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.

It Can’t Be You ( Phoenix Club 1) by CJ Bishop

Title: It Can’t be You            Word Count: 175 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

ABEL

Blurb:19-year-old Abel Sims – hot, sexy stripper – is a favorite at the gay strip club The Phoenix. Having no family but his 16-year-old sister, Savannah, and coming from the streets – The Phoenix club has become his home, the other boys his close-knit family.

Abel doesn’t trust the outside world and is content to remain within his safe haven. But when an overzealous customer sends Abel to the ER, he meets young, handsome Dr. Devlin Grant. The instant attraction he feels for the man stirs up the nightmares of his past, causing him to resist his new feelings. But when Savannah gets sick and ends up in Devlin’s care, it becomes impossible to avoid the doctor.

And just when his heart is ready to trust this new found love – Abel is confronted with a disturbing fact about the doctor that reaches deep into the past he has been hiding and running away from.

ABEL is an emotionally charged, sexy, heart-wrenching love story that will break your heart, then put it back together again.

Warning: This book contains homosexual relations and crude 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 is one of the sexy young strippers at the Phoenix Club. He is only 19 yrs old , but he has lived a very rough life from an early age. He does his best for the only person that’s ever loved him, his sister Savannah. Savannah is 16 and very sickly. Abel has spent all his life protecting the very fragile young girl, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything. Abel was repeatedly rape by one of the counselors at the shelter they stayed at. Abel stayed quiet and endured his abuse, so that the counselor wouldn’t start on Savannah.

When he is hurt at work by an overzealous client who tried to rape him, his friend Cole takes him to the hospital. This is where his path crosses Dr. Devlin Grant. Devlin is very interested in the sexy young man, but he tries to maintain his professionalism. Devlin causes Abel’s heart rate to kick up a notch. Abel feels a frisson of fear, because for the first time he is attracted to someone and would like to pursue it. Abel knows he has too much baggage and he feels like his life is too tainted for a man like Devlin. He makes an effort to keep his disinterested facade in place. After all, Abel won’t have to see Devlin  once he leaves the hospital.  
                                                                                     

 Little does Abel know that their lives will be even more intertwined. When Abel’s beloved sister falls sick in the middle of the night, Abel calls his friend Cole who helps them to the hospital. Devlin happens to be the doctor on call. He is very surprised to see Abel so soon, the young man who has dominated his thoughts. After running a battery of tests, Devlin gives Abel the most devastating shocking news, Savannah is HIV positive. Abel feels gutted and his world starts imploding around him. Abel blames himself and scrambles to find an explanation for this diagnosis. He thinks back to one of the nights when they lived on the streets and went dumpster diving for food. Abel remembered  something pricked Savannah and she said it felt like a needle. Everything is clear to Abel now and he just knows he has to do whatever it takes to keep Savannah alive.  

A solution falls into Abel’s lap via an indecent proposal. His boss Max tells Abel about a proposition he has received on his behalf. Horatio Kaplan a wealthy client of the club wants to pay Abel handsomely to spend time with him sexually. Abel feels disgusted and dirty , but he knows there is no other way to pay for the care Savannah will need. Abel visits Savannah everyday in the hospital and he is always tortured by his ever growing feelings for the handsome doctor. Devlin starts developing serious feelings for Abel, but he soon realizes Abel has been hurt deeply and is very skittish.

Their first attempt at a coffee date goes horribly wrong when Devlin encourages Abel to have faith that his sister will be alright. This touches a nerve in Abel , because of all the memories it brings up of the horrendous injustice of the rapes that he endured when he was no more than a child. Devlin realizes that Abel’s outburst stems from a far deeper pain than him saying the wrong thing. His suspicions are tentatively confirmed by Savannah when she breaks down and tell him the life they have lived thus far. Devlin cries for these two beautiful souls who have sustained so much pain.   

Abel tries to keep his distance and pushes Devlin away as he knows its for the best. He is in no position to start any kind of relationship, when he is burdened with so many issues. Abel goes ahead and set up the parameters for the ‘arrangement’ he will be entering with Kaplan. Abel’s friends Cole and Gabe help him  in a most pleasurable way to get used to intimacy so that he won’t get a panic attack when he has consensual sex. It is Cole’s and Gabe’s  loving friendship that keeps his demons away. The only place Abel really feels safe is in the controlled environment of the strip club.

