Review: The Runaway Gypsy Boy (Irish Runaway #1) by Brina Brady

Twenty-year-old Daniel Serban loses his dancing job and threats of being outed to his family forces him to flee Limerick, Ireland. Daniel fears his father and the other gypsy men will force him to marry his betrothed, or bring bodily harm to him for being gay.

As chance would have it, he ends up in Cleary’s Pub, a gay leather bar in Galway where he meets the grouchy, ginger-bear Ronan O’Riley. Little did Daniel know meeting the ginger Dom would change his life style as he knew it.

Ronan O’Riley has been unable to move on to another sub since the death of his sub a year ago, that is until a troubled gypsy boy steps into Cleary’s. Ronan’s lonely life is about to change.

Can Ronan convince Daniel to trust him or will Daniel’s fears of his past ruin any chance of a relationship? Unexpected heated attraction in the barn ignites their relationship to move forward. Though, the two men have many of the same dreams, Daniel’s secrets and Ronan’s need to gain Daniel’s trust outlines some of the many challenges they face.

***DNF 8%***

Yes, I’m aware the amount of pages I’ve read is ridiculous but this is a disaster of a book. In the dedication section the author mentions 15 beta readers. I have no idea if that’s usual but the number only made me ponder this fact for a while.

And yet I couldn’t stand this book. Unless you count the multiple times I had to put the kindle on my face and laugh… and laugh and laugh, and keep laughing… so as not to cry.

I was ready to DNF this in just the first scene. But who does that unless it’s a sample? Well, let me tell you that, were this a sample, I would not have bought the book. I’d have thrown it as far as I could and forget about it forever. But I told myself I had to keep going, I had to give it a chance. Who knows, one scene is just one scene, things can get better.


Well, the problem was not the scene.

I wish.

The problem was the whole book and, yes, I’m daring enough to say that only after reading 8% of it, but that’s more than enough to know I won’t be wasting my time in this.

I don’t make decisions casually. I have a long list of reasons.

Let’s begin with the narrator voice. It’s so judgmental, so know-it-all. Instead of driving you subtly into forming your own opinion, the narrator immediately condemns one character or another. Leaving to one side these characters are indeed cruel/ignorant/abusive, these opinionated statements only manage to irritate me and grate on my nerves. Assuming that, no matter what, I will always agree with them.

No fuck*** way.

Daniel was unable to free himself from his cruel employer.

His ignorant father had arranged her marriage at the young age of fourteen.

He’d enough of that at home with his abusive dad.

The “enemies” of this story are so absurd they look like cartoons. They are cruel/ignorant/abusive, they have “potbellies” and similar negative qualities. This leads to the assumption that bad people are terribly ugly, and that’s why you have to mistrust them, whereas good people are all beautiful and attractive. I don’t hate many things in life, but this, these prejudices drive me totally mad. This upsets me endlessly.

This description about the potential “rivals” of Daniel for Ronan’s qualities as a Dom(These two subs are cousins and they smack each other’s butts. I’m aware there are family-related people who have sex together but the idea of imagining them like that in this book is simply wrong to me):

He (Ronan) knew both Kevin and Jack wanted him to Dom them together, but he wasn’t interested in them on a sexual level. Jack shaved his head, had too many piercings and tats for Ronan’s liking. Kevin was too perfect and not much of a challenge. He also had a few too many tats, but not as many piercings as Jack. The boys have small pot bellies from drinking too much beer and they were both a bit on the lazy side. There wasn’t any magic going on between his legs when he was around them, not like he felt with Daniel.

See? The narrator doesn’t give me a choice to either like/dislike them because she has already made that decision for me, treating me like an idiot who needs guidance in coming to her own conclusions. There is no way I will ever be able to like them, simply because of this single paragraph. I feel stupid reading this.

I feel like a sheep, baaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

The story begins with Daniel beginning his workday in a dancing club. He is the son of a gypsy leader and only dreams about escaping this world by earning enough money to flee. During the day he paints walls, during the night he swirls around a pole. But he’s not lucky, his father is a shady powerful personality, whereas his boss is an abusive bastard that, as soon as he learns he’s a gypsy and that his father has stolen money, he kicks him out (literally speaking) giving him no choice but to disappear once and for all from the area. Because, else, he will be forced to marry and live the life his father imposes him to.

He’s read in a newspaper/magazine about a man who saves abandoned/mistreated horses and trains them and finds them a home (awwww, surely he has to be a good person!) that’s where he is headed. Close to his destiny, he finds a pub and goes into it to have a drink. He doesn’t realize his is a gay BDSM club. Not even when he notices everybody is male. Not even when he sees everybody is wearing leather. Not even when he sees he’s the weird one there.

There, this huge Dom notices him and approaches him. Ronan, the Dom, suddenly has this idea of giving him a lesson. Out of the blue. Just because he’s convinced Daniel needs to be taught respect. So he grabs him and smacks him and he doesn’t stop until Daniel calls him “Sir”.

At this point I was so shocked I couldn’t even blink. I mean, the idea of a so-called Dom (and a stranger) manhandling someone like that in a public place and nobody intervening to stop it is so outrageous and ridiculous it’s driving me nuts just picturing it.

And if that wasn’t enough, Daniel is so excited he has a hard-on and is leaking pre-cum in his jeans.

I mean… What?

Seriously… What?

