Tag Archives: friends to lovers

Son of Money by Brandon Witt

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Son of Money

SERIES:

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

RELEASE DATE: July 11, 2016

SUMMARY: Randall Morgan, youngest son of one of Seattle’s wealthiest families, rejected his family’s money to live free of their control and pursue his career as a photographer. To make ends meet, Randall does erotic photography and massage—a secret he keeps from his family so he can remain a part of his young niece’s life. But the price of that relationship is high, and Randall is once more slipping under his family’s thumb.

Noah Carroll is the spokesperson for the Seattle Humane Society, and the city holds a special place in his heart. When fate intervenes during a pet adoption, Noah finds himself face-to-face with his first love—Randall.

While Noah and Randall are not the teenagers they once were, the flame of a first kiss long ago draws them together. Their romance is beginning to grow, but someone is out to destroy Randall and expose all he keeps hidden.

When secrets and rumors thrust Randall into the public eye, his relationship with Noah isn’t the only thing that comes under threat.

REVIEW: I got this book not really expecting to like it. Not because the author isn’t good at telling a story but because it’s a storyline that’s been done numerous times before. I’ve read quite a few of them and I actually opened this book expecting more of the same old prince pretending to be pauper type of story.

Needless to say that I was presently surprised by what I actually got! Brandon Witt did an excellent job of telling a story that’s been told countless times and making it fresh and and interesting. I was expecting Randall to be the prince in the castle who was slumming, but what I got was a guy who genuinely wanted to make it on his own; to have an identity completely separated and independent from that pretentious clan of his. His character was quite likable.

Noah is my kind of people. He’s an animal lover, kind and just an all around nice guy. He and Randall were old flames years ago and an chance meeting put then in each other’s path. It’s then they realize that the old flames were still burning with them both and they went from there, rekindling their relationship.

Of course, it’s not going to be a smooth ride to their HEA ending. Their journey to happiness is becomes a bumpy road when some own threatens to expose the secret and unravel the life Randall has worked so hard to retain and maintain. Not only that, it threatens to destroy the growing romance with Noah. It is then you truly see the strength of the bond these men share. The problems that arise that would tear a less than strong couple apart brings these two closer together.

I can say enough good things about this book. The characters, storyline, dialogue, and technical aspects of the book were wonderful. Needless to say that it exceeded my expectations.

RATING: ❤️❤️❤️❤️

BUY LINKS:

 

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

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Believing Blue (Manchester Ménage #3) Nicole Colville

 

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Believing Blue

SERIES: Manchester Ménage #3

PUBLISHER: Hidden Pleasures

RELEASE DATE: April 20, 2016

BLURB: Is there a fated path we follow, or is it simply a series of coincidental events?
Police officer Kellan Howard is rumoured to have spent too much time in sub-zero temperatures, leaving him with a block of ice for a heart and women lining up to help thaw it. Mountain climbing is his only love, leaving no time for a relationship, and although meaningless sex satisfies his physical need, it’s empty. When he attends a fatal traffic accident, he didn’t expect his entire life to change. Along with a final message, Kellan is offered something else from the dying man: the chance to fall in love. Kellan’s never considered being with a man, but when he meets Valentino, he’s instantly drawn to him.
Suffering from crippling agoraphobia, talented Italian artist Valentino has a solitary existence, only experiencing life outside the house through his partner Stuart. When their relationship comes to an abrupt end, Kellan helps ease his suffering. A deep bond binds the two men together, and the sexual tension can’t be denied, but Valentino questions if the distance between their very different lives is too much, and if they can bridge the gap by themselves.
Ballet dancer Blue has a vibrant personality which demands attention, but his humour and courageous attitude are a shield. Blue’s good at making others believe in themselves, but what he needs is someone to believe in him. He could be the bridge both men are looking for, but Blue’s never allowed anyone to get too close, and when Kellan and Valentino enter his life, he desperately tries to protect his heart and his secrets.
When all three meet, the chemistry is undeniable, but each have fears about moving forwards. Together, they learn love comes in many forms. It can’t be restrained or labelled, and it doesn’t always appear in the way you first imagined.

