Unicorn Favorites: Love's Landscapes Stories : Week Four

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 some of our favorites from the fourth week of the event, June 22-28, are below:

Ann: I Spy Pecan Pie by Anna Birmingham


ok - now buzzoffigottaread

a little bits later . . . .

AND . . . I'm done. AND . . . I loved it!

See all these stars? That's me throwing them at the story that Anna Birmingham wrote for my prompt.

It was sweet, sexy, funny and Duke and Justin were just like I pictured them. Duke's cluelessness was so endearing and I loved when Justin went all Alpha Stallion in the bar. They were a perfect fit for each other and I would love to read more about them.

And the subtle shout out to my KINGS?? Awwwwww, yeah! Anna done did her research on my brain. It really felt like my story and I can't even begin to describe how flattering that feels.

Thank you Anna!

*squeezes Duke and Justin*

Breann: That Day in Spring by BJ Sheppard

I saw the prompt picture and I knew I had to read this story. There is so much emotion packed in the photo and I do love a story that tugs on the heartstrings. And That Day in Spring tugged. Hard.

Ryan and Lennox's story was told through three different time periods: when they were young and fell in love, pre-accident and post-accident. The story jumped between these different points of their lives and it totally worked for me. Not only did we read about their life pre and post the accident but we also got a cute YA story on the side. Because when they were young? So cute.

Back to the present... there was so much realness to their relationship and their hardships. Ryan's reaction to Lennox's injuries was perfect. Not because he should have acted that way, or that Ryan was perfect, but because it was realistic. He was heartbroken, of course he's going to wallow in his own grief!

I do appreciate a good HFN ending, there's so much hope for Ryan and Lennox and their future together.

Lorix: More Than He Can See by Nicole Forcine

This story was not very long, coming in at just 7,708 words but it did not lack in punch. The two MC's are far from conventional, which I adored. ADORED. The photo prompt of a gorgeous red-haired man inspired the character of Cale, a young man with a speech impediment who oft times finds talking to strangers hard.

Tal is the MC who falls for him. As Tal is shorter than average he finds often people don't know how to relate to him, especially strangers, so his conclusion at Cale being hesitant to talk to him was way off the mark. Throughout the story they learn good communication and less assumption is important.

All of the characters in this story are amazing and, as well as a wonderful romance I liked that this story highlighted the fact we all make assumptions - have prejudices even - through our own experiences. I like that it encourages us to reassess daily what we think we know. After all, we are all only human. A fantastic story that I hope you all enjoy too.

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰: The Case of the Insufferable Slave by Gillian St. Kevern


As a young whippersnapper, I was introduced to the noir genre by my parents, and I remember thinking the language was odd, the men always seemed a little terse and the ladies always had a secret. The endings were sometimes happy, sometimes bittersweet, but the mystery was always solved and the dick was always on to his next case.

Ms. St. Kevern knocked it out of the park with this gem. She captured that time and added a mouthy and lovable slave named Friday of all things! There were nefarious characters with zany nicknames. $10 is still a lot of money. Flint smokes Pall Malls and isn't the snazziest of men, but what he lacks in the handsome department he more than makes up for with his intellect which makes him dangerous. She nailed the loner private investigator so hard, she left a crater. Flint reminded me so much of Bogey I feel a viewing of The Maltese Falcon is in order.

 "So with you shying away like a startled filly every time a stallion comes by you, Galapagos couldn't find anyone to take you off his hands." 

Stallion reference, Unicorns.

I'm extremely impressed that this is Ms. St. Kevern's first effort. Really looking forward to her next effort. My thanks to her for participating in the event as well as Bree for her phenomenal prompt.

Sunny: Yarulf's Duty by Vicktor Alexander

I really enjoyed this story and the wonderful characters. The dual POVs were well done and very much appreciated; I loved knowing how the MCs felt about each other, and seeing how they reacted to each other. The world building, with all those interesting details, was also well done. With the characters this author creates, and the intriguing magic they use, I would be very interested in reading more stories set in this world.