Abel is shocked and nervous when Devlin shows up in one of the private rooms in the club saying he wants to talk. Abel is so afraid of the hopes and dreams he sees reflected in Devlin’s eyes, but he is weakened by his desires to taste something good and wholesome for a change. Abel gives into his desires to take something just for himself. The spark between the two soon turns into an inferno and they both give into their carnal desires. Devlin leaves after with hopes and the promise of a lunch date. Abel doesn’t want to give Devlin false hope or hurt him, but he wants this.

Devlin proposes a way to help Abel take care of Savannah financially through a fund set up with insurance from his brother’s death. Abel feels a glimmer of hope to have an alternate plan. Devlin tells Abel the story of how his brother Craig was a counselor who was killed by one of the teenagers he tried to help. Immediately Abel’s hopes are dashed when he realizes that Devlin’s dead brother Craig and his former abuser is one and the same. It turns out that Abel is the teenager who killed him. To be continued…..I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

 

 

 

I Need A Hero by Peter Styles

Title: I Need A Hero                Word Count: 156 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Hurt and harassed, can his hero save him?

After a brutal sexual attack during his high school years, Harris Zelgman steers clear of the hustle and bustle of city life. Running his family’s comic book store and casually dating his friend provide Harris with all the excitement he needs. When he’s accosted and saved by a new hero, the Shadow Hunter, everything changes for Harris.

Seeking more security in a dangerous world, he enrolls in a self-defense class–where he learns more than he ever imagined. The instructor, Jonah, although strangely familiar, is sexier and more manly than anyone he’s ever known. As the two men fight against the ills of society, they learn how to truly trust each other. But when Harris discovers the truth about Jonah, his trust in his new instructor is shattered. Will Jonah prove his love and dedication to Harris and be the real hero he’s needed all along?

In this 50,000 word gay romance novel, one man discovers the hero within himself as he learns to trust his heart and life with another man. With steamy scenes and a sexy superhero, you’ll yearn for a hunky hero of your own. But with love, comes struggles and setbacks that threaten any true romance. Can one man discover how to save his heart while losing it along the way?

My Review: Harris Zelgman can definitely be called a nerd. He owns a comic book store and spends all his free time having lively discussions with his two best friends Gary and Leonard about superheroes. Harris has been hurt in his teenage years and he has allowed himself to be closed off. He is very insulated and surrounds himself with limited friends. Harris hooks up from time to time with his best friend Gary rather than trying to be in a relationship. This way of life is safe for him as he doesn’t allow himself to become romantically involved with Gary even though they have sex. Harris is very good at compartmentalizing his life and he definitely keeps their friendship separate and apart from their fling.

When Harris’ store is robbed and he is almost sexually assaulted, it brings up a lot of old residual feelings of being scared and helpless. The sexual assault is foiled by a real life superhero vigilante called the Shadow Hunter. Harris is extremely grateful and slightly in awe of his new protector. He is also a little bit attracted to the Shadow Hunter but he feels his expectations are too unreasonable where this superhero is concerned.

After the attack , his friend Christy encourages him to take up private jiu jitsu classes at the YMCA. Harris is blown away when he first lays eyes on his instructor. Jonah is a sexy hunk with muscles, in a perfect world he would definitely be the man of Harris’ dreams. Harris sees Jonah as another unattainable dream in his life. This does not stop Harris from pushing all of Jonah’s buttons. They soon form an easy relationship and Harris feels much more confident with the things he has learnt from Jonah. Jonah soon reveals to Harris that he is attracted to him and would like to pursue a more romantic relationship with him. Harris is shocked and scared to make the next step, but he really wants to be brave and move on with his life.

Things get a little bit confusing in Harris’ mind with his relationships between Gary , the Shadow Hunter and Jonah. All three men represent different things in Harris’s safe world and it starts rocking the foundation. Gary is a safe bet for him, but there is certainly no future there. He sees the Shadow Hunter as unattainable, something of a fantasy. Jonah is an unexpected, uncertain future that he would love to believe in , but feels as if he doesn’t deserve. Harris knows that he needs to make a decision once and for all.