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EXCERPT

“Blue!” both Things screeched at the same time and Blue cringed. “You’re a bunny?”
“Yeah.” Blue sighed. He’d explained this to his sisters, like, four times over the past two days what he’d be wearing for their charity event. If he wasn’t related to them and knew both his mum and dad, then he’d so guess inbreeding was the cause of the Things. “You look awesome!”
Both twins smiled that same bright smile and turned around simultaneously. They always dressed the same, ever since they were born, well, ever since they were conceived really, so it was no surprise both Things insisted on wearing Alice’s blue dress. They looked adorable though. With their flaxen hair tied back with a black ribbon and their pale skin seemingly airbrushed over, Blue was sure they’d get tons of donations.
No one could turn down the mentally handicapped, could they?
Okay, they’d never been diagnosed with anything, but Blue was confident it would happen one day soon.
Porsche and Mercedes gave him a kiss on each cheek, then just stood there… waiting, looking right at him. Expressionless. Serene in their obliviousness.
“What?” Blue looked through narrowed eyes at them.
“So—” Porsche…
“What do we—” Mercedes…
“Do?” Both!
They were living proof aliens existed! Seriously, one day some secret government agents would turn up, Area fifty-one-ing the place and taking the twins away for special tests.
Blue turned his nose up. “You’ve worked here, like, almost every day for the past year. What do you mean, what do we do? Work! Do the things you do every day.”
Both Things cocked their heads to the left, and Blue shuddered internally seeing their Children of the Corn vacant look. One of us…
“Okay… so…” Blue stepped back and looked around at all the complicated coffee machines. “You know, do stuff. Coffee shop stuff!” Oh, yes, he was awesome at this managing thingy. “Make coffee!” Yes! He totally knew what he was doing. His one-month experience at Costa was coming back to him.
Unfortunately, he’d been fired from that job… Something about blowing up one of the machines or something — Blue wasn’t really listening because he was covered in sugary foam, and that shit was hard to get out of your hair. Luckily, most of the customers and all of the staff were covered in it too, so Blue didn’t stand out as being odd.
It could have been anyone’s fault. Just because he was the one standing next to the machine and pushing all the buttons didn’t mean it was him who caused it to explode.
It totally was his fault, but still…
That machine was like some sort of bomb just waiting to go off. BOOM! No warning or nothing. Well, there’d been some sort of flashing lights and buzzing, but Blue had ignored them and continued playing around with the knobs and switches.
He failed to mention that part to Shayne though.
For no reason at all.
None!
Considering his duties as supervisor done, he decided to set up three big bright yellow buckets and signs for people to leave donations in, then had some cheese on toast and a coffee. It was actually alright, so the twins had learned something in their year there. There was a constant stream of customers and Blue had to leave his coffee to help serve. Before he knew it, the morning rush was over and he set the twins up in the kitchen so they could start preparing the sandwich fillings for the next wave of hungry vultures.
As he quite obviously didn’t know what he was doing with the coffee machine, when it needed refilling, he called Thing One to come sort it out, and he took her place with Thing Two.
It was while Blue was stuffing his face with a chicken tikka toasted pita that he snuck a peek at Porsche to check she was okay. Left alone to her own devices she could do anything, or more likely, nothing!
He leaned against the door, peeking through the gap in the frame, watching her secretly. He found her standing still, vacantly lost in her own little world while she waited for another customer to come in. He was about to throw a slice of cucumber at her face to see if she was still with them, when the ringing of the doorbell chimed and she came back to reality, smiling pleasantly at whoever walked through the door.
Blue stuffed another huge helping of pita in his mouth, then choked on it seeing who had just come into the shop, coughing up chunks of un-chewed chicken tikka, and making Mercedes run to him, slapping his back really hard! Like too hard.
Crazy bitch was trying to kill him!
She must have some sort of hidden strength because she practically knocked Blue through the open fire door and into the yard outside with one hit. He was choking more because of her help. They ended up in the yard, taking part in some sort of teenage girl slapping fight while he struggled to get her off him, and she tried to save him. Blue was acting like some deranged wild blue bunny fighting for his life, and her like some crazed Alice who’d taken too much coke and was off her face, attacking random innocent bunnies.
He could see the headlines of tomorrow’s papers: Alice in Wonderland Charity Event Tragedy. Two dead and more injured. How did it happen!
“For the love of God, stop it. You’re making it worse.” Blue leaned against the wall, rubbing his back and breathing hard. “What the hell is wrong with you? Do you take steroids, have you been working out, what about some sort of alien powers which have appeared as you got older? I knew you were the evil twin. I just knew. Right from birth.”
Mercedes, AKA, Thing Two, stroked his back, cooing at him like some dove. “Feel better now?”
“Feel better? You crazy cow! You just nearly gave me a serious spinal injury. I’m lucky I can still walk. I may need corrective surgery later in life and it will all be your fault, Xena Warrior Princess.” She sagged her shoulders, toying with her hair and looking sheepish. Blue hugged her tightly and gave her a kiss. “Oh, get back inside and finish those fillings before our Shayne gets back. I need to snoop on Porsche.”
His only saving grace was that no one had seen him. So after grabbing a cloth to wipe his face down, he took up his secret position again, spying on his sister and the customer.

