Audiobook Review: The Supers (The Supers #1) by Sean Michael

Hunting ghosts and finding more than they bargained for.

Blaine Franks is a member of the paranormal research group the Supernatural Explorers. When the group loses their techie to a cross-country move, newly graduated Flynn Huntington gets the job. Flynn fits in with the guys right off the bat, but when it comes to him and Blaine, it’s more than just getting along.

Things heat up between Blaine and Flynn as they explore their first haunted building, an abandoned hospital, together. Their relationship isn’t all that progresses, though, and soon it seems that an odd bite on Blaine’s neck has become much more.

Hitchhiking ghosts, a tragic love story forgotten by time, and the mystery of room 204 round out a romance where the things that go bump in the night are real.

Listening Length: 6 hours and 18 minutes
Narrator: Kenneth Obi

I’m quite conflicted about this story for a variety of reasons, and I’m really not sure how to express my experience.

This starts off with a group of gay friends who are basically out to make it big by proving that ghosts are real. Flynn actually has the ability to feel, see, and possibly interact with said ghosts so he’s a very valuable part of the team - a team that needs another to help with data collection and analysis. Enter Blaine. He’s always been a believer due to feeling his dead mother’s presence intermittently throughout his life. Because of this, Blaine is determined to prove that this paranormal phenomena exists, and what better way to do that than to join a group of ghost hunters?

When Blaine first meets Flynn there's literally a spark between them and of course, the instant attraction pushes them down the hill at warp speed. The two fall hard and fast, and there just might be a bit of spooky mojo making their connection all the more fantastical, and it’s “babe, baby, honey, love” in a matter of days. *grimaces* In and amongst this uh-mazing time, strange things are afoot, sinister happenings start to endanger Flynn, and sure enough, there’s a tragic mystery to be solved and justice to be had.

I’ve only listened to Kenneth Obi once before, and he was more than perfectly serviceable. Here??? Not so much. I could not follow the narration well at all. I don’t know if it’s because my ears couldn’t easily distinguish “Blaine” from “Flynn” as they’re both one syllable and end in N, or the fact that there was inconsistent character distinction which was not helped by the seemingly rapid POV changes that made it hard to discern who was who was who was speaking. Oy. To say the least, this took me an unusual inordinate amount of time to get through, and that didn’t sit well.

Soooooo despite the insta love, the banter between Blaine and Flynn was mostly sweet and entertaining, the smexy wasn’t too shabby. The scary bits were tense and disturbing, so if you want that in your ghost story then don’t worry. For me though, this book was just... odd, and it was not helped by the narration. I’m not deterred though, since this is my first from Sean Michael. I’ll forge ahead with the next book whether I listen to it or not!

Thank you to the author/publisher for the audio in exchange for an honest review

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Campus Life by T.C. Orton

Welcome the Campus Life blog tour to BMBR! Celebrate with author T.C. Orton and Vibrant Promotions! Learn more about the choose your own adventure book today! Enter in the Campus Life eBook giveaway (up to 3 winners)!

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RELEASE DATE: 03.22.18
Campus Life Cover
A choose your own adventure for adults!
Young, dumb, and full of... You get the picture.

Welcome to Mentis University, your name is Joseph Smith and you've been unremarkable all your life. No - really, you've been absolutely, unequivocally, insert-smart-word-here mundane since the day the doctor slapped your ass and you let out a sigh. HOWEVER, you did manage to achieve one thing this year - you transferred to a better college. Bravo! (Mentis University has been rated number 2 on Top 10 worst colleges to attend for the last seven years... Guess where you were before this)

Since no one else from your hometown of - insert rural American town here - managed to claw their way out of mediocrity, you decided there was no point in hiding anymore. And thus, at an energetic twenty-one years old, you're now an openly gay man. Congratulations.

Of course, there's not much point in being openly gay if there are no gays to be in your opening. So, after spending a few days getting accustomed to your new life, you flopped onto your single bed, closed your eyes, and prayed to the lord... (And you're still waiting for the day Cher tweets you back)

"Please," you begged. "Guide me to a man who will treat me right... or pound me like a piece of veal."

