Guns N Boys 7: Gilded Agony by K.A. Merikan

Title: Guns N Boys: Gilded Agony Word Count:257
Genre:Contemporary Gay Mafia Romance

Blurb: “We are two halves of the same rotten apple.”

Deep in the Amazonian jungle, there is a mansion with a rose garden and a hen house where juicy tomatoes are the perfect shade of red, and marble countertops glisten. Inside, where even the shadows don’t reach, something is rotting, and the perfect facade can only hold the stench for so long.

Domenico promised his husband that he would keep him safe, keep him away from the bloodshed and the brutal world of cartel violence. But when a guest arrives to help retrieve a stolen transport of guns, something sinister sneaks into his home, something more dangerous than his enemies. Or has it been there all along, and he just hasn’t noticed?

Seth’s life is what others dream of. Endless leisure time filled with cocktails, a kitchen stocked with anything he wishes for, and a private pool in the sunshine. What’s missing is the man he shares it with, the man he fell in love with. If being cut off from the mafia business was what he wanted, then why is it so painfully lonely in paradise?

Desperate to be the supportive husband Domenico needs, Seth buries his rage, his violent urges, and the anger that simmers inside of him. But he can only hide in plain sight for so long, and when a guest invites him to play with fire, one misstep, one wrong move, could burn their safe haven to the ground.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:
Themes: mafia, cartel, assassin, organized crime, family ties, domestic violence, inequality, betrayal, revenge

Genre: Dark, twisted M/M romance / crime thriller

Length: ~92,000 words (Book 7 in the series)

WARNING: Adult content. If you are easily offended, this book is not for you.
‘Guns n’ Boys’ is a gritty story of extreme violence, offensive language, abuse, and morally ambiguous protagonists as well as scorching hot, explicit love scenes. Behind the morbid facade, there is a splash of inappropriate dark humor, and a love story that will crawl under your skin.

My Review: The glorified title of ‘house husband’ has never been one coveted by Seth Villani- Acerbi, but that is exactly what his everyday life has turned into. Looking in from the outside, he has everything at his disposal. He has chickens, his own little garden and whatever else he doesn’t have ,there is money enough to buy it. Seth feels unfulfilled in his life and certain subjects are off limits between him and his husband Dom. Seth feels the tension in their relationship and drinks his loneliness away. When Dom seems to have forgotten their anniversary, Seth drinks until he passed out right after he puts away all the awesome food that he prepared for their intimate private dinner.

Domenico Acerbi feels like he is protecting Seth. He keeps his business dealings away from him and doesn’t talk about work. Taking over Toro’s operations has left a heavy burden for him to carryout. He needs to gain the respect of the people and he needs to prove that he can be a bigger badass than Toro, particularly to the Morenos who are even bigger drug kingpins. Not being able to unload his burdens has created a slight divide between him and Seth. Dom notices that Seth drinks more now and this leaves him feeling disappointed, especially when he comes home late on their anniversary to find his husband passed out . He doesn’t understand why his husband seems so ungrateful with the life of luxury he leads.

It soon becomes clear that Dom isn’t the only one who looks at Seth as his indolent trophy husband, so does Mark and Miguel. Mark is no longer a boy and has since taken on a more active role in the business as Dom’s right hand. This gives him the sense that he can mock Seth’s position as his resentment grows. Things boil over when a 5 million dollar gun shipment is stolen from right under their nose. Domenico is furious and certainly stressed. He feels two inches tall when he has to explain to the Morenos. When Dom feels as if Seth keeps bothering him with inconsequential party preparations, he blows up. Seth feels humiliated and like a stranger in his own home. He definitely sees the ‘fragile’ position he has been relegated to, especially when one of Toro’s men makes a slur comparing Seth to his wife.

Nero Moreno and one of his men Diego rolls into town for the party and also to search for the missing shipment. Diego can’t seem to take his eyes off Seth and corners him in the kitchen , making passes at him. Seth is dumbfounded by Diego’s interest mainly because he knows his husband is Dom. It’s obvious that Diego has a death wish, this titillates and piques Seth’s interest. It reminds him of how Dom was when they first met. Seth likes to flirt with danger, but he knows he can’t take it too far because he is very much devoted to his husband. It’s just his way of testing his appeal.

When Diego makes a disparaging comment about Seth’s lips to Dom, Dom shows him why he is now called Toro. Dom gives him a good thrashing, while barely even blinking. Going home to a darkened home, Dom is slightly worried when he sees movement by the pool. Seth chooses that night to draw Dom in with a sexy role play about him cheating with the pool boy. With his anger still simmering so close to the surface from his fight with Diego, Seth is unknowingly playing a dangerous game with Dom. Dom devours his sexy husband voraciously and unleashes his dominance over him. Dom plays around with breath play by pushing Seth’s head in the pool.He goes at him with such intensity and Seth loves it. The needy part of Seth demands this rough side of his lover. They both are in heaven, reconnecting in this most carnal way. Dom through out the idea of Seth wearing a cock cage and he is certainly intrigued.

Things are going great between the loving couple for a few days before everything goes to shit. They come home from a party to find their son Mark in their bed with an underage girl Lilli who Dom has said is off limits. Dom is infuriated at Mark’s stupidity. He gets really rough and punches him in the face. Seth jumps into the fray to stop Dom who pushes him hard causing him to hit his face. Seth is now incensed at his husband’s lack of self control. Now his face is swollen and bruised. Dom is apologetic, but the damage is done.

