Unicorn Favorites: Love's Landscapes Stories : Week Two

The M/M Romance Group on Goodreads hosts a Don't Read in the Closet event each year where they invite members to submit a photo with a story prompt.  Interested authors then volunteer to write the requested stories, which are published for free for everyone to read.  It's a fun/exciting/stressful process, and a great opportunity to read stories from favorite authors.  And chances are, you'll also discover some new authors, who hopefully have a backlist of goodies to check out :)

This year's event was named Love's Landscapes and they started releasing the completed stories on June first. Here at BMBR, we've been following along on comment threads, anticipating the stories from our favorite prompts, and now greedily reading the stories as they become available.

We've already shared some of our favorite stories from the first week of the event, and mentioned something about mysterious and magically rare unicorns, about how we can't expect their presence to show up in our reviews because the interwebz couldn't handle it.  That said, this week we LOVED Punch-Drunk Love by Nico Jaye. That is all.

Other than Punch-Drunk Love, here are some of our favorites from the second week of the event, June 8-14:

Ann: Man of the Match by Lane Swift

This one hit all the buttons I love for sporty, friends to lovers and coming of age stories. I love reading how Aaron and Laurie's relationship evolved and the pacing was so well done. It read realistically for their ages which I really appreciated. Their relationship grew with their maturity and grew apart with the natural changes in their lives. I think they had to have the "growing apart" period to make their HEA believable for me. Any earlier declarations would have felt to "YA unrealistic" to me and the distance and time gave their relationship credibility. The ending conversation between Aaron and Laurie absolutely broke my heart in the best possible way.

Also, big credit to the author for the well written rugby details and references. I'm still newish to following the sport but as a novice fan it was easy to follow and I understood what was going on the whole time. I could also follow the importance of Aaron and Laurie's respective positions on the field in comparison to their personalities and their relationship off the field.

Breann: Bound by Amelia Bishop

Why is Bound my favorite of the week? A few reasons...

1. Nate. Nate didn't let Adrian get away with moping and feeling sorry for himself. He pushed Adrian, maybe a little too hard sometimes, but I liked that he wouldn't let Adrian keep wallowing. And he said just the sweetest things. Dude made me swoon.

2. Adrian. He was grumpy and pissy most of the time. But he recognized it and he really tried to change and make things right for Nate because he knew Nate deserved better. I really liked this about him.

3. Frot. Really, really hot frottage.

4. Edging. Lots and lots of edging.

5. Light BDSM play. That's all it was - play. And it was FUN!

6. This quote: "'No, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I pushed you so hard. Sorry I moved too fast. And I'm sorry you're not ready for a boyfriend, Adrian, because I'd love to be yours.'"

7. The long time span. Their relationship really felt like a journey, even though Bound was short, I felt like I got to know the characters since we got a lot of mini glimpses into their life as a couple.

Lorix: 500 Kisses to Steal a Heart by Anyta Sunday

Nico Jaye and Anyta Sunday freebies released in the same week. It's kinda like winning the lottery IMO. I am the first to hold my hands up and admit I am a huge Anyta Sunday fangirl. A look at my goodreads page and you will see that I've recently been on a real AS spree - so when I saw her LL story come up I ignored everything that needed doing and sat down to read. I was not at all disappointed.

This book is billed as enemies to lovers, but really it's friends to enemies to lovers. And it is as hot as all hell. In just 68 pages this author made me fall in love with both Chris and Dylan and want them to have an HEA. The UST - as ever with Anyta Sunday - is through the roof. The story-line is cute and not over done. The characters are fun. Even grumpy Chris.

Though this in no way lacks for being a short story, it could equally have been a full length novel, following the two men from school with their friendship and 'break-up' to the events contained here. It certainly doesn't need to do that, I would have liked it, only because I'm a greedy AS fan who cannot read enough of her words! This story is guaranteed to leave you happy and feeling warm and fuzzy inside, though it manages to avoid being sickly sweet. And now I've written this review, I really want to go back to read it again. *Wanders off to locate kindle*

Jenni Lea: 500 Kisses to Steal a Heart by Anyta Sunday

What Lorix said.

SheReadsALot: Cruel to be Kind by Kim Dare

Delicious from the first lick.


Then it hooked me with:

“You’re not just playing with fire, Xander. You’re playing with a vampire. And you’re risking far more than a few burns. Whatever you think it will be like to submit to me, you’re wrong.”

*laser focus eyes* Game the hell on.

Human Xander has been aching to submit to his vampire friend and business partner, Malone, for years. In a last attempt to finally get Malone to admit he wants to own Xander in every way possible, Xander offers himself to be a pet to a club of vampires.

Of course, dominant Malone is not going to stand for that shit.

Loved every minute of it.

There's a lot of hot quotes that made me wiggle in pleasure. In fact, if I put all of my quotes...you'd have practically the entire story.

There were faint red marks around his wrists where the cuffs had cut in. He stared at them, wondering if those kinds of marks were going to become a regular feature in his life. He could only pray that they would.


“From this moment on, you can forget whatever you think you know about yourself,” Malone said. “Everything you think you are is irrelevant. You’re mine. For the next twenty-four hours, the only thing that matters is what you can do to please me. You’re not a person. You’re a toy. A snack.”

Quelted! I quelted hard.

Will this story work for everyone? Probably not. If you don't like the D/s aspect of BDSM or BDSM, I wouldn't suggest. It's not heavy in the kink. The toy play is minimal. (cuffs and a paddle put to very good use) But the Total Power Exchange - believable among the two men and just yummilicious to read.


Plus, vampires definitely are in my 'favorites' column. Loved the paranormal twist. I think it added a heightened aspect to the TPE.

“You need to realise that this isn’t what you want, and you need to tell me that, because once I’ve got you, Xan, I won’t be able to let you go.”

The fuck you say?!

Baby's there.

Muscles and tattoos. *drips*
The total domination *drops*

The only thing that made me pout, is one teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy thing which made me take off .05 (that's right, I'm rating this bad boy 4.95 stars) was that this story was not longer.

I could have read this story all day. Malone and Xander definitely pushed all of my fuckhot buttons.


This author owned this prompt and showed me who's master.

Sunny: Guarded by Kim Fielding

I don't even know where to start.  Probably with the complex characters and fantastic world building. Everything felt so real.  Consistent characterization, natural sounding dialogue, information being shared organically and not in an info dump...it all contributed to a compelling and intense story.

With themes of honor and loyalty, the author did a great job showing the effects of war and the intrigue surrounding all the politics.  And amidst all the drama, tender emotions caught my heart.  Parts of the story were brutal, though, and I was at turns angry, upset, and confused.  Luckily, the darker parts didn't drag on, and I was delighted by the rest of the story.

*** All stories are available for download at 


  1. Thank you so much for doing these wonderful posts about the event! We are so happy that you are enjoying the stories.

    Hugs, Raevyn

    1. Much thanks to the authors and your team of volunteers. We appreciate all that you've done and continue to do. :D

  2. It's certainly no hardship reading great, free stories every week! Thank YOU for all the hard work that I know must go into a project such as this. (((hugs back)))

  3. Yes - thank you Raevyn!! What an amazing selection of stories, across genres, from a wide range of authors. I know of no other writing/reading community that does this. It's fantastic and every single volunteer helping with this is wonderful.

  4. What Lorix said :D

    Thank you Raevyn!