Gift Of A Lifetime by Ana Raine


Gift Of A Lifetime by Ana Raine
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday (Christmas)
Length: Short Story (35 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Toys
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Ryo’s job at the Crooked Paintbrush is a way to make some money doing what he loves while meeting new people. But when Logan walks into Ryo’s painting class, he realizes there are some things that can only be described as fate.

More than just a handsome face, Logan proves to be exactly the kind of Master Ryo has been waiting for. The kind of man who will test his limits while providing some much needed love and safety.

Ryo hosts painting classes for singles looking for like-minded people. Even though he’s looking for a Master of his own, he generally enjoys the classes and watching other people find happiness. Logan was the most handsome man Ryo had ever met, and when Logan asks him out for dinner, Ryo feels like all his Christmas’ have come at once. Can Logan be everything he needs?

I enjoyed this hot and sexy short story. I found Ryo and Logan to be super hot together, and both liking exactly the same thing – kinky sex. I didn’t mind that Ryo and Logan got quite intimate fairly quickly after meeting – in such a short story they needed to move fast – but I really enjoyed how the author let them actually talk and get to know each other a little bit first. I was a little uncertain why neither Ryo nor Logan had met someone into kink earlier – the author made it seem like they both wanted something very deep and dark and unheard of with other men, and I just didn’t find that too believable. While they certainly both enjoyed BDSM and playing with toys, I didn’t find their kink outrageous or particularly dark. So I never really bought into the fact neither man had met someone previously who could give them what they wanted. This small bit of unrealistic plotting didn’t lesson my enjoyment of the story, however.

I enjoyed both men’s characters – Ryo was an eager and curious submissive, Logan a strong and caring Dominant. While I liked how compatible the two men were, I did find it a little unusual toward the end, reading some of the play-talk between Ryo and Logan. Personally, I prefer it when a Master builds his pet up and strengthens them. While I liked Logan’s tenderness and attachment to Ryo, Ryo seemed to need someone to use him and take over completely, and while it was very well written and is sure to appeal to many readers, I discovered it just isn’t really my thing. The care and love between the two men though is a wonderful thing to watch as is their hot, spicy sex.

For slightly kinky, very short Christmas story this was a good read and one I enjoyed.

Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton


Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery, Horror
Length: Full Length (708 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/F/F, F/F, M/M, F/M/M, Multiple Partners, Menage
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

In her twenty-fifth adventure, vampire hunter and necromancer Anita Blake learns that evil is in the eye of the beholder…

Anita has never seen Damian, her vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats.

And now, with Damian at his most vulnerable, Anita needs him the most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be losing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.

Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. And when Anita joins forces with her friend Edward to stop the carnage, Damian will be at their side, even if it means traveling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from…a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin, and a necromancer.

Ireland.

Ever have a book that gripped you so hard that it sucked you right into the author’s world and your own faded away? That’s what Crimson Death did to me. I only did the bare minimum of household chores. I read late into the night until it flipped to morning, grabbed a few hours of sleep only to wake up a few hours later to devour a few more chapters before having to slog off to work to simply come home to read and read some more until almost midnight the next night. Yeah, so, it took me two days to read, but what an amazing two days it was.

I’ve been following this series for years. I’ve watched Anita view everything as black and white; a character was either good or bad, no quarter. Monsters were bad, humans could be bad too but they were human. As the series unfolds, the heroine realizes that she can no longer ignore the ‘gray’ areas; life is a LOT more complicated, and messy and as she grows, Anita realizes that gray areas not only exist, they’re huge. It opens her up to accepting and doing things she never, ever, in a million years would think or do. Following her has been an amazing journey and that journey continues in Crimson Death. Sure, there are original fans that prefer her early years when it was all about the mystery, the horror, the suspense, drama and how it affected her. I mean, first person point of view really gets into a character’s head and the author has the daunting job of staying there. Ms. Hamilton has done Anita for so long, it seems second nature – I’m always right there with Marshall Blake, even when the blood flows.

This huge novel is no different when it comes to exploring her growth, both in her personal life and in her power. Yes, there is large section that explores Anita’s power’s connection to sex within her small group of loves and lovers, but before anyone scoffs at all the sex, be aware that there are a few astounding and earth shattering revelations that ripple through the rest of the novel stemming from all that erotic sex, which includes just a smidgen of voyeurism and exhibitionism from one of mine and Anita’s favorite people. Another warning to die-hard fans – be prepared to sniffle or cry or just get serious goosebumps on what happens. The one huge tragedy that affected me the most ends up being a turning point in Anita’s life that will have ginormous ramifications for future books. I didn’t want it to happen. All I could say was ‘no! no! no!, but of course Ms. Hamilton excels at writing the hard scenes – scenes for which a reader ultimately comes to the sad but resigned conclusion that it served a valid, crucial and necessary purpose. I don’t have to like it but I recognize Ms. Hamilton is staying true to Anita’s journey.