Seth is slowly stewing about all his mistreatment lately. He’s restless with the life he leads. When Diego comes by , Seth is surprised. He has enough sense not to let him into their home, but he still entertains him and feeds him cake. Diego take things much too far when he masturbates in front of Seth. Seth knows that a line has been crossed and he immediately shuts it down. He knows he can never let anything happen again. Seth feels really guilty and he treats Dom like a King when he gets home. Little does Seth know the events he has set in place through his actions.

Their lives are impacted by tragedy when Diego claims to have a tip on the missing shipment. Their world is about to implode. Diego throws Mark over a cliff after an argument ensued. By the time Mark comes out of the hospital , he has lost an eye. Seth is devastated that his son is hurt. Dom tries to understand what happened and questions Mark. Mark reveals that Diego said he was sleeping with Seth. Dom sees the guilt written all over Seth’s face. Unbeknownst to him , Seth has somehow led on this madman in believing that he is interested. Domenico is enraged and feels utterly betrayed. This time he doesn’t even think before he punches Seth, because he wants to pound him. His heart feels like it’s been ripped out with every revelation of his husband’s near infidelity. He doesn’t even care that Seth didn’t sleep with Diego, the intent was there.

Things get messier when they set a trap for Diego, using Seth as bait. Nothing goes as planned. Diego gets Lilli to get Seth to open the gates and then kills her. Seth tries to lure him away from his unprotected family in the house. Diego believes Seth is his and he is ready to collect. Domenico is blinded by rage when he witnesses his husband’s infidelity with Seth kneeling before Diego pleasuring him. He doesn’t realize that Seth is only doing this to survive. In the end its Seth who ends up killing Diego while Dom is severely injured.

Seth knows his life of complacency has ended. It was time for him to remember the man he was and accept all consequences of the life they lead. No longer could he pretend to be the ‘house husband’ cooking and cleaning. Their foundation has been rocked to the very core, which was built upon trust. Dom is disoriented as he doesn’t know what to believe of Seth anymore , a man who was his everything. A man who he thinks is ungrateful for the luxurious life he had. Dom put another nail in their coffin when he shoots all of Seth’s chickens, the only thing that gave him peace in recent times.Dom cannot see that somewhere along the way he stopped giving of himself, the most important thing that Seth craved. They have both made mistakes and it will be very hard to come back from these events.

It takes almost losing Seth when he boards a boat, for Dom to come to his senses. He realized that throughout the years, Seth has always remained faithful to him no matter how many men have tried. They have a serious talk and Seth explains the despair and how truly stifled he felt in their relationship in the last two years. Dom is saddened that his overprotective personality has led them down this road. They know that it’s going to take hard work to rebuild the trust on honesty that they one had. They need to re-engage and become attuned to each other feelings like they once was. They end up in Buenos Aires feeling more like themselves than in El Encanto. Seth has reclaimed agency in their relationship and Dom allows his man to flourish and appreciate all that entails. I give this my ratings of 4-lose the underwear. I love catching up with Dom and Seth, but I’m ready to delve into Mark’s story. Can’t wait!!!

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Brody & Nick ( Something About him 2) by A.D. Ellis

Title: Brody & Nick Word Count: 403 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Army specialist Brody King is a successful and respected soldier. With only a year left in his commitment, he devises a plan to help him save money—a plan that requires him to marry.

Nick Ferguson is working toward college graduation and his community services management career. With his lease about to expire, he’s more than willing to take Brody up on his crazy marriage scheme.

A solution that seems quick and easy turns into more than either of them ever anticipated. When Brody’s fears and insecurities surface, he makes a decision that may push Nick away forever.

Can a fake marriage built upon friendship withstand the obstacles of an uncertain future?

Brody & Nick is a story as old as time. Marriage of convenience, friends-to-lovers, and a guy who needs to pull his head from his ass.

**This is a male/male romance for ages 18+ due to adult language and themes.**

My Review: This has disaster written all over it or does it? Here we have two sexting buddies Brody King & Nick Ferguson who come up with this elaborate plan to get married as a way of saving money. Brody is in the army and he is allowed a housing credit only if he is married. Nick is going to school, working and he shares an apartment with Brody’s ex fuck buddy Dylan. Nick’s lease is almost up and he doesn’t really care to renew with his roommate. They both think a marriage of convenience will be mutually beneficial to them, plus they will avail themselves of the friend’s with benefit clause. Nick suggests that their foundation should be steeped in mutual respect, loyalty and friendship. These are all great premises, but is this really a great foundation for a marriage? I guess we will find out soon enough.

As soon as the ink dries on their marriage certificate, they feel a sense of accomplishment. They are both in high spirits, so they have a celebratory lunch and decide to start moving into their new apartment. Nick’s hopes are soon dashed when he overheard Brody explaining to his best friend Addie that she wasn’t invited because their marriage means nothing. Nick is hurt and so is Addie. They both commiserate by drinking White Russians. Brody sees the error of his ways and apologizes to the two people that means the most to him.

Having a homophobic commanding officer wasn’t too much of an issue for Brody, well up until now that is. Brody soon finds out how much of a problem it will be, when his CO accuses him of committing fraud with his marriage of convenience if he gets proof. His CO lets him know he will be watched. Brody knows he will have to up the ante and ensure that his marriage looks as real as possible to the outside world.

