Category Archives: Review

4 Stars for Highly Strung (Food of Love #1) by Justine Elyot #MMF #Musicians @JustineElyot @PridePublishing

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Title: Highly Strung (Food of Love #1)
Author Name: Justine Elyot (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: June 11, 2012 – 208 pgs

Synopsis

ook one in the Food of Love Series If music be the food of love, no wonder orchestral life is so passionate. The new violinist with the Westminster Symphony Orchestra knows she shouldn’t have a crush on its glamorous leader, Milan Kaspar, but Lydia just can’t help wanting a piece of the arrogant Czech virtuoso. Capturing his attention by refusing to play along with his plans for the orchestra, she soon finds herself drawn into his bed – a bed he shares with lovers of both sexes. But Lydia wants more than wild and inventive sex – she wants to get behind Milan’s sophisticated veneer, to find the man inside the performer. She seems doomed to failure, until a trip to his home country changes everything… Reader Advisory: This book contains menage relationships, bisexual characters and exhibitionism/voyeurism, plus some scenes of angst.

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Review

FourStars

I really liked this book and the inclusion of the world of being a concert violinist.
The plot is fun and a bit twisted. I did feel at times like I didn’t full understand or get the connection or reason behind Milan’s actions. However, I did get part of the attraction and desire between the main characters.
I don’t know at the end of the book that I would particularily want to know more about the characters as I was just at a meh point since it all seemed a bit rushed and disconnected from the build up to that point.
There are certainly some decent naughty scenes in the book, but not as hot as some others I’ve read.
Renee

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Continue reading 4 Stars for Highly Strung (Food of Love #1) by Justine Elyot #MMF #Musicians @JustineElyot @PridePublishing

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TWO 5 and 4.5 Stars for Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen (Guest Post)- #MM #Military #Amputee @MelJoyAZ

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Title: Everything Changes
Author Name: Melanie Hansen
Publication Date & Length: March 13, 2015 – 68,029 Words

Synopsis

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.

Review

FiveStars
This is my first novel by Melanie Hansen, and I have to say the Prologue grabbed my attention.
This was one of the most profound, heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching, and beautiful journey’s I have read and I read a lot!!!!
Jase and Carey met and became friends when they were officers in the Army. Jase was a medic and when Carey was wounded, Jase saved his life, and the feelings Jase had for his friend were forever, and deeply embedded in his heart. Carey was indebted to Jase but he also wanted to forget everything that happened during the War. They remained friends but it was strained…until Carey decides to take a visit to Jase, in San Diego. And what ensues is a panty-melting page turning seduction that will leave you flushed and breathless. *fans self* Phew!!!
Melanie Hansen has an incredible way of describing so many gut-wrenching and heart-felt moments, you will sob out loud without even realising it, and not care either. I would suggest not reading this in public as the emotions won’t be contained.
Both have very difficult inner battles to overcome. The war did not leave them unscathed. But with each by their side, the battle doesn’t feel so lonely…. Sigh. I devoured this in one sitting, one morning actually, could not put it down!!! That is all I got, and if you are getting the impression that I loved this author, and the story is a MUST READ, then I said enough.
Reviewer: Kimberley
FiveStars

This is truly a beautiful piece of writing.   The enduring friendship between Marine Corey and Medic Jase is forged in the heat of an Afghanistan warzone.  The men are inseparable on deployment until a tragedy leaves Corey badly injured and Jase trying desperately to save his life even if he can’t save his leg.

Both men return from the war deeply damaged, but their friendship is immutable.  What Jase never tells Corey is how much he truly loves his straight best friend.

Hansen’s elegant prose elevates this book beyond the average wounded warrior story.    Her characters are complex and fully developed.  Hansen never shies away from the realities of war or underestimates the strain of civillian life on former servicemen and women.  Her plot drags readers back and forth in time until we have no hope but to fall madly, deeply in love with both of her captivating leading men.

A character in the story explains that “the best kind of love is friendship that has caught fire.”

Hansen captures this love with sensual, sumptuous language.  Corey’s growing awareness of Jase sexually is delectably slow.  The chemistry between Jase and Corey is explosive, delivering moments of almost unbearable desire.   The slow burn attraction between two men who have loved each other for a very long time is painfully sexy.

Highly recommended.

