Home Is Where You Are by Emjay Haze


Home Is Where You Are by Emjay Haze
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (95 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

For a chance at a future filled with love, he’ll have to face a painful past.

Eric, recently dumped by his boyfriend, is summoned home after his dad suffers a stroke. His family farm in rural Vermont holds memories he’d rather forget, but he—with his degree in agricultural business—is needed to clear up a predicament with the bank. In trying to forget the bad, Eric has also lost sight of the good: green meadows dotted with grass-fed dairy cows and the sugar maples that once produced the area’s finest maple syrup. With Eric’s help, they will again.

A captivating farmhand named Phil tempts Eric to give the countryside another chance, but before they can consider being together, Eric must move past more than his feelings for his ex-boyfriend—he’ll need to stand up to the ghosts that sent him running from the farm in the first place…

Eric had only stepped out to go to the gym. When he came back it was to a stranger helping Eric’s year-long lover finish packing up his gear. Finding out that Drew had been cheating on him with the twink and saw their relationship only as being fuck-buddies was bad enough, but while wallowing Eric gets a call from his mom. Eric’s dad has had a minor stroke and so he reluctantly heads back to the family farm to help out while his dad recovers. Eric doesn’t know it, but his life is about to undergo an enormous change.

I found this to be an interesting and almost old-fashioned small-town, farming style of romance. Full of interesting, vibrant and different characters I found this to be a lovely, if character-driven, story. Eric had nothing but bad memories of his school-life – and the constant bullying over his sexuality – and had avoided as many visits home as he possibly could. When his father has a stroke, however, Eric’s hand is pushed and he reluctantly finds himself returning home to confront old memories. While Eric and Phil had known each other as teens they hadn’t really been friends – the two-year age gap enough for them to not run in the same social circles at school. Even though Phil’s parents worked on Eric’s farm the two men didn’t really interact much. I loved the slow buildup of their chemistry as they each got to know each other as men and not boys.

Readers looking for thrills and fast-paced action scenes might not find what they’re looking for here. But personally I really enjoyed the slower pace of the story, the gradual building of chemistry. It’s clear from the beginning to me that Eric and Phil had an amazing connection and even though they each avoid it in their own way they really do live in a small town and there just isn’t the sort of huge gay-scene like there is in a larger city. The conflict in the story mostly comes from both Eric’s bad memories of growing up, but also the fact that Phil in some ways has taken over working the farm in the way that Eric’s parents had always hoped Eric would.

While it was a fair wait for Eric and Phil to finally get together physically, the sex scene was well worth the wait in my opinion. With only the one full-on sex scene readers looking for something heavily erotic and very spicy might be a little disappointed. Personally though I felt with the slower pace, strong chemistry and more “small town” type feel to the story that the longer wait and single consummation scene fitted the story as a whole perfectly.

With a deliciously happy ending and plenty of happy moments this was a great story and left me feeling all warm and wonderful. A great story I can happily recommend.

The Eager Boy by Sean Michael


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

An Iron Eagle Gym Novel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer Ride by Susan Laine


Summer Ride by Susan Laine
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (112 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

High school best friends Toby Billings and Jim Maverick went their separate ways after graduation. Five years later, they meet by chance. Toby needs a ride, and Jim offers to give him one.

During a journey across several states, with stops at roadside diners, state parks, and cheap motels, small talk turns to serious discussions of lives that didn’t turn out the way either of them dreamed. Their choices are catching up to them, and neither is on an innocent summer vacation. Renewing their friendship will mean painful admissions and secrets coming to light. Yet they discover they have more in common now than they ever guessed, and going their separate ways at the trip’s end won’t be easy.

After aimlessly wandering the country, all roads lead back home. But first they must decide what home means.

Toby and Jim haven’t seen each other since High School graduation and happen to meet by chance at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere. Toby is at a loose end, wanting to head west but with no real destination in mind, whereas Jim is happy to take Toby along for the ride, for the company and reconnection at the very least. Will this summer ride change both men’s lives?