But that doesn’t stop here because Ronan doesn’t seem content with jumping all over Daniel like he owns him but he also forbids Daniel to drink beer.

I mean… What?

Seriously… WHAT?

“You don’t need to drink alcohol. I don’t want you making any more bad decisions this evening.”

Sorry? Who do you think you are? What gives you the right to behave that way? What gives you the right to give orders like that to a person you have just met? Touching him without permission, hitting him on the butt, demanding him to call you a certain way, forcing him to confess why he’s there and what he’s escaping from, and denying that person the rightfully chance to have the drink he fancies unmolested.

Ronan is not a Dom, he’s an abusive asshole. If I ever met him, I’d be ringing the police and running in the opposite direction.

And he has issues. I mean, real issues. Like, he’s a control freak. But I’m not referring to the kinky aspect.

He decides to pay the two cousin subs to follow Daniel.

“I want you to follow him when he leaves. Text me where he settles in for the evening.”

How do these subs react?

The expressions on their faces turned to disappointment. He knew why, but he couldn’t help that he wasn’t attracted to them.

OMFG, he’s not only a controlling bastard, but he is also an arrogant and insufferable bully. Like, taking for granted everybody will giving their kidneys for free in order to be spend one single night with him and thank him afterwards.

I. Can. Not. Stand. Him.

But wait, there is more. He looks for Daniel in the Internet. I mean, he’s not a stalker, not at all. (Damn, this book is like the guidelines of “How to recognize you are dating an abusive bastard” *facepalm*.)

And shockingly, he finds Daniel’s father on Facebook. As easy as that.

IDK about you, but this gives me the creeps.

Ronan knows nothing of Daniel but he’s already “his boy”.

“Make sure that mean Scot doesn’t go near my boy.”

He talks about Daniel as if he were talking about a piece of meat. Like, “Don’t eat my meat, dude.”

Fuck this shit.

He needed to prove to himself he could Dom a boy like Daniel and make him submit. He wanted to protect him better than he had Finney.

So it’s not for Daniel’s sake, but for himself, “he needed to prove to himself he could Dom”. I can’t even! Are you using Daniel for entirely selfish reasons! To stroke your ego.

I didn’t know I could hate you even more.

“Bessie, I think I found myself a new boy. He’s a bad boy and needs a strong hand to guide him. He has long brown hair, but I never saw his eyes. He wore these damn sunglasses in the bar. I think he was hiding a whopper of a shiner. I wonder what he’s been through. I think he needs me, and I need him.”

On what basis can you say that he needs you and that you need him? How do you know he’s a bad boy? Just because he refused to call you “Sir” and tell you his problems and that he protested when you forbid him to drink alcohol?

Who do you think you are?

How can this be romantic by any means?

However, he didn’t believe he could force Daniel to go home with him.

Thank God you realize that! *sarcastic*

See why I was all this while laughing my ass off?

Ronan’s dialogue with his brother is totally nuts:

“Why did you whip his ass on your first meeting? Is that normal?”

“There is no normal. He was disrespectful, so I made a bet with him that I could teach him to respect me.”

“Like you used to do with me. You even locked me up in the dog cage.”

“But you got even with me when you told Da about it,” Ronan said.

“I didn’t like you locking me in a dog cage or spanking me.”

“It was only ten minutes. I timed it and never left you alone.”

Forgetting about the incestuous relationship (I mean, WTF?, spanking your own brother in a sexual sense? And you treat that theme so casually?) is the author trying to demonstrate Ronan’s “Domanship” is innate? That it’s just his nature and that’s why he instinctively began spanking his brother?


I’m freaking out.

Seriously, this book freaks me out.

I think he not only spanked his brother’s butt but he also smacked him in the head when he was little.

Listen to this:

“I was easy on him, just took him over my knee and spanked him until he called me Sir.”

“That’s exactly what you used to do to me. I hope you Dom another sub soon, before you retort to practicing on me again.”

“I guess I could practice on you, but it wouldn’t work for us. You’re not my type, plus I found my new boy.”

INCEST, PEOPLE, INCEST!!!! It’s not the sexual hint among relatives I have a problem with. It’s this frivolousness in which it’s written and displayed. I’ve read books about this topic that are so masterly written I can only say I’m in awe. But this… This is supposed to be a jokey dialogue but I can’t indulge them, I can’t carry on with his charade. This is too surreal!!!

“What do you know about him?”

“Not much. He’s independent, though, and he looks like he’s on the run. The thing is, he made me feel like living. He gives me hope that I’m ready to Dom again. As soon as I saw him come in, I knew he was going to be mine.”

For God’s sake, you only got to see him once and you spent those five minutes spanking him and you already know he’s the love of your life?


Ronan has had lots of practice in his bully record.

When Finney got sick, he had controlled every inch of his sub’s life, but that wasn’t enough, because in the end, Ronan couldn’t save him. His thoughts circled with every possible combination of what ifs. Nothing had mattered. Finney was gone. Ronan couldn’t protect him from death. He blamed himself for not being strict enough with him before he’d gotten ill.

Have I just read an apology of domestic violence? Maybe not physical violence per se but this controlling hint is not reassuring at all.

How can this be called “romantic”?

But do not worry, because Ronan was so heartbroken and so sad. Deep inside, he’s a teddy bear!

He hadn’t had a sub in over a year, not since his last one, Finney, had passed away. Ronan’s heart ached and he had shed many tears for the gorgeous, loving lad.