This comes in the form of Harris having farewell sex with Gary, ending their friends with benefits arrangement amicably. It just happens that Harris puts on an erotic display for the Shadow Hunter when he notices him watching from afar. Harris explores the Shadow Hunter voyeuristic tendencies and is rewarded when the Shadow Hunter gets involved in a mini show of his own. Harris is exhilarated, but his insecurities rear their heads when the Shadow Hunter keeps away.

Harris decides to let Jonah in and share his past telling him about being sexually assaulted as a teenager. Jonah is very sad that happened to Harris and he starts revealing secrets of his own. Things come to a head when Harris realizes that Jonah is none other than the Shadow Hunter. Everything clicks in place and Harris becomes embarrassed at the things he revealed to the Shadow Hunter. Harris sees this as a breach of trust and this pisses him off enough to walk out on Jonah.

Even though Harris feels a sense of betrayal at Jonah’s revelations, he misses the camaraderie that they shared. Harris gets a chance to forgive Jonah , but it comes at the unfortunate time of another attack. They both get attacked by the same thugs who Jonah helped to put behind bars. It is Harris who steps up to the plate this time and becomes a hero with his new and improved jiu jitsu moves. Harris takes them out once again, hopefully for good this time. He takes Jonah home pampering him and taking care of his bruises. They come to an understanding that they will no longer have any secrets between them.Flash forward three years into the future and Harris and Jonah are secure in their newfound love and enjoying a wonderful relationship. I really enjoyed this and I give it my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

 

Ruined by Evelyn Drake

Title: Ruined            Word Count: 241 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Hungry for a glimpse at the man who destroyed his marriage, Gus Fletcher follows Travis to watch him party and flirt without a care for what he’s done. The man who slept with Gus’s wife is gorgeous and willowy, a model, the utter opposite of Gus’s muscled body and plumbing career. But the man needs help, and something about him tugs at Gus’s heart and mind. What the hell is going on?

The hits keep coming for fashion model Travis Adius, who has to let the right people use him if he’s to stay in the industry… and then some. He only walked away from one man: his abusive ex, who won’t let go that easily. Life has him on his knees until he sees Gus. He wants Gus before he finds out he slept with Gus’s wife… and, somehow, he doesn’t stop wanting him. Gus has hands and nerves of steel, and a deep desire for revenge. Isn’t it wrong to be this turned on by him?

Gus can’t stop thinking about Travis. He should hate him, so why does he want to save him? Travis needs the comfort and safety of a man whose loyalty will stretch to the end of the earth. Is this all just a favor to be repaid? Once they meet, there’s no turning back.

Are Gus and Travis ruined for anyone else?

My Review: Gus would love nothing more than to inflict the same amount of pain on the man who ruined his life. Travis Adius is the man who seduced Gus’ wife into an affair, the man who ruined 15 yrs of marriage. Gus’ wife Scarlett is a career driven fashion designer and Travis is the most beautiful male model that Gus has ever seen. Gus wants so bad to hate Travis , but he understands the pull that Scarlett must have felt towards the youthful Travis. Gus is mesmerized by Travis’ androgynous look and his beauty. Gus has  hunted down Travis  in the hopes of seeking some form of revenge, but that all goes awry when he sees him.

It is while at a party that Travis notices the sexy body builder hulk look -alike staring at him. Travis decides to flirt a little with Gus from afar by seducing another man, hopefully appealing to his voyeuristic nature. Travis’ little experiment starts out really hot, especially when he sees mister sexy is indeed watching. This soon fizzles and he starts feeling embarrassed and horribly used when his hook -up starts calling him derogatory names. Travis has many issues but this is where his vulnerability peeks through. Travis feels like a throw away on most days, but especially after hooking up with someone and have them tell him they have to go home to their girlfriend.

Travis is so embarrassed and is feeling at an all time low , when he gets a picture text from Scarlett telling him that her husband knows about their affair. Travis feels like he has been hit by a ton of bricks,when he sees the face of Mr. Sexy. When he thinks of the hulk and reconciles that image to Gus, Travis starts running like a bat out of hell. He ends up running right into his abusive ex boyfriend Brandon. Travis is paralyzed with fear when he remembered how many times Brandon put him in the hospital. When Brandon advances, Travis tries to stand up for himself , but he only ends up cowering in a corner. It’s Gus who saves the day.

