so maybe the perfect Christmas gift will say what he cannot. But if Edgar can’t get the present to Walter before the convention ends, he may miss out on the boyfriend of a lifetime.

Edgar is entranced by online gamer, Walter. Even though Edgar knows it is crazy, he can’t help himself and when he finds out Walter will be at the GamerOn convention – in Edgar’s own New York City – Edgar knows he has to go and at least look at his crush. One simple tweet turns into something so much more.

I absolutely loved this short story. Told in the first person, I found it funny, realistic and extremely modern (#JingleYourBells!) and laughed aloud in numerous places. I adored Edgar’s character – I found him humble, normal and extremely sweet. I could heartily sympathize with his anonymous crush on Walter and cheered the two of them on for every page as they met up and got to know each other. I was really excited that the story gave itself time to develop, it wasn’t just Edgar met Walter and they jumped into bed, the two men played games online and got to know each other a fair bit first, which really helped sell me on their romance.

This is a fantastic short story and I loved every moment – from Edgar’s shy awkwardness to Walter’s happy joy in life and enjoyment of simple things, to them sharing the same drink and helping each other to be better versions of themselves. This is a happy and sexy story that I absolutely loved. I thought the sex scene was meaningful and hot, the misunderstanding well-handled and not too clichéd, and the happy ending made me sigh and finish the story ready to immediately go back and re-read it all over again. While there are only really Walter and Edgar as characters, they fill each page and I didn’t feel any lack from there really only being the two of them. Indeed, I didn’t really find anything negative at all throughout the story.

This will be a keeper story for me and I strongly recommend it.

Winning The Campaign Manager by Lucy Felthouse


Winning The Campaign Manager by Lucy Felthouse
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short story (44 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Cade Avery is running for a position on his local county council. He’s extremely good at what he does and is a valuable asset to his community. The trouble is, he upsets people, says the wrong things, and rides rough-shod over other people’s plans and ideas. His assistant, Mary, eager to improve Cade’s public image, hires him a campaign manager.

Quentin Rayworth is thrilled to be working with such a formidable public figure. It’ll be a challenge, but he’s confident he can help Cade to win the election, and knows that the achievement will look impressive on his CV.

It’s soon clear that the two men are set to be an excellent team. That is, until Cade’s werewolf makes its intentions known—in Quentin, it has found its mate, and it will not rest until he has claimed him. But can Cade—and his wolf—win over the campaign manager?

Cade is not impressed when his friend hires him a campaign manager. Cade knew he’d never win any popularity contests, but he also knew he was excellent at his job and genuinely the best candidate for the job. Cade just hadn’t realised how much of a popularity contest running for election was, and he reluctantly had to admit that Quentin was the manager best suited to helping him win this election.

I thought this was an interesting short story. I was a little nervous that the pace of the story would feel a bit too fast, but the author did a good job in my opinion of explaining the speed with which Quentin and Cade got together due to Cade’s wolf-shifter. Cade’s wolf wants who it wants and nothing would get in his way – it made the very sudden and firm decision that Cade wanted Quentin and no one else and made it seem understandable. I was a little disappointed though that the paranormal aspect of the story did feel rushed to me. With the short length of the story I sympathize that there really wasn’t too much room for the author to take her time with world-building or long explanations on how Cade “knew” Quentin was his mate and nor was there a huge amount of time for Cade and Quentin to really get to know each other. It just came across to me a little muddled and unrealistic. Quentin’s reaction to Cade’s coming on to him just felt like too much of an about face – in the space of one scene Quentin changed from being excited and really wanting the job to being uncertain, uncomfortable and wanting to resign. As someone whose job was PR and image meant everything he clearly hadn’t thought how lasting less than a day in a new (and outwardly appearing very important) job would have been disastrous to Quentin’s career reputation. A lot of this side of the story just didn’t seem to have been properly thought through – the characters acting on impulse, not logic.