The lines become blurred a bit , because they both realize that it will be hard to be intimate while staying detached and sticking to their agreement and an inevitable separation. Things get shaken up in more ways than one, it brings out the role reversal when power bottom Brody starts thinking about topping Nick. One thing’s for sure, they are phenomenal in bed together, any which way possible. Their first date goes really well and Nick really enjoys himself. On the other hand Brody seems a little detached as he worries about being watched. When Nick calls him out on the emptiness he feels, Brody explains that he just hates that they have to fake things. Nick is slightly hurt at this assumption, but their full disclosure clause pushes him to be honest. Nick lays himself vulnerable, letting Brody know that he is truly enjoying being around him and their friends. Brody is certainly relieved to know that he isn’t the only one feeling the realness of their relationship. Their talk is enlightening as it allows them to freely talk about a future possibly together after their designated year.

A romantic getaway and a chance meeting with another gay couple who’s been together for decades forces Brody to become introspective. He thinks about the sham of a marriage that he’s cooked up and realize that what he really wants and can see in their future is something long term.They both leave their weekend feeling refreshed , while individually they both yearn for something more permanent under the quiet. They get back home to Brody’s mom waiting on the driveway. She demands the whole story as to why her son didn’t let her in on his marriage. She immediately falls in love with Nick as a son in-law. She calls Brody out on the burgeoning love she witness in his eyes. Things continue full speed ahead and each day they fall more and more in love with each other. The fireworks between them is amazing and each man holds each other in their heart as the ideal husband.

Nine months in and they are coasting through their relationship with their routines set in place. They make their differing shifts work and stay in contact through texts when they are away from each other. Truly a ‘couply’ thing to do. It is on a late night when Nick doesn’t check in as he should and Brody becomes worried. Instinct pushes him to check and what he finds leaves him weak, Brody laying in a pool of his own blood with two obvious head injuries. By the time Nick comes around , he tells the cops who were called that it was a homeless man from the shelter he works at who attacked him while looking for drugs. Brody is furious, but moreover he was scared out of his mind. He sees how close he came to losing the man he loves. Brody quietly professed his love for Nick, who returns the sentiment before he drifts off to sleep.

They are just so fixated on the imminent timeline of the end , they haven’t allowed things to progress and flourish as it naturally should. They are both afraid to trap the other. They both tiptoe around their confession of love, both too afraid to bring it up in the light of day. Nick finally brings it up and they both realize that they are on the same page and in it for the long haul. Life is sweet and they are both more confident in their future plans. This all comes crashing down when Brody receives an acceptance letter from Stanford, miles away from where Nick has his future plans set in stone.

It soon becomes clear that Brody has a misguided fear of not being good enough, not being able to measure up. He is his own worst critic. Brody is also a stubborn ass who will never admit he’s made a mistake. He has made a big mistake which he acknowledges deep down in his gut. His parents end up in California ,begging him to go back to his life and love he left behind in Texas. It is clear to his mother that his insecurities have him in it’s grips and he fears rejection most of all. His mother leaves him with words of wisdom and wishes him well. Brody knows what he needs to do before she even leaves.

In the meanwhile on the other side of the country, Nick is still trying to pick up the pieces of his shattered heart a month later. He drowns himself in his work and the many projects he had set up as lifelong goals, but he feels empty inside. He wishes he still had Brody by his side and he just knows that he will wait forever for him since he has imprinted on his soul. With the help of family and friends ,the pair is tearfully reunited. Brody grovels at Nick’s feet swooping in with grand gestures and heartfelt apologies. Nick forgives his wayward husband and welcomes him with open arms. This ends sweetly, years in their future with Nick and Brody welcoming beautiful twin boys through surrogacy carried by their best friend Addie who’s been a part of their love story from its very inception. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Contour ( Shape of You 1) by Meg Harding

Title:Contour (Shape of You 1) Word Count:200pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Jamie “Roxy” Albright has one great love in his life and room for no other. He lives and breathes makeup. Men are nothing more than temporary distractions and romance… well, that isn’t worth his time. With a burgeoning career as a YouTube makeup artist opening doors to never before dreamed of opportunities, time isn’t something Jamie has and distractions aren’t something he can afford.

Instagram model and shirtless wonder Tyler Jackson is quickly falling for elusive Jamie. How it went from a seemingly innocent message to feelings, he’ll never know. Their chemistry is instant and fiery hot, and Tyler’s never been that good at self control. The challenges are endless, though. There’s Jamie’s walls to break through and a country worth of space between them. And just when things are starting to look up, life throws a wrench in the works.

My Review: When internet sensation Youtuber make-up artist Jamie decides to comment on an instagram photo of the model he’s been crushing on, he’s not sure what to expect. Tyler is surprised to see that the androgynous snarky make-up artist his ex girlfriend idolized has commented on his pics. Tyler is bisexual and since he’s single , he decides to see what’s what. He likes what he sees of Jamie even though their personalities are vastly different. Jamie is aloof, doesn’t give much away and is very much an ‘ice princess’. On the other hand, Tyler is the all American jock everyone loves. He is super kind, always talking to his fans and very personable. Tyler’s a dog lover and has two beautiful dogs that seem to be well loved. For some reason , this is a huge draw for Jamie.