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REVIEW: This is the third book in this wonderful series and gives us Blue’s story. I absolutely adored Blue’s personality. He and Kellan’s interactions with each other in the beginning had me in tears from laughing so hard.

The beginning of the book was sad; it started off with a heartbreaking tragedy. That tragedy however, is what brings these men together. The connection that these men make was fate and Ms. Colville as usual, tells this story in the most beautiful way.

Kellan is a man whose life is flowing along familiar lines. On the outside, he appears content with his life, but lately, he’s feeling unsettled and unsatisfied with the predicable paths his life is taking. An accident changes his outlook and an odd request from the man involved changes everything for him.

Blue’s character had so many layers to him. His personality takes on these interesting juxtapositions that I found fascinating. He’s flighty, yet grounded, confident and tough, yet self-conscious. He’s intelligent and funny and has a wicked tongue. He’s surrounded by friends and family who loves him yet he’s lonely.

Valentino is an artist who hasn’t been out in the world for quite some time, relying on a friend and his lover to bring the world to him. He’s content with this until his world is shattered.

Three men all on different paths in their lives. We as humans are all connected; it only takes Fate to bring us together.

This author masterfully takes her characters through every emotion: fear, longing, sorrow, grief and happiness. And she takes the reader along for the ride.

This author is absolutely brilliant. I love to read and I can honestly say that there are few masters in this genre and Nicole Colville is definitely one of them.

Take a bow, Ms. Colville. You have as usual, given the readers another masterpiece.

RATING: 🌟🌟Amazing🌟🌟

Author Information

                                      Nicole Colville

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Welcome to the home of bittersweet M/M romances which will leave you craving more

Nicole Colville was born and currently lives in Leeds, England. She is a wife to her very understanding hubby and mother of two young girls who somehow manages to fit in being a full-time author of m/m romance and erotica into her busy home life.

She loves writing complex characters in bittersweet romances which will leave you addicted and craving more from her men

Although best known for her popular series, Hidden and Knights to Remember, she also enjoys writing with friend, and fellow author, E.M Leya. Together they have published two books in their Sinful Temptation Collection with more planned.

Her new ménage collection based in the popular city of Manchester, England is her first solo full length novel outside of The Hidden Series and has three books planned for release in 2015 & 2016.

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X-Factor by Sean Michael

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: X-Factor

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

RELEASE DATE: April 27, 2016

SUMMARY: Game designer Henry Delloit loves his life, his mountain community, his isolated dream home, and the snow. He also loves that the X-treme Games blow into the area for a month every year, bringing with them hundreds of athletes.

Ecco Rasmussen loves boarding. He knows he’ll never make it to the big time, but as long as he can get on his board and go, he doesn’t care. If only his manager, Blake Dobbs, would cut Ecco a break. The man’s possessive and mean, and believes he owns Ecco.

When Henry and Ecco meet at the Branchberry Games, it’s lust at first sight. An injury on Ecco’s qualifying run offers an opportunity to spend quality time together at Henry’s home, away from the crowds and out from under Blake’s thumb.

At this rate, lust might turn into love, but not if they can’t keep their romance hidden from Blake.

First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2010.

Second Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, EDR: April 27, 2016

REVIEW: I’ve always enjoyed this author’s books, whether it be his series (Hammer is my favorite) or his stand alone books. Its this that keeps me drawn to his work. This book however, didn’t do it for me unfortunately. It wasn’t a bad stories in the sense that it was poorly written. It’s really well written: the characters are interesting and well thought out. The glitches for me was the dialogue and the execution of the storyline.

Let me give a brief summary: Ecco is a snowboarder with a manager with some major boundary issues that’s creepy and possessive, sliding towards abusive.