I also would have really loved the whole werewolf thing to have been explored deeper too. Again the short page count really hampered this, but just the speed and seeming ease that Quentin accepted that Cade was a werewolf, was destined to be mated with him and agreeing they should date – it all happened in the space of two scenes. While exciting and sexy, I felt after reading it a little like I’d been running – hard to catch my breath and I needed to reread it all to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. The pace was just a little too fast for my personal preferences.

That said, the chemistry between Cade and Quentin was amazing. The two men clearly lusted deeply after each other and even though Cade was being ridden hard by his wolf, I had no problems at all believing the two men would form a solid and lasting relationship. A part of me would have enjoyed knowing how the campaign turned out (did Cade end up getting elected? Did Quentin and Cade blitz the media and win in a landslide of votes, having turned public opinion in their direction?). I completely understand the campaign itself was not the main focus of the story – Cade and Quentin were, and rightly so – but I did feel that final question of how the campaign turned out felt a bit like unfinished business to me.

With interesting characters and some deliciously steamy sex, this is a great M/M with a large bite of paranormal that is sure to appeal to a wide range of readers. A few small bumps in the pacing had me wishing for more, but overall this is a great short story and I feel sure many people will eagerly devour it in one sitting.

Homemade From The Heart by Bru Baker


Homemade From The Heart by Bru Baker
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short story (55 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Craft store owner Grant has always been a sucker for a pretty face, and that goes double for a pretty face with an adorable sidekick. When seven-year-old Aubrey has her heart set on taking Grant’s already-full holiday craft series, he caves and gives up his one day off a week so she (and her hot guardian, Josh) can take private lessons. Their flirting ramps up week after week, and even though Josh isn’t with Aubrey’s mother, Grant can’t be sure the man isn’t straight. Maybe he’s just being friendly. And Josh, who most definitely is not straight, is afraid of being the creepy guy hitting on the teacher.

Frustrated by their stubbornness and cluelessness, Aubrey takes matters into her own hands. She decides the best gift to give Josh is something homemade and from the heart—a boyfriend they’ll both love.

Grant hadn’t realised just how popular his “Homemade from the Heart” holiday craft series would be. The online booking filled up almost immediately and Grant had irate phone calls from parents wanting to enroll their kids for weeks after the spaces were gone. Grant hadn’t had a clue how a little bit of exposure could have his small co-op arts studio for kids wildly popular. When Josh walks in with his daughter, Aubrey, Grant suddenly has a whole lot less spare time for the lead up to his Christmas holidays.

I enjoyed this fun, short Christmas story. Unlike a lot of M/M’s I was a little unsure whether Josh was gay or bi or straight, and this led me to be incredibly curious not just about him, but also the story as a whole. It was a wonderful (and fairly new – for me – hook) into the story and before I’d finished the first chapter I was completely engrossed. I loved the easy, happy style of writing and commend the author for an excellent story that was Christmassy, fun and lighthearted.

I also really enjoyed the main characters, Grant, Josh and Aubrey were all vivid and unique characters that I had no problems becoming attached to. This really helped me fall even deeper into the story and happily turn the pages promptly. This was absolutely a quick read, but a delightful one that will be easy for me to pick back up in the future, and although it’s strongly Christmas-themed, as the main plot is the craft store, the kids and the growing relationship between Grand and Josh I don’t think it will feel weird to me when I reread it at a non-Christmas time.

The pacing on this story was good – I was pleased there was plenty of time for Grant and Josh to get to know each other first, and for Aubrey to become comfortable and friendly with Grant. I thought the author did a great job of balancing the whole “new relationship” feel along with the three characters coming together to form a little mini-family. While I can understand some readers might not like the “is he/isn’t he” feel of Josh’s attraction to Grant, personally I found it refreshing. There was also never doubt in my mind that Josh liked Grant as the friendly camaraderie was clear. The question of whether there was potential for a romantic relationship might not appeal to all readers, but I liked the second-guessing and tantalizing wondering that the author infused the first half of the story with. And I have to say, once Grant decided to be a little less subtle about his interest, I laughed an awful lot at the antics Josh and Grant got up to!