They build up a rapport through text messages and the chemistry seems to flow between these two. Tyler knows that Jamie will be a hard nut to crack, but he just keeps on opening up , hoping that will pull Jamie in. Tyler goes for a visit to Jamie’s city and Jamie is definitely nervous wondering if things are going to get weird. For Jamie, sex is not a biggie and that’s what he tends to lead with, without the intimacy. Things are a little bit different for Tyler, he is not into one night stands, he is more of a relationship kinda guy. Things definitely get hot and heavy between the two, but Tyler also ensures that Jamie gets a proper first date. It is clear that their chemistry is off the charts, but Tyler knows that Jamie uses sex as a defense mechanism. He decides to change that, he doesn’t allow Jamie to hide behind the sex. For the first time , Jamie is exposed to intimacy and it is certainly scary but deep down inside he craves this with Tyler. Tyler sees that Jamie is freaked out the morning after, so he promises no commitments, but rather that they take things slow and see where it goes after he goes back home to Nashville.

They continue their relationship via texts. Things get downright dirty when Jamie returns the favour by visiting Nashville. Their reunion is explosive, there are no holds barred and their romp in bed is carnal and messy in the best possible way. Things get pushed in the right direction when they decide to do a makeup challenge for Jamie’s YouTube channel where he introduces Tyler to the world as his boyfriend. Their romance is absolutely a whirlwind but it works for them. Jamie meets Tyler’s best friend Dan who cautions him to take care of Tyler’s heart. Jamie is honest that he knows nothing about commitments and relationships, but he knows he wants to try with Tyler. They make further plans to backpack across Europe, after Jamie finishes up a business deal which he is signing with Lush.

Jamie opens up more to Tyler on the Nashville trip, but there is still a wall in place. When Jamie’s mom finds out about Tyler, she’s a bit negative in her advice. Jamie thinks the world of his mom, who raised him single handedly by being a stripper. It is obvious that his relationship purview has been skewed from all her negative relationship advice over the years. He has been taught to use sex for power and fun without the intimacy attachments. Their Europe trip starts off with Jamie being upset with his mom and reevaluating everything he’s always known about relationships. When Tyler calls Jamie out on his foul mood, Jamie makes the decision to open up for the first time with Tyler.

Jamie waits until they get to their hotel room to explain what’s going on. He opens up to Tyler about his past and the way his mom brought him up and some of the morals she instilled. One of the main things is to never depend on anyone and that romantic love is a choice, where you leave yourself open for heartache and pain. As he speaks the truth he has always lived, Jamie realizes how isolated a life he has been living. Tyler acknowledges where Jamie is coming from and opens up about his own addiction riddled mother who doesn’t really play a role in his life other than being a leech for his money. Tyler lets Jamie know it is okay to be scared of all these new relationship feelings he is having. He realizes that Jamie is at a crossroads , feeling conflicted about what he thought he knew about commitment and relationships.

There is one thing that Jamie is certain of , Tyler deserves to have a place in his life. He grasps what he wants, titillating Tyler with his lacy thongs. Tyler can’t get enough of this sexy man who brings out the caveman in him. Two weeks together have them seeing all sides of each other. They tour Europe doing all the cute couply things. It is inevitable that there will be some unguarded moments between them. The moment has finally arrived, Jamie goes totally bare before Tyler. Baring his face is akin to Jamie baring his soul for Tyler. Jamie never lets anyone see him without his makeup. Makeup has turned into his shining armour that protects him from all hurt and pain.Jamie lays himself vulnerable for Tyler and it’s a beautiful thing. Tyler knows in his heart he has fallen for this beautiful man, but he knows Jamie is not ready to acknowledge yet what he might be feeling.

They soon find out the true hell that a long distance relationship can be, especially between two young up and coming professionals.With their busy schedule, they can barely make time to text, much less skype. Knowing that he might lose Tyler doesn’t sit well with Jamie. That’s when he realized that love and romance with Tyler was never a choice. He has unavoidably and irrevocably fallen for this kind spirited, supportive sexy jock. Jamie lays his soul bare for Tyler professing his love. In the end, Tyler makes the decision freely of uprooting his life in Nashville to be with the man of his dreams, his true love Jamie. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

Snatch: Cerberus MC Book 5 by Marie James

Title: Snatch Word Count: 216 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Biker Gay Romance

Blurb:I’ve been Jaxon Donovan since the day I was born, obviously. My road name, Snatch, came years later due to my ability to literally snatch up any woman I set my sights on. I’ve always been a connoisseur of the opposite sex. Tall, short, thin, thick and juicy, my tastes knew no limitations.

I didn’t think there was a limitation to my sexuality, and I found out just how true that actually was the night my best friend took it upon himself to take me in his mouth. Sure, there’d been close calls before, the slip of a hand or misplaced lips. With our propensity to share women, it’s bound to happen. That fateful night, I was met with pure intention and an experience I never want to forget.

How do you explain to your friends, your brother’s in arms, that your extremely active sexuality has led you to your best friend’s doorstep? How do you admit, after twenty-six years of heterosexuality, that you’re into something else?

I’ll soon find out that what happens in the dark will always come to light.