When Gus sees Travis about to be hurt, he steps in and pushes the big bully away. There is just something about Travis that brings out all of Gus’ protective instincts. Gus and Brandon are definitely evenly matched. If anything Gus is bigger than Brandon and he treats him like a rag doll every time he tries to attack Travis. When Brandon flees, Gus takes Travis to a diner to warm up and questions him. Travis is wary of the big guy but he doesn’t have much of a choice.

Little by little, Gus lets go of the hurt and pain he feels. He acknowledges the fact that the marriage between him and Scarlett was broken before this kid came along.Gus decides to fix this fragile somewhat beautiful creature as much as he can. He takes Travis home and changes his locks and decides to stay with him to protect him from Brandon if he comes back.Gus is man enough to admit to himself that he feels a smidge of attraction to Travis even though he doesn’t swing that way.

 Before things can heat up between them , Travis has to go away on an assignment. Travis comes home from his modelling gig, only to run into the unexpected. This is when Brandon escalates things even further, by breaking into Travis’ apartment and writing disparaging words on the wall and destroying the living room. Brandon hurts Travis really bad and he knows he is about to die. Once again,  it’s Gus us who finds him and tries to protect his sweet man. Gus knows that he cannot hide his feelings any longer. The two get closer while Travis recovers and Gus practically moves in to protect him. Things get heated between the two and the sexual chemistry is definitely combustible.

Travis is scared and hesitant to be with a real man like Gus , because Gus makes him yearn for things he always dreamed of. Although Gus has never been with a man, he goes with his feelings and treasures Travis in the most special way. Travis finally starts feeling his worth through Gus’ adoration. Scarlett puts a crimp in their plans when she announces that she is pregnant and she is not sure which one is the father. Travis sees his future coming to a halt with Gus and he knows that he is about to be the throwaway guy yet again. However, Gus proves him wrong and comes up with a solution that shows him how invested he is in their relationship.

Gus suggests that they could co-parent their child with some involvement from Scarlett. Travis and Gus are ecstatic that they can share this beautiful experience and it is great to see the amicable relationship between these three adults. I think Gus has the most forgiving heart that there is and he was rewarded with the greatest love. Travis the man who always saw himself as expendable has finally become someone’s everything. I really enjoyed this beautiful love story and I give this my ratings of 5-bring out the vibrators. This was a definite unique spin on a  gay for you romance and I look forward to reading more from this new author.

Someone to Hear Me by T. A . McKay

Title: Someone to Hear Me             Word Count:290pgs
Genre:Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Kohan has a simple life but he’s happy. The only thing that’s missing is that special someone to come home to at night. That is until he literally bumps into Ares, a man who sparks his interest, but he rushes off before Kohan can talk to him. When he sees the stranger again, Kohan is determined that he’s not going to let him escape this time.
What Kohan doesn’t know is he’s falling for a guy that has been through more than he could ever imagine, and when Ares’ dark past catches up with him, there might be a chance that neither man will walk away unhurt.

We all dream of finding that one true love, the person who completes you, and when you find them you should hold on tight to them. But what happens when that dream turns into a nightmare, one that you can’t escape from? Ares is running from a past that almost cost him his life, a past that changed everything.
When he meets Kohan he’s scared of letting someone in, scared that history will repeat itself, but finally he sees that not everyone is out to hurt him. He sees that maybe someone could love him without causing pain.
But when the thing Ares is hiding from appears again, it takes him right back into that dangerous past and he doesn’t know if he will survive it this time.

My name is Ares, and the man I married is the person who will probably kill me.
I want to leave.
I want to escape.
I don’t want to die.
My name is Ares and I want Someone To Hear Me.

Please Note this book contains scenes of domestic abuse that some people may find uncomfortable.

My Review: It is never easy when someone who swore to love and cherish you breaks your trust. Twenty five year old Ares learns this the hard way, after he wakes up in the hospital with his life irrevocably changed. After being beaten and terrorized numerous times by his husband Micah for the slightest infractions, his husband finally went to far. Micah has beaten Ares so badly that his face is left disfigured with a scar bisecting his forehead and he is now deaf. As many victims do , Ares blames himself for what Micah did. Even though Micah is imprisoned, Ares still lives in fear for his life.