Sarah

FourandHalfStars

Jase and Carey are kind of an odd couple. They had such a close connection while in the army – so close, that they stayed connected even after the tragedy that is war touched their lives.

Carey seems to hold all of his emotions in side. He hides himself away. Hints from his past creep in to the story and the reader can then guess as to why Carey is the way he is. His character was a hard nut to crack – despite his inner dialogue, he was very frustrating at times. I wanted to hit him over the head to get him to really see how he was living.

Jase is much more free spirited. He is much more go with the flow. However, even with that attitude, he was not unaffected by the war and he has his own demons to overcome.

Despite years of loving each other, neither was able to express that love for quite some time. The story of their love is a struggle – it is filled with years of meaningless encounters with other people, sometimes with each character floating through their life, not really living. While I thought the story was slow at times, I really liked how Hansen brought it all together.

One quote that really hit home was “Just give me one more day. And if that’s all you have to give me, it just today, I’ll take it.” I think that is a great way to get through rough times. This story was about survival, love, finding yourself and finding happiness even among the broken pieces of your life. Today is not tomorrow, nor is it yesterday and these characters were able to live in the moment. So many times, people are not able to do that.

So, this story was touching, hopeful and romantic.

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Excerpt

“You keep looking at me like that, this ain’t gonna last long,” Jase growled. Carey smirked, then twirled his finger in a turn-around motion.

“I feel like a piece of meat,” Jase grumbled good-naturedly, but turned in a slow circle. Carey’s mouth watered as he took in Jase’s broad shoulders and muscular back, tapering in a perfect V into slim hips and high, round buttocks. Carey was a little bemused at how looking at another man’s body was revving him up, but it was. It was just… Jase. Carey already knew how beautiful he was on the inside; now he knew how stunning he was on the outside too.

Using his support leg and his arms, he pulled himself to the edge of the bed and sat up, crooking his finger “Come here.”

Jase’s eyes flared hot, and he took the few steps necessary to reach the edge of the bed. Carey reached up slowly and moved his hands onto Jase’s hips, stroking over the hipbones lightly before tugging him forward to stand between his legs.

“I just want to touch you,” he said hoarsely. “Is that okay?”

Jase smoothed Carey’s hair back from his forehead, his fingertips achingly gentle. “Touch me,” he said

AuthorInterview

One of my characters in Everything Changes, Carey Everett, is an amputee due to an injury he suffered in Afghanistan.  The surgery he received to remove his damaged leg is called a transtibial amputation, which means below the knee.  Carey is fortunate in that respect since transfemoral, or above the knee, amputations are more complicated and prosthetic fittings more difficult.  With a transfemoral amputation, an artificial knee is required so the recovery time and mastering the range of motion takes longer.

Prosthetic comes from the Greek word meaning “addition.”  The oldest prosthetic discovered in history was on the mummy of an Egyptian noblewoman dating back 3,000 years ago.  It was a prosthetic toe made of wood and leather and was fully articulated, meaning it could bend and move exactly like a real toe.

Carey wears a prosthetic made of a blend of lightweight plastic, carbon fiber and titanium.  He attaches it to his residual leg, or stump, with a suction socket.  When he dons, or puts on, his prosthetic, he bears down until air is expelled through a one-way valve and a vacuum seal forms.  When he doffs it, or takes it off, he opens the valve to expel the air and break the seal.

Fitting for a prosthetic is a long, arduous process since an amputee’s residual leg is constantly changing due to swelling or shrinkage.  Physical therapy is painful and involved.  Carey was already dealing with a traumatic and life-changing injury, and adjusting to and learning to walk again with an artificial leg was emotionally and physically draining.  Jase’s support and care during this time made all the difference to Carey’s recovery, and it cemented the existing emotional bond between them which eventually turned to love.

AuthorBio

Melanie Hansen has spent time in both Texas and Florida prisons…for work.   She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met.  After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.

She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man.  After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.

Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student.  She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

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5 and 3 Stars for Black and Blue Love: A Lesbian Novel by Judy Folger #FF #DomesticViolence #SameSexAbuse #Lesbian Abuse @Judy_Folger

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Title: Black and Blue Love: A Lesbian Novel
Author Name: Judy Folger
Publication Date & Length: August 24, 2013 – 131 pgs

Synopsis

After Kallie Moran’s husband, Aaron, is killed in Iraq, Kallie asks her law firm to transfer her back to her home town so she can be close to her mother.