A lot of my favorite recurring secondary/primary characters populate this novel. There is one new character that sheds some light on Edward/Ted. It was actually humorous at times, which I didn’t expect at all. I think Anita was just as bemused as I was. Thing is, she has the ability to pester him in future books to satisfy her curiosity. I’m looking forward to what she finds out.

Of course the main villain and cohorts are truly evil, nasty, horrific, sociopathic and creepy. However, not all the cohorts are there willingly and how the author dealt with them kept my heart pounding with dread. This is such a powerfully, well written book, I could not remain unaffected.

This isn’t truly a standalone read because some of the things that occur are at their most commanding and powerful if a reader is personally vested in caring for certain characters from previous stories. If a person were to just start with this book, there are mentions of past experiences that provide Anita with the power she currently has, and they might be shocked by how erotic and numerous the sex initially is, but the main mystery of trying to figure out who or what is making all these vampires and why, can carry this novel by itself. It also might capture new fans and they might be inspired to read the series from the beginning or at least a few of the books that were alluded to in this one.

I am a fan of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, and I highly recommend this novel to fans that’ve followed her all this time. Crimson Death wowed me to the point that writing this review was a compulsion. I just HAD to tell you how marvelous and incredible Crimson Death was, and recommend it to readers with high praise and accolades.

The Kaiser Account by Louise Blaydon


The Kaiser Account by Louise Blaydon
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Recent Historical (1960s)
Length: Short Story (28 pgs)
Other: M/M, Masturbation
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

The life of an ad man in 1960s New York is all about risk-taking, but not until Evan Jones meets the man from Kaiser, Mark O’Brien, does he fully understand what that means…

It’s 1965. Evan Jones is an account manager for a major advertising company in New York City, engaged to the boss’s daughter in a halfhearted sort of way, gradually making his way up into the highest ranks of the company, and into the boss’s favor. The Kaiser Motors account is one they’ve been angling at for years, and Evan has absolutely no intention of letting it slip through his fingers.

But the man from Kaiser, Mark O’Brien, is not what Evan is used to dealing with and, moreover, is someone who hits him right where it hurts—in the long-repressed part of him that prefers men and is ashamed to admit it. When it comes to O’Brien, ‘going to any length’ has a whole new meaning, because O’Brien wants Evan—and worse still, Evan wants him back. O’Brien, in the space of a night, shows him something more than the staid life is possible. Can Evan take the risk and close the deal?

A closeted man and one he can’t quite figure out. Things can only get better, right?

Things certainly get better. I loved this book. I did. I liked the build-up between Evan and Mark. It was like watching a dance. The tension ratcheted up with each page. Ms Blaydon wrote well and I wanted to know what would happen next. I raced through this story.

Evan is very closeted and thinks he wants one thing, but when Mark shows up…he’s confused. I liked that things weren’t so perfectly mapped out. I had an idea the two would get together, but the how was intriguing. I’m glad I got to read the book.

My one quibble really isn’t much. I wish the book were longer. I liked the play between Mark and Evan and wanted to see where things would go. They’re great characters and I hope the author continues their story. I’ll happily read it.

If you want a book with heat and intrigue, but will work when you don’t have a lot of time to read, then you’ll want to pick up this book.

No Impact by Maia Dylan

No Impact by Maia Dylan
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (115 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

No impact on the target is the call that a sniper has missed, that their position is now compromised, and the firestorm it can bring could ultimately cost them their lives.

Riley Marksmen has wanted Marcel Cross from the moment they first met. He just had to convince Marcel that he wanted Riley just as bad. When his first attempt with Marcel results in no impact, he is convinced that a future with Marcel is worth the risk of trying again.

Marcel knows there is something between him and Riley. He just has to find the courage to take the gamble in the first place. When secrets are discovered, and a threat is revealed, it jeopardizes what they’ve only just started to build.

Can they find a way to the future they’ve targeted, or will their risk leave No Impact?

Marcel had been a Marine sniper and a man with no family, no partner and only a small number of friends. After mustering out though, he meets Riley, who runs a crew of construction workers. The two men are immediately drawn to one another. But can they manage to find some common ground?

I really enjoyed this story. Equal parts Army/Marine story and M/M romance I felt this book really checked quite a few boxes for me. I found the pacing really good, it moved along at a good clip – neither too fast nor too slow. And the chemistry between Marcel and Riley steamed practically off the pages – I was hooked right from the first few paragraphs.