I found this to be a really interesting and character-driven story. While I loved the deep conversations between Toby and Jim this story really is based around a bunch of very long talks between the men. Personally, I liked this character-driven style of story but I can well understand if the lack of action or adventure might not appeal to a lot of other readers.

The two men spent the majority of the book sharing with each other the course their lives had taken once they’d left high school – how things had turned out the same, and differently, to how they planned and expected. While not angsty or depressing, I found it interesting how they both had wended their way through the ups and downs of growing up and living their lives. I found both men really interesting – rather similar despite their different families and different situations. I loved how this – and their childhood friendship – created an emotional tie and link between them.

I wasn’t quite sold on how neither man knew the other was gay and they didn’t know they were interested in each other. While as small children I could certainly understand them remaining oblivious, as experimenting teenagers (and good friends) I just found that a bit hard to believe. That said, in general I found the story to be otherwise realistic and believable. I thoroughly enjoyed how neither man simply jumped into bed with the other – they both were cognizant of the fact their future potential friendship could be muddied with sex, but they agreed they were willing to give it a try. When Toby and Jim became intimate I found the scenes well written, steamy and full of emotional connection which I really enjoyed.

With a happy ending and a bright future ahead I enjoyed this story, finding it well-rounded and the character-driven plot interesting and engrossing to me. A great read and one I’ll happily re-read again in the future.

Going Off Grid by SJD Peterson


Going Off Grid by SJD Peterson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short length (78 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, Rimming
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Clay and Elliott are working toward a dream—working sixty-hour weeks for one of the oil companies that recently sprung up in North Dakota. The pay is good, but is it a fair trade for never seeing each other? The point becomes moot when the company folds, like so many others, and the couple is left with a difficult choice.

Should they find comparable work somewhere else, or is it time to throw caution to the wind and go after their goal—years earlier than they intended?

What they’ve always wanted is to be together and have time to enjoy it, so they follow their hearts. They’re going off the grid and fixing up an old cabin so they can be self-sufficient. But when they go from all the conveniences of the modern world to outhouses, solar power, a shoestring budget, and more mosquitos than they ever thought possible, will they find there’s such a thing as too much time together?

Clay and Elliott had been together for seven years and both working themselves extremely hard. Saving every penny, their dream was to do up their cabin and retire in style while they were young enough to still enjoy it. When the oil business went downhill fast their decision was forced onto Clay and Elliott a little early. But by going off grid – no power or cable bills – they could possibly make it work. Can they both survive going off grid and making their dream a reality?

This is an interesting and character-driven story. I really liked the concept of two six-figure-earning men upping their roots and going off grid into a cabin in the woods. Clay and Elliott were both completely normal men in a solid and stable long-term relationship, but I still found the direction they wanted their life to go in quite interesting. Nowadays I’ve noticed there are a lot of people interested in sustainable living and taking care of their own needs, so seeing these two high-powered men ready to do the same thing was quite interesting to me.

I also really appreciated how while there’s certainly a bit of polish to the story (Clay and Elliott managed to fix up the old log cabin fairly quickly and easily and the bigger-ticket items such as solar panels, connecting water lines etc all went rather smoothly and with minimal fuss) at no stage did I feel like there was an unrealistic sense to the story. While it all went smoothly, the gents *did* have to do upkeep and renovations, make preparations and outlay a fair chunk of their hard earned money. They didn’t simply wander out there into the middle of the woods with a car-load of gear and jump right in; they thought about it and planned it out. So while not gritty or in any way difficult, neither did it feel like the whole move was simply glossed over. I found this a good balance and I have to admit, I would have absolutely liked the story less had there been disaster after disaster – I enjoyed watching Clay and Elliott make their dream a reality and I loved to watch them both get to live and relish it.