Awwwwww, I’m so touched. I’ve forgiven him after reading this.

Not at all.

In my dictionary, these relationships are abusive, nothing related to D/s. I've read books with D/s and domestic discipline in them and I can see the trust and the devotion towards each other. But this? This is an atrocity of a D/s relationship. They never speak for real, never form a bond, never are in their shared-little-world where only both of them exist. Here the Dom has already made up his mind, without putting Daniel's needs first, without knowing him first. I don't see instinct nor devotion nor love here, not even lust! Not that I'm an expert but... it sounds so wrong to me.

It’s time to turn the page. Now we’ll talk about stereotypes. Gypsies stereotypes. The narrator and the characters are clearly full of prejudices. Gypsies are these dirty untrustworthy trash criminals whose only goal in life is marrying and having 10 kids before the age of 20 and while they do that they steal everything they can put their hands on whenever they can.

I’m so disgusted and uncomfortable by all these assumptions that I can simply not overlook them. I’m not going to say it’s racism but I have to admit reading these hints makes me so uncomfortable I don’t care if the author is really crossing an invisible line or not. For me, it’s insulting and humiliating enough to consider a serious DNF.

The general book is so judgmental it’s offensive. These unfortunate comments were totally out of place. I’ve read other books with gypsies and prejudices but none of them were so obvious as to show in such a categorical statement that ALL the people in a certain group are a certain way, a VERY NEGATIVE way, no alternative available.

“Do you know what they say about gypsies?”


“They are usually thieves and never stay in one place, so be careful. I’m just worried about you.”

“I know you are. I tried to buy him a soda and he refused. He said he likes to pay his own way.”

I beg your pardon? What has anything to do with buying him a soda and him refusing that? I’m sorry, I failed my last intelligence test.

No, it’s not only the opinion of one character, but this perspective of things is inherent in the narrator’s voice, in the recounting of events, in the tale of Daniel’s past. Everywhere. And it drags you to have the same opinion. Because, as I said, the narrator is like that.

“I guess you’re going to have to teach him who’s the big boss.”

“I did. I bought him a soda and took his beer away.”

What’s going on with that soda? For real?

Also, this is so calculated, so forced.

He wanted to paint all the stables green, but there weren’t enough hours in a day to do everything. He’d planned on hiring someone to help him, but hadn’t found anyone he wanted to work closely with.

Oh, Daniel used to work painting walls! He’s heading to Ronan’s exact ranch. This is all such a big coincidence! It’s destiny! They are meant to be together! (I don’t know if you noticed but this is a sarcastic comment)

There is also a little of American patronizing. I mean, the characters are supposed to be Irish or at least European. So it’s only logical the narrator and the characters think in an Irish, European way. It’s so inappropriate to say a horse is 14hh tall or that “he must be of drinking age, which is eighteen in Ireland.” The narrator has to have a consequent perspective of things, have a voice adapted to circumstances of place and time. So please, speak in “cm” and don’t say “which is eighteen in Ireland” because it’s totally obvious this is an American POV and it sounds as if the narrator is explaining things to kids in a museum. As if Europe was a museum and people living there were animals in a zoo with these exotic lifestyles.

It’s exasperating.

For all these reasons, I’m unable to keep reading: the stereotyped and offensive version of gypsies, the bidimensional characters, the confusion of the D/s dynamics with an abusive relationship, the ridiculous insta-lust and insta-love, the judgmental and condescending narrator, the hurried and clumsy storyline.


Sorry not sorry.

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Review: Reckless by Caitlin Ricci

When his best friend, Lee, offered him his sub as part of a bet, Colton Prier never expected more than a clean condo from the boy. But Tate Nicholson is well-trained, eager , and he likes rope play as much as Colton enjoys tying him up. It should have ended after one night, but they begin meeting in secret, and Colton can’t stop thinking about Tate. It’s a betrayal of his friendship with Lee to fall in love with Tate, but Colton can’t help wanting the sub for himself.

He’s not alone in his feelings, either. Tate thought he was happy with Lee. Not completely fulfilled, but happy enough. But as he spends more time with Colton, he realizes Lee isn’t capable of giving him what he wants anyway. Lee demands his full submission, but Tate doesn’t want to be a lifestyle sub. Colton expects his obedience at times but gives him his freedom more often than not, which is more in line with what Tate wants.

When Tate really needs his Dom and Lee isn’t around to help him, he reaches the tipping point and needs to choose who he wants to give his submission to, and to accept the consequences of his choice when he does.

'He wasn't mine. I wasn't supposed to care about him. I shouldn't have held him close, and I shouldn't have pressed myself against him.'
Deliciously uncomfortable. This is one of those stories that kept me gripped and reading too late into the night curious to discover what might happen next.

Told entirely from Colton's perspective this explores the complexities of friendship and relationship with the moral dilemma of what happens when your head tells you one thing and your heart tells you another.

Colton struggles to do the right thing as does the man he is drawn to.

The discomfort comes in several forms - interesting quandaries about choice and consequence. Friendship, acceptance, sacrifice and bravery are all wrapped up in a lovely package of integrity with some very hot rope play thrown in for good measure.

Colton's close friendship group work and socialise together too. It comes as a shock to Colton that after a chance meeting, he begins to develop feelings for his best friend Lee's new lover Tate. More shocking for Colton, he's never found anyone that catches his interest quite so much (although, there's an age gap of well over ten years between them) Colton and Tate seem really compatible.