Henry is a well loved resident of the area who looks forward to the games that come through town one month a year. These two meet and it’s attraction at first sight. These two men get together and embark on a sexual relationship that soon turns into somethings more. But they’re not going to have their happily ever after. They have to keep the relationship a secret from Ecco’s bizarrely possible manager.

I absolutely love how the story focuses on these two men and their budding relationship. The book was saturated with sex which is par for the course with this author’s work.

The only thing that absolutely did not work for me was the dialogue. It was just too juvenile for my tastes. I just couldn’t with the constant dude, rock on, for real, dudes, and oh mans. The dialogue was more suited to teenaged skater boys than a grown man.

Dialogue aside, I rather enjoyed the book.

RATING: ❤️❤️❤️

BUY LINKS:

Dreamspinner Press

Torquere Press

 

 

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Promises 2 (Bounty Hunters #2)

 


Reviewed by Kiwi

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TITLE: Promises 2

SERIES: Bounty Hunters

AUTHOR: A.E. Via

PUBLISHER: Via Star Wings

LENGTH: 280 pages

RELEASE DATE: March 20, 2016

EXCERPT: Quick finally stepped inside his office and Cayson immediately saw the large bouquet of orange roses in Quick’s other hand.
“These are, um. For you. I wanted to apologize for coming on so strong the other night. I thought you were attracted to me, but I didn’t mean to jump to conclusions. I let my best friend and son talk my head up sometimes.” Quick looked slightly embarrassed while he handed over the big bush.
It was already in a very masculine but pretty brown and tan vase that fit Cayson’s office décor well. He took the heavy arrangement and set it on the low mahogany file cabinet in front of his window. He couldn’t help but stare at the flowers.

The florist said that orange roses represent desire and enthusiasm, so after I told her my story, this is what she recommended.” Quick shrugged like it meant nothing, but Cayson could see the thought he’d put into the gift, not to mention, men didn’t bring other men flowers very often.
He wanted to show his appreciation to Quick, but he wasn’t going to drop to his knees to do it. Those days were gone. Cayson ran his hand over his sweater vest, wishing he’d worn the tie with it, but he hadn’t expected company. He sat back in his seat and gestured for Quick to sit across in one of the cushioned chairs. The man towered over everything.
“You h-have a real nice office. Lots of um, books.” Quick shook his head and squinted like he’d regretted what he’d just said. “Duh, of course you read a lot.”
“Yes.” Cayson laughed, the sound alien to him. “I do read a lot. Have to.” Cayson was shocked at Quick’s discomfort, his stuttering and stammering were really eye opening to him. It gave Quick the appearance of vulnerability.
“Of course you do.” Quick fidgeted in his seat and Cayson finally looked at him. He had on dark black jeans that squeezed in all the right places, the black t-shirt with the Duke’s Bail Bonds logo over the ri
ght pec, and damn, did all that muscle stretch out the lettering. Quick kept on his leather coat and Cayson licked his lips, wondering if Quick had a lot of weapons hidden on his body. He wouldn’t mind searching him from head to toe and checking… Shit, shit, shit. Stop it. He had to stop thinking so sexually when no one wanted him that way.
“Look, Doc. I’m not good at this, okay. I’m not as good looking as Duke and I’m not smooth like my son. I like you and I have no clue on what I’m supposed to say to get you to believe me or forgive me for being an ass before. I hope the flowers helped, though.” Quick was nervously tapping a couple fingers on his knee while he spoke. “I, um. I was married before to a woman. I was lying to myself all through my senior year in high school, and then next thing I know my beard girlfriend is pregnant, so I did the right thing. I never got a real opportunity to explore the other side of my sexuality. Everything was all about Vaughan when he was born.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Cayson asked. He hoped it wasn’t rude, but he needed to know.
“Because I’m sorry and I’m trying to get another chance.” Quick’s brow turned down determinedly. “I don’t know how to date a man – what to say, what not to say – so I was hoping you’d cut me some slack. Obviously, I wasn’t saying the right things before and surprisingly, there was nothing on YouTube to really help m
e.”
No. No, you weren’t saying the right things,” Cayson agreed before wrinkling his nose. “I’m sorry… did you say YouTube?”