My Review: Itchy and Snatch belong to the same motorcycle club. The club is comprised of all former Marines who risk their lives to save innocents. Itchy and Snatch are almost identical, they are best friends who like to share women. There is just one main difference between them, Itchy is more fluid with his sexuality and he is halfway in love with Snatch who is uber straight. Being bikers , they are never without female companionship.

The dynamics of their relationship change after they go on a mission and save a few high priced hookers . Darby catches their eye and they promise her a night filled with two of the hottest bikers. Darby is a beautiful woman blessed with a sinful body and certainly not afraid to use it. The passion surrounding these three is all consuming. It is in the heat of the moment where Itchy takes a leap of faith and take what he’s always wanted. He grabs the bull by the horns and shows Snatch where his true passions lie. Snatch is confused and definitely hesitant as he had no prior knowledge of Itchy’s sexual fluidity. Itchy reaching out to Snatch in a sexual way freaks him out for sure, but it was one of the most hottest experiences of his life. It puts a strain on their friendship, which is what Itchy was always afraid of.

Darby helps to bridge the gap , because she always wanted both men together. She facilitates a guilt free zone, where they can come together freely without any societal recriminations. Once the door is open, it is hard for Itchy and Snatch to turn back. Things go even further when they go on a mission out of country. The men are finally alone with no woman between them. The fire between these two burn hot and bright and turns into an explosion. This is what Itchy always wanted, but for Snatch he also discovers a yearning for his best friend like no other. However, he is still not ready to admit what they have going on.

It is Darby who brought them together, but in the end she pulls them all apart. Her nagging and expectations becomes too much for Snatch. Snatch refuses to indulge Darby’s notions of a love they all share. He shuts her down and rejects her thoughts of being a triad relationship. Snatch and Itchy argue over this and this brings a wedge to their already precarious situation. Darby is out of the picture and the once best friends have gone months without speaking. They each pull separate sex partners that are all left unconsummated and unfulfilled, just to make the other jealous.

This game that they are both playing finally comes to a head when Snatch corners Itchy in a hotel room alone. Snatch ravishes Itchy and shows him how much he missed him. Although they don’t talk about it, the love and longing between these two is palpable. They continue their charade for eighteen months hiding in secret and building their relationship. They definitely become stronger, but the secrecy is tearing Itchy apart, especially with so many profound moments happening around the clubhouse. Other members getting married and having babies, this leads Itchy to take stock of his own life and future. Itchy knows he wants more and he wants it all with Snatch. Some members are becoming suspicious. They start scrutinizing Itchy and Snatch more closely. Itchy is ready to spill the beans, but Snatch is too afraid of a negative reaction, he is just not ready to admit he is gay for his best friend.

One of the jilted club whores with the apt moniker Snapper decides to add fuel to fire. She has a private video of Itchy and Snatch in a compromising position and decides to blackmail Itchy. Itchy hates to play along with Snapper when she tells the club that they are getting married, but he would sacrifice anything to protect the man he loves. Snatch is jealous and extremely hurt that Itchy has slip through his fingers and will now bond with someone so undeserving. For him , the most hurtful part is that he was finally ready to shout it to the world how much he loves Snatch. Snapper holds the reigns so tight and intervenes anytime the men get close to each other.

Everything goes to hell in a hand- basket on their next mission. Itchy is shot and almost bleeds out. Snatch is right there holding on and professing his love for Itchy oblivious to the audience of their other team members. The team members help him to keep his sanity, but he is a total wreck over Itchy. Itchy pulls through and finally they can make plans to start their life as a couple. Fifteen years into the future shows Itchy and Snatch settled with their love going strong raising fraternal twins. I really enjoyed this author and am very happy for her foray in m/m romance. All her other novels are m/f romance. I can’t wait for her to take another walk on the wild side. I give this my ratings of 4-lose the underwear.

Trained by N.M. Pratt

Title : Trained                      Word Count:158 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: Brendon is too young to be letting himself go. Overweight and desperate for a change, he goes where everyone goes for advice these days, the Internet. That’s where he finds Jared. Jared has an offer too good for Brendon to pass up; a free training program to help him build his clientele. What starts out as workout routines, and meal plans, slowly turns into friendship, all before they ever meet in person. Jared may be straight but will Brendon be able to resist his sexy trainer and friend when they finally meet and spend a night out under The Bay Lights in San Francisco? Or maybe a better question is, will a confused Jared be able to resist Brendon?

My Review: When Brendon wakes up one day and realizes that he has gained way more than the standard freshman fifteen after college, he decides to make some changes. Like most of us, he heads to an internet chat room to do some research. He is approached by Jared who tells Brendon he will train him for free. With killer meal prepping and vigorous workouts, they decide to give it a try. Even though they are not in the same city, Brendon soon starts seeing changes.

There is just something about Jared, he is easy to talk to and motivates Bren like no other. It is clear that they have formed a bond that moves beyond trainer/ client. Bren looks forward to Jared’s numerous daily texts which always leaves him smiling. Bren knows this is a slippery slope, as Jared is very much straight and has a model girlfriend. When Bren’s grandmother passed away, Jared initiates a phone conversation. He is very sincere and is there for his friend. Bren feels extremely close to Jared in that moment and he is encouraged to let lose and cry.