Yes, sexy, sweet, tender, humorous and magical...this story had all the ingredients for an awesome read, and the author did a great job mixing them all together. My only complaint...there wasn't more :)

The author does hint at future stories, which we need. What happens with Yarulf's father?! And I want more steamy scenes!

Side note:
I need more information about this quoxpine *nods*

Review: Slave in Training by Danny Tyran

Looking at James, his new physical training teacher, Max falls instantly in love with this black god with a bad reputation. God or devil?

When James says to Max that he is the devil, Max answers: "Try me, Satan!" With these words, Max agrees to be trained by James to become a slave. This apprenticeship will prove to be more a hard mental training than a sexual one.

Brilliant, Master James succeeds to convince Max's parents to accept this initiation to slavery.

Once trained to meet all his master's whims, Max will be sold. Deeply in love with his master/trainer, Max will accept his fate.

Far from being a descent into hell, this training will structure Max's life and allow him to make his way in this BDSM universe.

In a word: Fascinating.

First off, this is not, in any way, a romance. There is no HEA. I guess you can say there's sort of a HFN... but I wouldn't even go that far. 

But still: FASCINATING.  

The beginning of Max's story sets up his sexual experiences, as well as his need to please others and to always challenge himself, at a very young age. There's a lot of background and buildup to what he'll one day become. So, when he walks into physical training and starts eying his teacher, we know where he's coming from. Kind of. It was really hard for me to wrap my brain around what was happening to this 17 year old boy. Anyway, his teacher takes notice of Max and sees something special in him. He sees Max's need to always be better and to always be challenged. Heh. Well, he has a challenge for him, he does.

Max is in slave training with his teacher, James, during the school year, but once he turns 18 it becomes serious. Oh, I couldn't help but sympathize and then want to strangle his parents. They knew what he was choosing to do instead of college. They knew! And did nothing! I can't even... *shudders* I guess they tried to be there for their son (especially the dad) but they thought they couldn't help him. Uuuhhh... that's what the police are for! *shakes head* Anyway...

Slave in Training is in a contemporary setting, so this whole secret slave trade is done under the radar. But the slaves are able to leave at any time they please. Max is not being held against his will. Quite the opposite, the boy loves it. He revels in it. He worships his master and there's nothing he wouldn't do for him. Nothing. Besides calling him Master, Max also refers to James as his God. I believe he meant this wholeheartedly. His Master was his everything.

But Max isn't being trained for James. He's being trained to sell. And his training is harsh.

I would have gone 5 hearts, all the way, if not for the gruesome details of his training and his test. It was horrible to read but, yet, I couldn't look away.  But some of it was unnecessary, like it was there just for shock value instead of moving the plot forward. 

His Master was harsh, but I feel that he loved Max. He wasn't perfect and there are times I wish he would have stepped in (especially when it came to Jean and Jerry *glares*) but it all proved Max's deep, deep desire to exceed at being a good slave for not only his master, but anyone who might want to use him.

Like I said, Max and his deep reverence and love for his Master was fascinating. The fact that he was treated so harshly and could leave whenever he wanted but didn't just boggles my brain. I can't wrap my head around that kind of thinking. And yet, it was so damn believable. The writing was superb.

I wouldn't recommend this to everybody. Hell, I don't know that I'd recommend this to anybody. Read the blurb. Read the reviews. Read the tags. It's one that almost hurts to read, but it just hurts so good.

A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.


Book Blast & Giveaway: Diversion by Eden Winters

We're super excited about the re-release of Diversion by Eden Winters with a brand new cover. Plus, enter to win a copy!

 There are good guys, bad guys, and then there’s Lucky.

Former drug trafficker Richmond “Lucky” Lucklighter flaunts his past like a badge of honor. He speaks his mind, doesn’t play nice, and flirts with disaster while working off his sentence with the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau. If he can keep out of trouble a while longer he’ll be a free man–after he trains his replacement.

