Fire Horse (Polo #1) Audiobook by Mickie B Ashling Narrated by Max Lehnen

Dreamspinner Presents

fire horseBlurb

Preston Fawkes is ten the first time he meets fifteen-year-old Konrad Schnell at the San Antonio Polo Club. Captivated by the mystique surrounding the sport of kings, Pres vows to learn the game at the hands of his newly acquired friend and mentor. The hero worship soon grows into something deeper, but the friends are separated when Preston goes off to boarding school in England.

The relationship that follows is riddled with challenges―their age gap, physical distance, and parental pressure taking precedence over feelings yet to be explored. Although their bond goes deep, they deal with the reality of their situation differently: Preston is open and fearless while Konrad is reticent and all too aware of the social implications of making a public stand.

Their paths intersect and twine, binding them as tightly as a cowboy’s lasso, but fate may alter their plans. How will love overcome the divots in the turf as they gallop toward the future—one where obstacles no longer stand in their way?

This book starts with Preston as an injured Polo player being told he should never play again and he’s lucky to be alive. We know he has 2 ex-wives and 2 children, and that Kon is NOT in his life, currently. (This should give you an idea of where things are headed…) Then we get to the flashbacks which take up the bulk of the book.

As a boy of ten Preston meets Konrad, a boy of 15, for the first time and learns from him what it means to be a Polo player. He acts as his groom and Kon mentors him in the sport.

Preston’s hero worship of Kon changes on the night he realizes that Kon is gay and that the feelings in his gut may be more than just friendship. Kon, as he should, rebuffs the now 13 year old’s advances.  He puts him off because a) he’s too young and b) the two are about to be separated by Kon’s joining the American Polo team and Preston’s going overseas to study.  But first the two share a passionate kiss.

Preston meets Ned at Eaton, a boarding school in England. Ned shows Preston how to be properly English and Preston gives Ned Polo lessons. After a while, Ned  becomes Preston’s tutor in gay sex as well as his close friend.

Preston and Ned don’t become boyfriends though, because Preston is saving that for Kon, whom he stays in touch with and occasionally meets.

Finally, when Preston is 17 he and Kon spend a chunk of time together and move their relationship forward, becoming lovers and long-distance boyfriends.

Here is where things go horribly wrong. Their relationship is discovered and Kon is forced to join the military and …. Well if I tell you it’s a big spoiler. Needless to say what happens next keeps Kon and Pres apart until the end of the story and for YEARS.

I really, really wanted to like this. I loved the idea. Polo, young love, age gap, geographical gap… It had a ton of potential.

The pre-eighteen year old sex did not bother me – that’s reality for a lot of people and I thought it was mostly handled well.

What did bother me: Kon never really seemed to love Pres as much as Pres loved him. Kon seemed to lust for Preston, but not love him. Preston was a jerk, and hard to like, so I don’t blame Kon. As an adult, Pres only gets worse.

The plot twists were far too many and too hard to believe. At times it was like a soap opera in the way that the lovers were kept from one another – for YEARS. If we have that much angst I need a huge batch of happy to make up for it and the reunion at the end did NOT make up for all the unhappiness. After all the torment we see our MCs through, they get about one paragraph of happy ending and the “celibacy issue”… I just didn’t buy it at all.

I did not like the on-page sex with people not the MC. That, more than the age thing, did really bother me.

I thought the writing was ok, but I didn’t feel a lot of authenticity from the characters. Preston’s dad was practically bi-polar (smacking Preston around then giving him a new pony.) Preston’s step-dad just going out and renting his 16 year old son porn seemed nuts. Preston’s mom even marrying Preston’s dad didn’t make much sense. Ned – putting up with Preston’s crap for so long.  And there are other areas where it didn’t feel real.

I just couldn’t connect well to either MC very well, thought the plot holes were too big to ignore and found the romance lacking.  If you are a fan of drama, you might like this.  There is a LOT of it.  If you want a tender and satisfying, relationship story, this is not for you.

Max Lehnen is hit or miss for me. I have heard him do some nice narrations, and I have heard him butcher some. In this case he had some tall orders. He had to do a wide range of ages, including aging the MCs from 10 to adult. He had several accents to do, Texan, British, and Preston’s odd British/Texas blend, women, kids, etc. I thought for the most part he did a great job handling such a demanding narration, though some of his accents were definitely better than others.