Things progress with them watching movies and exercising together while they talk on the phone. Their relationship is very sturdy for two people who have never met in person. This adds to the mystique however. This soon changes when Jared lets Bren know he will be going to his city for a photo shoot. They are both excited to meet each other. Nothing could prepare Brendon for the sex god that walks into the cafe where they are meeting. Jared is gorgeous and oh so sexy. He is everything that Bren would like in a man. The day is surreal but the emotions between the two men is very tangible. Under the beautiful lights of SanFrancisco, it is Jared who makes the first move and kisses Brendon. It is over before they know it and awkwardness seeps in. Jared begs and chalks it up as a stupid mistake, Bren is heartbroken at his apology.

Jared goes home and the shift in their relationship is obvious. Gone is the fun filled, flirty , easy going banter. Their texts only deals with the business at hand, workouts and food log. It takes them weeks to get over the hump and not until Jared apologizes for freaking out a bit for kissing a man. As the distance recedes , they become even closer than before. Jared starts owning his attraction to Bren. Their phone calls turn sexier as the flirting ramps up. When Jared starts inquiring about gay sex, Bren knows he is in trouble. He explains what turns him on knowing that he is revealing some of his secret desires for Jared. The unknown lures Jared in and he becomes bold with his sexy pics knowing that he is turning Bren on. Their late night calls become uninhibited and phone sex operators have nothing on them. They are wild in their explorations and all that’s missing is their physical bodies. Jared soon makes the decision to take another trip.

Their weekend together is intensely good and bad. Their connection is truly out of this world, but in public Jared rejects some of the most innocent touches from Bren. Bren is hurt,but holds it all in. They have a big powwow before Jared goes home , where all the niggling doubts come forth. Jared tells Bren that he can’t turn gay for him and that’s the end of that. Jared leaves as Bren’s world implodes all around him. The silence stretches on for months and Bren is a shell of his former self.

Jared finally comes to his senses and acknowledges that he can’t live his life worrying about others’ opinions. Jared was missing a vital part of himself, his other half, his best friend. He is ready to accept his love for Bren and he doesn’t care that he is a man. Bren is afraid to accept that it is real however, but he knows he can’t live without his soul mate Jared. When they come together, it is explosive and there are no doubts about whether they were meant to be together. Ten years into the future finds them married with two children who they adore. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

P.S. For all the unconventional lovers who have found a deeper connection, before they even met in person. This one is for you. I am happy to be among the lucky few. I love my husband to pieces, but I would be scared to try the whole internet dating nowadays with some of the horror stories about online dating that you hear. I applaud everyone who has made it work. Here is to LOVE.

Love Me Whole by Nicky James

Title: Love Me Whole Word Count:339 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Twenty-eight-year-old Oryn Patterson isn’t like other people. Being an extremely shy, social introvert is only part of the problem. Oryn has dissociative identity disorder. He may look like a normal man on the outside, but spend five minutes with him, and his daily struggles begin to show.

Oryn shares his life and headspace with five distinctively different alters. Reed, a protective, very straight jock. Cohen, a flamboyantly gay nineteen-year-old who is a social butterfly. Cove, a self-destructive terror, whose past haunts him. Theo, an asexual man of little emotion, whose focus is on maintaining order. And Rain, a five-year-old child whose only concern is Batman.

Vaughn Sinclair is stuck in a rut. When his job doesn’t offer the same thrill it once did, he decides it’s time to mix-up his stagnant, boring routine. Little does he know, the man he meets during an impromptu decision to return to college is anything but ordinary.

Vaughn’s heart defies logic, and he finds himself falling in love with this strange new man. But how can you love someone who isn’t always themself? It may not be easy, but Vaughn is determined to try.

My Review: Love me whole, the title on this one is oh so profound. Oftentimes we’ve heard the phrase ‘if you love me , you have to love all of me’. Well, it is certainly true in this case. Oryn Patterson is a young man who is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. For me, usually when I hear multiple personality I think of someone who hears voices or I associate it with movies that I’ve watched where they have a serial killer lurking in their bodies, all stereotypical stuff. To get a glimpse into Oryn’s life is very thought provoking,intriguing and very informative.

When Vaughn Sinclair decides to go back to college on a whim, he knows he is way more mature than the twenty something crowd. When he meets shy Oryn in one of his classes he quickly befriends him. Oryn seems to be the odd man out and Vaughn thinks he needs a friend. It doesn’t hurt that Oryn is super cute. Oryn is quick to stutter through an explanation of why they shouldn’t be friends, but Vaughn is determined. Vaughn noticed a few oddities in Oryn’s behaviour but it isn’t until they partner up on a project that Oryn confesses his condition to Vaughn.

Vaughn is not deterred and he goes about researching DID and what it means for Oryn. He learns that Dissociative Identity Disorder manifests as a self protective mechanism that the mind uses to shield a person who has endured long term extreme sexual, physical or psychological abuse.Vaughn learns about alters and how they should be treated as separate beings. Oryn has explained that his body ‘houses’ 5 alters :Reed is ultra-protective and he doesn’t like when Vaughn gets too close; Cohen is Oryn’s opposite, very self assured, flamboyant and flirty; then there is Rain, a five year old boy who loves Batman and dinosauars with the innocence only a child could possess. There is also Theo and Cove, two others who Vaughn has not met at this point.