Readers who like a plot-heavy or conflict-driven story might not find this as good a story as I did. While there’s some smoking hot sex scenes – the plot really does revolve around Clay and Elliott updating and upgrading their small cabin and making it liveable and the work they put into building and deepening their relationship. Having worked opposing shifts for many years and barely spending more than a handful of days together at a time they each knew they needed to invest plenty of time and energy into their relationship and this change of life pace was exactly what they both wanted deep down.

Personally, I loved watching the cabin and their relationship flourish under their time and care and found this a great book I will happily reread many times in the future.

American Road Trip by Sarah Black


American Road Trip by Sarah Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (86 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A single moment—or a single mistake—can change everything.

When Captain James Lee Hooker and his lover, Sergeant Easy Jacobs, were in the Army, they made a mistake that got a young soldier hurt. Three years later, they’re civilians again, living far apart, haunted by what they lost. Now that young soldier needs their help.

With his grandmother’s one-eyed Chihuahua riding shotgun, James Lee climbs into Easy’s pickup for a trip across the American Southwest. They set out to rescue a friend, but their journey transforms them with the power of forgiveness.

Easy and James were together in Afghanistan and while nothing turned out the way either one liked, they both moved on with their lives in their own ways. But when Easy’s brother, Austin, needs help Easy comes to collect the debt Jamie owes and the two set off on a bizarre road trip with Jamie’s half-blind tiny dog, Tino. Can they forge something new from the ashes of their past hurts?

Written in the first person I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. While I really would have enjoyed seeing some of the story from Easy’s perspective I do feel that James’ descriptions gave me a decent understanding of the other man. With a lot of water under the bridge, the two men initially only came together for the joint goal of finding Austin – wounded on a mission with Easy and James in Afghanistan – and returning him home. It’s clear there is tension and some chemistry between Easy and James from the moment they meet again, but it takes a while for them to be open about their desire for each other.

I was pleased with the pacing of Easy and James dipping a toe back into their relationship. In that sense the whole road-trip plot was gold – giving them time and space to talk, to hash out both where they were mentally and emotionally, but also to explore where they’d gone wrong in the past and what they’d leant and taken away from it. I’ve not read many stories like this and I found the whole set-up refreshing and interesting – two men with a stormy past travelling on a mission, road-tripping across America in both an adventure and communication experience where they had no distractions, only each other to rely on and talk to.

Readers looking for an intensely erotic or complexly plotted storyline might not feel very satisfied with this book. Personally, I enjoyed the slower pace and conversation-heavy style of story. Easy and James were multi-layered characters with a lot of history and plenty of twists and turns in their characters. Their joint mission – to find Austin and assure themselves of his well-being – was a great goal and kept the story moving at a decent, if slow, pace. I liked watching Easy and James reconnecting and discovering themselves in their new post-Army lives and trying to work out how they could rekindle their romance and build something permanent between them. A good and well-written story I enjoyed reading.

Once Upon A Wolf by Rhys Ford


Once Upon A Wolf by Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short length (96 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Wayward Wolves: Book One

Gibson Keller’s days are fairly routine: wake up early, get some work done, drink lots of coffee, and take care of Ellis, his older brother, stuck in wolf form after coming home from the war. It’s a simple life made up of long runs on two legs—or four—and quiet evenings…. Until Ellis chases a handsome man off a cliff and into the frozen waters beside their cabin, changing Gibson’s life forever.

For Zach Thomas, buying an old B&B is a new start. Leaving behind his city life, he longs to find peace and quiet, and hiking the trails behind his property seems safe enough—right up to the moment an enormous black wolf chases him into a lake, nearly drowning him. Discovering werewolves are real astounds him, but not as much as the man who rescues him from the icy water, then walks into Zach’s heart as if he owns it.

Loving a werewolf—loving Gibson with all his secrets—has its challenges, but Zach believes their love is worth fighting for, especially since his heart knows the big bad wolf is really a prince in disguise.

Zach had left the city and his previous life behind him. What he hadn’t expected in the country was to be chased by a wolf into the lake. Gibson’s life pretty much consisted of taking care of his brother, Ellis, who had remained locked in his wolf-form for years. Gibson rescued Zach from the lake, but all three men’s lives were changed that fateful day. Can Zach accept Gibson and what his life entails?