Textbook-quoting, by the book Bo Schollenberger is everything Lucky isn’t. Lucky slurps coffee, Bo lives caffeine free. Lucky worships bacon, Bo eats tofu. Lucky trusts no one, Bo calls suspects by first name. Yet when the chips are down on their shared case of breaking up a drug diversion ring, they may have more in common than they believe.

Two men. Close quarters. Friction results in heat. But Lucky scoffs at partnerships, no matter how thrilling the roller-coaster. Bo has two months to break down Lucky’s defenses… and seconds are ticking by.

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books

Excerpt: The door flew open and Lucky made a grab. He rammed Bo’s back against the wall, setting off an automated hand dryer. Lucky ignored the hot air wafting over his arm, slammed his mouth hard against Bo’s, and shoved his leg between the man’s thighs. They devoured each other’s mouths, no hesitant tender kiss, but a release of tightly coiled passion. Tongues intertwined, each man sifted fingers through the other’s hair, tugging closer. 

Below their belts their bodies followed suit, Lucky rutting against Bo’s firm thigh in an old-as-time mating rhythm. I’m going to blow in my jeans and I don’t give a fuck. 

Lucky’s overwhelmed brain yielded up a single clear warning: someone might walk in. Mouths joined, he danced them toward a stall without breaking contact. A condom machine hung on the wall at an awkward angle. A handwritten sign proclaimed, “Out of Order.” Damn it! 

At this rate, he wouldn’t last long enough to wrap his meat anyway. He wrestled them both into a stall, and slammed and locked the door behind him.  


Want to read more? Diversion is available at Rocky Ridge Books.

About the Author:
Captivated young by story-telling, Eden Winters’ earliest memories include spinning tales for the family's pets. Her dreams of writing professionally took a sojourn into non-fiction, with a twelve-year stint in technical documentation.

She began reading GLBT novels as a way to better understand the issues faced by a dear friend and fell in love with the M/M romance genre. During a discussion of a favorite book, a fellow aficionado said, "We could do this, you know." Good-bye gears, motors, and other authors’ characters; hello plots and sex scenes.  So far that's produced such award winning novels as The Wish, Settling the Score, The Angel of Thirteenth Street, Duet, Naked Tails, and Diversion.

Somewhat of a nomad, Eden has visited seven countries so far. She currently calls the southern US home, and many of her stories take place in the rural South. Having successfully raised two children, she now balances the day job with hiking, rafting, spoiling her grandchildren, and stalking the wily falafel or elusive tofu pad Thai at her favorite restaurants. Her musical tastes run from Ambient to Zydeco, and she's a firm believer that life is better with fur kids and Harley Davidsons.

For more information about Eden, please visit her website at www.edenwinters.com. Be sure to look for Eden’s soon-to-be-published works: A Matter of When and Manipulation.

Author Links:

There is a giveaway that will be available throughout all blog tour stops. The prize is an E-Book copy of Diversion. Enter with the Rafflecopter here:

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Note: the giveaway has been extended to July 11th.

Good luck and thanks for stopping by!  

 A special thanks to Will at Pride Promotions for providing the Rafflecopter used during this tour.

Review: Wolf Run by B.A. Tortuga

Mick is a lone wolf in all ways. He’s left his pack, he’s left his homelands and he’s on the road, footloose and fancy free. Well, at least until he wanders up to a fence and finds a little wolf running his ass off behind it. Mick stops to let the pup out and is stunned to hear the young wolf, Scotty, tell him “no”. Scotty's mate and best friend, Danny, asked Scotty to stay behind the fence, so he will be safe while Danny fights to support them both. All this leaves Mick’s fur standing on end. Maybe, Mick doesn’t need one mate to bring him home. Maybe, he needs two.

What a charming little book!  It took me right to my happy place - both times that I read it.  It’s a simple story with simple words.  Nothing flashy or complicated.  