Both Riley and Marcel are strong men – emotionally and physically, I enjoyed reading about how they each gave no quarter, sharing their bodies and hearts with strength and vigor. Reading about these two alpha men, and watching them not only fall in love with each other but also open themselves, share their vulnerabilities and hearts was really special. I totally commend the author on managing to balance the two characters so well, allowing them each to be strong and fierce, without being over-bearing or too dominating for each other. This was an excellent part of the book and something I genuinely loved to read.

Readers will also likely be pleased that there is a strong cast of secondary characters. I feel this will certainly leave options open for the author to write many more books. While this book is part of a series it’s the first I’ve read and I didn’t feel at all lost during it – it genuinely stands fine alone and can be read with no prior knowledge. I enjoyed reading the other characters almost as much as I liked Riley and Marcel, and would absolutely happily pick up any other books in this series by the author.

A sexy, fun and wonderful read full of interesting plot, strong men and great characters.

Losing It In The Closet by Michelle Graham


Losing It In The Closet by Michelle Graham
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (35 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Zach Hughes isn’t homosexual. He’s got a string of sexual conquests to prove it. The problem is he’s still attracted to men. He finally decides that the only way to get it out of his system is by having sex with a man, just once, and then he can move on. He turns to online hook-up site Losing It to find him a discreet gentleman to help him out.

A teacher at a Catholic school, Colin Montgomery has to be careful to hide his sexual orientation. Random meet-ups far from home are the only way he gets a date. And of course a relationship is out of the question.

From the moment Colin and Zach meet, sparks fly, and the two find they can’t get enough of each other, agreeing to meet again and again. But when they’re spotted out together by one of Colin’s students, their lives are turned upside down, and they’re forced to decide what’s most important—their love or public perception?

Zach was pretty certain that he wasn’t gay. He was sincerely hoping that if he finally caved – gave in to the homosexual urges he couldn’t get out of his head, that he could do the deed and then move on, live a normal, straight life. So he applies to “Losing It”, a matching system designed to hook you up with a no-strings partner and give you a special encounter. Colin is no novice to sex, but with a Catholic family and a job as a school teacher he’s in the closet. Deep in the closet. Can Zach and Colin risk it all and Lose It together?

I found this to be a fun and lighthearted, sexy short story. I thoroughly enjoyed both Zach and Colin’s characters, finding them interesting and quite different from the normal “boy meets boy” style gay characters. I honestly can’t recall the last time I read an erotic M/M romance where both main characters were in the closet, so that alone made this a very interesting read to me. Additionally, Zach wasn’t even certain that he was gay, genuinely enjoying being sexually with women (though nothing active in the story). Zach seemed to clearly think at least initially that he was mostly straight and he was merely curious about men, not actually bisexual.

I was a little disappointed at how unrealistic some of the ending was, I felt the solution to Colin’s troubles was a little too easy in wrapping things up. The chemistry between Colin and Zach, though, was great and I loved the pace of their relationship and the slow, steady manner they both fell in love and committed properly to each other.

Readers looking for a slightly different style of M/M romance, with lots of sex and good, strong chemistry should enjoy this short story.

Don’t Shoot…I’m a Werebear by Angelique Voisen


Don’t Shoot…I’m a Werebear by Angelique Voisen
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (48 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Can a lonely city bear nurse his broken heart?

Bear shifter Barry Smithson is going native. Rejected by his boss and crush of five years, Barry’s going back to his hometown. Believing he’ll win over the love of his life with his animal’s ferocious nature, Barry decides to spend some time in the woods.

But Barry is not an outdoorsy kind of bear. He’s obsessive compulsive and terrified of open spaces. Tired and lost, Barry catches wind of a delectable scent, leading him to a human fishing for salmon. Hunger of the carnal kind hits him bone-deep. Once Barry gets a taste, he’ll want more.

Can Barry convince the human not to shoot him?

Barry wasn’t good at making – or keeping – friends. As a werebear he finds himself moody and grumpy far too often. Even though Barry has had a crush on his boss for five years, he’s not quite managed to make his attraction known, and then it’s too late. Deciding to go home to try and ground himself, Barry goes for a walk in the woods and meets Zack, and both their worlds are turned upside down.

Major kudos to the author for this title. I have to admit the title is the main reason I picked up this short story and I’m so glad that I did! While I felt the start of the story moved a little slowly, once Zack and Barry finally meet up everything moves along at a lovely pace. I enjoyed getting to know Barry properly first, learning about how he’s struggled with his werebear and life in general. I love that Barry had flaws, wasn’t some perfect, alpha hero – it made him feel more real to me and indeed I enjoyed Barry far more for his imperfections. It took a bit longer to really get to know Zack – but I loved his character as much as Barry’s by the end.

The plot of this story is mostly Barry coming to the realisation that he needs to stop running from his life, and then Barry and Zack coming together and I really enjoyed this. Both Barry and Zack are interesting and complicated characters, and I didn’t find the story at all lacking for only having a few other strong secondary characters. Some readers mightn’t like how there’s no sex to speak of until the second half of the book but personally I actually preferred to really get to know Barry and his situation first. And when Barry and Zack finally come together I found it well worth the wait.