BLURB: Roman “Quick” Webb is one badass bounty hunter on the crime­filled streets of Atlanta. He’s fearless when it comes to carrying out his dangerous job alongside his longtime best friend and business partner, Duke. However, there is one thing that has begun to cause Quick concern and it’s the dreadful thought of living out the rest of his life alone. Seeing his best friend and his son fall in love and sharing the special connection that only true soulmates can, has made him all the more aware of what’s lacking in his life.

Love.

Dr. Cayson Chauncey has been wildly attracted to the big, tattooed hunter for almost a year, ever since he performed the surgery that saved Quick’s best friend’s life. Cayson must’ve mistaken Quick’s gratitude for something more, because the one time he tried to make his desires known, he was harshly rebuffed and left on the man’s doorstep feeling stupid for hitting on an obviously very straight man.

Cayson never dated a man who was willing to come out of hiding and be with him. Now at almost forty, Cayson is intent on no longer being anyone’s dirty secret. Having experienced countless disappointments, and having taken a stand not to fall for any more tricks, Cayson is more than a little skeptical when Quick comes around asking for a second chance to prove himself. The gorgeous man had already made it clear he was definitely uninterested in Cayson… or so he’d thought.

Dr. Chauncey stirred up Quick’s suppressed, most carnal desires from a place deep down inside of him. He’d reacted so badly the first time that now his sexy surgeon wanted nothing to do with him. It was going to take a fair amount of patience and a whole lot of wooing involved as Quick sets out to convince Cayson that he’s worth another chance and that he is the brave lover who Cayson has been looking for.

With a scorned ex and a very dangerous job thrown into the mix, Cayson’s happiness and all of Quick’s promises may not be as easy to keep as they’d hoped.

PARTS ONE AND TWO IN THIS SERIES CAN BOTH BE READ AS STANDALONES. THERE ARE NO CLIFFHANGERS IN EITHER BOOKS.
imageREVIEW: This is the eagerly awaited second book in Bounty Hunters series. This book continues with Vaughn’s father Roman ‘Quick’ Webb and the doctor that saved Duke’s life Dr. Cayson Chauncey.

To say that this book is good would be a gross understatement. I didn’t like this book. I LOVED this book and this series. In fact, I simply adore all of her work, her series as well as her standalone works. And to think that this series sprang from another series which was a spin off from one book, much like the branches of a tree. This is the truly the mark of a talented writer. To be able to take an idea and expand on it to the level that she did is nothing short of amazing.

I think of this author as a five star chef. She goes into her kitchen, aka writing cave and come out with these deliciously exciting, steamy and extremely well written books. Well, once again, she ‘put her foot in the pot’ with this creation. This story picks up beautifully where the last book leaves off with Roman already deciding he was going to stop fighting his attraction to the handsome doctor who saved his best friend’s life and pursue him. And this is what I truly loved about this book. The author didn’t shy sway from or erase the fact that Rome was bisexual. It wasn’t something he ‘discovered’ when meeting the gorgeous doctor and it wasn’t a GFY storyline. It was a mature man who always knew who he was but just never had the opportunity to explore that part of himself. The author put it out there; it was acknowledged and that was refreshing.

There were so many exciting events in this book that will capture and hold your attention. It is two hundred and eighty pages of wonderful dialogue, character development, storyline and plot.

Dr. Chauncey is this brilliant and beautiful physician who like everyone else, wants someone to call his own. You get the sense that he’s not good at making friends due to his many busy years of medical school. Here you have this gorgeous man, brilliant doctor with a great personality who couldn’t find anyone who appreciate what he had to offer. He meets and is immediately attracted to Quick but was rebuffed after an innocent flirtation. Cayson was determined not to make that mistake again and keeps his distance from the sexy bounty hunter.

Roman was immediately attracted to Cayson but he wasn’t prepared for it at the time causing him to reacting badly and to take it out on Cayson. He immediately regretted it afterwards and after talking with and seeking advice from his best friend and son decides it was time to explore that side of himself and pursue the doctor.

I love the wonderful and loving relationship he has with his son. It is one built on both love and respect. Roman is this big, strong and confident man who has flaws but one who willing to set aside his pride to not only seek but follow the advise from his son and best friend. The fact that he was man enough to admit that no, he didn’t know the first thing about pursuing or romancing a man.

The supporting characters are wonderfully written. She brilliantly tells these men’s stories yet still manage to keep focus on the story’s MCs. The situation with Cayson’s closeted ex was got so out of hand and the series of events he set off was absolutely crazy; it was a right and proper mess. This man caused so much unnecessary drama and mayhem, it was ridiculous and made for a great story.