I give Max Lehnen 4 of hearts and the story 1 of 5 hearts which gives this an average of 2.5 hearts



Fire Inside Audiobook by Dawn Douglas Narrated by Randy Fuller

Dreamspinner Presents

fire insideBlurb

After ten years as an active duty Marine, Captain Eric Ramos is rejoining civilian life. His first job is chauffeuring, assisting, and generally keeping track of NBA young gun Tyler Haley. Tyler’s had a rough few months, and his team owner is convinced he needs some hand-holding if he’s going to keep delivering wins for the St. Louis Fire Foxes.

Instead of the arrogant, over-privileged athlete Eric expected, Tyler is a big, blond, lonely twenty-three-year-old who needs more than just an employee to keep him in line. While taking care of Tyler, Eric changes from employee to friend, to something more. And when Eric realizes that something is burning the kid up from the inside out, he’s determined to find a way to help him before Tyler’s carefully constructed façade turns to ash.


Tyler is a very, very young star basketball player who was recruited out of HIGH SCHOOL to play pro ball. He’s scared. He’s conflicted. He’s also gay.

Eric was hired because he’s gay. Tyler’s manager wants Tyler safe and so far all the staff either uses Tyler for his connections, his money, or his access to sex. Eric is seen as being immune to all that based on his past history and his indifference to the female form.

Eric is immediately attracted, both physically and emotionally to Tyler. He sees Tyler as a kid brother at first: needy, shy, naïve, innocent. When Eric begins to suspect Tyler might swing his way he’s conflicted about those feelings. He doesn’t want to take advantage of the guy but he’s also developed some serious feelings for him that go more than skin deep.

Tyler has had some super-bad experiences in h is past that make his life rituals important, and one night the team loses it’s winning streak, forcing Tyler to do something he hates, but feels is necessary to bring the team back to winning. It’s superstitious and awful, and it almost breaks him.

Luckily Eric is there to pick up the pieces and together they finally admit their attraction and begin to act upon it.

If you had asked me to rate this story at about the 50% mark I’d have given it 5 hearts, easily. It is so amazingly engaging. Dawn Douglas has created the perfect innocent paired with the toughest Alpha male and the sexual tension between them was both believable and hot. The separation between them was authentic and you questioned Tyler’s sexuality right along with Eric throughout most of the book. (Is he gay and closeted? Is he in denial? is he gay for Eric?… it was hard to tell!) The basketball stuff was a little unbelievable, but interesting and acted as a nice background for the romance to develop against.

I absolutely detested Tyler’s past (as I was supposed to) and felt wretched for how it affected him. I so wanted Eric to help him move through his fear and pain and know what real love is.

Without spoiling things for you, they do get together… in the last few paragraphs of the book. All that sexual tension is released with a few groping sessions and lots of tears and no resolution, let me say it again, absolutely NO resolution.  Eric does not get to help Tyler get through this, we can hope he might one day, but we are left without only hope.

The book/story just ends. POW.

I was flummoxed! Then pissed!

The story was so, so good and then it just ended… like the bell rang and the author had to turn her paper in at the end of class.

Since I was listening to the audio book I had to check to make sure I had the full story and that there wasn’t some technical error.

What I found was that, no, this is the entirety of the story, but that the ebook had this included as an epilogue/author’s note:

“I LOVE short stories. Not that novels aren’t wonderful, but there’s something special about being able to say everything you need to in a limited number of pages. And my favorite short story, bar none, is Frank R. Stockton’s The Lady, or the Tiger?
If you ask me when I’m irritated with my husband, stuck in traffic, or generally having a bad day, I’m pretty sure a tiger came out of the door to the right at the end of the story. When I’m in a better mood, a lady came out of the door, and the hero rode off into the sunset with his prize. I like the fact that the ambiguity of a short story leaves room for imagination.
In this novella, Tyler has some very serious history to address. Instead of turning what I had always intended to be a novella into a novel and exploring psychological issues that are far above my pay grade, leaving these particular characters with some ambiguity, with a happily for now, felt like the right thing to do.
That said, I’m the author, right? I created them, which means I’m allowed to suspend reality if I want to…
So in my mind, the real end to Tyler and Ram’s story goes something like this:
Tyler and Ram both found excellent counselors. The Fire Foxes won four successive NBA Championships. Tyler came out. The universe said, “Huh,” and moved on with life. Ram got his master’s degree from Wash U, went into politics, and changed the world. They got married, adopted baseball crazy twin boys, and were frequent guests on “Real Time with Bill Mahr.” And they lived happily ever after for the rest of their days.
The End.”