Like his friend Lee, Colton is a Dom but they have different preferences and different ideologies about what being in the lifestyle means. Tate is young, and has a lot to work out about what to do with his life and his choices. He has a strong sense of duty both to his father a high profile politician and to his master Lee. With more experience perhaps Tate's choices might have been easier, but whatever he decides he wants to be sure he is doing the right thing.

Even if you are curling your lip at the idea of 'cheating' real or imagined, I urge you to give this book a chance as the protagonists strive to do the right thing (or is that the wrong thing in the right way?). If you like guys with integrity and a passion for kink this story comes highly recommended.

Check out on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Audiobook Review: Ace by Jack Byrne

Jake Tanner is a gay asexual man who finds peace on his small Australian farm and is content to lead a quiet life taking care of his animals. Then a random act of kindness on his part sets in motion a complex series of events that results in him playing the piano in a local pub and meeting Damien Jamieson, a sexy gay biker with a penchant for leather. Damien finds Jake instantly irresistible, but that could be the worst thing for their budding relationship, as Damien is determined to bed the reluctant Jake. However, Jake has no intention of going along with his plan. If there’s a chance for anything between them, Damien will have to figure out how to turn Jake on without scaring him off.

Listening Length: 5 hrs and 37 min
Narrator: Jonathan David

I was somewhat disappointed by the choice of narrator for this audiobook. Not because Jonathan David doesn’t have a pleasing voice, he does. Great pitch, great range. But not Aussie. I’m an Aussie, so I get super excited about my fellow country men and women publishing books I’m interested in reading. This was definitely a story I was interested in, but I felt a bit cheated by the American accent. I spoke (whinged) to my American partner about it, and he said it was smart. Apparently he won’t listen to anything by british narrators because he doesn’t like the accent, but dubbing it over with American accent and he will give it a try. This makes no sense to me, but meh, whatever. I didn’t like it. I love accents. All accents. I find them interesting, and sexy, and pleasing to my ears. But I wanted Aussie for this. So I’m pouting a bit over it and it may have influenced my enjoyment of the story a little.

The story I thought was really good. I liked the way this was about the struggle with someone who doesn’t know there is a label for his disinterest in sex, and his relationship with someone who loves sex all of the time. It was painful at times the way they miscommunicated because one person feels that sex is part of a loving relationship, and the other thinks that emotional, and non-sexual physical togetherness is how to express love.

At times I could not see how these two men would work it out, and have a functioning relationship. Sex just took up so much of the conversation, and they didn’t seem to get anywhere. Did I say painful? Agonising! At times I was screaming inside “You’re not listening, Damien!”.

It was hard to see the relationship development because it was so slow. One step forward, two steps back in a few places. But I did see that they were both committed to trying, and that made me happy. I was also pleased when there were breakthroughs. It was tough going, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

A couple of nitpicking parts that irritated me. I’ve mentioned I’m Aussie. I may have even mentioned that I like authenticity. So when an author chooses to use the old english measuring system in books set in metric using countries, I’m not happy. We are metric, baby! We don’t say miles. Our odometers are metric! 100 Kilometres per hour!!! 60 Metre rock!!!! When you read the book, you’ll know what I’m referring to. Maybe it’s a sales thing, or an outback thing (I can probably forgive the use of feet as measurement, but not the speed)? I just wish I didn’t have to do conversions in my head when reading an Australian author, because I have to do so much with all the other books I read.

I thought that maybe Jake compromised a little too much. Damian just couldn’t seem to grasp that Jake was not rejecting him as a person. And so Jake seemed to fold a little.

I liked the visit to Brisbane (Shout-out from Brisbane, baby!), and the general landscape for the country town. I liked the side characters, and enjoyed these two men as a couple. The dialogue was smooth, and the general feel of the town worked well.

**Minor Spoiler**

I also had to suspend disbelief with the adoption thing, simply because adoption laws in Australia are pretty archaic and not at all in favour of single people. It may be possible in New South Wales, or Victoria, but definitely not in Queensland (where the story is mostly set), and it would have cost a lot of money, money that a homeless eighteen year old wouldn’t have had. So that part of the story didn’t really work for me, but it is a nice dream, and maybe one day these things won’t be almost impossible.

This story is a little angsty (and I don’t mean that in a bad way) so if you’re not in that kind of mood, then best to leave it until you are. But I thought this was worth my time, and I would read other stories by Jack Byrne. He is a solid storyteller, and I would recommend this to everyone who enjoys hard-won romance. If you don’t think you can listen to this as audio, definitely give the print novel a try. But if you’re like my partner, and you’re fine with American narrator for an Aussie story, then go ahead and listen to Jonathan David. He really does have a lovely voice.

Dreamspinner Press


Book Blitz + Giveaway: Summer Lovin' Anthology by Various Torquere Press Authors

Celebrate Torquere Press' latest anthology with a fifties theme, Summer Lovin' with IndiGo Promotions!
A mix of MM and FF short stories! A little bit foe everyone to enjoy by authors, LJ Hamlin, Janelle Reston, Eric Thornton, Jessica Chase, A. M. Leibowitz, Sarah Hadley Brook!! 