Luckily for you, someone was listening...

Dear Reader

You will assume the role of Joe Smith (first-person, present tense) and guide him through his final year of college. Don't worry, you won't be expected to do anything as absurd as learn mathematics, but you will, on occasion, be provided with choices that will impact the outcome of the story.
Campus Life Teaser 1
Campus Life Teaser 3
Campus Life Teaser 2

Before I know it, I’m weaving my way through a swarm of cosplayers, getting handed leaflets for pop-up stores and being bombarded with free samples of anime-inspired cakes. Having so many people crammed into a single room makes the air humid, palpable. The scent of sizzling hotdogs infuses with the buttery popcorn and crepe stands. The body odor oozing from the heavily costumed teens causes me to recoil whenever we cut through a large group, and my shoes stick to the floor every other step like we’re treading through the filthiest of nightclubs.

Man, this place is packed wall-to-wall with sweaty basement dwellers (much like the person writing this book) and hot nerds alike. There’s queues at every booth and tables with D-list voice actors outlining the various manga and comic book stalls. There’s even a makeshift arcade setup with cabinets ranging from 80’s classics to modern VR titles.

So much to do, so much to see, and yet the one thing that draws in my gaze is the beaming grin on Kai’s face. He looks elated to be here, and I think a part of that has to do with me being here with him…At least, I hope so.

“How many of these have you been to?”I ask, loudly, trying to speak over the cheers and laughter that fill the room.

“This is my fifth!”he calls back, pulling me along by my wrist as he leads me to the comic stalls. “What do you think?”

“I think it’s…lively,” I reply, getting a whiff of unwashed armpit as I squeeze myself between two burly men.

Gag. People should only be allowed to smell like that mid-orgy.

We continue trudging our way through the crowd when suddenly, we’re swallowed by the shadows of the bookstacks and the thousands of comics they hold. Kai releases me mid-aisle and dashes toward a specific pile of pricy-looking omnibuses, and I linger behind him, appreciating his bulbous buns and thinking of all the things I’d like to do to him.

“Have you read Crisis on infinite earths?”he asks, flicking through the pages of said book.


“What about The killing joke? Or Secret wars? Or Infinite crisis? Did you read the Alias comics before Jessica Jones went to Netflix? Oh –oh, have you read the original Civil War? They changed so much, but I get it. I don’t think they’d ever be able to do a proper adaptation even if they had all the rights to their characters back.”

Born January 6th 1993, T. C. resides in the United Kingdom, living with his partner Peter Jones and their dog, Drake.

T. C. has had a passion for supernatural stories from a young age, often scribbling down his latest ideas instead of focusing on whatever task was at hand during the long school days. At the age of twelve, he penned his first romance story featuring himself and the boy he had feelings for set in a fantastical land full of werewolves and wizards. Ever since that day, T. C. has made it his mission to entwine his leading gay protagonists with epic paranormal adventures.


Review: Figure Study (Chiaroscuro #2) by Suzanne Clay

Ainsley and her former student Noma face the aftermath of their unexpected one-night stand in this second story of Chiaroscuro.

The night Ainsley spent gently dominating Noma was far more intimate than any scene she’d ever been in before. The intensity of playing with someone she’d taught and cared about was a completely different experience–and twice as intimidating. She’d had two options: turn Noma away and never see her again, or let her stay for a few hours more.

The years away from scenes have left Ainsley eager for play but unsteady in her role. And memories of a younger Noma, when their relationship was student and mentor, only add to the confusion. A return to familiar ropes and knots, an erotic bondage play, helps Ainsley regain a sense of control and face her vulnerabilities. She must learn to see Noma as an adult woman in every way, risking a dangerous power imbalance, even as her heart begins to yearn for intimacy she’s long hidden from.

As they delve into new scenes, Ainsley and Noma confront past pain and baggage. Only by facing their fear of opening up can they learn to trust each other and share something deeper.

This is my first time reading Suzanne Clay but it will not be my last. I loved everything about this story. Ainsley’s vulnerability and insecurity was sharply contrasted by her confidence in art and dominance. I love her.