When her request is granted, she realizes that closeness to her mother also means closeness to her mother’s dreadful sister, Bessie Benson.

Bessie is loud and crass, and her sons make a lifestyle of rotating in and out of the county jail. The only Benson that Kallie has ever been able to tolerate is her cousin, Andi. Andi, too, once dreamed of getting out of Brookville, but unlike Kallie, she never quite made it.

Now an out lesbian, Andi drags her intimidated partner, Della, to local bars and out-of-control family affairs. Della seems so miserable that Kallie finds herself reaching out to this beautiful, fragile-looking woman who just doesn’t seem to belong among the Bensons.

As Kallie and Della become friends, Kallie witnesses the verbal and emotional abuse Andi heaps on Della. Then comes the terrible night when Andi is no longer able to confine herself to words and slams Della to the ground, permanently scarring her face.

Della flees to Kallie for protection. In relative safety, she struggles to face the fact that she is a victim of lesbian domestic violence. She is also falling hard for Kallie, her rescuer.

Kallie, meanwhile, is keeping some secrets of her own. She wants to be with Della as much as Della wants to be with her, but she is afraid to embark on her first lesbian relationship.

Their love blossoms when Kallie risks her life to save Della from another of Andi’s vicious attacks. But it doesn’t take Andi long to realize she’s been betrayed. Furious, drunk, and carrying her father’s hand gun, she vows that this time she will REALLY make Della and Kallie pay.

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Review

FiveStars

As the title suggests this is a tale of growing attraction and deepening love between Kallie, an attorney, and Kallie’s cousin Andrea’s partner, Della, and the circumstances and actions which result in domestic violence.
Kallie starts off as a strong, forceful professional woman, Della the quiet, gentle one, however, as the story unfolds we see the roles becoming reversed. Ms Folger does an excellent job with these intriguing characters, I was particularly impressed with the way she developed the character of Andrea, the protagonist. Obviously well researching the  characteristics associated with domestic violence, Ms Folger manages to make us understand  Andrea, and, to some extent her actions, without ever condoning the horrors which are domestic violence.
Despite the serious and horrifying aspects of this story line Ms Folger keeps her novel uplifting and yes, enjoyable, there are many light hearted moment involving each of the main characters families and the story is so well  presented I found myself unable to put it down until I found out how the characters and tale would finally unfold.
This is the first novel I have read by this author but I will certainly be reading more!!!
Chris
ThreeStar

Kallie Morgan is transferred to her hometown by her law firm where she hopes to reconnect with her cousin/best friend, Andi Benson.  However, she doesn’t get to spend much time with her because Andi is out of town because of work more often than not.  Kallie does connect with Andi’s partner Della, who works at the local furniture store.

The relationship between Della and Kallie is rushed.  Della feels that Kallie is the one for her right after she meets her.  It would have helped the story if the friendship aspect had been explored.

Kallie does spend a rare moment with Andi and finds out that when she is out of town she cheats and that Della does what she tells her to do.  Kallie can’t believe what she is hearing.  Andi asks her to take her to a dinner theater that she has tickets to.  She can’t take her due to work and won’t let her go alone.  Kallie agrees.  This is not the first event that Andi asks Kallie to take Della to.  It is almost like Andi is pushing the two of them together.  Almost.

Della goes to a cookout at her parent’s house because Andi out of town.  However, when Della arrives home, Andi is there.  Drunk and angry.  She is begins accusing her of having a girlfriend.  She slaps Della and she falls.  The ring cuts her face and her head hits the floor.  Andi leaves.  Luckily she is not knocked out.  She calls her sister & brother-in-law.  They come over and tell her she needs stitches. This scene is difficult to read regarding the abuse that happens to Della and the way that Andi leaves with no remorse.

The relationship deepens between Della and Kallie after the abuse.  Andi shows up a Halloween party at Della’s parents house.  She had seen Della and Kallie kiss. She tries to grab Della, but her mother is able to get her before Andi can.  Then goes after Kallie with a piece of wood.  Kallie trips and hits her hit on a stone.  The cops had been called when she arrived and she is hauled off to jail. Now Kallie needs stitches.  Finally, a restraining order is filed against Andi.  Of course, as a reader I am wondering why this wasn’t done when Della was slapped.