Not only are they sharing a slice of the anthology to entice...but there is a GIVEAWAY! One winner will be selected to win an eBook copy of the Summer Lovin' Anthology.

Summer Lovin 1000x400
Title: Summer Lovin’
Author: LJ Hamlin, Janelle Reston, Eric Thornton, Jessica Chase, A. M. Leibowitz, Sarah Hadley Brook
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Release Date: 7/20/2016
Heat Level: ranges from 1-4
Pairing: F/F and M/M
Length: 44,000
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Gay Romance, Lesbian Romance, Anthology

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Summer Lovin Cover


Back in the 1950s, leather jackets, white t-shirts, and poodle skirts were the biggest styles, and going “parking” was all the rage. Summer flings were the thing to do, whether it be with the cute tomboy that caught your eye in school, your older brother’s friend, or the hot mechanic who fixes your car just right. In Summer Lovin’, love doesn’t only have to last the summer.

These six stories are penned by both seasoned scribes and new authors; the anthology provides readers with the perfect opportunity to explore offerings from their favorite storytellers as well as find a new favorite or two.

Containing F/F and M/M stories from authors LJ Hamlin, Janelle Reston, Eric Thornton, Jessica Chase, A. M. Leibowitz, Sarah Hadley Brook, Summer Lovin’ is sure to have something for fifties loving readers.



“You okay, little man?”

Billy startled at the deep, husky voice near his ear and turned to see his new acquaintance leaning into the car, watching him closely. He swallowed and tried not to focus on the musky scent rolling off the dark haired stranger. Fighting the urge to lean in and breathe him in, Billy’s eyes swept over the chiseled jaw, dark stubble and, oh god, those full rosy lips, before rising back up to meet his gaze. Deep chocolate eyes peered into his green ones, searching for something. Wait… He asked something, right?

“Umm, what did you say?”

A smile spread across his face and Billy trembled. God, he was the sexiest man Billy had ever seen.

“I asked if you were okay,” he repeated slowly.

Billy’s eyebrows furrowed then, and he looked down at the keys in his hand, his mind trying to process something. His eyes widened at the memory and he turned his gaze back at the stranger. “Wait! Did you call me ‘little man’?” he asked, incensed.

The sexy man nodded.

Billy harrumphed, his irritation obvious.

“Give me your name and I’ll stop calling you that,” the greaser offered, still smiling. The dimple in his left cheek only upped his sexiness.

“William Hadley. Billy,” he whispered, his cheeks heating up. “And, I’m five eight,” he huffed. Why did he say that? Why did he care what this guy thought of him?

“Well, Billy,” he leaned in closer, letting his breath ghost across Billy’s face. “I’m Gene Milgram and it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Gene,” Billy repeated, letting the name roll around on his tongue for a minute and swallowing hard when he realized Gene was still leaning into the car. “Um, I guess I need to call someone to tow it, huh? I wonder if there’s a pay phone anywhere near.”

Gene grinned. “Nope. But I can help you.”

Billy’s eyes widened. “You can? On a motorcycle?” He glanced back uncertainly at the small bike. “Um, yeah, I don’t think that’s strong enough to—”

Gene’s laughter rumbled out into the darkness and Billy looked him as if he was crazy. Did this guy seriously think a motorcycle could tow a big car?

“Sorry, Billy,” he chuckled. “No, I didn’t mean my bike. I own an auto shop and I just closed up a little while ago. Why don’t we just head back and get the tow truck and take care of things?”

“We?” Billy squeaked, glancing at the motorcycle again, his heart hammering in his chest.

Gene waggled his eyebrows at him, laughing. “Well, yeah, I can’t just leave you here in the dark. What if another opossum decides to pull something crazy again?”

Billy felt his face heat up. He knew Gene was just being friendly, but it had been a long time since another man had made him feel so off-kilter, even though he was sure Gene was straight. He looked back over his shoulder again and wrestled with his fear of motorcycles. Something told him that he could trust this man, though.

Sighing deeply, he finally nodded. Gene pulled the car door open and waited, his hand on the door handle. Once he climbed out, he felt a little lightheaded, swaying a little before Gene’s arm snaked around his waist, holding him close to his side.

“Whoa, there. You feeling dizzy?” Gene’s mouth was so close his breath caressed Billy’s neck, sending a shiver down his spine.

Billy nodded a little, feeling foolish. “My head hit the steering wheel, but my arms cushioned the blow. I think…I think I’m just a little dazed.”

Gene nodded his understanding and helped him up the short hill to his bike, parked on the side of the road. Billy startled when he saw it up close.

“That’s a 1947 Triumph Speed Twin! Is that a custom paint job?” Enthusiasm won out over his fear as he leaned in and traced his fingers along the seat.

Gene’s eyes widened in amazement and he finally let his arm slip away from Billy’s waist. “You know about bikes?”

“Yeah, a little. When I was a kid, I dreamed of owning one, but my mom always said they were too dangerous, of course. Then when I saw James Dean riding one, I decided to learn more about them. Last year, I finally decided to try taking a spin and I…I…” His face reddened and he looked at the ground. “I fell off the bike before I even started it,” he admitted.

Gene chuckled a little, but wisely kept his thoughts to himself.

Billy smiled, “Yeah, it wasn’t funny at the time, but…” He cleared his throat. “So, um, how do we do this?”

The greaser handed him the helmet. “Only got one and no way am I letting you ride without one.” He grinned. “You seem a little accident-prone to me.”

