Call It Love by Kristian Parker


Call It Love by Kristian Parker
Speak Its Name, book 2
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Historical, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Charlie didn’t believe in love…until he set himself free.

It’s 1922 and after his house guest Frank Harris ran away with the under-butler, Charlie Fitzwilliam has been summoned to face the music. With the vindictive butler Bennett now watching his every move and his father planning out his life for him, Charlie finally faces up to who he is and makes a bid for freedom.

Alone for the first time in his life, he meets Michael Leonard, a kind, caring bookseller. Convinced that sex with men is only for fun, Charlie experiences a summer of self-discovery that takes him to the English seaside, the doorstep of old friends and the arms of a lover who shakes his whole belief system.

But disowned by his parents and cut off from the life he knew, can Charlie make a future for himself…and will Michael be a part of it? Is this affair something that can be called love?

Love, discovery and acceptance. Everyone needs these and Charlie’s determined to find them all.

Once I discovered the books of Kristian Parker, I was hooked. This book was no different. I loved every page. Yes, there were times when the characters weren’t always the best, but there were reasons, and I couldn’t put this book down. It’s hard to find good historical LGBTQ romance and this one fit my bill.

Charlie’s living in a time when sex with men isn’t accepted. He knows who he loves but hasn’t found the one. He’s tired of allowing others to determine the course of his life, too. I liked Charlie, even when he could be a spoiled brat. He’s a bit young and immature, but it added to his character. It made him unique and showed his growth through the book. Then there’s Michael. He knows what he wants, too, and he’s not afraid to get it. He’s also not afraid to give Charlie the what-for. Charlie needed to be reined in a bit and Michael’s a good other half. I liked the pairing of them.

If you’re looking for a novella that’s packed with characters, story and romance, then this is the one for you. Give it a try.

Uncovered by Noja Lina


Uncovered by Noja Lina
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

People keep themselves covered in many ways. But, sometimes, it’s not possible—and someone’s looking.

Jake postpones buying curtains for his new apartment. At one point, he notices that a man from the building across keeps watching him every morning. Jake then confronts the guy, whom he considers a stalker.

Thomas is not actually a stalker and is put off by Jake’s aggressive tendencies. Even so, they continue interacting and a bond starts forming. Jake develops romantic interest in Thomas but refuses to admit it and struggles with getting them to be closer. Along the way, he discovers that Thomas hates aggression because he had dealt with domestic violence in his past.

They both need to overcome their respective fears and change. Will they succeed—or fail and fall apart?

So nuanced and layered, but real.

When I picked up this book, I wasn’t sure what I’d be getting. The blurb drew me in and I had to know more. I mean, these two guys seemed so wrong for each other, but it’s so right. I liked the dynamics of the characters and how they found their way. This wasn’t a light story. It’s complicated and can be messy. But that’s what’s great about it. This book reads like life.

Jake doesn’t like being stared at by the guy across the way. The discomfort of being stared at isn’t his idea of fun so he does something about it. As with life, this isn’t the best way to handle the situation. Thomas doesn’t like aggressive men. He’s fascinated by Jake, but he’s also put off, too. When Jack confronts him, the behavior freaks him out and he’s not wild about aggressive people.

These two men are layered and complicated…and as I said, messy. They’ve got their hang-ups and it’s like reading life. It’s like reading about people I knew, and I could relate to them. That’s what made this book for me. Can they change? Adapt? Make this work? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

I’m going to look for more by this author because this book snagged me. I suggest you try it, too.

A Valentine to Die For by Aver Rigsly


A Valentine to Die For by Aver Rigsly
Noir Nights, Book 1
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Having a secret admirer can be deadly.

Ricky Morris, private investigator on New York’s elite Upper East Side, has forged a shady yet profitable life as a gumshoe for wealthy Manhattanites after burning the bridge to his law enforcement past. When women in the city are targeted by a sweet-toothed murderer in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, the last thing Ricky expects is to be hired by the younger brother of the man who ruined his life.

Timothy Ward, young, fresh patrolman for the N.Y.P.D. who never thought he’d have to step outside the law, finds himself in desperate need of Ricky’s help when he fears his brother, James Ward, the Deputy Chief, could be behind the murdering spree.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, both men will have to work in the shadows, putting their careers and lives on the line to get to the bottom of the murderer’s sickly sweet and cruel plans. That is, if the burning heat of the undeniable—and very forbidden—lust between them doesn’t consume them in the flames of reckless desire first..

A very cool book with two hot men.

I loved the feel of this book. It really did feel like I was reading a noir that I could’ve been watching, too. The atmosphere was so on point. Aver Rigsly has written a compelling mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat. The story plugged along well, and I couldn’t get enough. Plus, the mystery is great and had me guessing all the way through.