I really enjoyed this story. I found it to be an emotional and (in a bizarre kind of way) romantic book. The attraction between Zach and Gibson was intense and almost instant, but I loved watching the two men circle around each other first before both giving in to the desire they each felt. Ellis broke my heart and personally I feel the author actually made Ellis the best character of all – tortured, painfully hurting and my heart just bled for him. Predominantly in wolf-form the author did a fantastic job to my mind in making Ellis both a sympathetic character and extremely interesting pretty much without Ellis himself saying a single word. I was desperate enough to learn if there was a sequel to this story – featuring Ellis’ story – that I actually looked it up online and checked out the author’s webpage (something that I almost never do…). This book is too new a release for there to be any word (that I could find, at least) on Ellis’ story – but I would purchase it in a heartbeat, which clearly indicates just how much I loved this story and just how invested I became in Ellis, Gibson and Zach.

Readers wanting a deeply emotional story with complicated, multi-layered characters should find this as enjoyable as I did. While the plot is fairly straight forward – the men being snowed in together and then a small-town mentality about “big dogs” being aggressive killers etc – it’s the characters and their own situations which really make this story shine. I personally liked the balance of plot and romance – character-driven stories with loads of chemistry and romance are just delightful. While a part of me felt like Gibson and Zach waited just a little too long to consummate their relationship the author did an excellent job of explaining why and the logic was very sound, I was just impatient for it by the time they finally indulged in some sex.

Hotly written and thoroughly romantic I absolutely loved this story. Complex and interesting characters kept me eagerly turning the pages and I sincerely hope there are more books coming down the line. This is a brilliant author and I fully plan to check out more of her books. Highly recommended.

Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells


Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (97 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A friends-to-lovers novella that came from Out of the Shadows, because Nate and Dylan needed a story….

Nate and Dylan have been pals for a long time. So what if their friends think they’ve got a little bromance going? Doesn’t mean there’s anything more to it than that, right? And even if there is, Nate and Dylan are totally oblivious….

Until the night they share a drunken kiss—and everything changes.

Dylan and Nate have been friends for years and have quite the bromance going on. Two of their friends have started dating and one night both Dylan and Nate admit to each other they’re curious what the two men see in each other. A little bit of experimentation blows both Dylan and Nate’s minds and now they can’t think of anything except each other.

I found this to be a deliciously hot but still sweet friends-to-lovers style of story. I found both guys’ character to be pretty realistic and Dylan’s confusion in the beginning of their changing relationship struck me as particularly understandable. I should point out I hadn’t read the previous story (where Dylan and Nate’s friends Josh and Christian become an item) and while it was clear to me there was a previous story to this I had no problems catching up or knowing what was going on. Christian and Josh are an important part of this book but the focus is fully and completely on Dylan and Nate and the shift in their relationship.

Readers looking for an intricate plot or some heavy conflict might not get what they want in this story – but I personally loved how light and happy the book was. Dylan and Nate were both excellent friends, and there are some strong secondary characters with their other supportive friendship group there to give counsel and refuge when needed. I enjoyed watching Dylan and Nate both try to work their way carefully from friends to lovers without losing anything from their relationship and trying to both meet each other’s expectations and needs. I enjoyed the pacing – finding it smooth and sensible. All up this was just a lovely, happy and interesting read that left me feeling good, satisfied and pleased.

A strongly written, character based book that is happy and left me with a whole bunch of warm and fuzzy feelings. This would be a good story to start readers not used to M/M romances or to more traditional romance readers who don’t want much kink or envelope pushing in their stories. A hot and sexy read but with loads of romance and emotional connection I thought this was a delight to read.

Welcome Home, Soldier by Deanna Wadsworth


Welcome Home, Soldier by Deanna Wadsworth
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday (Christmas)
Length: Short story (76 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Clay and Daniel fell in love as enlisted men during Desert Shield, but Don’t Ask Don’t Tell meant they had to keep it secret. After Clay’s convoy was ambushed, PTSD changed him, and their relationship ended in a horrible fight on Christmas Eve.