So, yeah. The author tells us that since this is her story she can end it however she wants and that in her mind the couple ends up with a HEA but she doesn’t owe her audience the actual WRITING of the HEA.

Without this author’s note, I would barely call it a HFN (Happy for now).

Needless to say, this did not sit well with me and it definitely affected my rating of the book.
I had really loved this story up until the (NOT) ending and was so, so disappointed at where it left off.

Randy Fuller is not my favorite narrator, but he does a fairly nice job with the narration. I enjoyed his voice choice for Eric, but felt that Tyler sounded a bit too old and not enough different from Eric.

All in all I can’t really recommend this book or audiobook because I wouldn’t want to inflict the frustration I felt on anyone else.

I give it a 2.5 of 5 hearts simply because Randy did a nice job and the writing was good up until the end, but the overall story/enjoyment really wasn’t there and I wouldn’t recommend it at all.



Nights Like These by Chris Scully

Dreamspinner Presents

night like theseBlurb

Starting over sucks. At forty, Miles Koprowski thought he had life all figured out. He had a nice car, a hot young lover, and a cushy job… and then he didn’t. Call it fate, or karma, or a downturn in the market, but this opinionated cynic is now forced to play rent-a-cop in a dying office building in the burbs just to make ends meet. Throw in an unhinged ex, a coworker who hates him, and a hot new boss, and suddenly everything is uncertain.

Miles doesn’t plan on liking the night shift or becoming embroiled in a mystery that reawakens old passions and puts him in danger. And he certainly doesn’t plan on falling for the overbearing head of security, Colton Decker, former soldier and doting dad. But nights like these can change a man, make him start to believe there’s more to life than a high-paying job and a warm body in his bed. With a thief on the loose and his new job in jeopardy, Miles will have to decide what’s truly important. He might discover things he never knew he wanted… as long as he makes it through the night.


Miles is having a rough time. He’s lost his boyfriend and several jobs and is now working as a night security guard where he meets his boss (for the second time), aka Mr. Perfect, Colton Decker.

Colton is an ex-military, widower, single-dad and now in security management. Both Miles and Colton are immediately attracted to one another, but Miles is skeptical that he can ever be in a real relationship and he doesn’t want to lose another job by fooling around with the boss.

In addition to the romance there is a mystery related to stolen art and that consumes the attention of both Miles and Colton throughout most of the story.

In the end, the mystery is solved, and Miles and Colton end up with a pretty solid HFN/HEA.


Chris Scully is a great writer. Her character development is top-notch and the wit behind the snark that is the constant hum of Miles’ inner dialog is brilliant.

I thought the action/mystery was fast-paced and interesting, but I thought it detracted from the romance. I really wanted to see more of the pair bonding and maybe more of them once they had become a couple. There is a lot of potential for fun there, considering the daughter, the age-gap, their employment, etc – and just as the romance was really starting to get interesting, the story ended.

Perhaps this is a part–one (she’s done that to us before!) and we will see more of them in the future (I hope!) but if not, the ending left me wanting more.

Writing/Editing 5
Romance 3
Sex/Heat 3
Storyline 5
World Building/Characterizations 5

4.2 of 5 hearts



Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen

Dreamspinner Presents:

everything changesBlurb

What happens when friendship catches fire?

Former Marine and lower-leg amputee Carey Everett keeps a grueling schedule of counseling fellow war veterans and their families. The injury he received in Afghanistan forces him to rely on a reserve of strength he didn’t even know he had. A much deserved vacation will let him reconnect with his best friend, who saved his life and has been there for him through devastating injury and painful recovery.

Part-time EMT and aspiring singer Jase DeSantis has been in love with Carey for years, but he’s come to accept that his straight friend will never be able to offer more. Jase fills his days with band rehearsals, ambulance shifts, and willing groupies, all while trying to cope with debilitating PTSD.