I liked the characters of Ricky and Timothy. They’ve got great chemistry and I loved seeing them together. This felt like I was immersed in their world, and I rooted for them to get together. I can’t wait to read more about these guys.

If you’re looking for a book that’s smart, sexy, sassy and encapsulates the era, then this is the one for you. Try it!

Various Distractions by AE Lister


Various Distractions by AE Lister
Persuasions, Book 2
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

When life is perfect, you know it’s gonna throw you a curveball…or four.

Nic and Vincent have been riding the high of a new romantic relationship that works so well they are on the verge of officially moving in together—but then the distractions begin. Their friend Daphne needs a temporary dungeon space, and Nic’s basement seems the perfect solution. Vincent’s gay seventeen-year-old cousin, Taylor, needs a safe refuge from his uber-religious parents. When Vincent suffers an unexpected injury, Nic asks Daphne to suggest someone to help with domestic duties around the house.

These combined circumstances lead to a less-than-ideal home life for Vincent and Nic, who struggle to find alone time. But life has a way of giving people what they need, and the arrival of Matteo to help with chores around the house sets into motion an opportunity the three must decide to follow to its logical conclusion or abandon in order to maintain the emotional safety of all the participants.

Emotional, sensational and heartwarming…all while being hot.

I’ve never read anything by AE Lister and I don’t know why, but I’m glad I remedied that. This was a fantastic story. The writing flowed well, the characters were engaging, and I couldn’t put it down.

Nic’s a Dom and wants a sub, but Nic’s leery. There’s something that could tear this relationship apart. Vincent is just what Nic needs, but they have to accept themselves and the past to move forward. It’s a hot story, but full of tenderness and determination, too. The characters are gender-fluid and that helped make this more engaging.

I highly recommend this book and hope you’re willing to take a chance on it, too. I’m glad I did.

Dash by Rae Marks


Dash by Rae Marks
Hart Consulting, Book 2
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQ. Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Working with the guy who turns him on and pisses him off has Nick in a tailspin.

Nick’s trying to get everything together—his life, his job, his family. After leaving the military, he joined both his brothers at Hart Consulting, but he can’t seem to get his shit organized. His brother still won’t speak to his father, his dad is willing to go to crazy lengths to see his brother and Nick has to train for his new job.

Just when he thinks he might have everything under a bit of control, he’s assigned to work with Ax, the only operator who’s able to get under his skin. Nick needs to put his head down and make a good impression on his first assignment with HC. Too bad Ax is determined not to make it easy…

Opposites attract and can drive each other nuts, too.

I’ve never read anything by Rae Marks and I’m glad I rectified that. This was a cute book, but also fun, too. It’s not a fluff story by any means. The characters get into jams and have to figure out how to get back out again. I liked the suspense in the story and the chemistry between Nick and Ax. The writing flowed well and I got engrossed in the story right away. I had to know what would happen.

The one thing that sort of bugged me was how Nick and Ax tended to snap judge each other and hold onto their negativity. Now, this annoyed me because it’s so human. Other readers might not be bothered with it. It also drove me berserk because I kept thinking, guys, just let it go! But then if they’d have done that, the tension wouldn’t have been so high. So, it worked.

If you’re looking for a story with hot characters, tension and plenty of chemistry, then this might be the book for you.

The Runner by Thom Collins


The Runner by Thom Collins
Success, book 3
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

An Olympic hero faces his longest run – to make up for the past.

Alex Schaefer is a sports journalist and commentator at the top of his game. He hosts a successful weekly podcast has just written the biography of a world class football player. With his career on an upward trajectory, Alex has never been busier. There is no time in his life for love or romance.

Ethan Bower was used to success. As a British sprinter, he won a host of silver and gold medals at the Olympics, European and Commonwealth championships, and spent over a decade at the top. Persistent injuries brought Ethan’s career to an abrupt halt in his mid-thirties. Now he has to start over again. Trying to get his foot in the door of athletics commentary and presenting isn’t easy.

Ethan and Alex have history. Eight years ago, at the height of Ethan’s success, Alex was chosen to ghost write his autobiography. An experience they would both rather forget. Ethan hated what Alex wrote about him; a fact he’s made very public. When Ethan attends the launch of Alex’s latest book, they meet again for the first time in years and something becomes apparent to both of them – they have each improved with age. Now in their thirties, they are older and more mature.

Can they put the past behind them and their ambitions for the future to take a chance on each other now?

Enemies to lovers…what can be better?

