Unbroken (Phoenix Club 6) by CJ Bishop

Title: Unbroken               Word Count: 191pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: CALEB, Part 3

Can damaged hearts be unbroken? Betrayed love learn to trust again?

Samuel’s discovering of Caleb’s extra-curricular activities with Brock incites a confrontation that leaves Caleb broken and in despair.

With only the hope of freeing Nick to cling to and give him a purpose to live, Caleb is devastated when his brother suddenly tells him to stop trying to get him released. Angry, hurt and confused – and feeling as if all he’s endured was for nothing – Caleb feels abandoned by those he loves most and is willing to do whatever it takes to make the pain inside go away.

Warning: This book contains homosexual relations and language not suitable for readers below 17yo.

NOTE: For those coming across the ‘Phoenix Club’ series sporadically, they were written in this order, and if possible, should be read accordingly, due to story lines that run through all the books :

ABEL
CALEB
ANGEL
GABRIEL
MAXWELL

My Review: Caleb acknowledges that his life has now turned into hell. It is not until Samuel confronts him with so much rage and pain in his heart,that he wants to just die. Samuel is so disgusted and feels so betrayed that he hurts Caleb by saying horrible things. Caleb thinks about suicide, but its the thought of his brother that keeps him going. Caleb feels so bereft and all alone, but Dane proves him otherwise. Dane checks on him and tries to get him to talk, but Caleb just sobs uncontrollably until he falls asleep.

Dane meets up with Samuel to figure out what’s going on with his friend. He is shocked at what Samuel reveals. Dane is the one that watches the video with an objective eye and points out certain idiosyncrasies that he sees. He puts the puzzle all together and realize that Caleb is doing all of this under duress as a way to help his brother. Samuel sees how despicable he acted to the man that he said he loved. Dane comes up with a plan to get the two lovers back together.

In the meantime, Caleb suffers emotionally and physically. Brock abuses Caleb and shows how reprehensible he is by raping him repeatedly without conscience. Brock slaps him around and he is angry that Samuel seems to know something. Caleb can hardly walk when Brock is done with him. Once again, its Dane who finds him curled up in his bed. He can see that Caleb is in pain , but he says it’s just the flu. Shortly thereafter , Caleb gets a call from his brother Nick wanting to talk to him urgently. Before he can even finalize plans to go to the prison, Brock calls him saying that he has a few questions for Nick so they should fly there together. Caleb is very tensed around his abuser, but he would do anything for his brother. Nick notices Caleb’s despondency, but Caleb plays it off and they try to work through the case.

It turns out that Nick has a few secrets he is ready to reveal to Caleb. When the two brothers are alone, Nick suggests that Caleb just drop his case. Nick has a new boyfriend Chrisian in prison and he is loathe to leave him unprotected. This pushes Caleb over the edge when he believes that all the atrocities he has endured is all for naught. He believes that this kid’s life takes precedence over his. Caleb leaves the prison feeling angry and like his brother threw him away.

Samuel calls Dane in tears when he stumbles upon the newest video of Caleb being raped and brutalized by Brock. Dane calls in reinforcements in the form of Gabe, Cole, Max and Horatio. They are all enraged and ready to kill for sweet Caleb. They realize they have to be tactical in how they deal with this situation as Brock has a lot of pull in the legal world. Their plans include Nick , since this is the only person who Caleb loves and trust unconditionally. Nick is incensed about what has happened to Caleb, and when he finds out his own boyfriend has been taken by another inmate ,he unleashes his fury.

It is Samuel who sets things in motion, enlisting the help of a seasoned lawyer at the same firm as Brock. To Brock, reputation means everything. Samuel exposes him for the monster he is and gets him arrested. He knows Brock will make bail soon enough, so there is a back up plan in effect. The dangerous air surrounding Gabe is put to the test when he promises Caleb that the boys of the Phoenix Club takes care of their own. Brock is introducedto the ‘cowboy’ and ‘Indian’ who mete out punishment befitting the crime. No man will ever be raped by Brock again.

Finally, Caleb understands how much he is loved by his friends. Dane finds him in the nick of time to pump his stomach after he has attempted suicide. He takes him to the hospital where Devlin takes care of him. Samuel apologizes to Caleb and tells him how much he still loves him. The fear soon starts to recede for Caleb once he realize that his hell has come to an end. Caleb and Nick have a tearful reunion where they each meet their respective boyfriends. Samuel is in charge of dealing with both Nick’s and Christian’s appeals. Horatio and Max are in turmoil as Max keeps pushing away his love. We are introduced to a new boy Angel who will continue the saga. I give this my ratings of 3-it was ok. For some reason I just couldn’t feel connected to Caleb, maybe because he was cold and standoffish for so long.