She, of course, violates it.  There are many twists and turns in this story.  I wish there had been some background on Della.  We don’t know much about this character at all.  The romance between the two main characters should have been delayed and back story interjected would have given readers a better understanding about them.

Angela

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Excerpt

Della leaned into Kallie so that their bodies were pressed close together. Kallie finally did what she had been wanting to do since the day she met Della. She reached up and tangled her fingers in that glorious, unruly hair. She had expected Della’s hair to be coarse, but it was soft and warm in her hands.

Then Della’s hands found her breases, and Kallie remembered where they were and what they were doing. It took every ounce of willpower that she’d ever possessed, but she withdrew from Della, backing into the wall at the end of the step. “We shouldn’t do this,” she said in a voice so hoarse with passion she scarcely recognized it.

Della’s green eyes reflected hurt and confusion. “Why not?”

“Because you’re my cousin’s partner.”

Della nodded sadly. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll go.”

Kallie tried to think of something to say that would ease things between the two of them, but no words came to her mind. All she could do was watch as Della walked out the door.

AuthorBio

A proud member of the lesbian community, Judy wrote her first book after she retired and hasn’t looked back since. Her books tell the stories of women in love who fight to overcome real-life problems. Judy was born in Oklahoma and grew up in Wichita but now lives in Merriam, Kansas. She has a son who also writes and a daughter-in-law who does paranormal investigations.

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4 and 3 Stars for Turkish Delights by Trina Lane #MMM #Menage #Totally_Bound

1.3

Title: Turkish Delight
Author Name: Trina Lane
Publication Date: March 6, 2015

Synopsis

Three very different men from three different countries look to build a love greater than any wonder of the world.

Project manager Garrett Sloan builds majestic hotels for the rich and famous around the world, but when it comes to love, all his relationships seem to crumble. His latest project lands him in Istanbul, where the desire he’s held for a certain French architect heats up under the Middle Eastern sun, and his resolve never to mix business with pleasure melts beneath the added hot stare and skilled hands of a Turkish mason.

The three men discover they want to build a relationship to stand the test of time. Much like Kyle LaFleure’s buildings and Emir Şahin’s stonework. As the bonds between Garrett and his partners grow stronger and more complex they work to lay the perfect foundation on which to build a lasting relationship. Can the three men construct a relationship that will endure? Or will their love reach its zenith when their shared task of finishing the ultimate Ottoman luxury hotel reaches it completion?

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Review

FourStars

Three very different men from three different countries look to build a love greater than any Wonder of the World, while builing one of the most luxurious hotels in the world.

What stood out the most for me was the author’s knowledge of Istanbul, the architecture within the city. The terms in building and creating the masterpiece of a boutique hotel will make you feel as if you are watching the whole project come to life before your eyes. The isn’t to take anything away from the heartfelt and very sexy journey with these three very different men that have a chemistry and maturity for this journey that makes for a most enjoyable story!

Reviewer: Kimberley

ThreeStar

I have to confess that it took me a few chapters to get into this story.  The writing felt clunky at the start and I didn’t feel an immediate connection to any of the three main characters.  I felt that they fell for each other too quickly in a way that felt more like an extended hook-up than a romance leading to true love.  I became more engaged as we learned more about Emir’s family and Kyle and Garret’s professional lives. I really felt for Emir by the end of the story.  Having spent some time in Istanbul, I enjoyed the beautiful descriptive passages about the city and the architectural details of the hotel the three men were building.

I didn’t like the way the book skipped through time very quickly without us learning more about the three men’s lives outside of the relationship and the hotel.  Their lives, interests and other relationships could have been developed so much further.  This book was definately more erotica than romance, focusing on the sex between the three men.  While I love hot m/m/m menage, I found myself skimming through some of the later scenes.  Some of the descriptions of the sex felt mechanical – at one point a sexual act was described as a “method”.  Also, to be very picky,  the American author’s description of her English and French main characters’ lives didn’t ring very true to a UK reader.

However, despite these niggles, I found myself quite attached to the three men and their hotel by the end of the story and would recommend the story to those who enjoy their stories more erotica than romance.

