Tag Archives: short story

Stallions and Ice by Stephanie Hecht

                Review by Michelle

TITLE: Stallions and Ice

SERIES: Unconventional in Kansas City Anthology 

AUTHOR: Stephanie Hecht

PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing

RELEASE DATE: January17, 2017

BLURB: Part of the Unconventional in Kansas City anthology!

Sometimes you have to climb a mountain to see the future.

While Brandon loves to go and watch his friend, Nichole, at the American Royal every year, there is no way that he is ever going to climb on a horse. His feet belong on the ground or the ice. As one the of the players of the local minor league team, the Wichita Thunder, all he dreams about is someday moving up to the major leagues. That is, until he meets Nichole’s brother, Ethan.

Ethan grew up in a family that has always been in the rodeo circuit. There was no question that he was ever going to be anything else…until he’s sidelined by seizures and can no longer ride. Then he meets Brandon and he begins to wonder whether maybe, just maybe, his life isn’t over.

Will decades of tradition tear the men apart? Or can they can overcome all their obstacles and be together?

REVIEW: I have to admit that because this book was so short my expectations were very limited. I was sure I would not be able to connect with the characters. I mean how could you when the book is barely over 50 pages. Well, I’m happy to say I was wrong.

Brandon, a goalie on a hockey team, goes to see his best girlfriend compete at the Rodeo. Of course since Brandon is gay it’s no hardship for him to be around all those cowboys. He meets up with his friend Nichole, who comes from a large family of rodeo competitors. All of her siblings compete until recently. Some type of unknown illness is preventing the youngest, Ethan, from riding. The minute Brandon and Ethan meet sparks fly. The attraction between the two young men is mutual and instantaneous.

I immediately fell in love with Ethan. He’s so sweet and cute, but he’s not the most confident after the breakup from his last boyfriend. Now, he can’t compete due to his illness.This is a quick story that is easily read in one siting. The story immediately drew me in and it turned out to be an endearing read. I can easily say that I wish there had been more to their story. I really enjoyed it!.

RATING: 🌟🌟🌟.5

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Pride Publishing 

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Breakthrough by JH Knight

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6702

BreakthroughBlurb

The road to recovery is never easy, even when you’re just an innocent bystander to someone else’s addiction.

For Jack, it’s especially hard because he blames himself for his son Rick’s drug problems. It took Jack over half his life to admit to himself (and his wife) that he was gay, but years later, he still carries guilt over what his realization did to his son.

He never thought Rick’s treatment would help him rehabilitate too, but when Jack meets Seth, the man trying to help his son get back on his feet, it’s the breakthrough he never knew he needed.

Review

Jack is a divorced man who split up because he realized he’s gay. He’s been holding on to that guilt – the perceived guilt of breaking up his family – for the last decade. When his adult son enters rehab, Jack feels responsible, so he’s willing to do anything to help – even group therapy.

While in therapy, Jack meets the amazing Seth, younger than Jack but older than his son, and manages to have a significant breakthrough on dealing with his own guilt issues.

Over the course of the next few months, Jack and Seth become email friends, supporting each other and just being friendly. But both men harbor secret desires for the other – the question is – will it ever happen?

**

This is a short story that feels like a full-length novel. JH Knight is a gifted writer and is able to condense the timeline in a way that doesn’t feel rushed or awkward or altered to meet page expectations. It felt organic and whole.

I loved Jack and his crying jags! Seth was a bit more of an unknown in this story and if we ever get a sequel I’d love more from his POV. Even the ex-wife is a wonderful person, and not a shrieking harpy!

All in all this was a sweet, loving and even a little bit hot and sexy, short-story!

5 of 5 hearts!

5

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Takes Two To Tango by Vicky Heysham


Daily Dose Short Story
Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6582

TakesTwoToTangoBlurb
Established TV personality Daniel Josephs only agrees to take part in a reality dancing show in London to lose weight. Single, successful, and (mostly) sorted, he’s already happy, even if he secretly wishes his love life was as rewarding as his professional one. Young athlete Will Smith, who gave up the earldom he inherited to pursue Olympic dreams, is far from happy—not to mention not interested in someone as old as Daniel. But when Will’s past catches up with him, it’s Daniel who helps him piece his life back together.

Review

This is an odd story. On the one hand, it’s very British and you have to read it carefully to follow who is doing what and why. On the other hand, it is very fast paced and loosely framed, so the author leaves us with a lot to fill using our imagination.

Daniel is the older guy, out and proud, who stars on AM TV shows but took on the dancing with the stars stint to help stay fit.

Will is a member of the aristocracy, in the closet, training for the Olympics and looking to make some connections. He’s very intense, by comparison Daniel’s very laid back.