Vaughn tries really hard to understand, because he really likes Oryn. They become closer over time, but Oryn explains that it will probably be hard for him to be in a relationship, but he doesn’t totally rule it out. It is clear to see that Oryn clings to hope that with the help of his therapist, he will one day be able to have a ‘normal’ life where all his alters can be a functioning cohesive unit. As it stands, there are some alters who fight Oryn for dominance over his dominion which is his body and mind. Vaughn is understandably uncomfortable when other alters are triggered. It is usually within a split second where Oryn will switch to Reed without warning. This is the worst for Vaughn as Reed is openly hostile and such a vastly different persona than quiet, shy Oryn. Oryn’s voice changes from soft spoken to Reed’s raspier tones and his stance is aggressive and intimidating. On the other hand, Cohen comes out to play when there is any social functions, he is quite the social butterfly. As time goes on and Vaughn is exposed to Cohen’s 19 yr old persona, he is definitely attracted to his overt sexuality , but he becomes conflicted and feels guilty at their flirtations. Cohen tries to push their relationship over into the sexual realm, something that it seems Oryn cannot be a part of. Vaughn is torn in two, because he wishes that his interactions with Cohen could be what he had with Oryn. Now that he sees them as separate entities, he feels like he is cheating even though the ‘relationship’ he has with Oryn has not been defined.

Oryn is not totally in the dark about what goes on with his alters. Cohen shares what happens through journal entries. When Oryn sees how conflicted and guilt ridden Vaughn is about a kiss, he knows he’s a keeper. Oryn becomes emboldened and offers to be Vaughn’s boyfriend explaining that there will be a lot to work through. He also let’s Vaughn know that it would be good to form a bond with Cohen without fear of reprisal or jealousy.Oryn explains that they are separate, but all personas are truly a part of a whole which is him. Vaughn has a mini breakthrough with Reed when they end up in another confrontation. The fact that he finally stood up to Reed and didn’t let him walk away, opened up a path for them. Vaughn is being enlightened about them being a whole. The ice is broken when Vaughn decides to get to know Reed better by going out to a bar together and watching a game. Vaughn gains insight when Reed shares the intricacies of the workings of their ‘inner world’. Reed explains the familial ties and relationship between some of the alters. This brings out complexities that Vaughn definitely didn’t forsee and puts another confusing spin on things.

When Vaughn makes an impromptu visit to Oryn on a therapy day, he comes face to face with a very unkempt, wild eyed man. Right away he knows he is meeting Cove for the first time. This is the alter who Oryn is afraid of the most, Cove is self destructive and self-harms as a way of protecting them from the pain. Cove is the one that is tormented by all the memories of the past abuse. It is hard for Vaughn to reconcile this dark being with sweet shy Oryn. Luckily he is able to talk Cove out of hurting Oryn. Vaughn makes a vow to protect all the alters even Cove from themselves. It is shortly thereafter that Vaughn is introduced to the final alter Theo. Theo is organized, confident and very articulate. He comes out on the day of their class presentation. Vaughn is very impressed with how Theo handles himself.Oryn explains that he is the alter with whom he maintains the most consciousness. It becomes clear that Theo is the efficient, productive backbone of their system.

Vaughn takes Oryn downtown Toronto for an overnight stay for his birthday. When they are faced with sleeping arrangements, it comes as no surprise that Cohen takes the helm. Vaughn takes the plunge and their sexual relationship evolves. The ever present guilt has finally disappeared now that he understands that they all have a purpose in the system. Rain comes out to play when they go to the ROM, when he sees all the dinosaurs. Vaughn is nervous at first, but it is quite refreshing seeing the 5 yr old Rain in all his glory. Oryn only comes back to consciousness on their way home. He is embarrassed at having his alters take over, but he really sees Vaughn in a different light. For the first time, he acknowledges how truly patient, loving and caring Vaughn is. This day really solidified their relationship. It continues on an even keel and it is clear that Oryn feels extremely safe with Vaughn, their relationship almost mirrors a normal one where Vaughn gets to hold and kiss his boyfriend without him retreating.

Oryn tries to push his limits and explore more in the sexual realm with Vaughn. Unfortunately, this proves to be too much and it brings forth a highly unstable Cove. Immediately Cove tries to self harm. Vaughn spends the whole night just holding him and restraining him in his harms. He gains insight to the burden and pain that Cove carries around. Vaughn becomes a bit overwhelmed and for the first time he feels the pressures of being in love with someone with DID, he cracks emotionally. He realizes that he needs a support system as well to cope. This is just the tip of the iceberg, he is shutout for a whole week and Theo explains that Oryn is taking a hiatus. Things come to a head as Cove fights for dominance in the system and Oryn ends up under suicide watch in a psychiatric ward.

When Vaughn takes him home, he tries to explain to Oryn what he has learned about Cove, hoping this will open up the lines of communication between the two personas. After their talk Oryn makes a concerted effort to communicate more with Cove. He also decides to be co-concious with some of his other alters. This is where he allows them in the driver’s seat per se while he remains a willing passenger observing his everyday life.

Their next foray into intimacy brings forth ecstasy. It is obvious how much Oryn trusts Vaughn to finally take care of his needs. He is confident that Vaughn will always put them first. Oryn gets better day by day and even though it will always be a struggle, he now has consciousness more often when his alters presents. They move in together and it isn’t long before Vaughn proposes. He wants it all, the good the bad and the ugly. Oryn is perfectly flawed and Vaughn wouldn’t trade him and all his alters for anything. I give this my ratings of 4- this was like nothing I’ve ever read. It was an incredible novel, presented with so much information on Dissociative Identity Disorder and Vaughn’s love for Oryn is precious and priceless throughout.