Characters from other books in the series made s brief appearance: God and that damn crazy Day, Judge from the first book. There were a few lines in the book that had me laughing out loud and this is what I like about her work. She writes these serious books but there is this dash of humor in them that sharpens the delicious delivery of it. Like a pinch of salt into something sweet to enhance the taste.

This author is extremely talented; she is incapable of writing a bad book. What I admire about this author is that she’s constantly striving for perfection with her work. There has been more than one occasion where she has gone back and re-edited, added and republished her previous works. That’s the sign of an author that takes pride in her craft.

The book is a work of art from the cover to beautiful cover and everything in between and one that I highly recommend.

 

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟AMAZING🌟🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

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SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: 

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AUTHOR’ S BIO: 

A.E. Via graduated in May of 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Virginia Wesleyan College. She’s a new author to the beautiful gay erotic genre. Her writing embodies everything from spicy to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, A.E. runs a very successful paralegal-for-hire business and in her spare time, she devotes herself to her family, a husband and four children, her two pets, a Maltese dog and her white Siamese cat, ELynn, named after the late great gay romance author ELynn Harris. While Blue Moon is her first novel, she has plenty more to come…so sit back and grab a cool drink, because the male on male action is just heating up!

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More Than a Friend (More Than: Book 2) by Nic Starr

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6928

MoreThanAFriendBlurb

More Than: Book Two

Tim Walker is a free man. He’s broken up with his girlfriend and is ready to move on to a new relationship. But the relationship he wants to pursue is fraught with challenges. Firstly, Scott Richardson is a man, and only Tim’s closest friends know Tim’s bisexual. Secondly, everyone knows Scott relishes the single life. And then there’s the big one: Scott is the younger brother of Tim’s best friend, Paul.

Scott can’t deny an attraction to his brother’s friend Tim. Lean, dark blond, and blue-eyed, Tim is hot and hard not to notice—especially since Scott and Tim work together. Too bad the man is straight, and too bad Scott worries how Paul will react if Scott hooks up with his best friend.

Tim and Scott want to see if there’s a chance for more than friendship between them, but neither of them wants to lose Paul. Together, they must find the courage to follow their hearts and find a way to have it all.

Review

Tim was dating a woman, he’s always been “bi” but hasn’t really shared that with anyone. When he’s newly single he discovers a crush on his best friends brother that might be reciprocated.

Scott and Tim begin dating but try to keep it under wraps because they don’t want to hurt Paul (the brother and BFF) in case things fall apart.

**

This was a pretty predictable and bland GFY/OFY story. There was no discernible tension and only a bit of steam.

Neither character stood out as particularly interesting and the plot didn’t have any fantastic twists.

It’s a solid “best friend’s brother” romance and it was ok.

3 of 5 hearts

3

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Marriage Most Convenient by Amberly Smith

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6775

MarriageMostConvenientBlurb

No bank is going to give a nomadic thrill seeker a loan, even if Tom Flynn wants to develop and run a retreat for disabled kids. Good thing he’s finally old enough to pull from his trust fund. However, it would mean settling down—because accessing the money requires him to be married—so he asks his best friend, Luke, to marry him.

Luke Marten’s goal is simple: don’t go on one more crazy adventure with Tom. Knowing how successful he has been in the past, Luke has a backup plan: don’t fall in love. He’s a goner when Tom not only proposes but confesses to one seriously hot kink.

For their friendship to survive this marriage, they’ll need to face DOMA, conservative judges, and long-held beliefs about each other. Talk about getting caught by the short hairs.

Review

Tom and Luke have been friends forever. Tom is bi-sexual but Luke (who is gay) doesn’t know this. Tom’s been wandering the world doing a bit of this and that until his inheritance comes in at 35. He doesn’t realize he has to be married to get it. When he does he asks Luke to help him out.

Luke agrees to the plan – it really is for a good cause – and the two explore the feelings neither has let the other know.

**

So… I liked this. I did not love it. The writing style was such that I found myself having to read and re-read parts to get who was doing what and why. It just didn’t flow smoothly for me, even though there was no high-brow concepts or anything standing in my way.

On the one hand I appreciated that the writer was kind of going for a more “minimalist” approach and letting each word/phrase/sentence fill with more meaning as a result, but the effect left me a bit confused rather than intrigued.