In a somewhat strange turn of events, Will gets dumped by one of the dance coaches and has no place to live after also being outed while dating said dance coach. Daniel, who had always had his eye on the younger man, but kept getting rebuffed, helps him out by offering him the use of his spare room until the contest ends.

Eventually, Will and Daniel end up romantically involved and though geography is against them, they manage to find their HEA.

**

This story never flowed quite right for me. It sort of hopped all over the place and I never felt a strong connection with either MC or their subsequent coupledom.

I appreciated the uniqueness of the writing style, but found it a bit too scattered to say that I liked it.

2.75 of 5 hearts

3

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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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Take Your Best Shot By Starlight by Yolande Kleinn
Halden

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6551

From the Daily Dose Series

TakeYourBestShotByStarlightBlurb

Halden Blake was a good soldier and a good man. He never intended to be a hero, and he definitely never intended the events that landed him in intergalactic politics. Now, three presidential terms later, Halden must decide if running for office again is worth five more years of putting his own life on hold.
Isaac Knox has been President Blake’s public liaison from the start, an ally and friend through difficult times. Halden has always carefully resisted thoughts of more, and Isaac has never given any hint of returning his guarded attraction. But when Halden finds himself struggling with questions about his own future, Isaac makes a surprising offer that could change everything.

Review

So – first thing I missed when I read the blurb – this is about a Space President. So be warned. ☺
It was actually great and had very few aliens or other spacey type weirdness – which I usually avoid like the plague.

Halden is the current Intragalactic President – big, big important role in the universe. He’s been there 15 years, which to a human is a long time but to other species is a drop in the bucket.
He has an assistant who has been with him the entire time, Isaac. Isaac is about 20 years younger than him and his best friend.
We meet up with Hal when he is deciding to re-run for office or get out and take care of his own sad personal life – he’s lonely.
We end with him still deciding.
**
This is a short story and thus has its limitations. However, this isn’t really even a complete story as the main conflict presented: does Hal re-up? is never resolved.
The side conflict: his loneliness is sort of resolved, but barely.

I loved the writing. The world building was amazing, but overwhelmed this short story and took page time away from the actual action or conflict resolution.
This would be better as the intro to a longer novella rather than calling itself a complete short story.

So – I have conflicting emotions regarding the rating – I give it a three because there was much to like, but far from perfect.

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Mens Rea by Brooke Edwards


Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6555

Daily Dose Short Story

MensReaBlurb

James Carter is forty-five and has been a police officer most of his life. He married young, lost her young, and his life revolved around his work and his son. Young is a recurring theme in his life, he thinks, when he meets the considerably younger AUSA Derek Moore on a case and finds himself ruled by the whims of his heart.
The road to love between a hotshot lawyer and a veteran cop was never going to be smooth, not in the real world, but there are criminals, misunderstandings, and a lack of communication standing in their way too. Both are so stubborn and convinced their interest is one-sided that it takes a murder case, exhaustion, and an adjournment for them to get their act together. They move fast after that, but they both know there’s no guarantee for tomorrow.

Review

This is how a short story should be written.

The author moves us forward through time without the obvious – “two weeks pass”, instead showing us the important information with well written examples.

Both characters are very well developed, and again this shows the author’s skills in that it is all shown to us rather than dumped on us in one long spew.

There are even well-developed secondary characters!

I thought the love story was very sweet but wish there had been more steam as the sex is fade to black.

Be warned, this is told in third person present tense and that can be difficult for some readers. It’s done well, though it isn’t my favorite writing style.

All in all 4.25 of 5 hearts, well done!

4.5

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Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds by Kris T Bethke

Dreamspinner presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6033

PumpkinRollsAndPornSoundsBlurb

Will Grant only attends the PFLAG meeting because his mother guilts him into it. But the instant he hears the night’s speaker, Will is glad he showed up. Joshua Rhinehardt is dynamic and engaging. Although Joshua isn’t physically Will’s type, Will can’t get the man out of his head.

Joshua may be comfortable in his own skin, but it isn’t often men like Will are attracted to him, and he’s not comfortable changing for someone else. He wants to make a life with Will, but his own insecurities keep getting in the way.

Will’s unwavering acceptance helps Joshua see that when two people connect, physical appearance just might not matter at all.

Review

This is a super cute, super easy read that is well-written and full of great “feels”.

Will and Joshua meet at a PFLAG meeting and pretty much hit it off right from the start. Joshua is a little insecure and that causes them to move slowly at first, but it is absolutely the right thing for them.

The sex is very hawt. The love is frickin’ adorable. The MCs are really cute, too.

All in all a very full, though short, story with a big heart.

Writing/Editing 5

Romance 5

Sex/Heat 5

Storyline 4

World Building/Characterizations 4.5

Overall 4.7 (rounded up to 5) of 5 hearts

5

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