A fun and light Christmas story with an interesting twist I didn’t see coming at the end, this book covers a lot of great things I think readers will enjoy. I had loads of fun reading this and can happily recommend it.

The Last Gift by Chrissy Munder


The Last Gift by Chrissy Munder
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (48 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

College student Nick Reed works late shift at a convenience store and dreams of graduation, a job he can be proud of, and finding the man of his dreams.

But the man of his dreams is about to find him.

A change in his lab hours forces Nick to swap shifts with a coworker. But no one prepared Nick for Mr. 5:25—Aaron Hampton—a beefy blond who’s Nick’s perfect guy, but professionally and socially out of Nick’s reach. Soon Aaron becomes the highlight of Nick’s workday, and when the overly focused lawyer needs Nick’s help with holiday gifts, Nick is eager to spend time with Aaron.

They become friends, share book recommendations, and are surprised to find themselves at the same charity run. But is that all? When Aaron learns Nick is heading back to his old shift, will he find the courage to ask for one last, very special gift?

Nick knows he is in a rut. With a huge study load at college, crazy shifts at the local convenience store he had no time for anything else in his life. Struggling to find his new routine after changing shifts at work, Nick can’t deny that the dead-sexy, cheery Aaron – Mr 5.25am – who comes in each morning for coffee is quickly becoming the highlight of his day. When Aaron arrives frantic one morning and pleads for Nick’s help, the besotted man is helpless to resist.

I found this to be a fun and interesting short story. I really loved the pacing, finding it perfect for the length of the story. Nick and Aaron move seamlessly from that whole casual “see you daily” type routine into a “crisis occurs so change from acquaintances to friends” then deepens into more of a proper relationship. Despite the short length of the story Nick and Aaron’s evolving relationship didn’t feel rushed or forced to me, neither did I need to suspend disbelief too hard – as one of the critical meetings that helped deepen their relationship was a chance meeting at a large fun-run which seemed completely reasonable and not at all like some random plot device to further the story.

I could understand if Nick’s dry self-depreciation might not be every readers cup of tea. Personally I felt the Nick had a very realistic perspective on his own situation (being broke, an overworked student and only at the very beginning of his “adult” life) but at times I did wonder if the dryness of his self-analysis flirted just a little too close to low self esteem and him putting himself down. While this aspect of the story didn’t bother me exactly, it occurred frequently enough – especially in the first half of the story – that it rang a warning bell in my head and made me stop and think, analyze his behavior and really wonder if he put himself down a little too much. I admit that I decided I was being too picky and over-thinking it a little, but this isn’t a “normal” thing for me to wonder in an M/M romance.

I found this to be a delicious and slow-moving romance short story. Readers should be aware that there’s no sex – but there’s a ton of chemistry and a very Happy For Now style of ending that I found satisfying. Readers looking for a hot or explicit story might be disappointed, but I felt the sparkling chemistry and slow-build of the relationship between Nick and Aaron well worth the read. I thought this was a fun and interesting story which I greatly enjoyed.

Candy Canes and Cappuccinos by Elizabeth Coldwell


Candy Canes and Cappuccinos by Elizabeth Coldwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short story (24 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Kyle is struggling to run his coffee shop on his own after his partner walked out on him. He has his eye on Steven, who comes into the shop each day, but hasn’t worked up the nerve to express his interest. When Steven asks Kyle to help out with Christmas lunch at the homeless shelter where he works, Kyle is too exhausted to agree. He donates his tips but still feels he’s blown his chances with Steven and made himself look like a selfish jerk.

On Christmas Day, Kyle sees a way to make amends—to both Steven and the needy people depending on his kindness. It’s the right thing to do, and Kyle hopes he can clear up the misunderstanding and show Steven the type of man he really is. Maybe then they can consider some dessert when the lunch at the shelter is over….

