Unicorn Favourites: Love in an Open Road Stories: Week Five.

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 favourite authors. And chances are, you'll also discover some new authors, who hopefully have a back-list of goodies to check out :)

This year's event was named Love is an Open Road 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 favourite prompts, and now greedily reading the stories as they become available.

As an aside, there are SO many amazing stories being released and while we haven't read all of them yet, we will get there. There will be a few however, that won’t be reviewed here. You see, unicorns are not only badass, they are also mysterious and magically rare. We can't expect their presence to show up in our reviews, the interwebz couldn't handle it. But, just know this, this week, we LOVED The Quiet Within by Olley White. That is all.


SheReadsALot: Bluewood by Elin Austen

Dragon Shifters FTW!!

Another dragon shifter winner from this event! Who knew the author could get all of this from that weirdly erotic dragon mpreg pic and prompt?

"Bluewood" might start off erotic (dragon shifted sex BTW!) but it's different. Elin Austen's dragons have penises like ducks (Um, I'm not a stranger to the duck dick...are you surprised? No? Moving on. Look it up on your own time) and males can carry eggs/dragon hatchlings. It's so cool learning about this dragon society.

Amad and Og are earth dragon shifters and mates expecting their first clutch of six eggs. The first time parents try to do everything right in a human controlled shifter world. Shifters have been regulated to living on approved lands for certain shifter breeds only.

The humans have teamed up with the werewolves. They attacked the dragons, kidnapping their queen and trying to take Amad. Og manages to save Amad and they escape to a forbidden land where they learn things aren't always as they seem.

I like the themes of modern vs. ancient, respecting your history, nature vs. machine. This had an urban fantasy feel in the beginning but it got back to basics towards the end. Like that.

And you know what was my favorite (even more than dragon sex)?

The egg babies!

Yes, this is mpreg. But if your worried that this was thinly veiled MF preggo MM, it isn't. And Og isn't pregnant for more than a third of this story. He births his eggs. It still takes months for them to hatch. And when they do? It's so special. I fell for each one of those hatchlings.

The story could have went further. At least let me us see Zulla and Zilla changed in human form. And Bubble! I can't believe I got attached to the baby dragons but I did. I actually pouted when something happened to one of the eggs.

Loved, LOVED, LOVED the dragon folklore and the history of Bluewood. Oh wow...I would definitely read more of this world and revisit the rest of the dragon society! 

OptimistKing'sWench: Secondary Break by Megan Linden

Cuteness Squee!

I am partial to stories that take place in the great state of Texas, so I may be a teensy bit biased. No, for reals, this story is KA-UTE!

Zack is a former NYPD homocide detective who's come to Pomerane for an "extended vacation". Why he chose to relocate to a small Texas town I have no idea. I assume drastic change was needed? At any rate, he meets hot neighbor, Evan, almost immediately and then the rest of the town.

The welcome brigade wagon of casseroles and pies and any associated gossip that can be garnered from the new guy in town is how Zack gets introduced to Pomerane. Word travels fast in small towns. Trust me, I know. 

Soon Mrs. Simmons, principal of Pomerane High School and Evan's mother, comes calling with a mission and apple pie, of course. She's not taking 'no' for an answer. I loved her. She's a force of nature, no nonsense and she's set her sights on getting Zack to be her girls basketball coach come hell or high water. 

She always gets what she wants and Zack soon finds himself coaching a bunch of teenage girls. Teenage girls who think he hung the moon because (a) he's their coach and (b) in Texas football is king and until now they've never been able to participate in an organized team sport. Plus, he's straightforward with them and trustworthy.

Evan also works at the high school, so they are pretty much in each other's back pockets all the time. They can't keep their hands off each other and Evan's even got a bit of bossy streak in him. 

*eyebrow waggle*

Ain't mad at him. Just sayin'.

“I want to do so many things to you.” Evan leaned over him and rested his weight on the elbows on both sides of Zack’s head. There was no way he would stop because of some scars.

Zack shifted under him and they both inhaled sharply as their cocks brushed against each other.
“Like what?” Zack asked, hooking one of his legs over Evan’s.
Evan grinned down at him and nipped at his chin. “Fuck you, for one.” He kissed Zack’s jawline. “Ride you.” Another kiss. “Suck you down.” And another. “Make you lose your mind.”

Linden did a great job with the dialogue. The conflict was believable, though it did get resolved rather quickly. There were some things that I would've liked more of an explanation on like Zack's choice of Pomerane, but the sex was pretty hot and the relationship wasn't exactly instalove. It was close, but I liked the story as a whole so much I didn't really care.

All the feels and the touches of poignancy have me somewhere between 3 and 4 stars so I'll just round up.

Lorix: Tears for the Sand by S. van Rooyen

As many of you know, us unicorns have no rules in the clubhouse. We are rule-less rebels, our only agenda to spread the love of good books and to have fun on the way. We're lovers not fighters (well...for the most part >insert imaginary winking emoticon here<). With this in mind, when it came to choosing a book for this weeks LOR favourite spot, I have actually chosen one I haven't finished yet. I know right, the rebelliousness, they'll be turning up to arrest me any day now....

Why did I choose one I haven't read all of? Well, simply, because the bit of it I have read, I love. I'm a fairly fast reader, and the first to admit that I may put reading ahead of many  most other activities, yet however hard I try, I can't always read all the DRitC's releases as I want to. I only started Tears for the Sand when I got up this morning, and was the rudely interrupted by the fact I needed to go to work, however, I can tell you that I am thoroughly enjoying the writing style, the characters and the South African setting. 

In all honesty, this is one I wanted to read as soon as I read the prompt. Then I saw the cover and I was captivated. It's a fairly simple cover, yet it gives me a vibe of exactly how I'm expecting this book to be. It is a picture that tells many tales, and I am TOTALLY judging this book by it's cover. Well, okay, not entirely, because, yeah the words kinda count for something. But see, for me, the words I have read so far just reflect the cover. The essence of the book is there on the front page for all to see. Unless it's just me. Whatever, I like that cover!!

And, the words I've read so far, I like them too. Van Rooyen has a unique voice, and I like that. I like it a lot. Sentences are woven like threads making fabric. Each one is own bright colour, weaving a story bright in content and in feels. It's not the kind of book you can skim read super quickly and still know what's going on. For all its beauty it needs a little more attention than some - but I completely appreciate that. 

I have a feeling this is going to be a marmite book (a love it or hate it kind) and I'm pretty much loving it - I'm about halfway through. I hope it continues in this vein and I'm not making too quick a judgement. Whether I still love it at the end is maybe by-the-by, because I feel at the moment it is beautiful and I can't wait to read it all.

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