Torn in Two (Phoenix Club 5) by CJ Bishop

Title: Torn in Two                     Word Count: 120 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: CALEB, Part 2

Torn by the discovery that Attorney Brock Coulson is also Samuel’s stepdad, Caleb is forced to choose between retribution for his brother and his new found love for Samuel. 

But when Coulson makes the choice for him, insisting he stop seeing Samuel or the deal is off, Caleb doesn’t resist the man’s stipulations. He refuses to allow his own wants and desires to hinder his quest to free his brother – even if it means sacrificing everything else, including his own dignity. 

Torn between love of a brother and love of his heart, Caleb must choose who he will sacrifice.

Warning: This book contains homosexual relations and language not suitable for readers below 17yo.

NOTE: For those coming across the ‘Phoenix Club’ series sporadically, they were written in this order, and if possible, should be read accordingly, due to story lines that run through all the books :

ABEL

CALEB

ANGEL

GABRIEL

MAXWELL

My Review: The tension between Brock Coulson and his step son Samuel are unmistakable. Harsh words are thrown around when Brock tells him to get his whore out of his house. Caleb is decimated by this title, but he has no choice if he wants Brock to work on his brother’s case.  When Samuel drops home Caleb , he apologizes profusely, but Caleb asks him to leave because he is not feeling well. Samuel knows there is more to it, but he decides to give Caleb some time.

Caleb is certainly not shocked when Brock shows up at his apartment. It chills him to have Brock in his private space , but he knows he can’t renege on his arrangement no matter how vile it is. Brock takes pleasure in belittling Caleb and making him feel every  bit the whore. Caleb fully understands the kind of deal he made and he knows that it will  corrode his soul.When Samuel sees Caleb, he knows something is horribly wrong and he can feel Caleb pulling away emotionally, but he tries to give him space.

Caleb’s boss Max always tries to help his boys through their emotional turmoil, now it’s his turn. Horatio Kaplan proved  himself to not be a villain after all with Abel. We had an inkling that  Kaplan had experienced loss in his life and that’s why he encouraged Abel to get back together with his sexy doctor. Now we see that there is history between Max and Horatio. These two men are both pining for each other and  Horatio reminds Max of the love they once shared. Max is hesistant, but he wants to remember the passion that only Horatio offers.

When Samuel visits Caleb again, it is to find his mood downtrodden. Samuel had a feeling this was coming, but is still destroyed when Caleb tells him their relationship is over without giving a reason. Samuel leaves ,but he is not giving up. Caleb and Brock are on their way to visit Nick. Nick is ecstatic, but he is suspicious about how Caleb can afford an attorney like Brock. There is just something about Brock that rubs him the wrong way, but for Caleb’s peace of mind, he tries to believe in Brock.

Caleb tastes the true monster that is Brock when they get back to the hotel room. Brock is cold and ruthless and has no care for Caleb’s pleasure. He tries to dominate Caleb’s spirit and erase every ounce of Samuel’s loving touch. Even though it was consensual, what Brock did to Caleb was rape in the most visceral sense. Caleb soon finds out that his degradation is just beginning. He realized that Brock has filmed the act of depravity and he forces Caleb to pretend he likes it.

Don’t go snooping if you don’t want the answers. Samuel finds this out first hand  and is devastated by what he finds. He is beyond horrified when he finds video files on Brock’s  computer of himself in the nude. Samuel is disgusted at the huge invasion of his privacy, but he is sick to the stomach to realize that his step father is perverted and looks at him in a sexual way. However, nothing rips him to shreds until he sees Caleb in the act with Brock saying how much he likes it. To be continued….. I give this my ratings of 3- it was ok.

When Worlds Collide( Phoenix Club 4) by CJ Bishop

Title: When Worlds Collide             Word Count:123pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:CALEB, Part 1

What do you do when the right love finds you at the wrong time?

At age 17, Caleb Dean’s world is ripped apart in a matter of minutes, tragedy striking sudden and violent. Now, four years later, Caleb is still trying to undo what he deems to be his fault. 