When Kyle had been betrayed and dumped, he wanted to curl into a ball and close out the world. Instead, he threw all his efforts into proving his ex wrong and make their joint venture – a small coffee shop – a roaring success. Steven has been a regular at the coffee shop for a while now, and Kyle is interested but too shy to make the first move.

I really enjoyed this Christmassy, super short story. Kyle and Steven have plenty of chemistry, but I loved how they didn’t simply jump into bed with each other. The author did an excellent job in my opinion of balancing the start of the two men’s relationship, while still managing to keep the sexual tension and physical awareness between the men front and center of the story. I felt this really made the pacing of the whole short story feel like the relationship moved along at a good, realistic and quick pace without being a “sex for the sake of it” style of erotic story.

This is the sort of short story I feel people can enjoy reading privately on a train trip, or as a quick “before going to sleep” sort of happy story that’s quick and leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. It could also be a great way to introduce reader-friends to M/M as there’s nothing kinky or over the top about the story and even the sex scene is somewhat brief and not explicit enough in my opinion to be a turn-off for more traditional spicy romance readers.

With plenty of Christmas cheer, a lovely romance and a little bit of spicy love this is a great story and one I can happily recommend.

O Hell, All Ye Shoppers by Louisa Masters


O Hell, All Ye Shoppers by Louisa Masters
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (26 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Ethan Hall plans to fill Saturday, December 23, with junk food and bad TV, a day just for him amid the holiday chaos… until his baby sister calls and begs him to go collect a present for her. At the biggest shopping center in Australia. On the busiest shopping day of the year. Hell no. Right?

Ethan’s soft heart gets the best of him. He battles through the parking lot, and in the main shopping concourse, he’s trampled, elbowed, and bombarded with terrible holiday music. Then he enters hell itself, a specialty store aimed at women… where he meets Ty. They bond in a sea of estrogen and manic shoppers, fighting together to attain freedom, only to find they’re not quite ready go their separate ways.

Ethan had some serious plans for relaxation for just one day before the Christmas madness set in. Only his sister called, pleading for him to go to the biggest and busiest shopping complex around and brave the hoards of crazed pre-Christmas shoppers. After risking life and limb to get through the crowds, Ethan finally tries to get the present off hold, only to bump into a fellow shopper, Ty. After helping Ty select a gift, Ethan eagerly agrees to let Ty buy him a drink – far far away from all the other shoppers.

I found this to be a delightfully fun, somewhat sarcastic Christmassy short story. I have to admit, I selected this because of the title. I loathe doing last minute Christmas shopping – even just getting the perishable groceries a day or two before the Big Day. It’s a nightmare and I can’t understand people who actually enjoy rolling with that mayhem. So this story really was right up my alley.

While the brief length of the story meant there was really very little time for Ty and Ethan to get to know each other before the chemistry exploded between them, I really liked how the author dealt with this. It made the story feel very realistic to me (although slightly too serendipitous) but overall I found it clever and believable. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t too much description in the sex scene – readers looking for a spicily erotic scene might not find this satisfying. There’s tons of chemistry between Ty and Ethan though and plenty of romantic feelings that grow very quickly between the two men. I feel this would be a wonderful story – perhaps to gift a reader friend with – to help introduce a reader unsure about M/M romances as a gentle, romantic story to show the appeal of M/M stories.

Lighthearted and fun, I feel this is a great short story, something that could easily be read quickly to help you get into the holiday mood or as a short indulgence over the holidays. Sassy, fun and romantic this appealed to me and the Happy For Now ending rounded out the story well, to my mind.

Addicted To His Touch by Sam Crescent


Addicted To His Touch by Sam Crescent
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (88 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Jared has wanted Freya for a long time, and he knows the beauty she is inside and out, even if she has a bit of an attitude. That’s all for him, and he wants every inch of her.

Freya’s had a crush on Jared all of her life. Only she doesn’t believe any man can be faithful. She’s witnessed it through her mother—men only use women, and so the crush she has on Jared must stay that way. However, she’s no longer a little girl, and that crush grows into an attraction that’s getting harder to deny.