A week of sun, fun, and music in San Diego changes Jase and Carey’s lives forever when their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Jase has been longing for that change, but it leaves Carey reeling with confusion. As Jase fights to hold things together, Carey deals with doubts, fears, and his own preconceived notions about labels and the true nature of love.


Carey and Jase are friends from the military. Carey is an amputee and dealing with a new body, Jase has PTSD and is dealing with leading a normal life. They lean on each other physically and emotionally until, one day, those emotions begin to change from friend to a more sexual relationship.

Jase has always identified as bi-sexual, so he is not surprised by his attraction to Carey. Carey, is a staunch “straight” guy, who is confused by the change in his feelings and his attraction to his best friend.

In a nutshell, Carey has to come to grips with his possibly being other than “straight” and Jase needs to find room in his busy life for a real relationship.


This is a new author for me, and I think this is her first full length novel in this genre. As such she did an excellent job. Her writing is clear and captivating. I was definitely hooked by the story line and though she did a great job with her character development and realism as regards her subject matter.

I loved the “hurt/abuse” part of this story. I thought the PTSD and the amputation was handled realistically and compassionately. It plucked my heartstrings and felt authentic and seemed well-researched.

I loved the idea of the GFY/friends to lovers part of this story, but it didn’t pan out for me. Their relationship started out with a real sensuous bang and I thought that having them “sort of “ hook up but then go back to being friends was a nice twist on the familiar story-line. I thought, “Yeah, that feels authentic. Carey needs someone, anyone and the low-level-of-commitment- hand-job wouldn’t necessarily make him “gay” but would get him started on that track of thinking.” So when they went back to being friends, though it was frustrating and hard to read (in terms of Jase) it felt – real. But when they do finally embark on a fully physical relationship (which Carey was weirdly eager for and not anxious about) and then Carey suddenly leaves again, both physically and emotionally, I was very put off. If it had been a quick bout of recriminations and worries, that would have been fine, but months?… and a new potential relationship for both MCs? I didn’t like it. I really felt Carey treated Jase poorly and didn’t do much to earn back his trust. The end was just too quick and didn’t feel solid enough for my tastes. I appreciated that no relationship runs smoothly, but after all the build-up, the quick apology and epilogue just felt rushed.

I liked this enough to read another by this author and truly liked, but didn’t love this story.

Writing/Editing 4
Romance 3
Sex/Heat 3
Storyline 3
World Building/Characterizations 4

3.4 of 4 hearts



Palace Dogs ( RE Nelson) Book Blast with Giveaway

Final--Palace DogIn April 1975, as the government in Saigon is falling, Michael Andrews prepares to make his way back to Vietnam to find the love he was forced to leave. 

But Michael’s journey begins four years earlier. He joins the Air Force to keep out of the Army and out of Vietnam, but his first assignment is teaching English in Saigon to members of the Vietnamese military in an Army program called Palace Dog. 

As an artist, and a man, before his time in Vietnam, Michael found life lonely and unsatisfying. In the midst of war, Michael searches for direction and meaning. He ultimately finds love and hope with Thao, a young Vietnamese art student, only to have their already uncertain future wrenched from them when he is pulled out of the country. 

For Michael, his return in 1975 is inevitable and without question, though the outcome he hopes for is anything but assured.

Author Bio:
R.E. Nelson was born in Texas and raised in Southern California. He has been writing for as long as he can remember. One of his earliest recollections related to writing is winning an essay contest in sixth grade–something patriotic about the American flag. When he travels, his preference is staying in select areas for an extended period of time and learning about that place. He has lived in both Vietnam (twice, actually) and Saudi Arabia, and also spent time in Egypt, South Korea, Shanghai (his only China visit thus far), and Dubai. Now he is happy to call San Francisco home.
Where to find the author:
Twitter: @RENelson13
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Loving an Absentminded Astrophysicist by TN Tarrant

Dreamspinner Presents:

loving astroBlurb

At twenty-three, Dr. Liam McGregor is a well-respected astrophysicist, astrobiologist, and geologist. With no family, few friends, and no romantic prospects, he’s used to being alone. Focusing on his various scientific projects and taking care of his decidedly unusual cat help keep the loneliness at bay.