Taking work wherever he can get it, Caleb finds his way to New York and The Phoenix Club. Stunning the crowd with his debut performance, Caleb quickly catches the eye of Brock Coulson, an aggressive defense attorney with a secret lust for young male strippers. 

With his brother incarcerated from an unjust sentence and the victim of brutality behind those walls, Caleb will do go to any lengths to get his brother out of prison. But his plans to negotiate with Coulson get interrupted when Caleb meets Samuel. 

He knows not to get too close, but Samuel is a whirlwind of passion, sweeping him off his feet and refusing to let him go.

Warning: This book contains homosexual relations and language not suitable for readers below 17yo.

NOTE: For those coming across the ‘Phoenix Club’ series sporadically, they were written in this order, and if possible, should be read accordingly, due to story lines that run through all the books :

ABEL

CALEB

ANGEL

GABRIEL

MAXWELL

My Review: From the first moment Samuel laid eyes on Caleb it was insta-lust. Caleb was just as smitten and couldn’t resist Samuel’s playfulness. They immediately hooked up and there was no turning back for Samuel. He told Caleb it was love at first sight. Caleb was a bit hesitant, even though he was intrigued by the chemistry he felt flowing between them. Caleb is the newest stripper at the Phoenix Club, his debut was a smash hit. He seems to be carrying a heavy load with all the personal baggage he has in his life. His  brother Nick is imprisoned and he blames himself. Caleb knows he shouldn’t be starting any new relationships, but he finds the pull towards Samuel irresistible.

The more they hook up, its the more the lines get blurred for Caleb.  He would like to keep things chaste,since he knows the line of work he is in, but Samuel is pushing for boyfriend status. Caleb only has one goal in mind and that’s helping his brother Nick out of prison.He doesn’t want to be derailed from that track by enjoying something for himself, he feels too guilty. Plus, he  knows there will be unsavory acts that he will probably have to engage in such as ‘private dances’ to get Nick out. However, Samuel seduces Caleb into being his boyfriend during the height of passion. His tactics are deliciously underhanded and it forces Caleb to accept, but a tiny part of him is thrilled to be a part of something so normal.

Dane, one of his coworkers at the Phoenix Club tries to draw Caleb into their close-knitted family. Caleb remains standoffish, because he believes the fewer people  he gets close to, the better. When Caleb decides to go visit his brother in prison, Dane offers him a ride. As much as he loathes getting close, Caleb accepts. When Caleb sees that Nick has been beaten up, Caleb once again feels guilty. It is clear to see the love between the brothers. Caleb is emotionally wrecked when he returns to the hotel and  turns to Dane in his time of need. Dane knows that Caleb is not thinking clearly , but he can’t resist the charms of this sexy young man. Dane’s interest has  been piqued since Caleb’s debut dance. Turns out that Dane is a gentleman so he lets Caleb down easy.They make their way back home in silence.

Caleb first stop is at the club, he wants to see if he can set up an ‘arrangement’ with the high powered attorney who he did a private dance for. Brock Coulson wants all of Caleb, especially his sexy little body, but Caleb knows his soul will definitely be tarnished. The parameters are set up and he has made a deal with the devil. Now , he just needs to break it off with his boyfriend Samuel before things go any further. Sweet Samuel has set up a lavish date night for him that makes it so hard to carry out his plan. Everything is going great when they are interrupted by the untimely arrival of Samuel’s mom and step-father . Caleb knows he’s in trouble when in walks Brock Coulson. His heart shatters and he knows this will tear Samuel apart. To be continued….. I give this my ratings of  3- it was ok. There is just something that was missing for me that caused me not to connect with Caleb and Samuel.

Ghost ( Executioners 1) by J.M.Dabney

Title: Ghost                                     Word Count:157 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Biker Gay Romance

Blurb:Gideon Jane earned the name Ghost for his reclusive nature when he joined a group of guys in Powers, Georgia in a band called Executioners. It had been his way of settling into small town life after living in New York for the past twenty years. He loved the band and his small organic farm. What he didn’t love was being single, but it appeared it was his new reality. He didn’t want his ex back, although he did want something. What that was eluded him until the evening he walked into Nightingale’s Books.

Small town girl Harper Sage knew pain, and she’d lived with it—she had the scars both mental and physical to prove it. It would’ve been easier to hop in her car to find safety and anonymity, but Harper stayed to prove she was stronger than hurled fists and bruising prejudice. She found herself within the safety of a close-knit group of rough bikers and bar bouncers. That didn’t mean it was all perfect.