Sarah

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AuthorBio

I can be shy and boisterous, introverted and extroverted. I like to get dressed up in pretty clothes and think slippers, t-shirts and sweats are just fine. I love spending time with close friends and alone with a good book and glass of wine. I have been passionately addicted to romance novels since the age of thirteen and enjoy almost all genres of romance. My only requirement is that all reads have a happily ever after ending. When I am not devouring a new book by one of my favorite authors or thinking up new storylines for one of my own, you can usually find me watching a movie with my husband and cat, working with my other passionate obsession photography, or listening to my iPod. Quite frequently a combination of all the above.

I started writing on a whim when one of the thousands of stories that float around in my head stuck during the daily commute to my office. As the week progressed the storyline got more elaborate. I decided to write it down and it eventually became SEALing Fate.

I want to encourage everyone not to be afraid of trying something new. It’s scary and thrilling but the rewards can be grea

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3 Stars for As Natural As Breathing by Thianna D #MM #BDSM #Erotic @the_weremouse

As Natural as Breathing

Title: As Natural As Breathing
Author Name: Thianna D
Publication Date & Length: August 7, 2013 – 213pgs

Synopsis

For Christian Darringer, life isn’t worth living. Just back from the Middle East; scarred and with permanent damage to one leg, he does not think anyone will want him for anything. Meeting a gorgeous man he finds himself thinking about constantly is not in his plans. Pulled toward the startling younger man with striking blue eyes, he begins to question a lot of things – especially his sexuality. Not one to hide from a challenge, he plunges ahead only to find himself more than just attracted to Logan who is full of life and joy, he finds himself head over heels in love.

Logan Mannette has almost everything he ever wanted: loving parents, happiness, friends and security. The only thing missing is finding the love of his life, a love that is just like his parents’. When he meets Christian at a party, everything changes. Instantly attracted, he does his best to help this sad man and quickly finds himself feeling more than he has ever felt before. Raised in a domestic discipline household, he holds that ideal as what he wants but his interest in spanking became a fetish and when Christian admits that he wants to be spanked, Logan believes he might have found the perfect man.

Just as everything begins for them, Christian’s past intercedes and one of his brothers makes waves about him dating a man. If it weren’t for Logan’s support, he might fold; but with the love of one amazing man, Christian finds that living his life rather than just existing is as natural as breathing.

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Review

ThreeStar

Christian is an injured war vet.  He has recently returned home damaged both physically and emotionally.  Logan is a university drama student in Seattle.

Christian’s father works for Logan’s father and the two men meet up at a Christmas party.

This feels much more modern than recent m/m New Adult books I’ve read because the writer has drawn two loving, accepting families for Christian and Logan.  She may have pushed things a little too far when Christian’s girlfriend of eight years tries to set the men up – but it was refreshing not to have to wade through secretive, closeted angst with one or both of the young main characters.   It resonated quite truthfully that the parents understood their children’s sexuality before Logan and Christian did.

I liked the way Logan was able to help Christian with his injuries and his PTSD without there being any suggestion that Christian’s problems were ever going to be treated easily.

I liked the supporting characters.  Both sets of parents were great – though I felt a little squeamish at the amount of sharing in Logan’s family.  I liked Kelli, Christian’s saint of a girlfriend.

I’m still not sure there was any need for Brian’s character.  He wasn’t believable.  How does an open, loving family raise a bigot?  And even stranger, why didn’t Christian’s parents make Brian leave?

THis book was marketed as BDSM.  Interestingly, it wasn’t something that really caught my attention.  The spanking scenes were pretty tame.  I felt that Logan’s description of his desired domestic discipline lifestyle seemed somehow clinical and emotionless.  Also, somehow Logan managed to be fully trained enough to be recognised as a club Dom before graduating from college. Right.  But there were a couple of hot sex scenes that involved spanking, so who needs to quibble details?

The writing was choppy and the story was unbelievably saccharine at times.  If you like Sandrine Gasq-Dion’s style, you’ll love this.  If you are a stickler for formal standard English, you might get frustrated.  I alternated between the two.  In the end, I suspended my disbelief and enjoyed the story.

Sarah

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Dinner was easy, the easiest first date Christian had ever been on. Logan laughed, talked, teased, but it felt like he was with a friend rather than with a date…but then again, that was what he asked for. After two large platters of sushi disappeared between the two of them, they paid and left. “Okay, we can drive or we can walk. The theater is only ten blocks.” Then Logan’s eyes dropped to his leg. “Damn, I forgot about your leg. Maybe we should drive.”