Noma is a former student who has grown into a beautiful woman, and Ainsley feels lucky to be in her presence. Noma is confident in what she wants, and is enjoying the opportunity to get to know the woman she’s always admired from afar. They are beautiful together, and this story feels like the beginning of something special for them.

This was deeply sensual and very sexy. The sensuality of the art mixed in with Ainsley and Noma getting to know each other added another layer which was compelling.

I loved the flow of the writing and how easy it was to read. This felt angst free, which is something I needed after getting home from my demanding job. An instant mood lifter. Something to fill my cup and make me swoon.

This is book 2 in a series of Ainsley and Noma, and admittedly I have not read book 1, but I will be doing that, and continuing on with book 3. I’m really excited to read more from this author.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion.

Review: In Over Our Heads (Stories from the Shore #2) by CJane Elliott

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

DNF - 60%

I just can’t with this story. I got to 58% and it just went downhill from there.
Those who enjoy fluffy and cute with over the top characters may enjoy this but it just did not work for me.

The start was good. I liked Tony as a character. He was fun and flirty with some depth (buried deep). He was interesting enough and the storyline was good. Somewhere around the time he was letting Miles down and admitting he wasn’t over Walter, the dialogue became way too forced. The rambling became longer and less coherent.

I also had issue with Walter. There is something really egotistical in thinking the world revolves around him and he caused things to happen that have absolutely nothing to do with him. Flogging that line for almost the entire book, grating.

It got to the point I didn’t even care if they got together, and would have preferred them to find other people. If Walter would prefer to wallow in his self-exile, all power to him, but he dragged ME down, and I had zero hope for a healthy outcome for these men.

High school sweethearts reunited is a favourite trope of mine, but this did not make me feel good. I admit, I gave up. I could see nothing redeeming about Walter’s behaviour and Tony was becoming hysterical.

Honestly, I think reading other reviews would give you a better idea if this story is for you. It was definitely not for me, and that bums me out because the first 40% had a lot of promise.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion .

Release Blitz: Austin (Man Up #1) by Felice Stevens

Learn more about Felice Stevens' latest, Austin (Man Up #1) today! See our 5 <3 review HERE

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RELEASE DATE: 04.05.18
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I can make it by myself. The only rules I follow are my own. Love? I learned that lesson the hard and painful way—it wasn’t right for me. Sure, sometimes it gets lonely, and I wish I had a man to hold. Who’d love me. Want me. Treat me with respect. Yeah, I dance in a club, but that doesn’t mean I’m easy. Or a fool. So you, sitting in the back, watching me? I know what you want. You want me. In your bed. Under you. But I say no. It doesn’t matter how many presents you give me.
I’m not falling for you. I know who you are. But you don’t know me. You don’t know Austin.
Austin Teaser 1
Austin Teaser 2

Austin Teaser 3

I lifted my chin. “I’m sorry, but customers aren’t allowed in here. You have to leave.”

Ignoring my statement, he closed the door behind him and stood, his face impassive, expression hard and fierce as if hacked out of granite.

“Did he hurt you?”

The softness of his voice surprised me. It didn’t reconcile with his large, imposing presence. Forgetting my previous statement, I gazed up at him from my seat, and not wishing to be at a disadvantage, stood.

“You saw what happened?”

“I did.” A twinkle lit his startling blue eyes. “You handled it perfectly.”

“Fucking asshole. He’s lucky I didn’t kick him harder.”

“The kitten has claws, I see.”

A smile curved his stern mouth, and he looked younger and impossibly attractive. A rush of desire hit me, but I couldn’t fall prey to it or him.

“I’m not a kitten, and if you think I need a protector, you can forget it. I can take care of myself.” I’d had to all my life.

“I don’t want to be your protector.” Fire replaced the smile in his eyes. “Did you like what I sent you?” He licked his lips. “Are you wearing it?”