I knew when I picked up this book that it would sizzle, but it’d also have a certain polish to it. I’ve read other books by Thom Collins and have loved them. This one was no different. The characters were engaging and the story really shined. I didn’t want to put it down.

I loved how the author made this about running, but not overpoweringly so. Alex and Ethan have history. They’ve got some not so fun history that they have to deal with. I liked how the author made that enemy chemistry become something more. The author let the characters find their way to their eventual HEA. I loved it.

Alex has misconceptions about Ethan and Ethan isn’t fond of Alex. It’s a well-worn trope, but it was written well and with the added heat, it’s a great read. I hope you try this book, too. I’m heading out to find the others in the Success series.

Recommended.

Finding Him by LM Somerton


Finding Him by LM Somerton
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Sometimes, using a safe word gets you exactly what you want.

Canadian Zac Denman is young, rich and submissive. He’s also a kidnap risk who’s grown up in the shadow of bodyguards and security precautions. All he wants is to work out what kind of submissive he is in a safe environment and thanks to his very understanding father, he’s getting the chance to do exactly that. The Retreat in England is safe, discreet and willing to provide a selection of Doms for Zac to play with—a great way of discovering what he is, and isn’t, into.

Dale Gastrell is a friend of The Retreat’s owner, a member of The Underground BDSM club and a soldier turned landscape gardener thanks to an inconvenient bullet. Two weeks providing covert protection to a wealthy client who won’t even know he’s there seems like a perfect break from city life.

But life is never simple, and when Dale and Zac are thrown together, Dale has to fight his attraction. Zac is from a whole different world of wealth and privilege. He’s not for the likes of Dale who has to watch as Doms arrive at The Retreat to give Zac a taste of submission.

Sometimes, all you need is the support of your family. This is what Zac realizes when his father organizes a stay at The Retreat, a super-private BDSM club, so he can figure out just what kind of sub he is. Zac has it luckier than some, in that his father loves him and money is not an issue. However, kidnapping is a constant threat so it’s not all good.

When he arrives at The Retreat, there is instant attraction with Dale, the gardener. He is also extra security but Zac doesn’t know that. Constant sparks fly between the two. Will Zac safeword to be with Dale?

This was a lovely book, that also gave an insight to a couple of other relationships too. Dale and Zac are the main focus though, and I found myself looking forward to the scenes that they were both in. I loved the twist at the end with the number of Doms, but I won’t say anymore.

This is a warm and fuzzy book that gave me a hug as I read it. Although I haven’t read any of the others in this series, it did not impact my enjoyment of this book in any way, apart from making me want to read those too! Highly recommended by me.

Resisting the Dream by Ann Marie James


Resisting the Dream by Ann Marie James
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Can two overachievers discover how to make love work?

Nikolai is the fun-loving, flamboyant cousin of Sergei Barinov. He doesn’t know a lot about cars but is happy working as the desk person at Everyone’s Mechanic while he completes his doctorate in finance and accounting. While his parents never accepted who he was, he at least had Cousin Sergei’s family to love and support him. Comfortable in his own skin, he dresses according to his mood, which could be a skirt and makeup or sweatpants. He has crushed on Brandon since he met him but has never been able to be around him without doing something embarrassing. He would love a chance to show Brandon that he’s not just style without substance.

Brandon began interning with Sergei’s company in college and has since worked his way up to be his right-hand man. He is very regimented, likes his routines and needs to stay focused to complete his many duties for Sergei. Brandon is also balancing secretly raising his now-fifteen-year-old brother. He has watched from afar as Nikolai went from being a gangly, awkward teenager to a stunning adult. Brandon might wish he could take the time to get to know Nikolai better, but he doesn’t feel he can add one more thing to his already-full plate.

When Sergei tasks the pair to work together to plan an LGBTQ youth center, sparks fly. Will they decide to take a chance—or will outside forces ruin the possibility before they can even get started?

Can love be planned? Will the timing ever be right? Or should it be a case of Carpe Diem?

In the third book of the Everyone’s Mechanic series, Brandon has his life planned out. He’s got three more years to wait before he can date Nikolai, so until then, he will carry on ignoring him as best he can. Not the best plan, by any stretch of the imagination, and Sergei is quick to point out that someone else may just come along and snatch Nik up. Nikolai is going about his life the best way he knows how, keeping parts of it just to himself. I loved hearing about all the things he did that no one else knew about, not just a frivolous bit of fluff after all.

Things move swiftly for these two, and it is in a perfectly natural way. Nothing about their relationship seems forced in any way. Brandon is quick to reassure Nikolai that he adores his quirks and he isn’t going anywhere – that is until stress gets the better of him and he jumps to the wrong conclusion. I really wanted to slap Brandon upside the head at this point, but then Nik too as he avoided Brandon (something I may or may not be guilty of myself!)