From “The Great Pretender” by Sarah Hadley Brook


Torquere Press

Summer Lovin Square 

Meet the Authors

LJ Hamlin - L.J.Hamlin is a twenty something (getting older every day) writer, who has been writing all her life, mainly in notebooks no one else ever saw. But then she found M/M groups online and was encouraged by friends to share her stories. After a while (with a lot of pushing) she got brave enough to try getting published, so she could share with more people, and she hopes to never stop. LJ loves cats, and pretty much all animals, is a collector of many things, often weird, but most of all books.

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Janelle Reston - Janelle Reston is a pansexual powerhouse whose F/F and queer romance has appeared in numerous anthologies. Hobbies include watching The X-Files and making sexual innuendos. She lives in a northern lake town with her partner and their black cats.

Facebook Author Page:




Goodreads link:

Eric Thornton - Eric Thornton tends to write what comes to mind. You never know what could come from him next. He lives in the south with his spouse who supports his work.


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Jessica Chase - : Jessica Chase has been writing for what seems like her entire life, and finished her first short story at the age of five. It wasn’t very good. Since then, she’s improved a great deal, but writing has continued to be her passion. She loves reading and enjoys exploring the worlds of others as well as creating her own and has been involved in several writing groups. She writes all kinds of relationships and is always looking to write more, but M/M and F/F romance is something she is particularly fond of. She enjoys fantasy and horror, and loves putting her own spin on the genres and creating interesting characters and worlds. Jessica studied at Oxford University and fell in love with the city and its weird quirks and traditions. She still reads anything she can get her hands on and spends her weekends wandering around various museums and old houses, walking through the countryside looking for inspiration, or sitting in the garden and playing with her pet tortoises. She is lucky enough to have the support of some wonderful friends.





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A.M. Leibowitz - A.M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. Ze keeps warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. Hir published fiction includes four novels as well as a number of short works, and hir stories have been included in anthologies from Supposed Crimes, Witty Bard, and Mischief Corner Books. In between noveling and editing, ze blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, books, and hir family.


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Sarah Hadley Brook - Sarah Hadley Brook lives in the Midwest and is a mother of two wonderful young men. During the day, she works in the non-profit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures up in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. She believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.



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Review: Werewolves of Chernobyl by K.A. Merikan & L.A. Witt

--- Being kidnapped by two werewolves is an adventure after all, right? Right?! ---


If Quinn wants to get the best photos for his travel blog, no gate is too tall, and no ‘do not enter’ sign actually means he won’t go in. What he finds in a hidden exclusion zone by Chernobyl blows his mind. Mutants? Monsters? He doesn’t know, but he is bound to find out when not one but two of them break into his hotel.
Too bad the rules and attitudes they have toward sex don’t match Quinn’s at all.


Born with a disabled hand, smaller than the other werewolves, Dima is the lowest of the low in his pack, but when he meets the loveliest human he’s ever seen, he knows his luck has changed.
The last thing he expects though is his beloved friend Nazar turning on him once Dima’s affection for Quinn deepens, and he refuses to be mounted by Nazar anymore.


Nazar is a high ranking soldier in his pack, but in his powerful body hides a gentle soul, and all he wants is to escape the pack with Dima. But once Dima claims Quinn as his, secrets Nazar has so far kept hidden rear their ugly head.
The werewolf language doesn’t have words to describe what they crave, so Quinn might be the only one to help them solve the puzzle of the desires that go against the rules of their pack.


Themes: shifter, werewolf, menage, knotting, urban exploration, cultural differences, disability, hierarchy, USSR, isolated from the world, society of men, PTSD, military, secret organization
Genre: M/M/M romance, suspense, paranormal, urban fantasy
Length: ~75,000 words
WARNING: This book contains steamy content and graphic violence

"Did I...did I just get fucked by a werewolf?
Yes I did.
Technically I'm still being fucked by a werewolf.
Because this hasn't been the weirdest leg of my journey."
Me when KNOTTING is mentioned:

All right, who are we kidding? This is me:

After reading who knows how many KNOTTING fics/stories, I can happily say KNOTTING is one of my favorite things about shifter stories. There's a (unicorn) scientific list of...requisites that makes for good KNOTTING.

This definitely covered the list.

A sample of KNOTTING winners:

Fat KNOTS forced inside tight holes
Biting (back of the neck is #1) while pumping semen into said hole
Tears and/or exclamations of the KNOT "not fitting"

"Werewolves of Chernobyl" isn't all about KNOTTING, but KNOT enthusiasts would appreciate the details.

Urban explorer and blogger Quinn is in the Ukraine on a Chernobyl tour. He lives for danger and adventure, sneaks off onto forbidden territory and gets the fright of his life. A living breathing werewolf. After a cute exchange (minus an injury), he think it'll be a lifetime experience. Wrong! Quinn leaves a bigger impression on the werewolf (bodark), Dima.

Dima is crippled due to a birth deformity, an arm doesn't fully function but it doesn't stop his determination to have that human be his "bitch". He recruits one of the strongest bodarks who also happens to be his childhood friend and lover, Nazar. Dima is small to Nazar's hulking bodark frame. But Nazar, has a little secret:

He's not happy with his assigned sexual role.
That feeling deep inside, making his cock hot and rigid as if he were about to come without even his dick being touched, made him realize in a half second that this was exactly what he wanted to be. Mounted, and serving another man with his body, and the pleasure originating inside him was proof of that.