What’s a girl to do when she craves normalcy and acceptance: she just smiles. Choices are made, some with dire consequences and others that bring her closer to her dream. Will she make the right decision or finally discover escape is her best option?

Author Note: This book contains scenes of violence and descriptions of self-harm.

My Review: We have been introduced to Harper through the Twirled and Brawlers Crew. They have all tried to take her into the fold, because she is one of the sweetest, most kindest people they know. There is just one problem, Harper doesn’t see her own self worth. Harper is transgender and from a very early age there has always been a miscommunication between her sense of self and who she wants to be. Harper has a very low self-esteem and she has only ever found release from her depression through self harm. After her last suicide attempt her best friend Kyle inviegled her promise not to ever self harm again.

Harper has found another way to feel pain, his name is Bill. Bill is a homophobic bully who likes to take out his anger on Harper and uses her in despicable ways. He is not above using and abusing her body and pysche. Harper wants to get out , but there is a tiny little part of her that wants to die. She bears many scars on her body and soul from Bill. When Harper meets Gideon otherwise known as ‘Ghost’ by the Executioners and Brawlers Crew, she feels a tingle and yearns to be normal.

Ghost thinks Harper is one of the most beautiful women he’s ever met. He tries to get Joker, Harper’s self professed protector to open up about her. Ghost is warned and definitely chastised about hurting Harper. Ghost gets to know Harper slowly. For Harper, this is a new and scary experience as her relationships with men usually equate to pain. It is Twitch, the well loved twink of the Brawlers Crew that encourages her to take a chance on Ghost.

Inadvertently, that chance comes when Bill hurts Harper so badly she ends up in the hospital with bruises and knife wounds. Ghost goes into protective mode and takes her to his farm. Harper spends weeks with Ghost healing and slowly getting acclimated to what a healthy relationship could look like. Ghost pampers her as much as she allows and he sees a new spunky side of Harper unfolding when he coddles her too much. Watching the banter between these two is fun. Their sexual heat slowly simmers but is well worth the wait. Under that gentlemanly exterior lives a passionate Ghost. He gently unleashes his passion on Harper who combusts at the slightest touch.

For the first time, a man’s touch allows Harper to feel beautiful and embrace her true self and identity. It is through Gideon’s passion that Harper truly embraces her transgender body in all its glory. Gideon knows the time for subtlety has passed the morning after their glorious night together. He expresses his true feelings to Harper and she is still in awe that a man like Gideon would want a relationship with her. Before she can allow her newfound feelings to settle in , Bill attacks again. He uses a rifle this time and Joker gets hurt. Luckily, its just a flesh wound and Joker will be on the mend soon. Once again , Bill is in the wind.

Harper’s life starts crumbling and she feels guilty for bringing Gideon into her mess of a life. The Brawlers Crew let her know how much she means to them by opening their home to her for a respite. Gideon continues to shower her with love and it overwhelms her a little, but it is just what she needs to feel secure. His unwavering support in the face of danger gives her the strength to carry on. Harper does all the ‘couply’ things with Gideon.

After the Executioners finish their band practice one night, Bill strikes again. It is Gideon who gets hurt this time. Joker tousles with Bill for his gun and Bill will definitely not be coming back this time. The bane of Harper’s existence is finally dead. However, this act of violence has put Joker in a catatonic state and forces him to flee his ‘brothers’. They are all worried about Joker, but they know that in time he will recover.

Harper and Gideon are able to proceed with their relationship without a cloud hanging over their head. Harper relishes her newfound self confidence and enjoys the love that continues to blossom fruitfully with her sexy ‘bear’. At long last, Harper gets her happily ever after when Ghost proposes. I really enjoyed the first in the Executioners series, I can’t wait to read about Joker. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

 

Hunter ( Brawlers 4) by J. M. Dabney

Title: Hunter             Word Count: 160 pgs

Genre: Gay Biker Romance

Blurb:Welcome to Brawlers Bar…

If there was a way to destroy his life, Hunter Black could do it. He was a catastrophe waiting to happen. Survival was his only priority and having to leave his old life behind that meant a job of the legal variety. He’d found one as a bartender at Brawlers Bar and a safe place in a huge house with the rest of the bar crew who quickly became the family he’d never had. The one thing Hunter didn’t need was his old life tracking him down.