Jared knows that once Freya is in his home, and in his life, all it will take is time. He’ll prove to her that he wants more than her body. He wants her love, her heart, her mind, and her soul. He’s not a gambling man, but he’ll take a risk for her, because that’s what true love is all about. Can Freya get over her insecurities for a chance to be happy?

Freya had known Jared for most of her life. She also knew he had craftily orchestrated her life to be at the stage it was – he’d helped organize her apartment, created the perfect job position for her in his company…she knew he had shifted things around and made them just so for her. And she just couldn’t be mad at him for it. Despite a large part of her wanting to give in to him and his desires, she still held back. She knew it would be hopeless though, that eventually she’d become addicted to his touch.

I found this to be an interesting and somewhat intense story. Freya is not your typical heroine – feisty and fun on the one hand but also quite riddled with self-doubts and insecurities. Her parents had somewhat warped her views on relationships and sex, to the point where Freya was a virgin, despite her often bold exterior. I found myself quite drawn to her, sympathizing and empathizing on quite a few levels and this really had me invested into the story early on.

I’ll be honest, Jared could have come off as a complete jerk. For me, he didn’t, I could see through to the man who truly wanted to just shower Freya with all her hearts desires and give her the things she craved, but in a different authors hands this could have been quite the train wreck. Readers who are sensitive to over-bearing heroes or characters who like to be in control (Jared installed cameras inside Freya and Sophia’s apartment “for their own safety”) still might not feel the same attachment to Jared in particular that I did. I don’t think this story will be everyone’s cup of tea – Jared flirts a little too close to the edge for it to suit everyone’s tastes – but I do think it’s worth taking a chance on. I personally enjoyed it, mainly I think because Jared makes it crystal clear that he’s not interested in just anyone, that he’s not wanting to conquer “a woman” or rise to a challenge. It’s Freya – specifically and only Freya – that he is interested in. That made up, in my mind at least, for a multitude of sins and made the story romantic and Jared just a fairly different, incredibly determined hero.

I was really impressed that Jared didn’t rush Freya either. I feel this helped make the story more romantic – that he didn’t just want to push her straight into bed and consummate their relationship. I honestly feel Freya’s emotional doubts (her fear of being tossed aside when Jared was “done” and her worry about being hurt and cheated on) were the main reason Jared worked hard to not hustle her into bed. So when they finally did make it there it felt extremely important to me – like a milestone they had reached together. Erotica readers will also, I think, be impressed with the sex. While there’s clear emotional attachment between Jared and Freya, the sex is a little dirty and a lot hot. Spicy and explicit, I don’t think readers who like some heat in their reading material will be at all disappointed.

With interesting characters and a whole bunch of emotion in the blossoming relationship between Freya and Jared I feel this story will be addictive for a wide range of readers. While certainly not to everyone’s tastes, I personally really enjoyed this story and found it different enough to be refreshing and hot enough to certainly earn it’s hot and sexy labeling. Recommended.

Run So Far by Elizabeth Monvey


Run So Far by Elizabeth Monvey
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (78 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

When Kyle stumbles into a truck stop diner, he just wants a bit of time to try to remember the weekend that has changed his life. He meets trucker Delaney Vance and when the older man invites him to travel with him across the US, Kyle thinks it’s the perfect opportunity to relax and find his memories. As the two men start to get comfortable with each other, unexpected emotions start to develop on both sides.

Del is a man trying to forget the past and he’s done a pretty good job of it away from people, trucking for a living, and forgoing personal relationships. But all of that changes as Kyle worms his way into Del’s heart.

The past is about to catch up with both of them. With Kyle’s memories come a difficult and scary decision to make…ruin his family or hide the truth. Can Del help him navigate a future when he himself can’t shake the ghosts of his own past?

Kyle is running and ends up in a truck stop diner to try and decide if he really wants to go through with his half-baked idea to ruin his family. While there he meets Del and they both surprise each other by agreeing to continue along Del’s way and go together to his next trucking stop. Kyle had no idea he would run so far, nor what he’d find when he reached his destination.