Jareth Manning is starting life over—new town, new job—after the loss of his husband. The last thing he expects is for the most absentminded, and beautiful, man he’s ever seen to take up residence in his heart. Nor did he expect to find himself a willingly humble slave to Her Imperial Highness, Empress the Cat. But Jareth has learned that love doesn’t come around often and to hold on to it when it does. Jareth is willing to be patient if Liam is willing to take a risk after being burned before. They just have to survive Liam’s past returning.

Eight years after Liam and Jareth marry, they want a child. Things don’t go well when they try to adopt, with terrible accusations thrown at Jareth. After recovering, they proceed with a private adoption, bringing home a beautiful little girl, Carinae. Then things get ugly, endangering not only Liam’s life, but Carinae’s.


I want to say first and foremost : This. Is. Fiction.

Ok, now that we set the mood…

Liam is super-brilliant and gets lost in his work, thus he runs into things, knocks things over, misses social cues, breaks things, falls down… he’s a mess. His childhood sucked. His parents are in jail for their abuses of him. His work is mostly wonderful except when the other geniuses get jealous. But… he’s very lonely. He hasn’t had a great romantic history and doesn’t know what to do about that. But… he has an awesome cat and some pretty amazing friends.

Enter Jareth. Jareth is a widower. (Can I get an awwwww?) He lost his husband a couple of years ago and though he loved him dearly, he is ready to move on when he meets Liam who just hits all of his buttons. Jareth is hired as security for Liam after Liam gets attacked at work.

Jareth straight out adores Liam and Liam is entranced by Jareth.

Their romance is a slow build from simple friendship to lovers over time. While their romance is building there are things happening at work that keep Jareth busy protecting Liam and add some spice to our romantic storyline.

The second half of the story is in fact an entire second book (This is really a book one with a couple of cute novellas and then a sequel all wrapped into one novel.)
In the second half we are several years down the line and Jareth and Liam are married and looking to adopt. But… there are lots of road blocks and danger and Liam is still in need of protection.

We end with a glorious HEA and the possibility for expanding the family to four!


Like I said at the beginning of the review, this is fiction. There are some ridiculous things that happen to this couple that are just plain … fictional. Jareth is constantly being hauled in on accusations of spousal abuse. Numerous people (including his parents, three times!) come after Liam with guns and knives and brass knuckles. Their little tiny cat has litter after litter of sweet Siamese kittens with no other health concerns. The adopted baby’s mother inherits $263 million but still wants to give up her baby because she doesn’t want to be a single mom.

Ok. It’s a lot. But I gotta tell ya – I still loved this story. I adored Jareth and Liam together as a couple with their “science” arguments. I loved the over the top drama. I loved the ooey gooey love story and the almost super hero like qualities Jareth had. I thought the sex was hot! I loved that Liam had a pudgy belly! I loved that Jareth goes gray!

I just plain loved this book!

If you are willing to suspend your disbelief and enjoy the geeky magical love fest- this is the book for you!

5 of 5 hearts



Drive Your Truck by Julia Talbot

Dreamspinner Presents

drive truckBlurb

Home on compassionate leave for his brother’s funeral, Navy SEAL Garrison Matthews needs to blow off a lot of stress and grief before he returns to active duty. In honor of his brother, he takes Bettie, the brothers’ souped-up vintage truck, out for a spin. A bit of an adrenaline junkie, Garrison has no problem finding trouble. This time trouble’s named Walt, and he happens to be Garrison’s sister-in-law’s brother.

Neither man expects their fun to amount to anything else, but after an injury sends Garrison home for good, he turns to Walt, hoping to start a new life. Walt is a closeted sheriff’s deputy, and while he adores Garrison, he isn’t sure he’s ready to come out… or for such a big commitment. Being fresh out of the service isn’t easy on Garrison either. To find their happy ending, Walt and Garrison must overcome their trust issues and get ready to settle down together.


Garrison meets Walt at Garrison’s brother’s funeral. Walt is Garrison’s brother’s wife’s brother. Phew. Got that?

Basically they are sorta, kinda, in-laws-ish.

Garrison is still a SEAL but he’s out. Walt is a cop, and he’s NOT.