I should have been scared. Being alone with him here could be dangerous, even though my instinct told me he’d never hurt me. But whether to listen to my body or my heart, I hadn’t yet decided. Wordlessly, I took several steps until I stood only a few feet in front of him. I peeled back the top of my shorts, exposing the frothy lace. The sparkling crystals caught the light. He reached out with a finger, then halted in midair.

“May I?”

My dick shifted in my thin shorts, and though it was impossible not to notice my rising desire, he waited for my response.


Felice Logo
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn't until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth's court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

Review: Tracker Hacker (Codename: Winger #1) by Jeff Adams

Theo Reese is just an average high school student with a passion for hockey and an uncanny talent when it comes to computers… at least on the surface.

What his teammates, fellow students, and even his boyfriend don’t realize is that Theo leads a double life. When he’s not putting up his facade of normal, Theo is working as an agent for Tactical Operational Support, where his technical genius is more than just a hobby. At sixteen he is responsible for helping agents in the field and keeping the TOS network secure.

It’s a secret he has to keep—from everyone.

But secrecy becomes even harder when a hacker compromises the system TOS uses to track its agents and Theo’s dad goes missing. Theo must find him and stop the hacker, which means leaving the comfort of his computer screen and venturing into a very real and very deadly world.

And if that’s not enough to deal with, all the secrecy is really putting a strain on Theo’s love life.

Theo is an IT genius who hacked his way into his parents phones when he was 12 and found out that they were spies. He was brought on board to assist with all things network and tech. Between high school classes, MIT courses, a boyfriend, and TOS work, Theo is a busy teen. But things get busier when someone hacks into TOS systems and agents start disappearing.

This was a lot of fun. Very well written, engaging and entertaining. Theo is confident, without being arrogant or obnoxious. He knows what he’s doing, and fits the part of the kid who is going places. Since this is a YA adventure story, I didn’t question too hard, why he was brought into TOS to begin with. He was there because he’s a tech whiz and should be there.

This story appears to have a fair bit going on, but the author did a great job of balancing everything and tying it all together. I didn’t feel lost, and nothing was unnecessary. I liked all the side characters, and thought it was great that Theo was into Hockey for fun. It provided a break for this tech heavy read but was also tied into the action plot (bonus!).

Eddie is Theo’s boyfriend and suspects something is up. Theo has to work really hard to keep his lying to a minimum. It certainly brought up a moral dilemma throughout the book, but I think Theo managed give enough that showed he really cared about Eddie and wanted to include him as much as possible.

I think fans of Spy Kids will get a kick out of this. Our hero is smart, quick thinking, and able to adapt to certain situations without losing his head. I’m a total fan, and would recommend this to any teen or adult that enjoys action adventure with these themes.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion

Review: Glory Hole to Hell by CL Mustafic

Will and Pete loved each other in a time when doing so could get you killed. Flash forward seventy-five years and you can still find people who wouldn’t think twice about doing just that to a couple of men in love with each other. What happens every Halloween night at the abandoned and reputedly haunted house at the end of Loon Lane might not change any bigoted opinions, but it will make you think twice about what’s behind the next glory hole.

This is pretty short, but a lot of fun. It captured the feeling of those oral ghost stories kids repeat at slumber parties, or camps. Of course this is an extremely adult version of a ghost story and I do not recommend it be shared with children.

The set up was good, and I could see where it was going immediately, and was happy to go along for the ride. It turned out to be much more tragic than I expected, but also bittersweet in its revenge angle.

As with all horror, I wanted more. I’m greedy for it. This was no different. I wanted it to be longer and more drawn out, but I was also satisfied with what I got.

If you’re looking for something quick to read on a work break, or while waiting for an appointment, this will give you a nice little thrill.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion

Guest Review: Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker

Second wind: a new strength or energy to continue something that is an effort. After an amicable divorce, Lincoln Huxley is ready to embrace the sexuality he repressed for more than two decades. Rush Holden is no longer willing to settle for closeted men or those who don’t share his dreams of marriage and fatherhood. A chance encounter on a lakeside pier is the second wind they both need. Or will it just be a painful reminder of all they had lost?