I found this to be a well-plotted, interesting story. Kyle knows that he’s seen something terrible, something that can ruin his family, but the trauma has given him a sort of block to help protect him from the true depths of what he’s facing. Running seems like the only option available and so he takes it, albeit with no real planning or forethought. While it seemed incredibly convenient that he met Del at the diner (and that they were so strongly attracted to each other) they both quickly realize they can help each other. The sizzling sex doesn’t hurt, either.

I liked how we, the reader, only got to learn about the plot as Kyle remembered it in bits and pieces, but I couldn’t help and feel that this made the story seem a bit choppy. It also seemed slightly weird to me that while Kyle is recalling all these traumatic, emotional memories he’s having hot and sweaty sex with Del. I’m not sure how these two polar-opposite things could have been balanced better, but it made the whole story feel a little uneven for me, bouncing back and forth from erotic sex to intensely emotional recollections about a possible murder. It just felt quite uneven to me.

The drama was very well written and I felt incredibly connected to Kyle and his plight. I eagerly turned the pages, wanting to see what he’d recall next and how the pieces would fit together. In this respect I feel the author did an amazing job with the writing and this really made the story well worth reading to me. With interesting characters and a gripping plot I would happily try more stories by this author.

Cajun Thunder by Keely Jakes


Cajun Thunder by Keely Jakes
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (59 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Spanking
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Becker Baptiste is on the run and was sent to Paladin to ask for their help. Exhausted and battered, he is trying to keep his infant niece, Sabine, from being murdered. When he meets a naked man on the road into town, he worries that maybe this isn’t the place they should be hiding from Sabine’s mother.

Roane Jackson had given up on finding his mate, but when Becker arrives with a baby strapped to his chest, Roane realizes his life is about to change in more ways than he can count.

Will Becker accept that the naked man’s claims that they are mates? Will he be able to keep Sabine safe from her mother? Will Roane ever put on clothes?

Except for his team-mates whom Roane saw as family, he pretty much hated all other people. Normal people, those who had no idea the way life truly was, annoyed him no end. So when he catches scent of his mate while roaming around in his mountain lion form, Roane is surprised and quite curious. What he finds is a man with an enormous back-pack, two suitcases and a carry-all close to his chest. The fact his mate already had a baby in tow was enough to shock Roane more than he could believe. His world is instantly turned upside down.

Becker, Sabine and Roane are not your usual family dynamic, and personally I adored them all the more for being a little outside the box. The pace of the story felt a little too fast for me personally. Becker and Roane meet and although I can understand Roane wanting to move fast on his mate after waiting so long it really felt like they just jumped straight into bed, fell instantly in love and it all happened in the blink of an eye. I thought the plot itself (as to why Becker and Sabine had come to Team Paladin) was quite interesting and fresh, but with so much uncertainty and fear it made Becker falling so quickly in love even less realistic to me. How he could leave Sabine with the other Team members mere hours after meeting them—particularly considering the danger he and Sabine were in—just didn’t make sense to me. It seemed silly and risky and I really struggled to understand how Becker could place so much faith in virtual strangers.

After that, I just disconnected my brain, sat back and enjoyed the ride. And to be honest I enjoyed the story an awful lot more once I stopped thinking about what was logical and realistic, and just rolled with it all. Once I’d put my brain in this gear I thoroughly enjoyed the fast, almost maniacally crazy pace and the sequence of events that unfolded. I loved catching up with a number of the other couples from previous stories and seeing how the town itself was going. I also enjoyed how both Roane and Becker’s characters were interesting and Becker in particular had multiple layers to him.

Readers looking for a logical, relatable story might not find this book gives them the sort of read they want. Readers, however, looking for a fast paced, interestingly plotted piece of escapism fiction should definitely give this a try. I enjoyed the plot, liked the characters and found myself at the end happily satisfied with the light read.