Twenty-five years later, they’ve reconnected on Facebook, and Clay finds out Daniel will be alone on Christmas Eve. Impulsively, he sets out for Daniel’s hometown of Gilead, Ohio—where Daniel is now the mayor—to surprise him with a visit. But a blizzard strikes and Clay wrecks his car. All hope of seeing Daniel is lost—until a mysterious old man named Nick offers Clay a ride.

The weight of past wounds and the scars of war might make their reunion awkward, but Clay is willing to take the risk to win back his lost love. Despite a lifetime of disappointing holidays, Clay hopes that this soldier is finally coming home for Christmas.

Clay had survived active duty as a soldier and cancer, he sure as hell wasn’t going to let being stuck in a snow-storm end his life, particularly not before he could reconnect with Daniel. When his car breaks down Clay is grateful to be rescued and taken the last few miles to Daniel’s cabin – even if it does mean they’re stuck and snowed in together over the Christmas holiday. It’s been a long time since the two men broke up, can they reconnect and have the Christmas miracle they both secretly yearn for?

I found this to be a heartwarming story. Even though the storyline isn’t particularly unique (two men snowed in and repairing their long-damaged relationship) I still found it to be emotional and well written. I liked both Clay and Daniel’s characters and a few chapters in was solidly invested in them patching their relationship up and getting back together after a very long (twenty plus years) time apart.

The emotional connection between Clay and Daniel read to me as deep, intense and quite realistic. And considering the bulk of the storyline is based around this connection – both in the past and how it still abides in the present – I was pleased that it felt strong and real to me.

I felt the pacing of the story was a little tricky. Clay and Daniel’s past relationship still cast quite a long shadow, with plenty of unresolved feelings, hurt and conversations that need to be completed. This baggage could have weighted down the entire story, and while I didn’t feel it was a negative aspect of the story, a part of me really wishes that Clay and Daniel had resolved their past quicker than what occurred. I understood why the author took their time with all this past conflict, and I would have hated had Clay and Daniel simply taken one look at each other and instantly forgiven one another. But I was ready for the two men to move forward and try to rebuild their life and look to the future together quite a bit before it actually happened. When they did start looking forward it was lovely, like everything finally clicked into place and I found it a true pleasure to read.

A deeply emotional and character-driven story there was lots to enjoy about this book. Clay and Daniel are both complicated, multi-layered characters with a sizzling attraction and plenty of history and conflict. This is a good book to dive into and I enjoyed it, finally finishing the book with a warm, fuzzy feeling and a happy smile.

Wreck The Halls by Jessica Payseur


Wreck The Halls by Jessica Payseur
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday (Christmas)
Length: Short story (46 Pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Business has been good at Paul’s Café in Madison, Wisconsin—until a few months before Christmas. When Nick opens Nick’s Restaurant next door, Paul watches his customers leave for cheaper food and an owner who smiles more. With his livelihood at stake, Paul lashes out, trying to drive away Nick’s customers, but Nick won’t go easy, and escalating sabotage threatens to ruin the holidays for both of them.

Paul thinks all he wants for Christmas is to see Nick’s Restaurant go under, but the more he tries to drive Nick away, the less he’s sure he wants him to go. Nick is everything Paul secretly craves, but by the time he realizes Nick is all he really wants for the holidays, he might have ruined any chance for them to get together. And there might not be a present in the world that can fix that.

Paul runs a café and has been pretty happy until Nick’s Restaurant opened up right next door. Paul hadn’t minded initially – not until he realized Nick’s place was really eating into Paul’s profits. When an all-out eatery war breaks out between the two of them can they manage to find their way to some sort of compromise?