Neither is another certain isolated bodark, pair that with their newly acquired human who comes from the outside world and the cultural differences are explosive.

I really love the idea of this novel. There are a lot of things going on, I mean just look at the blurb. The hierarchy, kidnapping, sexual roles, isolation, oddly worked for where the story went. Each guy brought something different to the table and for the most part, they had some depth to carry these emotions and issues out.

I like my triangles as equal as possible. And with these three, I think their dynamics are as equal as they could be. Each man has a role and they represent it - top, bottom, or switch to the best of their ability.

Though, if I could keep 2 out of the 3 together, I'd love it. Nazar and Dima wormed their way into my pocket.

Dima - the outcast due to his birth deformity, size and underdeveloped bodark skills (namely not being able to speak while in bodark form). He's the underdog and you can't help but root for him. He's hotheaded, rash and has a loyal heart. He's a true friend to Nazar, even when he got what he wanted, Nazar was never far from his heart nor brain - though bodarks have no time for feelings.

Nazar - the big guy who is supposed be alpha, used for his fighting skills and owns a gentle heart. He always put Dima first. That devotion is everlasting, you can see it when Dima would go off on a wild tangent. Nazar hovered in the background and let his Dima, his "bitch" test his claws, so to speak.

These friends had emotions to add to their sexy times. And the sex was rocking with those two and with Quinn.


Quinn - I tried to like him but I was ambivalent toward the end. He was obnoxious in a way. He didn't follow orders, even when he was told more than one time to follow the bodark custom with collars and he still didn't get it. He didn't listen to authorities...anyone really. He was too headstrong for my liking. Do I think he deserves Nazar and Dima? Not really. but he's the one for them (though I might be the only hoping that in the future they find someone who isn't as wishy washy) Quinn is a nice guy, he means well but sometimes he read disingenuous and the bodarks are all heart and truth.

There was some action and violence also added. But the ending was rushed. There were loose ends and major plot threads left unanswered or forgotten: such as who the Directorate was? What with the sudden change of heart from the alleged villain/top dog? What are these missions that Nazar went on? How did the escape exactly happen?

There were personality transplants here and there, which didn't make for consistent read. The last chapter or so was rushed, the epilogue wasn't any better. The sentiments are nice. There is an implied HEA/ strong HFN ending but there was room for more and areas that needed tightening up. The plot could have been stellar if the suspense angle was stronger and more defined. It was like reading 10th draft mixed in with 2nd drafts in spots. There were a couple of typos but it didn't detract from the story.

Overall, good story. Pretty good. I thought it was going to be sex-a-palooza and it wasn't the plot ideas with cultural differences were the biggest draw for me. (Yes, even over the KNOTTING). I was fascinated by the bodark culture. I wanted to know all the ins and outs, the hierarchy, maybe deeper knowledge of the main players.

I like these authors playing together in the sandbox. I think they played to each others strengths, for the most part.

I would definitely read another story based in this world, this trio of authors created. Isolated bodarks make for interesting stories.


Lots more KNOTTING please?

*This message has been approved by the KNOTTING Fans Association.

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Audiobook Review: To The Highest Bidder (A Planet Called Wish #1) by Caitlin Ricci, Narrated by Jean Samson

The Intergalactic Star Pilot Academy has accepted Thierry Leroux into the elite class of sky year 2231. But the academy comes with a hefty price tag, and there's no way he, a poor Sythe orphan, has the credits the academy requires. Thierry’s brother, Corbin, a high-class companion, suggests Thierry sell his virginity for the cost of tuition. It seems like a ridiculous idea, but it may be Thierry’s only shot, so Thierry asks Corbin to arrange a meeting on the pleasure planet of Wish.

On Wish, Thierry meets Corbin's boss, Monroe, and they agree to auction off Thierry’s virginity. Thierry is grateful to the masked buyer he knows only as “Dragonfly,” and Dragonfly is gentle, making Thierry’s first time a good memory. When Dragonfly requests to see him again, and pay for the pleasure, Thierry returns to Wish. But in this game, falling in love is dangerous for the heart, and Thierry might not like the man behind the mask.

I’m a sucker for a good sci-fi love story and To the Highest Bidder ended up being a surprisingly sweet coming of age tale of intergalactic lust and love. This was my first time listening to Jean Samson narrating and I really loved his voice. His Thierry is perfect. Honestly, I could just listen to him say his name over and over again. . . .Jean Samson . . . .Jean Samson . . . .Jean Samson. The accent made me swoon.

Thierry has a dream to be a pilot with no means to make that dream happen. His brother, Corbin, works as an escort on Wish, the planet where all the sexy things happen. I liked listening to the relationship between Corbin and Thierry. They’ve been orphaned since Thierry was quite young and Corbin has been his caretaker since then and, as Thierry gets older and more independent throughout the book, their dynamic evolves and I enjoyed all of their exchanges.

The brothers are brainstorming on a way to come up with the credits to get Thierry into the academy when Corbin finds out he’s been accepted and they come up with the wacky, but thoroughly sexy idea to auction off Thierry’s virginity to the highest bidder and letting Corbin’s boss Monroe handle the marketing and transaction. Monroe runs the most successful brother on the planet and if anybody can get top dollar for Thierry’s cherry, it’ll be Monroe.

