Unicorn Favorites: Love's Landscapes Stories : Final Stories

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.

You can read about some of our favorite stories from earlier weeks of the event here.  And as mentioned in earlier posts about this event, the interwebz couldn't handle it if mysterious and magically rare unicorns showed up in our reviews, so we'll just say this week we LOVED Until the Bitter End by L.L. Bucknor, before moving on to some of our other favorites from the final stories of the event, September 7-19.

Before we share those stories, though, we'd like to say thank you to the fabulous crew at M/M Romance Group who volunteer so many hours of their time and talent to host this event.  From coordinating everything to editing and proofreading to publishing the stories, they have their work cut out for them and the results are incredible.  Thank you for all the hard work!

And now Lorix will share her favourite story of the final week.

Lorix: In Your Veins by S.J. Eller

*Happy dance* - this was my prompt story!!

Thank you SJ for the perfect story to my prompt. I loved it. 

Warning, this review may contain spoilers.

I have been eagerly awaiting this story. I fell in love with the prompt picture, whipped up a prompt and have been wondering what story 'my boys' were going to get. It couldn't have been more perfect (well the only improvement would have been for it to be longer, I wasn't ready to finish reading it yet!!).

Where to start. Okay, the writing. SJ Eller writes beautiful prose, she has sentence structure of which I am entirely jealous. I like sentences that evoke amazing imagery and SJ writes these, seemingly with ease. Yet she kept it beautifully balanced - I wasn't weighed down with descriptions, they complemented the story rather than overwhelmed it. I've never been to Portland or Cleveland I have no idea about either of these places, yet I feel as though I know them (Cleveland especially) really well now. Even though the story wasn't laden with long, overdrawn details of the place, the author was so clever with her words, I really gained a sense of the city.

Kyle and Dalton, the MC's. The story is told from Kyles POV - yet I understood both characters perfectly. Kyle has just moved to Cleveland and is in an accounting job, that he thinks is perfect for him. On a night out with workmates he meets Dalton and they get on like a house on fire. The scene from the photo is included perfectly in this section of the story. It made me sigh - the writing was a s beautiful as the photo.

Dalton is actually the brother of Kyles co-worker, Billy, and through things Billy doesn't say Kyle works out that there is something in Dalton's past. Kyle is eager to find out what because he is already starting to fall for Dalton.

Dalton - SIGH - I really loved Dalton. I want more of him. Dalton is a man with a secret, with a burden. He has a history of drug abuse. Of addiction. He has been clean for three months though. He shares this with Kyle and promises to do his best to stay clean. He doesn't promise he will - just that he will try. I loved Kyle and Dalton's relationship. I could see them falling in love through the little things they did. Though it was yet to be admitted.

Unfortunately circumstances overwhelm Dalton and he suffers a relapse - at a time when Kyle is away. But Kyle is the one who finds him. And this is where I loved this story the most. It was realistic. Even in the epilogue, we hear there was no insta-fix. Love didn't solve all the problems. Love just helped Dalton work towards solving his problems. 

I love you, too, Dalton,” he said, watching the light come to Dalton’s eyes, “but you can’t do this for me. You have to do it for you. No one else is going to be able to save you from yourself, Dalton. If you go to rehab, you need to do it because it’s what you want, not because of me, or your mom, or anyone else. 

I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful story. As I said at the beginning, I wish it could have been longer, if I had a complaint it would be this. The story definitely would have worked as a full length novel, however I understand fully the time-constraints of the event (and the author!) and think she has done a wonderful job. I've just got to stop being greedy. As soon as this story is downloadable I will re-read it and savour it.

Thank you SJ, it is perfect.

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