Ares suffers from PTSD and he has panic attacks if he is surrounded by too many people. He flinches at every shadow , and he is virtually a hermit. He knows he has to do something to reclaim his life. Ares’ therapist suggests that he find a job and meet new people. Ares finds a job as a cleaner at a newspaper office and that’s where he meets Kohan. Kohan is a journalist and he is immediately intrigued by the quiet man who refuses to look at him and make eye contact.

There is just something about Kohan that makes Ares feels safe. Its the safest he’s felt in a long time with another man. The two men form a tentative friendship and Kohan soon realizes that he wants more, but he sees a dark fear hidden in Ares. Ares finds himself confessing the horrors of his past, at least some of it. Kohan is saddened to know that such a sweet man has been hurt by such a monster. Kohan is extremely patient and understanding with Ares and his issues.

Everyday Ares gets a little bit stronger mentally and continues on his quest to reclaim his life. He makes a concerted effort to open up more to Kohan even though it scares him. He doesn’t feel like its fair to take things any further with Kohan for fear that he won’t be able to follow through. Kohan notices every time Ares takes two steps forward he retreats a little. He refuses to let Ares push him away, because he knows he is the light that Ares needs to step out of the shadows.

Things heat up between the two after Ares attempts a night out with Kohan and his best friend Sophie.Ares feels almost normal after a few drinks, he definitely feels desire when Kohan rubs against him while they dance. He gives in to the pleasure and allow himself to feel again. Kohan realize that underneath that fear is a very passionate willing young man and he wants to stoke that flame. These moments are heartbreaking and oh so tender and just what Ares needs to move past his pain.

We see all the atrocities Micah perpetrated against Ares through his nightmares and flashbacks. One thing that comes through is how much Ares blames himself. He fears he will make the same mistake with another man because he feels like he can’t trust his own judgement. This is a continuous setback in his relationship with Kohan. Kohan’s strength and patience is constant, because he knows its what Ares needs whenever he catches a glimpse of his past pain.

Kohan soon realizes that the key to making their relationship work is to treat Ares as normal as possible and not like he is fragile glass. Ares is able to experience the beauty of a relationship and receiving pleasure without the repercussions of pain. It is exhilarating for Ares the freedom he is finally experiencing. Ares takes charge for the first time in his sexual encounters. Kohan relishes this new dominant side of Ares and he allows him this freedom of taking the role of top. He understands that this role empowers Ares and continues to strengthen his positive personality.

They make plans to go out to meet with Kohan’s brother Carey and his new beau Duncan. The whole night starts going downhill from the beginning when Duncan doesn’t turn up. Carey’s in a foul mood and this causes the brothers to argue. Kohan is upset that Carey isn’t even trying to get to know his boyfriend. Ares gives them a moment . He has a panic attack when he thinks he sees someone who looks like his ex Micah. Ares bolts from fear and leaves in a cab.

Once again Ares does not trust his instincts and this proves to be his downfall. It turns out that Duncan is actually Micah who is out of prison on a technicality. Micah attacks Ares and the horrible abuse starts right away. Ares tries to break up with Kohan through a text. Kohan goes straightaway to his house, but Ares is firm in pushing him away. Kohan respects Ares’ wishes and go on a three day drinking binge. It isn’t until a family crisis that his brothers pulls him out of his stupor.

By the time Kohan figures that something is wrong, Ares has been held hostage for more than a week with his despicable ex. The abuse he endures is horrendous and almost pulls Ares deep down in the dark abyss. It isn’t until Micah hurts Kohan that Ares gets the courage to defend the love of his life. Ares kills Micah and ends his cruel reign. Kohan just got a taste of the atrocities that Ares must have experienced, but it scarred him pretty good. Kohan has nightmares and flashbacks now, but it is Ares’ steadfast presence that keeps him sane . I really enjoyed this one. It had the right amount of angst. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

Psycho ( Brawlers 2) by J.M.Dabney

Title: Psycho                               Word Count: 129 pgs

Genre: Biker Gay Romance
Blurb:Welcome to Brawlers Bar…

Life wasn’t easy when you were certifiable, Gerald “Psycho” Clemons lived on the fringes of society. Five years he hadn’t thought twice about riding with a group who saw most laws as flexible. When the leader of the group turned crazier than Psycho, he stepped in and made the man pay. He’d never been rewarded for his temper before, yet that’s what happened when he earned a permanent place and a job as a bouncer. Everyone walked a wide circle around him, and he liked it that way. One look from his cold black eyes and he had people backing up. Then he met a man who had to be crazier than him. 