I have to be honest, Paul’s initial antagonism towards Nick really made me laugh. At the start I quite enjoyed Paul and Nick’s tit-for-tat retaliation, especially when it was small things – turning an “open” sign to “closed” on the front door, or convincing a waiter to leave a little early and abandon his post. I was nervous when the “war” escalated to a point I felt was a bit over the line – but was relieved when both Nick and Paul each individually realized that they had pushed too far. This helped keep the rivalry on the more friendly side of antagonistic and greatly relieved me.

The sex was smolderingly hot when the two men finally made their move and I was pleased that the author managed to keep the enemies-to-lovers aspect of the story fairly realistic and sensible.

Readers looking for a playful and fun Christmas story should find this a good M/M read. The sex is hot but the vast majority of the story is based on Nick and Paul and how their feud brought about their new relationship together. I enjoyed this quick short story.

Just For Nice by H.M. Shepherd


Just For Nice by H.M. Shepherd
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (55 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Nick Caratelli flees the city in an attempt to escape a broken relationship and a career he never wanted. He plans to set up a bed-and-breakfast in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country—despite the fact he has no experience in renovating the old building. Luckily his handsome neighbor Sam approaches him with a curious proposal: he’ll help with the restoration in exchange for Nick babysitting his niece.

As they work to have the bed-and-breakfast open for business by summer’s end, their lives become interwoven without them even trying. Before he knows it, Nick is recovering from his loss and taking his place in the unconventional family that seems determined to form. But for Nick and Sam to be together in all the ways they desire, they’ll have to realize all the arguments against romance exist only in their heads….

After his fiancée broke up with him, Nick flees the city to start a B&B, but he quickly realizes he’s in over his head. A friendly neighbor, Sam, offers to help with the renovations in exchange for Nick babysitting Sam’s niece. Can these friendly overtures lead to both Nick and Sam finding the loving relationships they long for?

I found this to be a well-written and light story. I instantly felt empathy for Nick – uprooting his life and searching for something more, and then his reluctance to be “that neighbor” who calls in the noise complaints at 3am when the kids next door just won’t quit partying…everything in the first few pages grabbed at me and touched a chord. I couldn’t help but enjoy Nick’s character and the position he found himself in life. Especially I understood how he longed for a simple, loving life and struggled to overcome the realities of what he was trying for. It made Nick feel really relatable and interesting to me and before the end of the first chapter I was totally hooked.

Sam was also a man I felt I could connect with. His character took a little longer to unwind – he didn’t share much of his history with Nick until almost half way through the book – but as a hard-working man struggling with custody of his teenage niece he was an interesting and appealing character to me.

While on one hand I really enjoyed the slower pace of the storyline just for the blossoming romance between Nick and Sam it was a little frustrating at times too. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know both men – and Ellie, Sam’s niece – properly first. I liked seeing them both in their own setting, watching their lives slowly merge first as neighbors helping each other out and then as men getting to know each other. But Nick initially at least was still pretty torn up about his fiancée ditching him – which was completely understandable, but while I knew he had to be bi, there was no mention of this until over half way through the story – so for quite some time there was a question mark there for me. And while Sam obviously was attracted to Nick, he also didn’t seem at all keen to make a move.

While I truly enjoyed the slower pace for the story, and appreciated Sam and Nick not simply glancing at each other then jumping into bed, not having more than the odd hungry look at each other for such a long way into the book had me wondering if they would even get together romantically at all. And for a romance story I personally prefer not to doubt whether the main characters will even get together – let alone have their romance and Happy Ever After. So this worry niggled me a fair bit.

That said, once Nick and Sam both get on the same page and admit their attraction the romance really progressed and became center stage for most of the rest of the story and I loved this. There is a small amount of sex in this – not enough in my opinion to put off more traditional romance readers, but certainly enough to satisfy those who like a bit of spice in their stories. I found this was a great balance and it helped round of the story perfectly in my opinion.

A slow paced, small-town feeling M/M that was both sweet and just spicy enough to keep me interested. With multi-layered and complicated characters and plenty of plot going around I felt this was a really good story that kept me eagerly turning the pages.