Mick’s gone a’wanderin’.  Once he was grown he felt the need to leave his Pack and roam the countryside.  He’s been traveling for a while now.  One day he happens upon a wolf running in circles behind a fence.  He is immediately enthralled by this exuberant pup.

Scott is a cross between Buddy the Elf and Dug, the dog from Up!.

He spends most of his time fuzzy and when human he’s pretty much naked.  Like, all the time.  He and his mate Daniel were thrown out of their birth pack and have been living on their own, barely scraping by.  They’ve been playing house for a couple of years and it’s starting to take a toll on Daniel. He’s so overworked and exhausted he can’t even shift into his wolf any more.  Thank goodness Mick found them when he did.  These boys are in dire need of an Alpha to take care of them.

I had so much fun reading this book.  It is written in a way that just makes me sigh and giggle while reading.  The author really got me in the mindset of the animal way more than the man.  These men say what is on their minds the minute they think of it.  For example:
Mick:  “I like your belly.  I kinda want to lick it.”
Daniel:  “Not mean, more… keen.  Hey, that rhymed.”
But my favorite is Scotty.  Oh, Scotty.  He has a permanent spot reserved in my pocket just for him. He’s so innocent and loving and joyful.  Like a big puppy.  Or, as I’ve mentioned before, Buddy the Elf.
I like naps." And cheese. And purple. And snuggles. Snuggles were great.”

 He loves anything and everything and is so excited all the time.

“What are we doing?”  
“We’re going to fuck, honey.”
“I love fucking!”
Even when he’s pissed off he’s still the most adorable little thing.
“I just want to find him and bite him and take him home and sit on him.”
How can you not love Scotty?  

This was a simple little feel-good story.  There was about a page and a half of angst that was cute in its own right.  There is quite a bit of sex in here but, not to worry, there's still a bit of a plot too.  This is a complete comfort read and will forever be a go-to book when I'm feeling down.   Thank you B.A. Tortuga, for giving me such a precious little gem of a story.  

A copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Secrets of Neverwood Anthology

Three men with vastly different lives are called home to Neverwood, the stately Pacific Northwest mansion of their youth. The one thing they share is a promise to Audrey, the woman they all called mother—that upon her death, they would restore the house and preserve it as a home for troubled boys. 

But going home is never easy.

Cal struggles to recover from past heartbreak, while Danny fears his mistakes are too big to overcome. Devon believes he may never break down the barriers that separate him from honest emotion. And a benevolent spirit lingers in Neverwood's halls, intent on guiding her foster sons away from the mistakes of their youth and toward true love.

 On the path to brotherhood, they discover the old mansion holds more than dusty furniture and secret passageways. An old mystery stirs up a new danger, one that could cost the men far more than just the house.

My feelings were all over the place with these stories,  irritated, bored, angry, sad, happy, amused, intrigued.  My rating would swing from two hearts to five and back again, with stops at three and four hearts along the way.  Overall, though,  I cared about the characters, and I liked the storyline that connected the individual books.

One Door Closes by GB Leighton       3 hearts
The mood of the story is nostalgic, with a hint of melancholy.  It felt almost hazy, or dreamlike. There were some beautiful instances of showing, not telling, but they were mixed with confusing sentences I had to read a few times to determine the meaning.  That, plus a few odd word choices, threw me off several times in the story.

Calvin was a difficult narrator to understand, and to connect with. He wasn't very likeable, with words like annoyed, resentful and bitter associated with him.  He came across as self absorbed and petulant with illogical reactions.   He complained about people not helping, but didn't tell them what was needed or ask for help. Even with all that,  I ached for him.  He had so many problems and he was clueless how to solve them.

Calvin's POV didn't give me a good feel for the other characters, so I didn't connect with them, either.  There were some hints about Will, Devon and Danny through some nice examples of showing, but it wasn't enough.

Parts of the story dragged and I was irritated with the lack of communication between the brothers.  With the time crunch, they should have had a plan of action right away.  Between the miscommunication and Calvin's secrets, there was too much unnecessary angst. And that doesn't even cover the lack of romance. Nothing happened for too long, and then things happened so fast, and with no communication, that I wondered if I'd missed something.