Decadence Bakery was Ben Morin’s dream come true, and he loved it, but he grew tired of his lonely existence. Six months earlier he’d turned on the open sign and hopefully changed his life for the better. Ben loved his small cottage in the middle of nowhere even with the 3 a.m. rumbling of motorcycles and loud music at the farm next door. Although one thing he didn’t love, was his new hobby of watching one of the terrifying men next door. What could a little harmless peek now and then hurt?

Sweet and older wasn’t his type, but Psycho couldn’t deny the need to possess the beautiful baker. It was stronger than even the insanity he barely kept at bay, could he have a man who looked passed it or would Ben run like all the rest?

My Review: Psycho, his name says it all. Psycho is one of the Brawlers crew who is known to be psychotic and crazy as hell. He has had a rough upbringing and this has defined his life to a tee. Psycho’s life is inundated with violence and tenderness is a very foreign concept. Lately,he finds himself yearning for someone to call his own. He has scrutinized his bosses Scary and Tank’s triad relationship to their husband Elijah. Reason being that Scary and Tank are rough and tumble bikers like himself and Elijah is gentle and sweet. What he really craves is the love and gentleness that he sees flowing through this triad, he wishes that he knew how to make a relationship work like that. 

Psycho is confused about dating and everything that goes into a relationship. When he meets the older sexy baker Ben Morin, he wants to see where it could lead. They have a very awkward first meeting where Psycho takes care of Ben after he has been accidentally knocked down by his employee. Psycho is extremely gentle, taking care of Ben’s bleeding nose without even thinking about it.  However, he spoils this tenderness by demanding that Ben goes home with him. Ben is definitely not used to a persona like Psycho and he is confounded by his request. As tempted as he is by the big sexy biker, he doesn’t do casual hookups. Psycho feels rejected and doesn’t even wait for Ben to explain.

Psycho goes back to Brawlers feeling dejected and sulking. It is Scary who decides to help the confused man and give him a few dating tips. Psycho is still wary, but decides to give it another shot. His chance comes when Landon ,one of the Twirled crew tells Ben about the wedding that his crazy mishmash family is having. Ben decides to make a cake for the triad wedding, leaving Elijah ecstatic. Ben has definitely found new friends with most of the partners of the Twirled and Brawlers crew. Psycho suggests nicely that they chill and watch some movies. Ben is surprisingly comforted by Psycho’s stilted conversational skills.

Their relationship starts off slow when Psycho keeps on second guessing his every move with Ben. Ben sets him at ease by telling him to be himself. He continuously reassures Psycho that he enjoys his company, verbal diarrhea and all. Once Pyscho sees this for the truth, everything takes off at full speed. It soon becomes clear that Psycho likes his sex rough and tumble, just like how he lives his life. This certainly is nothing like the vanilla sex Ben is used to , but he finds it refreshing and sexually liberating. He gets a kick out of being Psycho’s ‘boy’ and loves  it when he is spanked. This certainly leads to some sexy man on man action.

Ben soon realizes what he has set himself up for being in a relationship with Psycho, when Psycho lands himself in jail beside his friend Joker. Ben is just mad that his man is kept for over two days, he is not mad at Psycho for getting caught beating the hell out of the man who put Harper,a transwoman in the hospital.  Ben understands that with Psycho he will have to take the good with the bad. His acceptance and his support of Psycho’s personality goes along way to forging the strong relationship that Pyscho has  dreamed of recently.

Ben is honoured to be a part of Psycho’s rough, crazy biker family. He even goes so far as to befriend Psycho’s ex wife Bernie and her  beautiful wife. Psycho is so much more relaxed and secure in his love for Ben. They are even talking about kids in their future. I really enjoyed this one. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.