The Rebuilding Year by Kaje Harper

Samhain Publishing Presents


Losing nearly everything leaves room for the one thing they can’t live without.

A few excruciating minutes pinned in a burning building cost Ryan Ward his job as a firefighter, the easy camaraderie of his coworkers, his girlfriend, and damn near cost him his left leg. Giving up, though, isn’t an option. Compared to the alternative, choosing a new profession, going back to school, and renting a room from the college groundskeeper are simple.

Until he realizes he’s falling in love with his housemate, and things take a turn for the complicated.

John Barrett knows about loss. After moving twice to stay in touch with his kids, he could only watch as his ex-wife whisked them away to California. Offering Ryan a room seems better than rattling around the empty house, but as casual friendship moves to something more, and a firestorm of emotions ignites, the big old house feels like tight quarters.

It’s nothing they can’t learn to navigate, though. But when dead bodies start turning up on campus—and one of the guys is a suspect—their first taste of real love could go up in smoke.

Product Warnings
Contains two hot men wrestling with a shift in their sexuality, as well as a few positions probably listed in the Gay Kama Sutra. But it’s not all about the hot and sweaty—especially when your previously straight life knocks on the door and comes back to visit.


Ryan is a med student, former fireman who was injured in the line of duty, looking for a cheap place to stay while studying. He meets John on campus where John does the maintenance for the university. John is recently divorced father of two who is looking for a friend and someone to share expenses.

John and Ryan quickly become great friends and find themselves inexplicably attracted to one another as more than friends. Neither has identified as gay before but are suddenly seeing the other as very attractive.

There are a lot of hurdles. Neither is willing to jump into this without being sure of their feelings. Ryan has scars on his body that makes him leery of opening himself up to anyone. John’s wife and family aren’t going to see this as something to embrace. And – there’s a dead body found on campus and John is a suspect!

With a lot of careful movements forward and some deep discussion the couple explore their new feelings and in the end find a deep and abiding love.


This was one of the first mm books I ever read and I have re-read it dozens of times! I absolutely loved it. It’s a double GFY, both male “virgins” and they are so very sweet with each other! Kaje Harper is an amazing writer, she carefully crafts their relationship so that it is believable and romantic and yet full of realistic challenges and day to day hurdles.

I can’t recommend this book enough and I am ever so excited to read the sequel (finally!)!

6 of 5 hearts



Sultry Sunset (Mangrove Book 3) by Mary Calmes

Dreamspinner Presents


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.


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.

4.5 of 5 hearts