Shaking his head, Christian placed a hand on his arm. “Naw. I walk by the river all the time. I think I’d like to walk.”

Logan watched him, as if trying to make up his mind if Christian meant it or not. When he figured he did, he beamed. “Great. There is this cool piece of art you have got to see.”

AuthorBio

Thianna loves to write strong stories with even stronger heroes. While all of her books have an erotic overtone, it is the story that is the most important to her. “The story should be able to stand on its own. The erotic elements are an add-on.”

She enjoys writing about couples with kink, paranormal couples, and straight out strangeness. But more on that later… mm.thiannad.com.

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3 and 4 Stars for Remarkable Restraint (Grad School Guys #1) by Devon Rhodes #MM #Romance @devonrhodes @Totally_Bound

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Title: Remarkable Restraint (Grad School Guys #1)
Author Name: Devon Rhodes
Publication Date & Length: March 20, 2015

Synopsis

This is book one in the Grad School Guys series.

When Justin gets fed up with his best friend Chaz avoiding him, he decides it’s well worth sacrificing his favorite T-shirt to try to save their relationship.

Chaz is finding it impossible to hide his attraction for his straight roommate, so he tries avoiding Justin until he leaves for the summer. He just has to get through a few more days, then he’ll be home free—at least until Justin comes back in a couple of months. Still, he firmly believes space between them is the best answer for now.

But Justin is not a man to be ignored. He’s known Chaz for almost a decade, and can tell when something is weighing on his mind. And being shut out is not acceptable, especially just when he’s finally ready to commit to more than friendship. When closer than usual proximity just before his trip to Central America turns up the heat between them, he takes matters into his own hands by restraining Chaz’s hands—and feet—until he gets some answers.

The results are explosive and more than either could have dreamt, but the abrupt shift in their relationship is almost impossible to reconcile in the short time they have left together. It will take remarkable restraint from both to find a way to weather the separation, stay friends…and to grow into something more.

Reader Advisory: This book contains light BDSM elements and bondage.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released in the Games In The Dark Anthology. It has been considerably expanded for release with Totally Bound Publishing

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Review

FourStars

Justin and Chaz are such a cute couple even when they don’t know they are a couple. I really enjoy how you get to see their relationship develop and despite them both being slightly stupid when it comes to love and themselves, they have a great relationship.
Justin is one who is not to shirk his responsibilities and I really like that about him. Chaz is an easy-going, lovable character. He’s almost naiive and innocent, but the thoughts he has about his best friend are less than pure.
The exchange and development of their relationship is gradual, but not so slow that it makes the book drag, which I appreciated.
While I wish there were more written when they were physically together, I can appreciate their long distance relationship too.
I hope there will be a continuation of their story.
AvidReader
ThreeStar

This is a hot new adult short story.  Justin and Chaz have been best friends forever, but it is only well into graduate degrees that Justin finally finds the courage to admit his attraction to Chaz.

Chaz has always fancied Justin, but he assumed his friend was straight.

As a dominant, Justin takes the lead initiating submissive Chaz into a sexual relationship with him.  Unfortunately, he has to leave the country for two months, so much of this story focuses on the two men’s long-distance relationship.

For me, the story lost stars because of the long-distance relationships.  This is a short story.  The focus is sex, but the two lovers aren’t even in the same country for  much of the book.  Yes, there were sexy presents, toys and phone calls, but I felt more actual sex was needed.

That’s not to say the story was only about sex.  There were some very sweet passages as Justin and Chaz worked through the dramatic shift their relationship makes as best friends become lovers and partners.

Sarah

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AuthorBio

I have always had my nose in a book and my head in the clouds!
Now I’m finally doing what I love as a career.
When I’m not lost in my imagination, you can find me in beautiful Oregon

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4 and 3 Stars for His Soldier by Anna Lee #MM #Erotic #Military @annalee59

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Title: His Soldier
Author Name: Anna Lee
Publication Date & Length: March 6, 2015 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Sometimes you find love where you least expect it, for Sergeant Ryder Brooks that’s writing letters home to Dean Anders, his army pen pal…

After a tragedy, in a way to honor his brother and try to cope, Dean becomes a army pen pal to Sergeant Ryder Brooks. The two connect through letters and phone calls for a year, falling in love and making plans to meet when Ryder finishes his tour. However, in an effort to save one of his men who steps on a mine, Ryder loses his leg. Broken and depressed, he doesn’t think Dean will want him. But once Dean learns what happens, he immediately goes to Ryder, determined to help him heal and show him that he loves him no matter what. Ryder has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but with Dean’s support, he realizes his life isn’t over, it’s just beginning if he’ll only give them a chance.