Tom and Luke are both compelling characters and I wish we’d had more story to get more deeply immersed with them. I was a bit bewildered by the added drama of the friend and the almost divorce and the angst surrounding the land. I’d have thought there was enough to deal with as it stood with the gay marriage and the time line and the friends to lovers and the “I’m bi-sexual”, etcetera.

I also never quite got a handle on how Luke and Tom felt toward each other before the deal. There was tension and I’m not sure how Tom managed to hide his sexuality from his BFF for so long – or why – but in the end I was still happy they found each other and could achieve their dreams.

I rounded this up from 3 to 3.5 simply because I appreciated the effort the author took to give us something new and different in terms of writing styles and I hope to see more from her.

3.5

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Ask, Answer, Look, Kiss by Livia Frost

GoodReads Presents http://www.mmromancegroup.com/?p=277843

ask lookBlurb

Dear Author,
We’ve been friends forever. Best friends in school. Roommates and best friends in college. Partners and best friends in business. He was the first person I told when I realized I was gay. He just said, “Me, too.” Yet somehow, in all those years, through all the ups and downs, we never even thought of being lovers. We were always best friends.
Then one day, something changed. What happened? How did we end up here?

Photo Description:
Two unclothed men stand side-by-side at the railing to a ship, their backs to us, facing the ocean. The man on the left has his arm around the waist of the other and their heads are tipped together affectionately. Both men are similar looking: wide shoulders, shaved heads, shapely butts, and golden skin. The one major difference is their tattoos. The man on the left has two tribal bands across his right bicep and shoulder. The other man has a swirling tribal design that covers most of his back, with smaller designs on his lower back and upper right thigh.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

ask look listen (1)Review

This is a best friends to lovers story. Travis and Ben have been friends and business partners forever. They are both gay but – due to * reasons * – they’ve never even kissed.

When a wacky friend does a strange “intimate speed dating” event, the two participate and it launches them from friends to lovers.

**

I never quite bought into this story. If you look at the picture – two burly dudes all tatted up – it never really jives with the personal caterers that we have in this story. I also never bought that for 16 years the two never got a smidgen of attraction and then suddenly – POW – instant forever love.

Sure, it’s a short story, but it can be done and in this case it isn’t done very effectively.

I liked the idea and the writing was fine, but I didn’t think the picture matched the story at all and I didn’t buy the intimate speed dating thing at all.

3 of 5 hearts

3

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Sultry Sunset (Mangrove book 3) Audiobook by Mary Calmes Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6709

SultrySunsetAUDMEDBlurb

Hutch Crowley is well-liked in the small resort town of Mangrove—he’s got friends in his new neighbors, he’s the owner of the town grocery, and he’s building a community center—but he’s still unlucky at love. Every man he’s attracted to is either taken or simply not interested, including his best friend, Mike Rojas.

When Mike came to Mangrove two years ago, Hutch gave him a job and a place to stay in his guesthouse, where Mike has remained ever since. Despite the rumors circulating about them, Hutch knows Mike is straight and looking for the right woman. But his friends disagree, and after some hints to the contrary, even Hutch finally has to admit that maybe the rest of the town sees something he’s been missing. If Hutch wants to spend each sultry sunset with the man of his dreams, it might be time to figure out what’s going on with his best friend’s heart.

Review

(Review posted previously for book)

If you’ve been reading the series (which you should, but don’t have to), you know Hutch is our grocer, and so far he’s been “interested” in every gay man the town has to offer, but has failed to find “the one”.

We find out that for the last two years he’s had a best friend, Mike “Don’t call me Michael”, living in his guest house and taking up most of his free time.

As you can predict, there is more to them than friendship, despite the fact that up til now Mike has always been straight.

**

I compare these Mangrove stories to cotton candy – one of my all time favorite foods – because they are wonderful, light, sweet and just a touch unsatisfying. Because they are so short, we don’t get a lot of lead-time to develop the tension between our MCs. Sure, Mary always gives us wonderful characters and an amazingly sweet love scene or two, but I really miss her ability to create that heat and draw out the sexual neediness between her characters that she’s just so great at.

I still love these stories, don’t get me wrong – but boy I wish they were longer.

In this case the secondary characters of Ivy and Essien almost – almost! – steal the show, but Mike and Hutch are terribly sweet together and I love them as a couple.