I really enjoyed this story and found the sex hot and intimate, I loved the characters and generally found this to be an excellent short story and well worth the read. Recommended.

Handcuffed by H.C. Brown​


​​Handcuffed by H.C. Brown​​​
Cops ‘n’ Floggers Book 1
​Publisher: Luminosity Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story​ (50 pages)
Other: M/M, Bondage, BDSM, Spanking (Flogging), Masturbation, Voyeurism
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Bad boys, bad boys.

Rent boy, Maverick Slone, Ricky to his friends, finds himself in big trouble with an unsatisfied client in the back alley of Leathers BDSM Club. Little does he know the Nordic god stepping in to save him, is an undercover vice cop.

When Detective Tyler Speed offers him the chance to leave the streets behind, it sounds too good to be true, especially when the man making the offer is the Dom of his very naughty dreams.

Reader Advisory: This Erotic Gay Romance series contains scenes of BDSM and hot sexy undercover vice cops out to find their perfect subs.

Cops, heat and a rent boy with an attitude…what can go wrong?

I love the work of HC Brown, so when I saw this book, I had to snap it up. I’m glad I did. I wanted to catch up with the characters from the Cops and Floggers series – I read book 2 first. Now, reading these out of order isn’t a bad thing. The characters stand alone well and I loved it.

I had to know what would happen next because the characters intrigued me. Tyler wants to save world, one rent boy at a time. He’s strong, tough and endearing. I liked him right away. Then there’s Maverick. He’s a piece of work–which the author wrote him well, I have to say. I could see him and could hear him talk. He was that vivid. His attitude was a trip.

The one quibble I had with the book was the alternating points of view. When the story was told from Tyler’s POV, the story took place in third person. But when Maverick was telling his side, it was all in first person. While that might not be a problem from some readers, I had a hard time with it.

Still, I’m glad I read this book and can’t wait for the next one!! If you want a book that sizzles, then this might be the one for you.

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.

Punished by H.C. Brown


Punished by H.C. Brown
Publisher: Luminosity Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (38 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, Anal Play, Fetish, Toys
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Bad boys, bad boys

When Vice Detective Del Hood receives a call out to investigate a muscular, tattooed man in black hanging around the entrance to a sex shop, he believes the smart-mouthed Danny Rose is trouble with a capital T. Problem is the moment he pats him down and runs his hands over his hard body, a connection between them sizzles.

Could Danny be the arrogant, wisecracking sub of his dreams?

Detective Del Hood is called to a BDSM club when the owner is nervous about a strange man loitering. Del watches the man and when he goes to question Danny all Del’s instincts scream that this boy is the perfect sub for him. But Danny is looking for his brother and despite the instant and hot chemistry between himself and Del, Danny won’t let himself get sidetracked from helping his brother. Del finds he can help Danny out, in more ways than one.

I found this to be a sexy, super short hot story. The attraction and chemistry between Del and Danny was smoking hot and almost instant. I was kept a little off balance, as the point of view of the story swaps around from Del’s first person, to Danny’s third person, but the story-line was simple enough I managed to keep up with everything. I initially enjoyed the plotline of Danny searching for his brother, Thorn, but found that a large scene reuniting the two of them just before the middle of the book really bogged down the story to my mind. It felt a little like Del and Danny’s relationship and chemistry sparkled until Danny and Thorn were reunited, then the entire focus of the story switched to the brothers. Then afterwards the focus again switched completely back to Del and Danny. I feel if the scenes had blended together a bit better, or if the brother’s scene wasn’t quite as history and info-dumping, then the flow of the story would have felt a lot easier and smoother to my mind.

There are a strong cast of secondary characters, most of whom I found not only interesting, but intriguing as well. I have a feeling that Thorn and a possibly one of Del’s Dom buddies are being set up for future books down the road. I admit I found this book good enough and the concept fresh enough that I’d be interested in looking into future stories when they come out.

I also enjoyed the pacing of the sexual relationship between Del and Danny. Although they had chemistry and sizzle between them from practically the first page, they didn’t actually jump into bed until much further into the story. I found this extra time helped me get to know them both as characters before the sex over-rode everything else in the story. Danny is seriously into his kink – pain, predominantly – and some readers might find the power plays and struggles between Danny and Del a little too much for them. I found the sex and scenes were written tastefully but have to admit it’s a bit edgier and harder than you can often find in erotic romances. They don’t do a light spanking scene and move on, this book seems directed at readers who like a bit more edge in their reading material.

A hot, sexy and strongly kinky BDSM M/M erotic romance, this should appeal to many readers who want a bit more bite with their erotica.

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.