Finally, though, some communication, some explanations, and I started to warm up to Calvin.  He had so many issues, but, underneath it all, he had such a good heart.  And Will, with his own feelings of regret and shame; I wanted to hug him so much. Unfortunately, just as I was enjoying the story, it ended.  Luckily, there was another story to read.

The Growing Season by Diana Copland       3.5 hearts
I really liked Danny.  The more I learned about him, the more I wanted to hug him, too.  So many fears, and hopes.  So many emotions he struggled to contain.

Sam and I got off to a rocky start.  I thought he was kind of a jerk, and then he did a 180 that seemed out of character.  The more I learned about him, though, the more I realized it was very much in character.  He was dealing with his own problems, but he was such a sweetheart.  And very sexy; oh, yeah, he and Danny shared some steamy moments.  Those moments, plus the sweet, romantic ones, made the story for me.  Oh, and they communicated!  I loved that.

The storyline from the first book continued here, with more information about Audrey, the house, and the town.  It wasn't especially complex, but I liked it.  I really liked Audrey's presence in this story, and the way she helped Danny. There were a few odd word choices, sentences, and some proofreading errors, but not enough to bother me overly much.

Side notes: I liked Cal so much more in this story.  Settling down with Will did wonders for his personality.  And Will?  Another sweetheart for me to love.  Devon's personality also came through a bit more and I looked forward to his story.

In an earlier post about Neverwood, Diana mentioned writing a story about one of the youth mentioned in this book; I'll be watching for it.

The Lost Year by Libby Drew       3.5 hearts
Devon was awesome.  I loved the man he was and the work he did.  I also liked his kink- his reaction to it was cute and his brothers' response to it provided a laugh out loud moment.

Nicholas was driven, so determined to find his son, and his exhaustion was clear, but even in his pain, he showed a sweetness that drew me in.  He was a little clueless, but some of that was understandable.  I really liked them as a couple, and the sexy times...holy crap, the sexy times...*hums in appreciation*

Most of this book centered around Nicholas and his son, and not much time was spent on the Neverwood mystery.  Not until the end, at least, and then it wrapped up fairly quickly. The very end was great, and I would love another story following that up.

There were some editing issues but I was able to skip over them, anxious for more of the story.


An enjoyable collection of stories with an interesting storyline and engaging characters. I'd like to read more if the authors write stories about the other characters.

*Even though the three stories in this anthology are sold separately as stand alone books, I recommend reading all three for the complete story that weaves through the anthology.

Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Find more info on BookLikes and Goodreads

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Spotlight on Think of England by K.J. Charles

Today we shine the spotlight on K.J. Charles's upcoming release!


Lie back and think of England...

England, 1904. Two years ago, Captain Archie Curtis lost his friends, fingers, and future to a terrible military accident. Alone, purposeless and angry, Curtis is determined to discover if he and his comrades were the victims of fate, or of sabotage.

Curtis’s search takes him to an isolated, ultra-modern country house, where he meets and instantly clashes with fellow guest Daniel da Silva. Effete, decadent, foreign, and all-too-obviously queer, the sophisticated poet is everything the straightforward British officer fears and distrusts.

As events unfold, Curtis realizes that Daniel has his own secret intentions. And there’s something else they share—a mounting sexual tension that leaves Curtis reeling.

As the house party’s elegant facade cracks to reveal treachery, blackmail and murder, Curtis finds himself needing clever, dark-eyed Daniel as he has never needed a man before…


Publisher:                Samhain
Release Date:         July 1, 2014

Purchase Links:      Samhain


I'm a writer of romance, mostly m/m, often historical or fantasy or both. I also have a contemporary thriller coming out soon. I like to mix it up. 

I'm a commissioning editor in my daily life and I blog about writing and editing at http://kjcharleswriter.wordpress.com. 