Second chance:
an opportunity to try something again that failed one time. Rush and Lincoln have shared a lot of firsts—friendship, young love, and heartbreak. Cruel reality forced the two men to choose paths that took their lives in different directions. Twenty-six years later, they get a second chance to fall in love with each all over again. Can it really be that simple, or will the same issues ruin their happiness a second time?

Happily ever after: to live happily for the rest of one’s life. Rush and Lincoln know that love and life can’t be defined by words alone. Patience, commitment, and the determination to do whatever it takes will be the only way the two men achieve their happily ever after.

Second Wind is a funny, sexy, and endearing standalone romance novel about love, loss, and rediscovery. It contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.

Reviewer: Shee Reader

We meet Rush with his boyfriend who is no good for him. Travis is snooty and mean and Rush can do better. Rush’s childhood friend Lincoln was much more his speed but that didn’t end well.

Linc has been married to and worked with his best friend for years. Sadly that meant denying his true self, but he has almost everything he has ever wanted.

With the end of Rush’s relationship and Linc’s marriage, the stage is set for a surprise meeting of two men who haven’t seen each other for 26 years.

When they see each other, it was amazing. Like all the time had disappeared, but life has a habit of getting in the way of romance, and this is one of those romances!

I loved the to and fro, the re-aquatinting and remembering. The love between these two guys was tangible form the outset. The story told through flack backs in each MC’s POV lets the reader in on the story from the very beginning.

There are two men who are meant to be together, and we get tugged along on their journey to their happily ever after (which is so sweet my teeth hurt).

The writing is lovely, meaningful and so engaging. The dual POV gives us the front for seat in the childhood crush show and the coming around to full circle was so satisfying and heart warming. There is a terrific cast of supporting characters too.

This one is well worth a read!

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Midnight Twist by Rian Durant

Celebrate the release of Midnight Twist with author Rian Durant and IndiGo Marketing!Learn more about the paranormal novella today and enter in the giveaway to win a $10 NineStar Press credit!

Title:  Midnight Twist
Author: Rian Durant
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: April 2, 2018
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 19700
Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, fantasy, humor, demons

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Jaydon can’t afford to lose a bet he’s made, so when the sweet as sin Eluin offers him The Contract, it may be exactly what he needs. Or is it? Things get a little twisted with the cheeky demon being around.

The number of demons in Jaydon’s apartment grows, with Eluin’s big brother Eluel and his wayward lover Sam showing up. The couple is at a breaking point in their own on/off relationship and this time getting back together seems as probable as hell freezing over.


Midnight Twist
Rian Durant © 2018
All Rights Reserved

It all started with an espresso machine, even though I’d seen him drinking espresso only once in all the time we knew each other. Then he complained for three days that he hadn’t tasted such swill in his whole life. The fact that I’d made it for him with all my love didn’t cause him to show an ounce of tact.

I felt in my gut it was a tremendous mistake to enter the mall, but even if I’d tried to avoid it, I doubt he would’ve taken my opinion into account. He would’ve thrown a temper tantrum of magnificent proportions, which wasn’t a pretty sight. I’d been a witness and a victim of such antics once, only it was in front of a restaurant, which I hadn’t dared come close to ever since.

The glowing look in his eyes while we passed by the shop windows made my heart sink, because I couldn’t afford most of the things he stared at, especially with the plans we had for the rest of the week. My lovely boyfriend possessed a seductive appearance and a good heart, but his perceptions were terribly distorted due to eighteen years of systematic spoiling at the hands of his parents. He used to reassure me this wasn’t going to come between us since he was madly in love with me, but he couldn’t be further from the truth. After the ironic remarks I had been subjected to in the past few weeks, I knew I wasn’t going to get away with it.

I didn’t want to lose him, but it was clear that if I didn’t overcome my financial issues, his love for me would vanish into thin air together with his rebellious spirit, and he’d settle with any of the “appropriate partners” his parents tried to match him with. Once, one of his father’s business tycoon friends with his three hot lovers landed in front of my door and pounced on me, obviously not familiar with the appearance of his intended chosen one. I led a fierce battle using all means possible, which ended up being the shoehorn lying next to the shoes at the front door, in order to preserve my honor. Things deteriorated when Lyte came out of the bathroom in his short, sexy bathrobe to check why I was wreaking such havoc. We had to barricade the door and listen to a serenade for more than an hour before the police came to take them away.