The world building had just the right level of detail and creativity to keep me engaged and not overwhelmed. The sci-fi aspect didn’t take over the character’s personalities, but added to the overall arc. One of the bestest things about Thierry and Corbin is their heritage. These boys are Sythe and apparently that makes them seriously hot commodities in Corbin’s profession, while also a little feared in the general public. There are not a lot of Sythe around, so the bit of mystery surrounding the particulars of their genetics makes them even more appealing. The Sythe are very sensitive to touch and attention. Meaning, when a Sythe individual opens themselves completely they feel and react to everything x 10. So basically, super hot.

Thierry can’t help but react to Monroe. Up until then Thierry had led a pretty sheltered life, the brothers didn’t have a lot of extra credits floating around to entertain themselves and Thierry’s only dream was to fly. So the interaction between the young and inexperienced Thierry with the more mature and jaded Monroe was tense and sexy at the same time. Not that they particularly get along, but that was part of then fun.

Thierry’s virginity gets auctioned off, he ends up making bank and the man who wins is a mystery from the beginning. He wears a mask and does not speak, and he has a dragonfly tattoo on his side that Thierry finds fascinating. The time they spent together was steamy and pretty sweet. Dragonfly has his good time, but he makes sure Thierry does too and because Thierry feels so intensely, the sex is smokin’.

While that was supposed to be their only encounter, Monroe ends up acting as an intermediary between the two with messages back and forth once Thierry heads off to the academy. Thierry keeps Dragonfly posted on how he’s doing, the two of them sort of get to know one another (Dragonfly is paying him for these letters too along with the additional meet-ups here and there) and the two of them fall into, what I like to call, “Pen Pal Love”.

Pen Pal Love is very romanticized, very sweet, but not very realistic. Dragonfly knows this, but Thierry is young, passionate and impulsive. This is why I referred to the story as a coming-of-age tale as well. Thierry has a lot of growing up to do and when he finds out about Dragonfly he reacts like an immature man would. The author and narrator did a great job of capturing the self-righteous, self-centeredness of youth. Thierry is the least malicious person in the galaxy, but he’s impulsive and has a lot of growing up to do.

I liked where the story went from here. A lot of time is covered and there was no convenient answer. The only solution was time and the author made sure her characters had it. I would have loved to have more of the MC’s together after it all, but what I got was completely satisfying, especially from Thierry’s perspective. The kid turns out all right and by the end I really liked and respected who he grew into.

For more information on To The Highest Bidder, head over to Dreamspinner Press,

**a copy of this audiobook was provided for an honest review**

Review: Hat Trick by Meg Harding

Nathan Barres has always loved hockey before anything else. When a one night stand with Felix Moore gives him emotions, he flees the scene. He's not expecting to see Felix ever again. So when an injury knocks him out of the game for several weeks, he's less than pleased to see the Winnipeg Wolves newest trainer is none other than Felix.

Almost two years later, and the feelings are still there. Nathan does his best to shove them to the back burner and ignore the temptation Felix presents. That is, until Felix makes him an offer that's just a little too tempting--with amazing results. He's a hockey player after all, and they're nothing if not superstitious. If Felix is his good luck charm, who is he to resist?

This is my third book by this author in the last month or so and I think I'm almost ready to ask her to go steady on this book writing/book reading thing we got going. I don't want to jump the gun or anything but I think things are going well.


This is another contemporary romance involving hockey players. Nathan is the captain of the Winnipeg Wolves. He's out to his teammates but not the media, so he keeps his hookups on the DL. He meets Felix in a bar after a road game win and sparks fly. Then he leaves without so much as a goodbye while Felix is still comatose from the brain melting sex.

Fast forward 1 year and 7 months and guess who just got hired as the new trainer for the Winnipeg Wolves?

Awkward. Well, Nathan thinks it is. Felix seems unfazed. And so it begins...

These two are definitely dudes being dudes. They suck at communication. They make assumptions about one another that aren't true. They're both jealous as all get out if either of them even looks at another guy. And they're completely and totally oblivious to each other's behaviors. 

I found this to be sort of endearing and kept laughing at how dumb they were. I mean, for all intents and purposes they are dating exclusively and having sex regularly, but neither of them realize it. They have lunch every day. They exercise together. They know what flavor cupcakes the other likes and sandwiches. They hang out and play video games alone and with the other guys. Felix helps him pick out a Christmas present for Ivan, the Russian with a "close" relationship to his cat.


We only get Nathan's perspective and his cluelessness is both trying and entertaining. He keeps trying to convince himself they can be friends and that the lucky sex Felix offers will simply help him get over Felix. 

Maybe he can fuck the crush out.

Has that ever worked out for anyone ever? Show of hands?

Eventually they are forced by the team to use their words which was hilarious. Harding really knows how to write team dynamics which is my favorite part of a sports themed book. Ivan with his broken English and his cat were weird and cute. And I have a suspicion that Renner might be bi, so I'm wondering if this will turn into a series. I would not be mad about that.

I'm impressed with the range of this author. Even though everything I've read by her has been contemporary each of her characters have been unique and each plot varied. That's laudable. 

I'd recommend to readers and appreciate stupid boys being stupid. And cute. Or hockey fans.

As a side note, I don't normally talk about covers but this cover is...not good. I'm not sure who those guys are but they are not Nathan and Felix.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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