I live in London, UK, with two kids, a tolerant husband and an even more tolerant cat.

There is a giveaway that will be available throughout all blog tour stops. One ebook copy of “Think of England” and a $25 gift certificate to your online book retailer of choice. Enter here at Rafflecopter!

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Wolf Run by BA Tortuga

Today we are excited to showcase BA Tortuga's Wolf Run.  Check out the awesome excerpt, and enter to win the giveaway!

Mick is a lone wolf in all ways. He’s left his pack, he’s left his homelands and he’s on the road, footloose and fancy free. Well, at least until he wanders up to a fence and finds a little wolf running his ass off behind it. Mick stops to let the pup out and is stunned to hear the young wolf, Scotty, tell him “no”. Scotty's mate and best friend, Danny, asked Scotty to stay behind the fence, so he will be safe while Danny fights to support them both. All this leaves Mick’s fur standing on end. Maybe, Mick doesn’t need one mate to bring him home. Maybe, he needs two.

Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Publisher: Resplendence Books

He dropped his wolf form as soon as he was out of sight, his body lengthening into a biped. “Dude, why are you in a cage?”

The pup yelped and scrambled back, leaping onto the porch.

“Hey, I’m not here to hurt you. I can open the gate.”

The pup looked at him then boom, a lovely lean man stood there, shaggy blond hair curling around his face. “H-hey.”

“Hi. Would you like to run? I can get you out.” God, the kid was adorable and plenty old enough to play.

“Oh. Oh, no. Daniel would be so mad at me for getting out again.” Eyes the color of brandy caught the sun. “Daniel says I’ll get hurt, lost.”

“Does Daniel mistreat you?” Because Mick could beat someone down just for fun.

“Daniel? My Daniel?” The pup’s laugh was happy, joyous, the look on his face fond and warm. “Oh, no. Daniel loves me. He works for both of us. He brings me half his food every day. He’s a good mate. We… The Alpha said ‘too many males’, and we… Daniel pays for this home, he brushes me, he works all day every day.”

“Do you work?” Mick tilted his head, waiting, nodding in sympathy. Damn, it was hard for bachelor males to manage when thrust out on their own, especially ones who needed an alpha as much as this one did. It seemed like the kid barely held it together, at least on two legs. Sweet baby.

“I paint. I paint pictures, and I wash Daniel’s uniforms. I… I get… He follows rules better than me, and he can stop a shift, if he needs to. He can even work during the moon.”

Mick smiled, liking this kid a lot. “What’s your name, honey?”

“Scott. Scott Miller. What’s yours?”

Scott. It worked. “I’m Mick Eagleheart. I like your belly. I kinda want to lick it.”

Want to read more? Wolf Run is available at Amazon and Resplendence Publishing.

About the author: Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy's Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she's not doing that, she's writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing porn sites in the name of research. BA's personal saviors include her partner, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but is feeling the Colorado mountains calling. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

Author Links: http://www.batortuga.com
Twitter: @batortuga

There is a giveaway that will be available throughout all blog tour stops. The prize is an E-Book copy of Wolf Run. Enter with the Rafflecopter here:
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Good luck, and thank you for stopping by!

Check out the other tour stops: Top2Bottom, Wicked Wolves & Dreaming Dragons, The Hat Party, Amanda C. Stone, My Fiction Nook, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Havan Fellows, Fallen Angel Reviews, MM Good Books, Parker Williams, Love Bytes, EE Montgomery, Prism Book Alliance, the Twins: Talon ps & Princess so, Redz World, Smoocher’s Voice, Renee George, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Decadent Delights, Up All Night, Read All Day, Dawn’s Reading Nook, It’s Raining Men, Iyana Jenna, Reviews & Ramblings, Sinfully Sexy, Lee Brazil, Cate AshwoodScattered Thoughts & Rogue Words 

A special thanks to Will at Pride Promotions for providing the Rafflecopter used during this tour.