Deputy Wren Gramble hated his job and his weekend assignment of staking out a bar in the middle of nowhere waiting for drunks. Although he’d heard the homophobic and racist jokes going around about the crew and customers, he kept his head down and stuck to his job and nothing else. He despised being driven back into the closet, but he’d reached the end of the line and what he’d do if he earned another transfer he didn’t know. 

Linus Trenton was considered the normal one in his family and according to the weird ones that meant he should be punished daily. He never came out one way or another, if he found someone attractive he was attracted. His life was complicated enough having a crush on the sweet and awkward Hunter but now he had to throw Wren into the mix. Linus didn’t have time for dating or romance, most of the time he didn’t even think about having a sex life, although, Wren and Hunter were ruining his calm.

Hunter was in lust with the handsome deputy the minute the man pulled him over, but a man like that wouldn’t give him the time of day. His friend, Linus, was another matter altogether. Hunter wanted both. His bosses made it work with their man, why couldn’t he? Could Hunter prove he wasn’t as much of a screw up as he appeared or would he have to call in backup to claim his men?

My Review: Hunter is definitely the quietest of the rough and rowdy Brawlers crew. He doesn’t say much, doesn’t really get in fights and pretty much stays to himself. The one thing we do know about Hunter is that he is totally clumsy and the most accident prone person there is. We get a little bit more background on Hunter and like all the other Brawlers, it is certainly not sunshine and rainbows. Hunter didn’t have a great home life and was homeless by the time he went to college. Being the computer genius that he is, he started hacking to make a little money on the side to keep him fed and a roof over his head. When a hacking job goes wrong and millions of diamonds goes missing, poor Hunter is the one sent to prison. He has three more years left on his probation after doing his time. 

Hunter likes  living at the Brawlers farm , but it gets a bit lonely now that everyone is shacked up. In walks Wren Gramble, the sexy cop stationed outside of Brawlers to keep the peace. The guys like him since he doesn’t bust their balls unnecessarily. Wren has had his eye on Hunter for awhile , when he finally gets the courage and pulls him over on a traffic stop. He realizes that this was definitely the worst thing he could have done. Hunter is even more skittish now than before. When he sees the Brawlers bikes outside his favorite diner, he hopes to spark a conversation with Hunter. Hunter is shy at first , but Wren soon gets him to open up a little once he gets him alone. Wren asks him out on a date and Hunter accepts. Hunter is slightly nervous about having such a sexy stud interested in him.

Wren is introduced to the craziness that is the Brawlers crew when he goes to pick up Hunter for their date. Psycho is out in his yard having sex with Ben, while Crave has Twitch screaming at the top of his lungs for more. Wren takes it in stride and finds it slightly hilarious that all these big tough men are so uninhibited around their husbands. Their date starts off great, but they are soon interrupted by Linus, Lucky’s older brother. As soon as Wren meets Linus, he knows there is some sort of connection between him and Hunter.

Linus is the grumpy bear out of the hippie clan called the Trentons, but he has a sweet spot for Hunter. He is very gentle with the quiet man. When he sees Hunter out on a date with the big sexy stud Wren, he is definitely jealous. He realizes instantly that he blew his chance by going slow. Hunter is oblivious to the tension between the two men facing off for his affections. Linus allows them to finish their date in peace. It isn’t until a few days later that Linus proceeds to get drunk at Brawlers. Linus is definitely brooding over Hunter and it doesn’t go unnoticed by Twitch. Hunter suggests that he take Linus home given the state he is in. When they get there  Linus kisses Hunter passionately. Hunter is shocked, but the brief kiss stirred up unknown feelings in him.

Hunter leaves feeling very confused and he needs to talk. His friend Ghost tells him that he needs to let Wren know what happened just to be honest. Hunter decides to take Ghost’s advice. Wren becomes contemplative when Hunter opened up to him. He knows for sure he likes Hunter too much to let him just walk away with Wren. Wren proposes that they get to all know each other as a triad and see where it goes. Hunter is immediately intrigued, but before they can put their plan into action things go awfully wrong.

Linus owns a security company and everything goes haywire on an operation. He ends up in the hospital with a bullet wound. Linus is surprised when Wren takes charge and takes him home for his recovery. Although Hunter seems to be the fragile one, he is the glue that holds them all together. Wren is stable and level-headed and like all  the Trenton’s Linus is a touch of crazy, but he also has a smidge of vulnerability. 