I turned to Lyte with a smile, intending to remind him of that time the tycoon came calling, but when I caught his hand, he didn’t react at all. He had already seen it. He gazed at the window with an oblivious smile, and then raised his finger and pointed at it. A second later he issued a brief statement with a determination I’d rarely heard in the voice of another human being.

“I want it!”

At first, I couldn’t understand what the item in question was, wavering between a weird CD player, a hat rack, or Darth Vader’s helmet. But when the price tag next to it caught my attention, I shivered.

“You want an espresso machine? What do you need it for, sweetheart?”

“It will look great in the kitchen, don’t you think? The color scheme is the same, and besides, it’s so fancy with all these buttons!” He clapped. “You are going to buy it for me, love, won’t you?”

“But you don’t even drink coffee, sweetie.”

“It doesn’t matter. I can make tea in it. I mean, I’m sure it has such a function.”

I was positive it had a TV-watching function at least, judging by the price, which caused me severe trauma. I tried to sound as gentle and as reasonable as I could.

“We can’t buy it now, dear.”

His amazing blue eyes shot a quick malicious look at me, and he pouted. “So it wasn’t enough for you to turn me into a housewife, was it? Now you refuse to buy me this little sweet espresso machine. Did I understand you correctly?”

I didn’t know why he was always harping on it, given that there wasn’t an ounce of truth in his accusation, unless lying on the sofa with the remote control all day long was termed housekeeping these days. If it wasn’t for me, we would’ve both been dead by now because of the weird things he tried to cook a few times right after he’d moved in with me. I hardly let him do anything around the house, as I preferred to leave him enough free time to study. Week in, week out, he’d go to class to sit for some exams. There was a time when I suspected he was taking them in another way, not fit for a mixed audience, but he finally succeeded in persuading me in the opposite by quoting the declaration of human rights by heart.

I looked at him with regret and repeated to myself he wasn’t guilty in the least. His parents had driven him to this state of mind. I tried to hug him, which, naturally, I was denied.

“Are you really going to be mad at me over some stupid espresso machine?”

“It is not stupid!” he snapped. “You are stupid.”

I laughed, hoping he was joking like he sometimes did, but this time it was different. I suppose this was the proverbial last drop, so when we got home, he locked himself in his room without giving any explanation. After about an hour, he came out dragging his big red suitcase behind him.

“Eh? Sweetie pie…”

He hissed in my face like a kitten deprived of its food, with an expression showing me that if I breathed a word, anything I said would be used against me as he stomped past me, out the front door, slamming it behind him. Apparently, he’d realized there were two alternatives to obtaining his beloved espresso machine. One was to go back to his family, and after an enlightening reprimand on how he shouldn’t choose penniless partners like me, they would give it to him as a present. The other was to use his infinite charm and extort some other idiot with enough money into buying it for him.

I could get a credit card and buy the accursed gadget, but his leaving was a mixed blessing. I might’ve gotten him back, but next week he could decide he couldn’t live without some other splendid invention of modern science, and I couldn’t count on giving in and buying him every single thing he set his heart on.

Part of me wanted him back, but another part insisted that walking away was the best thing he’d ever done for me. We’d had great moments together, especially in the beginning, but to be honest, I’d wondered whether it wasn’t better we called it a day. Exhausted by all the thoughts swarming inside my head, I went to bed. The most difficult part was sleeping alone under the cold sheets after having someone to cuddle with for such a long time.


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Meet the Author

Rian is one of those who are both blessed and cursed by the insatiable desire to write. Short stories, sometimes longer stories and yeah, primarily M/M (you can insert more Ms if you like) romance stories.

Always having a plot in mind sometimes proves being hard when having a day time job but Rian manages them both for the time being, assisted by the
priceless support of her soul mate, large amounts of coffee and pure obstinacy.