No Shame( No Shame 4) by Nora Phoenix

Title:No Shame Word Count: 333pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:(This is NOT a stand alone novel. See end of this description for details) Brad feels nothing but shame about himself. Shame about his sexual needs, about his reputation, about his medical problem no one knows about. No one, except his best friend Charlie, but no matter what feelings Brad may have for him, he’s not going there. Charlie deserves so much better, and Brad desperately needs something not even Charlie can provide.

Charlie has loved Brad forever, but he’s never acted on his feelings, unsure of where he stood. Plus, there was the complication of his boyfriend. But when his boyfriend’s abuse gets too much for Charlie, it’s Brad who helps him escape and recover.

Miles ends up severely wounded in the line of duty as an FBI agent. He’s floored when the man he was protecting, Indy, opens his home to him so he can recover. Indy also sets him up with Brad, who turns out to be a perfect solution for Miles’ sexual issues…until Miles wants more than sex from him, and a developing friendship between Miles and Charlie complicates things even more.

Bit by bit Charlie and Miles break through Brad’s defenses, until they come crumbling down. Miles will have to prove he can provide what Brad needs, and Charlie’s sweet love will be put to the test. But when Brad finally finds the courage to break free of his shame, will the fragile love that has blossomed between the three of them survive?

No Shame is a steamy M/M/M romance that ends with a happy ever after for all characters, including those from the previous books in the series. It’s the fourth book in the No Shame Series, and is NOT a stand alone novel, so make sure to read the first three books first (No Filter, No Limits, and No Fear). It contains hot sex, a ménage, a little daddy kink, more hot sex, and a poly-amorous relationship that transcends labels. Also: trigger warning for mentions of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and rape.

My Review: Three different men, with three vastly different personalities. They all come with baggage, but they mesh seemlessly. We’ve been introduced to all three before, we have Miles the FBI agent who was a part of Indy’s protective detail. Indy saved his life when he got shot, he also offered him a place to recover since he has no family. We have Brad, Blake’s younger brother, a mild mannered math teacher who comes off a little bit abrasive in social situations. The only person who brings out Brad’s gentler side is Charlie, his best friend. Charlie is also recovering after his cop boyfriend Zack beat the living daylights out of him. Indy, Josh, Connor and Noah has opened up a section of their ranch style home to these three.

Miles has a tiny little problem, he has an overly hyper sex drive which leaves him tenting his trousers throughout most of the day. So far he hasn’t met anyone who can handle him. That is, until he meets Brad; Brad has a nasty reputation around town of being a ‘cum slut’ , he craves being used. Indy requests Brad’s help with Mile’s little problem which can become quite painful if tensions aren’t released. Brad is only too happy to help. Miles is still in the hospital the first time he experiences Brad’s oral prowess. He is very impressed and looks forward to Brad’s visits. Miles is curious to know more about his mystery man when he finds out they are cohabiting the same house . When he tries to spark up a conversation with Brad, he is immediately shot down. Brad lays down the law, letting Miles know it is just sex, nothing more. Miles is very disappointed as he feels a connection with Brad.

Miles come to realize that there are underlying problems that causes Brad to be so prickly. It is his slow friendship with Charlie that allows him to see things more clearly. Right away , he recognizes how in love Charlie and Brad are , but they can’t see it for themselves. Even though they have been friends for awhile, Brad dares not cross the line of friendship. He fears he is not good enough to be with Charlie. Brad has issues with psychological erectile dysfunction after a former bout of testicular cancer. This holds him back and he is very insecure about being worthy. Brad also suffers from abandonment issues when it comes to having a family. He believes that everyone he loves will leave him or trade him in.

It is a long road for Brad and the struggle is real as he continues to fight his identity. It is Miles who pinpoints what he really needs. He implements a Daddy/boy dynamic when he factors in all the issues Brad’s endured in the past. Miles is spot on and ‘Daddy’ lures his ‘boy’ in. Brad feels a sense of peace the first time he gives up control to his ‘Daddy’. There are two aspects to their kink however, Charlie realizes that Brad also craves being his little slut. It is Charlie who pulls this element of kink out of Brad through his dirty talk and bossiness. Brad lives to service his men and this is where he thrives. The status quo is definitely thrown out with these three. The strong macho Marine Miles loves to bottom for the ‘twinky cross-dressing’ Charlie who is more a defined top. Then we have Brad who has always been in control and takes care of everyone, he yearns and relishes being a ‘boy’ to his daddy.It is amazing watching the dynamics between these three unfold. Although, Charlie and Miles develop more slowly, it is no less intense.

When Connor gets some devastating news, it is wonderful to see how this makeshift family rallied around taking care of each other. Noah goes with Connor to be his strength. It was gut wrenching watching this strong man crumbling, but Noah was there to pick up the pieces. Miles was left as the ‘Dom’ in charge and between him and Indy, they were able to get Josh into ‘subspace’. The house and family have definitely expanded as Indy, Josh, Noah and Connor has offered this new trio a place in their lives , hearts and family. This kinky lot have all been blessed with the greatest treasure of all, LOVE. A wonderful end to a series that embraces all types of kink. It closes out with Indy and Josh proposing to Noah and Connor respectively. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.