This trio doesn’t take long before they are moving in sync. Surprisingly, Linus is very dominant and this makes for some very sexy times with his two men. Wren is versatile and he loves being in the middle of these two men he considers his. For the first time, Hunter truly feels like he belongs. This triad is on the path of being just a strong union as Scary, Tank and Elijah’s. The strength of their love for each other is just as palpable and indestructible. 

Trouble is on the horizon and it’s great to see the Twirled, Brawlers and their friends the Executioners banding together and dealing in the face of corruption and homophobia in their small town. The Twirled and Brawlers families continue to grow with Ben and Crave’s twins. Wren , Linus and Hunter decides to tie the knot and there is a possibility of kids in their future. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Shattered (Phoenix Club 3) by CJ Bishop

Title: Shattered                   Word Count: 106 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: Abel, Part 3

Abel’s heart is crushed by Devlin’s vehement rejection and refusal to believe the truth about his brother. With the threat of prison hanging over him, Abel is sent away with Horatio Kaplan to Italy for safe keeping.

Certain he has lost Devlin forever, and broken by the reality that he has devastated Devlin’s life, Abel takes an unexpected comfort in Kaplan when the man begins to show sincere care and affection for him. 

Warning: This book contains homosexual relations and language not suitable for readers below 17yo.

NOTE: For those coming across the ‘Phoenix Club’ series sporadically, they were written in this order, and if possible, should be read accordingly, due to story lines that run through all the books :

ABEL

CALEB

ANGEL

GABRIEL

MAXWELL
My Review: Having lost everything, Abel allows himself to be whisked away on a private jet with Kaplan to parts unknown. Abel is devoid of all emotion now that Devlin had forsaken him. Devlin himself is also in a world of hurt. He tries to detach himself from his feelings for Abel and concentrate on doing his duty as Savannah’s doctor. Cole and Gabe wish they could do more to help their friend Abel. It is Gabe who is the impartial voice of reason, telling Cole to give Devlin some time to process,  before going to talk to him. Cole wants to protect Abel and make sure that Devlin doesn’t send him to prison. Gabe realize that these two innocent men, Abel and Devlin are being crucified by  the actions of a monster.

The lines are being blurred in Abel’s arrangement with Kaplan when the man starts treating him more like a person rather than a trophy. Although Abel still mourns for the love lost, he finds a measure of release from his pain in Kaplan’s presence. On the other hand , Devlin finds no peace during his days. The look on Abel’s face when he tore him down is on a constant loop running through his brain. His subconcious also tortures him with long ago suppressed memories of his interactions with his brother that comes in the form of dreams. These dreams conflict with the idea of the idolized brother that Devlin remembers. His dreams remind him of a brother who was too willing to teach him how to masturbate when he was thirteen. Some of his brothers actions are borderline inappropriate. Devlin’s convoluted thoughts make him sick to his stomach as doubts begin to form. 

Now that the vault holding his memories has been cracked open, more and more questionable memories keep on popping up in Devlin’s brain. It’s driving him crazy,paired with the longing he still feels deep down in his soul for Abel. He gleans information about Abel from eavesdropping at Savannah’s door. He learns that Abel is out of the country with a man named Kaplan. It pains Devlin to think about Abel being with another man and he feels disloyal to his brother for even thinking about Abel at all.

Abel gets a little bit lost in the old world romantic feel that Italy offers. He doesn’t think Kaplan is so bad once he starts enjoying his company. Kaplan is very worldly and he explains the history of the beautiful place to Abel, his captivated audience. It doesn’t take long for the illusion to be torn and reality of his situation sets back in. It is Kaplan who encourages him to go back and fight for the man he loves. It is clear that Kaplan feels some sort of affection for Abel and aside from paying him twenty thousand dollars , he never treated him like a whore.

Meanwhile, Devlin has been waging a never-ending war between his emotions and his  memories. It is now solidified in his mind that his brother was indeed a child molester. This is corroborated by his best friend who he hasn’t seen in years. When he runs into him at a restaurant and they start catching up, Brandon has the same look as Abel when he talks about his dead brother, a look of relief. Devlin can no longer hide from reality when his own memories are pointing to the same truth, his brother was a monster.