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Review

FourStars

This was a wondering story. It has pain, loss, but it also has happiness and hope. We all know that when a soldier comes home, sometimes they come home to a different type of fight, but not any less important.
I loved the relationship that Ryder and Dean embark on. Their long-distance letters bring both peace and hope to lives that were both damaged by war.
I really wanted to hug Joel every time he was mentioned in this story. He was supportive, open-minded and grateful. Not only did he witness what true friendship was, he also demonstrated it right back. The friendship is one that will withstand anything.
I wanted to boot Bentley in the rear each time he was mentioned. It is asking too much of anyone to hide any type of relationship – to not allow his friends to be who they are. Bentley was someone who never was going to learn that lesson and the fact that he tried to hurt both Ryder and Dean, that he had no redeeming qualities, I could have done without him in the book.
Finally, I LOVED Dean’s family. When I say family, I mean those he surrounds himself with. DNA does not make your family. It was so awesome that Dax was his friend – so often people have no where to turn.
I really enjoyed this book
AvidReader
ThreeStar

This book had me crying from the second page.  If you’re a fan of Nicholas Sparks or John Green, you will enjoy this raw, emotional story.

When Dean loses his brother in Afghanistan, he signs up to offer pen-pal support to another deployed soldier.

Ryder is a sergeant deployed in Afghanistan.  When Dean’s first letter arrives, Ryder is lonely and experiencing huge stress.  But Dean’s letters start to quickly make Ryder’s life just a little bit better.

The two men write and talk over the course of Ryder’s deployment.  After nearly a year, they are close and looking forward to Ryder’s return.  When Ryder loses his leg in a last minute act of heroism, plans change.

Ryder needs rehabilitation and emotional support when he returns and he doesn’t want to make demands on a man he’s never actually met.   Both men struggle with relationships and and neither man trusts easily.

I really loved the premise of this book, but the execution was slightly clunky.  The book needs a final grammar and punctuation edit.  The developing emotional bond between the two men was at times overshadowed by a series of complex sub-plots and discussions that seemed to repetitively re-hash the same topics.  There were obvious reasons for the sex scenes being delayed and tentative, but it was difficult to sense any real heat in the bedroom scenes that were included.  Supporting characters, like Beth, Joel and Jessie were well developed, but more villainous characters were pretty one dimensional.

But still, the men are sweet and their emerging relationship is charming.  The story of loss and new hope is gentle and tender.

Ultimately, Anna Lee definitely knows how to pull at heart strings.  You will need a box of tissues, a glass of wine and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s for this one.

Sarah

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Teaser

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Excerpt

Hey Ryder,

So, uh, I’ve never really done this. I mean I had a pen pal when I was, like, eight, and I waited for the mailman every day to see what Skylar would say about kangaroos in Australia. Everything is so techy now, you know, email, texts, and written letters are rare. I guess that was part of the appeal—this just feels more important taking the time to write by hand. And you deserve that.

The reason I decided to become a pen pal is I recently lost my brother and, well, I thought in his memory I’d do more to give back and find ways to support guys like him going through hell over there and fighting for our country. I want to say thanks, and I honestly do admire you. I don’t think I could do it. I’m a creature of comfort and complain ridiculously when it’s hot.

Anyway, I keep going on about me. Thanks for everything you’re doing. I hope you’re staying safe. I’m sure you got a lot going on so if I don’t hear from you it’s okay. I just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and wishing you a safe journey home.

Take care,

Dean

AuthorBio

Anna Lee graduated from the University of California Riverside with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Living with a disability, she has overcome many challenges and puts her passion for life and love into her writing. She lives with her family and dogs and enjoys writing late into the night. When she isn’t writing, Anna enjoys spending time with her nieces and nephew or chatting with her friends about her favorite books and TV shows.

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