At first they hook up and it’s nothing but letting off steam. But as time moves on, they become closer and closer. Garrison gets out of the military, injured, and Walt lends him a hand his guest room. But when things start to look too “suspicious” to the locals, Walt essentially kicks Garrison out.

Garrison wants more. Walt is worried about his reputation and getting hurt if Garrison dumps him and leaves him “out” and alone.

But when someone nearly dies, things become clear.


I really liked this book. There were times when the writing, especially the dialog, got a bit clunky and in the middle of the book I was a bit annoyed with Walt for all his waffling, but overall, I thought it was a good romance and it felt pretty realistic to me.

I liked that the boys communicated like boys. Short sentences. No outpourings of devotion. They were honest about their attraction right from the get-go. I also liked that the “drama” was mostly in Walt’s head, which I also think is realistic. So many times we are our own worst enemy.

The sex was pretty hot and when the “I love yous are exchanged” they felt sincere, if anti-climactic.

The name is a bit of a misnomer – the truck really doesn’t play much into the story, though it is a cute/sentimental part of the story.

PS Any story where the dog gets some page time is a good one! ☺

Writing/Editing 3.5

Romance 4

Sex/Heat 4

Storyline 3.5

World Building/Characterizations 4

Overall 3.8 of 5 hearts



The Trouble With Tony (Sex in Seattle #1) Audiobook by Eli Easton Narrated by Tommy O’Brien

Dreamspinner Presents:

trouble tonyBlurb

As part of the investigation into the murder of a young woman, Seattle P.I. Tony DeMarco poses as a patient of Dr. Jack Halloran, the therapist who treated the victim at a Seattle sex clinic. This isn’t the first time Tony has gone undercover, but it’s the first time he’s wanted to go under covers with one of his suspects. He can’t help it –Jack Halloran is just the kind of steely eyed hero Tony likes. But he’ll have to prove Halloran’s innocence and keep the doctor from finding out about his ruse before he can play Romeo.
Dr. Halloran has his own issues, including a damaged right arm sustained in the line of duty as a combat surgeon in Iraq and the PTSD that followed. He’s confused to find himself attracted to a new patient, the big, funny Italian with the puppy-dog eyes, and Tony’s humor slips right past Jack’s defenses, making him feel things he thought long buried. But can the doctor and the P.I. find a path to romance despite the secrets between them?


Jack is a Doctor and a war hero who has had to re-train from surgeon to sex therapist due to debilitating injuries.

Tony is an ex-cop, PI on the case of a murder of one of Jack’s former patients. Tony “pretends” to have a sex addiction and comes to Jack for “help” so that he can assess Jack as a suspect. Jack sees through the ruse and calls Tony’s bluff. Tony admits, finally, to having “a picky dick”. Meaning that he has trouble getting erections except with a very small pool of men who manage to stimulate his “picky dick”.

Jack agrees to take Tony on as a patient, though he is concerned because he is not sure Tony is still being honest and Jack is already too attracted to Tony for professional purposes.

Together Jack and Tony research possibilities for Tony’s “problem” and at the same time build a smoldering sexual tension.

Tony essentially rules Jack out fairly early as a suspect, but still must investigate the clinic and it’s employees as well as following other leads.

Finally, when Tony thinks he knows whodunit, he faces the task of convincing Jack to give their relationship a try.


So – you know – I love Eli Easton. I am a huge fan. This was one of the first books I read of hers after falling in love with Blame it on the Mistletoe. There are several things I loved about this book (especially listening to it again after having read it several times). I love the characters. They seem so real and down to earth. I love that I get to learn something about sex therapy and yet it was still a bit kinky at times too. Totally professional and not at all demeaning to the profession, but still acknowledging the sexual edge that is involved in such an intimate form of therapy.

I also loved the gradual exploration of the feelings between Tony and Jack. It felt real and natural. My only complaint was that after Jack and Tony got together we didn’t get to see much of them as a couple. There was definitely enough to believe in a HEA (and we see them in future novels as an established couple) but I wanted to see more of them here.


I had listened to Tommy O’Brien narrate before and thought he did a fine job.