Review: Duet by Eden Winters

A conqueror’s decree can’t separate Aillil Callaghan from his Scottish heritage. He wears his clan’s forbidden plaid with pride, awaiting the day he becomes Laird, restores his family’s name, and fights to free Scotland from English tyranny. An Englishman in his home? Abomination! Yet the tutor his father engaged for Aillil’s younger brothers may have something to teach the Callaghan heir as well.

Violinist and scholar Malcolm Byerly fled Kent in fear, seeking nothing more than a quiet post, eager minds to teach, and for no one to learn his secrets. He didn’t count on his charges’ English-hating barbarian of an older brother, or on red-and-green tartan concealing a kindred soul. A shared love of music breaks down the barriers between two worlds.

Aillil’s father threatens their love, but a far more dangerous enemy tears them apart. They vanish into legend.

Two centuries later, concert violinist Billy Byerly arrives at Castle Callaghan—and feels strangely at home. Legends speak of a Lost Laird who haunts the fortress in wait of his lover’s return. Billy doesn’t believe in legends, ghosts, or love that outlasts life.

But the Lost Laird knows his own.

Forever. A love that literally lasts forever.

How to fully describe Duet by Eden Winters? Beats the heck out of me. It's Highlander historical/paranormal/contemporary/ghosts/with a smidge of light time-travel? Heh. Say that ten times fast. It is two stories with a common bond, intertwined to make nearly seamless music that is the novel named "Duet".

Warning: There is character death. But there is a HEA as well!

"Duet" starts in eighteenth century England and Scotland where a virgin teacher who is gay but most certainly did not succumb to his desire named Malcolm. He's the third son of a baron, no real prospects in sight at a stuffy school in Kent England. He lands a job to tutor a laird's four sons in Scotland and makes to move to escape the scrutiny and try to deny who he is. What Malcolm did not count upon? The laird's oldest son, the heir, Aillil. Aillil hates all thing English and the new tutor brought by his father to teacher his four younger brothers? Aillil hates Malcolm on sight. He accuses Malcolm for a crime most heinous. Malcolm, the smaller, ginger haired musician is anything but soft. And though he's small in stature, he has no problem standing his ground against the towering, brute in a kilt. The two begin to become closer through a shared love of music namely violin playing. 

Aillil is not out of the closet but loves to love men. He somehow sets his sights on the fiery redhead, can't get him out of his mind. The two fall in love, it's sweet. Their story drips with romance but if you read the blurb, expect tragedy. 

The lengths Aillil goes for his love is what makes this story work. It's believable...exclude the Druid magic and ghosts. I think the first half is damn near flawless. One thing I've noticed with this author is that she researches very well but does not information dump you to death. I learned without feeling like someone but the entire search engine's results into the story. Scotland is quite the beautiful country and learning about the English oppression back in the eighteenth century was cool.

The second half was good but not as great to me as the first half. I'd give the first half 5 hearts and the second 4, hence my rating. The contemporary half has the reincarnated lover reunited with his ghostly Scotsman. Some parts were a little funny like the Aillil vs. Luke possessive "mine" bits. I don't think it was intentional but I giggled. Also the rush for the 'big plan' to be put in place...something about it was not as smooth as I'd have liked it to be. 

Is there sex? Yes. However, don't expect heavy kilt sexing at every scene. The three love scenes are key parts that make the story sigh-worthy.

Overall, an all encompassing love story that carries throughout the centuries. 

I definitely plan on reading more stories from this author. There is something about her writing that I enjoy discovering. I can't pin what it is (as this is only my 2nd) could be the awesomeness of a ginger MC in both stories, could be the vulnerability of her characters that make them feel life like or could be she just has serious story skills. Whatever it is, I really dig it.  I loved her possums and now her highlanders. So happy I finally got a chance to read this book. 

This book is a little bit of everything but leaves a lasting impression.

Definitely recommended.

Thank you to Eden Winters (excuse me, Plum Lovely Lady) for being BMB Reviews' Author of the Month.