The mangrove series is fun because the small town and the recurrence of previous characters feels like coming home and I eagerly await the next installment.

Audio

Greg Tremblay – one of my favorite narrators – did another amazing job with this. I just love how he voiced the secondary characters including the young girl! I love listening to his telling of these stories because he makes you feel like you are part of the action. Definitely adds to the overall enjoyment of the story.

5 of 5 hearts

5

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Heart of the Race Audiobook by Mary Calmes Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6708

heart of race audioBlurb

Varro Dacien spends his life riding toward the next adventure. Brian Christie, his best friend and touchstone, the one person who’s always truly seen him, plays sidekick on these madcap adventures and subsequent trips to the hospital until he can’t take it anymore. While Brian can see Varro, Varro has never caught on that he’s breaking his best friend’s heart.

Without Varro, Brian builds himself a life that’s all about just getting by, doing his best to ignore the hole in his heart and his life. Without Brian to balance him, Varro pushes harder and takes more risks to reach that ultimate high. His job racing high-octane bikes on suicide-level courses makes it easy to get that rush… until it’s no longer enough and Varro realizes it’s not the race, but who’s waiting at the finish line that truly matters. Now he just has to convince Brian to be there.

Review

(Previously on this site)

Varro and Brian have been best friends since they were thrown together as foster kids. Varro is wild, crazy, an adrenaline junky and straight. Brian is quiet, studious, a rock and gay. Of course Brian has wanted Varro forever, but not been willing to act on it for the obvious reasons.

Varro is a motorcycle racer and Brian goes out on the circuit to help him stay focused and safe for an entire year. During that year it becomes clear that Brian can’t stay around Varro without completely losing his heart so he opts to leave the circuit to pursue his own dreams.

Varro misses Brian and begins to evaluate his feelings more closely.

When the two get together it is super-nova hot and sweet at the same time.

Though I hate to “spoil” things for you – this is one quote that epitomizes their relationship for me:

“I love you, Brian.” I leaned forward to meet his dark gaze and whisper the words he needed to hear and I needed to say.
“I love you, Varro, so much.”
“Swear it,” he said and held out his pinky with his right hand as he fisted my cock with his left.
“What’re we?” My voice dropped off. “Ten?”
“I am. You’re nine. Now swear.”
I hooked his pinky with mine as he pushed up from under me. “Jesus, Varro, you feel so good.”
“So do you.” His voice sounded like sandpaper as he reached up and hooked a hand behind my neck, drawing me down to him.

I highly recommend this amazing and wonderful book!

Audio

Greg Tremblay is one of my absolute favorite narrators. I simply adore him.
He always amazes me with his ability to infuse passion and emotion and humor into his narrations. He truly brings the words to life.

He does another amazing job with this – a fantastic Scottish accent, a slight Hispanic, and Italian… seemless and wonderful! My only complaint and I can’t say it’s anything he did poorly – but in my head Varro had a deep, rough, slightly accented, maybe East Coast accent – very growly and in Greg’s interpretation he doesn’t. So I was a little disappointed but – that’s really artistic opinion and all that…

A wonderful audiobook and still very, very highly recommended.

5 of 5 hearts

5

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Places in Time by Cardeno C

Romance Authors Presents https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-placesintime-1824738-149.html

places in timeBlurb

A relationship-challenged actor unexpectedly finds love in the arms of his childhood best friend.

“Sexiest Man Alive” and Golden Globe winning actor Ethan Baker lights up the screen but fizzles in his personal life. When his latest girlfriend breaks up with him, Ethan turns to his one “forever” person—Jude Harrison. But as Ethan makes the familiar drive to his best friend’s house, an unexpected detour and a bewildering passenger take him through places in time he’d long forgotten. Suddenly Ethan sees Jude’s actions over the years from a different perspective, but it’s his own reaction that’s the biggest surprise.

Review

This is a short story that recently got re-released.

Ethan is a self-centered actor, self-acknowledgedly so, who has been best friends with Jude most of his life.

Jude has been in love with Ethan since the moment they first met.

It takes a trip through time for Ethan to realize that Jude has feelings for him and that Ethan has feelings for Jude as well!

It’s a very short, sweet story that makes you smile and sigh and – just as all Cardeno’s stories do – feel good inside.

I loved that when Ethan finally figures things out, he and Jude just jump in, no questions asked.

4.5 of 5 hearts

4.5

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