I was so disappointed with this. There was little emotion and the very slight difference between Tony and Jack’s voices was not satisfactory. Tony is this great East Coast Italian guy and it would have been so fun to hear that come out in Tommy’s narration. There is some inflection and in fact Tony’s voice is the only emotion I felt in the story.

Writing/Editing 5

Romance 4

Sex/Heat 4.5

Storyline 5

World Building/Characterizations 5

Narration 3

Overall 4.5 hearts



Quiet Nights (Mangrove Stories #2) by Mary Calmes

Dreamspinner presents:

quiet nightsBlurb

It’s a lovely little life Kelly Seaton leads. He’s got his own landscaping business, a nice little house, and his best friend, Cosimo Renaldi, and Coz’s goofball family who have adopted Kelly as their own. Sure, it’s a little lonely at night, but it’s a sweet deal, and Kelly can’t chance ruining it by letting on that he wants more—has always wanted more—with Coz.
Then Kelly’s past comes to town, bringing bad memories and hurt feelings that start to break Kelly down, and Coz just doesn’t understand why Kelly won’t let him be the support and strength that Kelly’s always been for him. They’ve already been through war, Coz’s devastating injury, and starting new careers in Mangrove, Florida. Why shouldn’t they face their chaotic pasts and build their future of quiet nights… together?


Oh Mary, how I love thee, let me count the ways!

This is the second book in her new Mangrove Stories series. So… yep we get to see Dwyer and Takeo again. (Yay!)

Kelly and Coz are best friends and have been since their days in the military. Kelly is Coz’s de-facto brother, his family disowned him for being gay. Kelly saved Coz’s life but Coz still lost an arm, and as a result still feels inadequate in the realm of romance.

Takeo actually is to be credited with pushing Kelly and Coz together, because it is his matchmaking endeavors that sort of push Coz into dating which makes Kelly so jealous he can’t see straight!

This is a short story, so we get a little build up and a little steamy smexy times and lots and lots of warm feels.

One of my favorite quotes from the book illustrates this exactly. Coz is talking to Kelly. “You’re who I think of telling shit to, who I miss even when I’m busy doing something and you’re who I want to roll over on top of in the morning.” See? Build up, smexy times, and lots of great feels!

PS I LOVE the cover – so beautiful and doesn’t Kelly look awesome?!

Writing/Editing 5

Romance 5

Sex/Heat 5

Storyline 4

World Building/Characterizations 5

Overall 4.8 rounded to 5 of 5 hearts!




The Sol of Jupiter by Thaddeus J.

Dreamspinner Presents

sol of jupiterBlurb

Turner Michaels is an idealistic junior enlisted communicator that wants nothing more than to successfully execute his duties. After being transferred to a light armored reconnaissance unit in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the young U.S. Marine starts to feel a bit overwhelmed and out of place from his usual role of support – that is until he is reunited with his old friend Jace Sozio. Reconnecting with one another is simple, but neither of them could have imagined the intense yet awkward attraction that would grow between them. Though admitting these feelings to one another poses a dilemma for the men, as neither wants it to threaten their close friendship. Taking things to a whole new level raises a number of other questions as well. First and foremost, would their peers accept them, or would they have to forever hide their relationship? And admitting their true feelings for one another is easier said than done. Their harsh supervisor is demanding and makes life miserable for the pair, and they also have a number of very good (though sometimes annoying) friends that make them question if they even need enemies. But with the help of their family and inspiring leaders the two will discover that loyalty and support are stronger than bigotry and misperception. Proving that the Corps indeed is a sacred brotherhood where men can trust one another with their very lives.


This is a love story between two friends (from basic training on) during the times of DADT.

It is a very, very military story (lots of lingo) with little erotica involved. For some this may be a turn off. For others a chance to enjoy learning something new and for others a chance to have an m/m novel without a lot of sex scenes to skip/skim.

For me, it was not exactly my taste. I prefer more steam in my novels and since I don’t have a military background it was a bit more tedious to get through all the jargon/lingo. I was looking forward to some hot military man on man action… but I wasn’t exactly disappointed, just had to adjust my frame of expectation. The writing was excellent and very detailed, so you really felt you were there.

So I give it a 3.5 of 5 hearts and for those of you with a little different palate you might rate it higher.

FWIW I like the updated cover a lot!