This story was a great addition to the series. I haven’t read book two but will be now as I need to see more of ‘big personality with a heart of gold’ Sergei. This is one of those series where you read the stories and end up with a huge smile on your face and a sugar high from all the sweetness. Definitely recommended by me.

The Forest God’s Favor by AT Lander


The Forest God’s Favor by AT Lander
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Erotic Romance, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, LGBTQ
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Can the love of a man heal the heart of a god?

Fertility god Anthos, a shy and gentle three-hundred-year-old virgin, has grown up in the shadow of his brutal older brother Dryas and spent his life hiding from mortals, no matter how much his nature draws him to them.

Cleon, a humble farmer who always has room in his heart and his bed, knows that Lord Dryas is angry. The crops aren’t growing, and his family is going to starve if he doesn’t give the god a worthy sacrifice—his own body. But when he reaches the shrine, he finds a very different god, the sweet, untouched Anthos.

Eager to satisfy Anthos’ curiosity, Cleon shows him what sex is…and what a relationship between them could be, with their instant attraction blooming into love. But when Dryas returns with a vengeance and Cleon’s life hangs in the balance, Anthos is forced to make a choice.

Will he bow once more before his brother’s rage, or take a stand for the only man who has ever had faith in him?

If your local fertility god suddenly stops blessing you, what are you to do?

This is the dilemma that troubles Cleon as his family, and those in his village, face starvation due to their crops not growing. He decides to pay a visit to the cruel Lord Dryas but, instead, meets the sweet and caring Anthos.

Oh, man! This story!!! Considering it has a Reader Advisory, I found it to be so completely sweet. The violence in it is necessary and shows the growth of the main characters and how they solve the problem they have. The rest of it is pure, unadulterated erotica and if that shocks you, maybe you shouldn’t be reading a book about a fertility god!

Anthos and Cleon are fantastic together, and their ending brought a happy tear to my eyes. Jealousy is not part of their relationship, and I loved how it worked between them. They are supported by a great cast of characters that remain in the background until needed. The focus really is on Anthos and Cleon and that makes it so much more intimate.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and read it in one sitting. I am going to be reading more by this author, that’s for sure! Absolutely recommended by me.

Safe Harbour by Thom Collins


Safe Harbour by Thom Collins
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Two lovers seek shelter in a storm of jealousy and passion.

Matt arrives in the seaside town of Nyemouth for a much-needed vacation. As a successful lawyer, Matt has a hectic career, and with an ex-husband still pestering him for money, he is long overdue a break. A holiday home perched above the town and its breath-taking harbour seems like the perfect place to unwind. Matt can’t wait to explore the beautiful, jagged shorelines and lose himself for a couple of weeks.

Jake has made a home in Nyemouth. After growing up in the city, living on the coast is everything to him. Running a business with his sister and volunteering on the crew of the local lifeboat, he is exactly where he wants to be. But Jake’s life is far from peaceful. Though he left his domineering husband Vince a year ago, Vince refuses to consent to a divorce or loosen his controlling hold on Jake.

On Matt’s first night in town, he encounters the couple having a blazing row. When Vince turns violent, Matt intervenes and takes Jake inside to escape his angry ex. Despite what happened, Matt feels a powerful attraction to the younger man. Jake is bright, endearing and unbelievably attractive, but the young man’s life is complicated. Matt already has enough problems of his own. He came away looking for an escape, not a starry-eyed distraction. As Matt and Jake get to know each other better, the gamble on a holiday romance becomes hard for either of them to resist. They have both been unlucky in love before. Maybe this time will be different.

Vince will not be shaken off so easily. He has no intention of letting Jake go…ever. As Matt’s and Jake’s emotions deepen, they do not understand how far Vince will take things to keep his husband. As far as Vince is concerned, they made a vow to each other… “till death do us part.”

A holiday romance by the sea. How wonderful – but what happens when you throw in some danger too?

This was a great read from Thom Collins. It is sweet and sexy, with just the right pace to keep the story moving along without it being at breakneck speed. Matt and Jake are brilliant characters and have their own posse of supporting characters to ably assist them. Vince and Clinton are the crazy ex’s, although one is just a tad crazier than the other!

This is book two in the Jagged Shores series but I haven’t read book one and this in no way impacted my enjoyment of this story.

The settings and descriptions are all gorgeous and immediately make me want to visit these fantastic areas of Northumberland. Plus, some of the food descriptions made my mouth water!

A wonderful summer read that is both lighthearted and has a touch of danger. I thoroughly enjoyed every word and have no hesitation in recommending it.