On the day of Savannah’s release from the hospital, Devlin is shocked when he walks in and sees Abel. He can’t bear to look at his sweet tortured boy so he runs away. Since running away seems to be the theme with these two, their friends set a trap for them in mid-air on Kaplan’s jet. Finally, with all the walls broken down they both acknowledge who the real culprit is, the monster Craig. They both commiserate through their pain and reaffirm their undying love for each other. Sparks fly and they join the mile high club in the age old dance of love. This was a wonderful trilogy and I can’t wait to watch all the other men of Phoenix Club have their happily ever after. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Hearts in Chaos (Phoenix Club 2) by CJ Bishop

Title: Hearts in Chaos        Word Count: 105 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Devastated after learning his abuser (and the man he killed in self-defense) was Dr. Devlin Grant’s much beloved brother, Abel feels he can no longer have anything to do with the man because of his secret.

Now locked into his agreement with Horatio Kaplan – and suffering heart break over Devlin – Abel finds no purpose in his life except taking care of Savannah. When Devlin refuses to be put off and insists Abel tell him the truth of why he is suddenly pushing him away, Abel must make the hard decision of whether or not to expose the hideous acts of Devlin’s brother – and shatter the man’s heart.

Warning: This book contains homosexual relations and language not suitable for readers below 17yo.

NOTE: For those coming across the ‘Phoenix Club’ series sporadically, they were written in this order, and if possible, should be read accordingly, due to story lines that run through all the books :

ABEL
CALEB
ANGEL
GABRIEL
MAXWELL

My Review: Abel tries to outrun his demons and finally ends up at home where Cole is waiting for him. Cole is perplexed by the state that his friend is in, he watches helplessly as Abel sobs brokenly. Devlin is left reeling from confusion. He is dejected not knowing how to pick up the pieces or why Abel ran away. This goes on for days without any explanations on what is going on. There is something niggling at Devlin, but he can’t put his finger on what.

When Abel returns to work, Devlin shows up and refuses to leave without an answer. Abel is devastated, because he knows the truth will wreck this sweet man whose declarations of love is so profound. Abel also acknowledges to himself that he is head over heels in love with Devlin. The passion that he feels for Devlin is overwhelming and he can’t resist one more chance at intimacy with his soul mate that he can never claim. However, this changes nothing and Abel closes the door with a finality when he tells Devlin he is no longer welcomed at the club. Abel leaves with his heart in pieces, on his way to commence his arrangement with Kaplan.

Abel is about to taint his soul with yet another man determined to exploit his body. His time with Kaplan isn’t horrible, but the parallels to his past abuse is too real in his mind. Kaplan forces him to open his eyes and be in the moment with him. The hardest part for Abel is when Kaplan arouses  him and pleasures him. For Abel it is just  a sensory reaction, but he feels worse for it because he doesn’t want to enjoy an act that he has no choice but to do.

Abel’s friends Cole and Gabe are very worried about him, but Abel pushes them away. An unusual sort of detachment comes over Abel’s persona, but that’s his way of coping.Cole and Gabe find comfort in each other and continue to navigate the complexities of their own budding relationship. When Devlin overhears Abel paying twenty thousand dollars on his sister’s hospital bill, he knows something is very wrong. Devlin approaches Abel at the club and demands answers. Abel knows the only way to get rid of Devlin and his declarations of love is to give him a part of the truth. He tells Devlin how he played some rich man’s whore. Devlin is shattered as he still doesn’t understand why Abel would rebuff his help to continue on this unsavoury path. Abel thought he would feel a sense of relief, but instead he feels wrecked.

Abel is surprised to see Devlin at his doorstep a few days later. It seems like Devlin just won’t give up, but Abel knows that will all change if he finds out the truth. Cole and Gabe come over and encourage  Abel that its time to lay it all on the table. Abel tells the horrific tale of the abuse he experienced for years at the hands of Devlin’s brother and how he eventually killed him in self defense. Devlin is appalled and disgusted, but most of all he doesn’t believe Abel. He can’t reconcile the upstanding brother he knew to the monster that Abel describes. Although Abel knew what the outcome would be , he is still crushed and defeated when Devlin calls him a whore and storms out. Luckily, Cole and Gabe are there to pick up the pieces of Abel’s fragmented soul. But even that won’t be enough to help him regain what he has lost, his innocence but most of all the love of Devlin Grant. To be continued….. this one was filled with heartache and pain , but such tender moments as well. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.