Someone To Kiss by Scotty Cade


Someone To Kiss by Scotty Cade
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (69 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Dane McCormick’s job negotiating leases and building out furnished office suites takes him all over the country. He stays until the job is done—and then he moves on. As satisfying as the job is, it leaves him no place to call home and no chance to build a personal life. After arriving in Greenville, South Carolina, for a job, a severe stomach virus knocks Dane for a loop. He finds a local urgent care clinic… and a tall, dark, and handsome doctor who goes well above and beyond his duties to treat Dane. The doctor’s bedside manner makes Dane forget all about his stomach flu.

Carter Baldridge has dedicated his life to caring for others. Since graduating from medical school, he has spent all his time and energy building his urgent care business. But the morning he steps into his examining room and sees Dane McCormick on the table, he realizes it might be time to devote some attention to a part of life he has neglected. The spark is there, but so is a major obstacle in the form of Dane’s peripatetic lifestyle and a bad experience in Carter’s past. Both have to decide if the risk is worth the reward.

Dane was ecstatic. He was deliriously happy with his boyfriend, Carter, and they’d both agreed to spend the Christmas vacation together, alone. Best of all, Dane was thrilled to finally have someone special to ring in the New Year with, someone to kiss at midnight. A dramatic and unavoidable change in his work plans, however, could derail not only that special New Years kiss, but possible Dane’s whole future with Carter. Can they both survive the holiday season?

I found this to be an emotional and well written short story. I thoroughly enjoyed both Dane and Carter’s characters, finding them realistic, vibrant and interesting. The issues that Dane and Carter found themselves faced with when Dane’s work forces them both into a huge upheaval were well handled I felt and kept me invested in both men and their relationship. I thought the author did a great job balancing between each of their desires and kept the storyline rooted in reality when it could have easily become over-dramatic or a little soap-opera-ish.

I was a little disappointed that a very large part of the start of the story was actually flashbacks to when Dane and Carter actually met. About a third of the story was taken up in this matter and I felt could have really been put in a better, more logical order. While I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing Dane and Carter’s initial meeting and the showing of the start of their relationship, it felt quite jolting to me for the story to literally go backwards. I completely understand why the author wanted to add the “meeting each other” section and I do feel it added positively to my understanding of Dane and Carter’s relationship and the story as a whole, but the placement of it felt jarring and I actually hurried through this quite large section – wanting to get back to the “present” and see how Dane and Carter dealt with their current problems. The writing itself was excellent and I genuinely enjoyed learning more about Dane and Carter’s history together, but I can’t help but feel it made the story itself feel jolting and this could have easily been avoided and the story would have been much smoother, I feel, if the author had kept everything sequential time-wise.

This is a very emotional, and in its own way romantic, story that I genuinely enjoyed. I was hugely invested in both Dane and Carter’s characters and particularly their relationship. While the back-and-forth time hopping wasn’t to my personal taste, the overall plot of Dane and Carter’s relationship was engrossing and I desperately wanted to know that they could both pull through their troubles. I was very satisfied with the ending and would happily read other stories by this author.

The Storm’s Gift by A.D Ellis


The Storm’s Gift by A.D Ellis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday (Christmas)
Length: Short story (34)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Snowed in together in their college dorm, two men share a quick connection that creates enough heat to spar with the blizzard outside.

Rory Blackwell plans to rejuvenate his mind and repair his battered heart after his world is shaken by an unexpected breakup. James Austin’s freshman-year plans of improving his social life crashed and burned, leaving him feeling as alone and outcast as he did back home.

One man is hurting while the other is eager to provide comfort. One is a virgin, the other experienced with other men. Both are looking forward to Winter Break, but can they take full advantage of their situation—or will the passion ignited between them fizzle out with the storm?

Rory is looking forward to two quiet weeks over the Christmas holidays in the dorms at his University campus where he’s the RA. Still hurting from the break-up of his long-term boyfriend, Rory is eager for two weeks of solitude, junk food and binge-watching tv shows. He hadn’t planned on being snowed in, and particularly not stranded with James, who had stayed back late to complete his final exam.

This is an interesting short story written in the first person and jumping between Rory’s perspective and James’. I’m not often a fan of the first-person story-telling, but I have to admit the author did a good job here. Switching perspectives chapter by chapter also doesn’t always work for me, but being able to see inside both Rory’s head and James’ let me feel like I had a good grasp on both characters. And for me, once I’m interested and invested in the characters it’s never a hard sell for the rest of the story.

I sympathized with Rory – after his break up and wanting some down time from the craziness of University life – and I was intrigued by James, determined to finish his exams and do his best. I had one short moment of disbelief when the professor supervising James in his last exam left due to the breaking snowstorm (none of my own professors would have ever, under any circumstances, done so) but I could easily let that small slip of reality pass and enjoy the story of two men being snowbound together and I was happy that much of the rest of the story was solidly bound in realistic terms.

I greatly enjoyed how Rory and James didn’t simply realize they were alone and instantly jump into bed (nor instantly fall in love with each other). This helped sell the realism of the story to me. I found the pacing to be really good, too. For a short story I find it’s often too easy to rush ahead and lose me as a reader, or go too slow and feel slightly short-changed in the romance department. I loved the sex scenes between the two men and found it emotionally satisfying and explicitly written.

For a short, happy and easily read quick Christmas story this ticked a lot of happy boxes for me. A “happy for now” style of ending and some deliciously hot sex sealed off a great “snowed in” style of story. A solid and fun read I really enjoyed it.

Not All Chocolate And Cuckoo Clocks by Rebecca Cohen


Not All Chocolate And Cuckoo Clocks by Rebecca Cohen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (132)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Neither of them wants to fall in love, but getting exactly what they don’t want might be the best thing to ever happen to them.

Mark hopes his boredom with his current job will be alleviated by a short stint in Basel, Switzerland. When he meets Steffen, who struck out on his own from an old-money family to establish an IT firm, Mark expects some fun, great sex, and a clean break when his job is done. The arrangement is perfect for Steffen, who has been content with casual after a betrayal—and has a taste for British men after attending university in the UK. But as they explore the city’s rich history and traditions, Mark begins to see Steffen as much more than a tour guide with benefits. If he isn’t careful, the trip meant to break the lull in his career might end up breaking his heart instead….

Mark landed a plush assignment for work and – better still – had been moved for three months to live in Switzerland to complete it. He could hardly believe his luck. Steffen is a Swiss IT specialist who has some fond university memories of the UK. When the two men meet through work they form an instant – and special – connection. Can Steffan show Mark just how much fun the small Switzerland town can be?

I found this to be a really fun and slow-paced, romantic story. I loved how Steffan had a dry and subtle sense of humour. I found it refreshing and just different enough that even had I not known this was set in Switzerland I’d have guessed it wasn’t a US-based story. I was also secretly pleased that the author added a lot of descriptions and history into explaining the small Swiss town under the guise of Mark being a visitor – as my own, personal, knowledge of Switzerland is depressingly small. Having Steffan guide Mark around allowed the author to impart massive detail without it feeling like an info-dump or brochure for the country made the story move much more smoothly that I was nervous about. Overall it really helped me assimilate all the new information and have a good, clear picture of the gorgeous little Swiss town.

I didn’t mind in the least that Steffan and Mark took their time getting to know each other. While I could understand that some romance readers wanting a ton of spice and plenty of erotic sex in their story might feel the pace here was a little slow, I personally was glad to get to know both the two main characters and the town (practically a character in itself, which I loved). Mark and Steffan formed a careful friendship first and this made the relationship feel a lot more realistic to me. I personally would have preferred a little more of their sexual chemistry to have shown through from their first meeting. I was delighted when Steffan very bluntly expressed his intentions and from there I thought the relationship grew at a good and realistic pace. While there was plenty of build up – almost too much, to my mind – the sex was hot and satisfying when it was consummated. Steffan and Mark both were emotionally as well as physically entwined and it made me chuckle that they both took so long to realize they were more than just a causal “few month long” fling. With a deliciously happy ending I found this story well rounded and perfectly satisfying.

While the story-line itself is nothing completely new and different, the setting and characters truly made this story memorable for me. I thoroughly enjoyed both Mark and Steffan and once the two of them had made their intentions clear the rest of the ride was glorious for me. I also truly loved the insights into Switzerland and loved the town and setting. The author has totally done justice to the location (to my mind, at least) and readers looking for a visit to another country with a lovely M/M romance on the side should definitely indulge. Recommended.

The Puzzle Box by CC Bridges


The Puzzle Box by CC Bridges
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short story (31 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Elementary school art teacher Cole Peters is expecting a lonely Christmas this year while his longtime boyfriend, James Carducci, is on deployment with the Army. However, a box from James contains puzzles that lead Cole on a scavenger hunt through the greatest moments of their relationship. Together with his best friend Liz, Cole works his way through each clue.

The final puzzle could lead Cole to a gift beyond his wildest expectations.

Cole and James had been together a long time, but with James deployed for Christmas Cole just doesn’t see the point in celebrating or getting excited about the holidays. When the first package from James arrived, Cole enjoyed the memories it brought back, but was confused. When the next package arrived, Cole realized James had organized something very special for them both to help celebrate this Christmas.

I found this to be a fun and sweet, sentimental Christmas story. I loved how Cole remembering all the special memories with James helped me as the reader to get to know James’ character as well as Coles – even though James wasn’t “on screen” too much, being deployed. This was a freshly unique manner of telling me about a character so important to Cole and showed me loads about their relationship without the need of having James be physically present – and I loved it. Even with James away for most of the book there’s a bunch of chemistry and one short but steamy sexy scene – enough, I feel, to satisfy readers wanting a bit more spice in their Christmas story, but at the same time not too much. The sensuality level was just right for me. Best of all, the romance and love between Cole and James was clear and just lovely to read, making this a deeply satisfying book on many levels.

Readers looking for a super short, quick and sentimental Christmassy read should enjoy this story. I found it to be sweet and heartwarming, the puzzle pieces giving Cole a bunch of happy and loving memories from times past with himself and James. The happy ending was lovely and satisfying. This is a great, quick read that I really enjoyed.

An Open Window by Rick R. Reed


An Open Window by Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (21 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Two men. One Christmas Eve that changes the courses of both their lives.

Henry’s homeless and only wants a warm place to sleep on the coldest night of the year. A forgotten open window in a darkened house entices Henry inside with the promise of warmth and comfort. He knows it’s bad, but he promises himself he’ll be out before the owner wakes on Christmas morning. Except he oversleeps and the homeowner, Jim, discovers a bearded stranger sawing logs under his dining room table. When the shock and the drama that ensues dies down, Henry and Jim discover that they might have found, quite unexpectedly, the Christmas miracle they’d both been longing for—love and home.

Henry needed to get out of the freezing cold, snowy night that Christmas Eve. Finding an open window into what he thought was an empty home, he climbed through – not wanting to die from exposure. Jim got an awful scare when Henry climbed in, and from that moment on both their lives changed forever.

Henry and Jim meet under what might be the most unusual circumstances that I’ve ever read before. I have to admit I kept fluctuating between disbelief – why didn’t Jim run screaming from the stranger that broke into his house? – and warmth from the compassion Jim showed Henry. Eventually I decided to stop thinking about the plot and circumstances and just roll with the story and enjoy it. I genuinely think it’s one of those situation that while completely realistic (homelessness and the seriousness of the elements connected to this) it also is virtually impossible to make it both real and romantic. So I ended up acknowledging that it was a different and interesting plot device – Henry and Jim meeting this way and Henry’s problems – but not questioning it too closely.

Taking the story in this different light made it a lot easier for me to enjoy. Henry and Jim both take time to warm up to each other, and reading about their fumbling as they learn about one another was really quite sweet. Readers looking for a very short, somewhat old fashioned Christmas story, one with heart-warming feelings and sharing of gifts and a real “Christmas spirit” type of feel will probably really enjoy this. There is no sex in this story, which I personally didn’t mind, though readers looking for a spicy romance might not be as happy with. I really liked Henry and Jim and was pleased with their happy ending. While I would have loved a little more detail on how they went from that initial meeting to their fully-fledged relationship, the very short word count definitely limited the author in what he was able to achieve so I feel this needed to be taken into consideration.

A heart-warming, old-style Christmas story about embracing what you have, making the best of your situation and always being open to receiving gifts, this is a good short story that I liked.

A Gift Of Family by Tami Veldura


A Gift Of Family by Tami Veldura
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (32 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Scott Burke has always desired a big family, but as a divorced single dad, all he has is his young daughter, Lexi. He pours himself into raising her, half-convinced he’ll never find what he’s looking for. When Brennan Price strolls into Scott’s life, he’d better have enough patience for both Lexi and Scott if he intends to stick around.

Brennan has a huge family and a successful career, but no one to call his own. Wooing Scott and his daughter is right up his alley, though, and he steps up to the challenge to prove he’s enough for both of them. His attraction to Scott is immediate, but he recognizes a family man when he sees one and hatches a plan to win Lexi over. Her handsome father is sure to follow….

Scott had full custody of his beautiful toddler daughter, but he still longs for a large family, a solid, loving family unlike what he grew up with. When Scott met Brennan and his dog in the park one day, it finally looked like maybe he could build that family he’d always desired.

I found this to be a fun and happy short story. I thought the pacing was almost perfect – Brennan and Scott take their time to get to know each other and considering the short length of the story I felt there was an excellent balance between the chemistry and foundations being laid, then a very satisfying consummation scene. The characters – including Lexie and Jazz – were well drawn and I was quite invested in the four of them coming together as a solid family very quickly.

The sex scene was spicy and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It really felt like Scott and Brennan were committing to each other and to the small family unit they were building together. While the story was set in Christmas, I wouldn’t personally classify it as a “Christmas” story since most of the focus was on the characters and the relationship they built. This didn’t bother me at all – I personally was reading for the story, so the setting wasn’t as important for me.

A well written, happy and sexy short story, I feel this was a great and satisfying read. I thoroughly enjoyed Scott and Brennan’s characters and can happily recommend this. I’ll be keeping an interested eye out for more books by this author and would definitely try them again.

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.

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.