What makes Rian smile is a sunny day, a beautiful flower, a piece of chocolate, a nice song, a good book and anything that could be the reason for that spark in the eyes, accompanied by the exclamation: “Oh my, I just saw something!”

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Review: Inside Darkness by Hudson Lin

He’s come in from the field, but the darkness has followed him home.

After a decade as an aid worker, Cameron Donnelly returns home jaded, tired, and with more than just a minor case of PTSD. Plagued by recurring nightmares but refusing to admit he has a problem, Cam quickly spirals into an alcohol-infused depression, and everyone around him is at a loss for how to help.

Journalist Tyler Ang met Cam on a reporting assignment in Kenya, and their first encounters were rife with hostility and sexual tension. Back in New York, their paths continually cross, and each time, Cam’s brokenness reminds Ty more and more of his own difficult childhood. Letting Cam in goes against Ty’s instinct to live life autonomously, but the damaged aid worker manages to sneak past his guard.

Their relationship is all sharp corners and rough edges, and just as they’re figuring out how to fit together, a life-threatening accident puts it all in jeopardy. If they want a future together, both will have to set aside their egos and learn to carry each other’s burdens.

I honestly don't know what came over me here. Nothing about that blurb usually appeals to me. Hurt/Comfort is hit or miss. I'm averse to books that feature mental illness. Pain usually sends me into the blanket fort, but for whatever reason when I first saw this book a couple months ago I was drawn to it. Maybe it's the word 'darkness' in the title, maybe it's the cover or maybe it's some weird woowoo shit. Whatever it was I'm glad for it, because this book was seriously good.

Cam has spent 10 years as a UN aid worker. He's a lifer but that dedication has taken its toll. His PTSD is at the forefront of this story and well portrayed; there are no magic cures. It takes work and his trauma isn't something that disappears when he connects with Ty. He's plagued by nightmares, battles depression, anger outbursts and avoidance behaviors even after he's been in treatment a while. He's been through a lot but I enjoyed the authenticity of there being one standout incident that not only traumatized him but forced him to change. The struggle to downshift out of that mentality isn't an easy thing for him. The distraction of constantly being busy while on assignment kept it at bay to a certain extent, but once he returns home those distractions evaporate. He needs to fill that darkness with something to make it go away and suffice to say, he spins out.

He met Ty while he was on assignment in Kenya and there was a connection, though short-lived, but life seems to keep throwing them together-on the flight home, at a party, wandering in a random neighborhood, they keep running into each other. I'm kind of a sucker for fate and these two seem fated to me.

Ty, too, has his own demons. He is self-reliant to a fault and almost single-mindedly driven toward his goal of becoming a successful journalist. He likes to travel light and has acquired a bit of a reputation, but Cam's vulnerability burrows beneath his armor and Ty seems to be the only person Cam turns to when it gets to be too much.

It felt like too much sacrifice to be apart for anything more than a few seconds. They had navigated through a maze of wrong turns and false starts to find the real versions of each other, and they couldn't afford to lose even one moment.

Their palpable emotional connection is what impressed me most about this book and Lin's writing style. She brought these two flawed human beings together in such an incremental way that neither of them really noticed they were in love until they had already become part of each other, fitting into the other's blank spaces. I also liked that they decided they were going to be together, despite everything they were going to make it work because the alternative was unbearable.

Their romance is a quiet but compelling one. If you're looking for a romance-y romance this will likely fall flat for you. Their relationship felt honest to me in all its rockiness. They miscommunicate. They ghost each other. Other times they are staggeringly honest with each other. They argue and can be dicks to the other, but they seem to always be drawn back together. I found myself liking both of them and rooting for them. Their journey is fraught with obstacles, some internal and some external, but what resonated was how natural their relationship evolved, how organic their conversations were and how unpretentious their story was. There's something to be said for two thorny dudes finding love.

My only quibble is Cam's "darkness". There was something about the frequency of him referring to it coupled with him referring to it as almost a separate entity that was both heavy-handed at times and somewhat disconcerting. Nevertheless, I'll definitely be keeping my eye on this author in the future.

Recommend to hurt/comfort and quiet romance fans.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley.