No Filter ( No Shame 1) by Nora Phoenix

Title: No Filter               Word Count: 290 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Indy will do anything to prevent his mobster ex from finding him. Their last encounter left Indy recovering for months in the hospital, and ever since he’s become an expert at hiding in plain sight. Determined to stay under the radar, he takes on a new identity and moves from place to place. His life has no room for friendships, let alone love, so he keeps his heart firmly closed. After all, he has nothing to offer but a damaged body and a broken soul. Plus, he’s so done with men. Until he meets the man who breaks through all his defenses.

Former Army Medic Noah came back damaged from his last tour—in more than one way. Between supporting his best friend-with-benefits Josh who’s struggling with PTSD, dealing with his own issues, and the stress of his job as a physician assistant, rebuilding his life seems impossible. There’s little time for what Noah needs, let alone for what he wants. When he meets Indy, Noah discovers what he wants more than anything: for Indy to stay. But how will a relationship with Indy work when Noah needs Josh as well?

Indy never expected the strong, confident Noah to be as damaged and broken as himself. But what will happen if he starts letting Noah in? Indy knows he should run to protect Noah and Josh. 

Noah needs Indy to stay more than anything. But will what little he has to offer be enough to make Indy trust him and stay? 

No Filter is a steamy M/M romance featuring an open relationship (no cheating!) that ends with a HFN, but with the promise of a HEA. It’s the first book in the No Shame Series, and is not a stand-alone novel. It contains hot sex, a hint of a ménage, lots of talk about hot sex, flashbacks of said hot sex, and…Oh well, you get the idea. Also: trigger warning for mentions of sexual abuse.

My Review: If anyone would have told Indy that being subjected to a convenient store robbery would have been a turning point in his life, he wouldn’t have believed it. This is how he met Josh, the young army veteran who suffers from severe PTSD. Josh has a flashback the moment he saw the robber’s gun. It is Indy’s quick thinking that saves his life. Indy tackles Josh to the ground with his superior jiu jitsu moves to snap him out of his flashback. It sucks for Indy who already has a broken arm in a cast. Indy is trying to breath through the pain and stay in character since he is on the run and pretending to be a southern belle. Not wanting to blow his cover and desperate to get Josh out of his flashback, Indy decides to ground him by kissing him. It finally works and Josh slowly comes out of his spell.

By the time the cops show up, Indy is in severe pain and in need of medical attention. This is where Noah comes in, he is Josh’s best friend who is a former army medic. He works in the ER now and when Josh calls him frantic telling him he needs to protect Indy’s female persona, he steps in to help. Noah doesn’t know what to think when he meets Indy, but there is an instant spark between the two. However, it is clear to see that Indy is very afraid and hiding something. Warning bells go off in Noah’s head when he feels scars on Indy’s body. He also sees signs of trauma in Indy’s reactions to being restrained.

When Noah and Josh offers Indy a place to stay and recover, he takes a leap of faith and puts his trust in these two men. Indy feels an attraction to Noah, something that hasn’t happened in quite some time. When Indy realizes that Josh and Noah shares a bedroom, he feels like a fool for lusting after somebody’s boyfriend. Noah explains that Josh and him have a very complexed relationship that may defy certain norms.

Watching these three men come together was exhilarating, sensual and a little bit confusing at times. It was the pure trust and honesty in their connections that pulls it all together for me. Here we have three broken men trying to piece together their wounded hearts and souls. We have Josh who suffers from PTSD and is very codependent on his best friend Noah. He is openly gay and navigating his sexually submissive side while also working through issues from his past. Then there is Noah who facilitates Josh’s codependency as a way of healing them both. Noah has lost his leg in the war and has some residual feelings of insecurity. He is only recently identifying and accepting himself as a gay man. Indy is the only other man that Noah has been attracted to sexually. Indy is on the run for his life. He feels like he is damaged goods and it is clear that he has suffered severe sexual trauma. Noah and Josh are the first two men he has been attracted to in awhile. It is Noah who makes him want to trust again. He feels unworthy and undeserving to be in a relationship with a strong man like Noah, because of his past. Indy is afraid to become too attached and wants to protect them from the dangers of his past.

The sexual tension in their house is combustible. They all paired up sexually with each other at different times without any resentment or hurt feelings amongst each other. Noah and Josh had sex all the time as a way of finding release and it helped Josh to understand his sexually submissive side. When Noah let Josh top him, it helped him accept himself as a gay man. Josh and Indy getting together was about healing each other from their past sexual trauma. Josh gave back Indy some of the power he lost when he offers to bottom for him. Indy regains a part of himself he thought was lost forever. After their fun filled activity they fall asleep blissfully.

When Noah comes home after a sixteen hour shift in pain from standing all day, he becomes jealous when he sees them cuddled up together. Tempers flare when he believes that Indy has given Josh something that he couldn’t get. Josh sets him straight and diffuses the situation by offering up himself to relieve some of the stress and pain that Noah feels. Noah goes at Josh hard with Indy watching the whole time. When Noah finds release a dam finally breaks and all the pain and sorrow for all he’s lost comes pouring out. 

This is cathartic for all of them. It is Josh’s way of saying goodbye and bringing Indy fully into Noah’s life. Indy makes the decision the next day to tell Noah his sordid past of being sold into sexual slavery by his mom at sixteen. The man she sold him to, Duncan Fitzpatrick belongs to the mob and treated him deplorably. Indy lived in hell for four years. He finally snapped when Duncan passed him off to his sadistic cousin who raped Indy. When he was done Indy stabbed him and waited for him to die before he called the cops , so he could claim self defense. Duncan found Indy and tortured him before he could testify. Indy knows he will always be a hunted man.

Indy finally sees that what he has found in Noah is worth fighting for. He gives himself freely to Noah without fear. He gets a taste of what a loving sexual relationship should be like. Noah is happy that Indy has finally let him in and is allowing him to love him. Josh will always be a part of their lives and they have a different kind of love for him. Noah is willing to protect Indy with all that he is . He will never allow Indy to be hurt again. This is only the beginning, but it is clear to see how deep their love runs for each other. Looking forward to Josh’s story and the continuation of Indy and Noah. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

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The Quarterback by MacKenzie Blair

Title: The Quarterback                      Word Count:304 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at Bodine College, a small Southern Division II school with an ultra-conservative Dean of Athletics. Matt is also very much in the closet, and he thinks he’s kept his secret well hidden. Until his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor and request a male masseuse for him. 

In walks Trevor Kim, a gorgeous, pierced, tattooed fellow Bodine student who does massages—without happy endings—to pay for school after his family kicked him out for being gay. Trevor takes one look at Matt and breaks all his own rules about mixing business with pleasure.

Matt needs to keep his scholarship, win the National Championship, and survive his asshole father. Instead, he falls in love. Trevor needs to accept that the football god is meant to end up with him rather than a perky cheerleader. It’s time for a happy ever after for both of them.

My Review: It is a real eye opener for star Quarterback Matt Lancaster when his closest friends take him to a ‘happy endings’ spa. He is certainly shocked beyond words when the guy he has been crushing on since freshman year walks in. Trevor works three jobs to pay his way through college. Seeing  Matt Lancaster laying on his table is a temptation he can’t resist. For the first time ever, Trevor is excited to offer the deluxe  package which includes a prostate massage.

Being the star Quarterback of a school in the south Matt knows he has to stay in the closet or risk losing his scholarship. Matt is scared of what will pop up with him having a male masseuse. He is enjoying the feeling of having Trevor’s hands roam all over his body. It is definitely a treat , but he freaks out when Trevor goes where no man has gone before. Trevor is certainly delighted to be touching a godlike man like Matt. However, he soon despair when he ventures too far and Matt flees the scene.

Matt feels overwhelmed and he feels like he has been setup by his friends. His closest friend Connor tells him its time to be truthful and admit he is gay. Matt tries to deny , but when he sees the lack of judgement on his friends faces, he knows he can finally reveal a part of himself he’s always kept hidden. It takes him about a week to go back to the spa and truly enjoy Trevor’s services. Trevor is surprised to see Matt again but he is oh so willing to be the one to touch this hunk of a jock. It is very exhilarating to be with Matt, but he is soon brought back to reality with how tawdry their session really is, when he leaves the room without his happy ending.

Matt is hooked, but when he goes back for another visit he finds out that Trevor has quit. He hunts him down on campus after Trevor’s boss reveals that he is the reason why she lost her best masseuse. Another shocker for Trevor comes when Matt approaches him in his dorm and request tutoring in sex lessons. Trevor is a bit wary of a ‘closet case’, but he just can’t resist the sexy jock. They start hanging out two nights a week and soon they’re both craving their explorations. They find out that they really like each other and they commiserate on their shitty family issues.

Trevor introduces Matt to a whole new world of gay sex with some dominance kink thrown in. Matt is a malleable student and he relishes his new endeavors with Trevor. It doesn’t take them long to define their relationship as boyfriends, but  only in private. It kills Trevor to see the public face  that Matt has to express to the world being the Quarterback. When Matt is tricked into claiming one of the sorority girls as his girlfriend in front of cameras, Trevor is hurt deeply. All his fears of dating a closet case is coming true. Things get smoothed out when Matt introduces Trevor to his core group of friends. This goes a long way in soothing Trevor’s acceptance of their closeted relationship.Both these men realize they have a relationship to cherish.

More obstacles are thrown in their path when one of  Matt’s homophobic teammates suspects their relationship. Matt wants to cool it for a bit, but Trevor lets his hurt feelings push him to ultimately end their relationship. Matt goes off to his Thanksgiving holiday feeling extremely dejected. This is made worse by being in close proximity with his opportunistic swindler of a father. Things get heated between them when Matt doesn’t conform to his dad’s idealistic plans for his future playing football. Matt’s dad become violent and Matt ends up in the hospital.

Things aren’t going too well for Trevor either when he tries to reach out to his family. Once again he is rejected by his mom for being gay. He feels so utterly alone. When he gets a call from Matt’s sister saying he has been hurt, he rushes to his side. Matt feels a sense of relief at having Trevor back in his life. He takes the plunge and introduces Trevor as his boyfriend to his uncle and aunt who are very welcoming. Matt is more ready now to embrace his feelings and become more open about his boyfriend to certain people.

When they go back to campus Matt embraces his newfound relationship. It is definitely not an easy road especially with him being the star Quarterback, but he knows that he can handle anything with Trevor by his side. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Angels and Demons ( Phoenix Club 9) by C.J. Bishop

Title: Angels and Demons Word Count:137 pgs
Genre: Dark Gay Romance

Blurb:ANGEL, Part 3

Desperate to save Maddy from the growing dangers, Angel must defy Wade’s threats and risk everything to escape with his younger brother.

But when hope betrays him yet again, and Maddy disappears into the night – Angel is left alone to face his abusers and struggle to determine truth from lie.

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 never-ending cycle of Angel’s abuse continues. Angel tries to placate Wade and Byrd by taking on more high paying customers. He almost succeeds in hiding some of the money , so that he and his younger brother Maddy can run away. It doesn’t go well for Angel when Wade finds out of his ‘ treachery’. He punishes Angel by letting Byrd have his wicked way with him. Byrd brutalized Angel sexually and threatened to do the same to innocent Maddy the next time.

As much as Angel would like to give up , he knows he can’t let anything happen to his sweet baby brother. Angel continues the farce that is his life and keep on turning tricks in the club. Angel’s boss Max frowns on prostitution in his club. When he hears a rumour that such illicit acts are happening, he is furious and can’t wait to find out who’s the culprit. Max sets Gabe and Cole to keep their eyes and ears out. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to figure out that the pimp is Wade. Gabe tries to seduce him so he can find out who his boy is.

Meanwhile, Dane is drowning his guilt and sorrow in a bottle. Not only is Angel being abused, but his personal life is in the toilet when the truth is revealed about Dane. Angel is devastated that Dane is one of the masked men from his nightmares. The one true hell that started his life on this treacherous slope of abuse and rape. Angel blocks out the feelings he has for Dane as he knows that there can be no future with someone who he believed has hurt him this way. Even though Angel knows that Dane wasn’t a part of the gangbang rape he experienced in the past, he just can’t forgive him. To Angel , Dane is guilty by association and by not helping him when he needed it the most.

Dane has gone MIA and everyone can see Angel is hurting. Angel pushes all his so-called friends away. He knows it will only cause him more pain to get attached. His focus is on getting enough money to run away with Maddy.They are all so shocked when they find out that Angel is the one turning tricks. Gabe and Cole corner Angel in order to help him, but the fear in Angel is so stark that he ran away while he could. He ran straight into the arms of his high paying client who pays him a whopping five grand. Angel sees salvation for him and Maddy finally. He is soon disabused of this notion when Byrd and Wade catches them. Maddy is able to run away , but this time Angel knows he is going to die when Byrd starts raping him.

Everyone is frantic at Angel’s disappearance. Dane has been found finally and he tells his friends the whole sordid mess of his part in Angel’s past. They forgive him when they see that he is just as much a victim as Angel was. Angel is able to get in a phone call to the Phoenix Club before his horror show starts. All his friends can hear Angel being raped. Dane is going crazy , not knowing where to begin looking for Angel. He is devastated hearing Angel’s cries. When Maddy shows up on their doorstep looking for help for his brother, they hope they can make in time.

Dane goes ballistic When He gets to the apartment and not much of Byrd is left when he is done. The horrible men who made Angels’ life hell is put behind bars. Angel needs serious medical attention and is rushed to the hospital. When Angel wakes to find a tear-stained wrecked Dane, his heart aches for all he sees. He forgives Dane wholeheartedly. It’s been a trial for both these men, but they are learning to forgive each other through their love that’s forged in the fires of hell. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

When Angels Cry (Phoenix Club 7) by CJ Bishop

Title: When Angels Cry         Word Count: 131pgs
Genre:Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: ANGEL, Part 1

18-year-old Angel’s sudden arrival at the Phoenix throws Dane’s heart into a frenzy.

But after losing out so recently with Caleb, he is in no hurry to feel the heartache again and resists his own rapidly growing feelings for the young man, unaware that what Angel needs most right now is someone he can trust and feel safe with.

Caught up in an abusive situation at home from which there seems no escape, Angel’s prime objective is to protect his little brother from the same hellish existence he himself has been thrust into at the hands of their sick minded stepbrothers.

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: All Angel has ever known in his life is pain. Him being the new member of the Phoenix Club is a way to lessen some of that pain. Angel lives with his two step brothers, Wade and Axel. Wade is a horrible human being who started exploiting Angel’s innocence from an early age. Wade knows that Angel would do anything to keep his little brother Maddy safe from the harsh realities of their world. He uses that to keep Angel in line. Angel has struck up a deal with his brother that as long as he brings in good money, they will leave Maddy untouched.

Angel tries to sharpen his skills on the dance floor , by getting one of the other dancers help. It is going good with Ricky, but Angel only has eyes for Dane. Dane is one of the sexiest men Angel has ever laid eyes on, but for some reason Dane keeps his distance. Dane is intrigued by Angel’s innocence, but he doesn’t want to fall in the same trap like before. Dane fell a little bit in love with Caleb before and that unrequited love killed him. Angel knows he needs to be focused in order to make enough money to get his brother away from Wade and Axel.

Max and Horatio are still pining over each other, but seeing the turmoil that Max is in, Horatio decides to go away. This kills Max, but this is what he needs to separate himself from the overwhelming feelings. Horatio is half way around the world entertaining another young doppelganger of Max. Even though it is not ideal , he still finds a friend in Seth. Gabe and Cole are still very much in love, but Gabe starts being furtive and taking secret phone calls. Cole has caught on and it makes him very nervous that Gabe is keeping secrets from him.

When Angel is hurt by one of Wade’s friends Byrd, he becomes desperate. He enlists the help of Dane to give him some lessons for sensual dancing. The chemistry between the two is off the charts and soon leads to something more. Angel seduces Dane with his innocence and Dane’s guards around his heart are pushed away. After they fall into a blissful sleep, Angel is caught in the grips of one of his nightmarish memories. Dane sees that loving this boy could be the thing to go break him. He is running scared and pushes Angel away, telling him that their hook up was a one off thing. Angel is heartbroken and leaves in tears, knowing that yet again he was nothing special to another man. To be continued….. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

More Than Enough by T.T. Kove

Title: More Than Enough                  Word Count:204 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:A relationship’s all about compromise… but can we find one that satisfies us both?

All I’ve ever wanted is a relationship—but I’m too socially awkward to connect with people. All through primary school, I was the victim of severe bullying and on the home-front my parents were neglectful. All this has left its traces… and no matter how much I wish for something more, all I get are quick one-offs with people who’s only interested in sex.

Then, at the holidays, I meet Thomas. Not only is he incredibly attractive—but for the first time, I can truly connect with someone. But then it turns out we’re not compatible. While I crave sexual intimacy, that’s not something Thomas is willing or capable of giving.

So what is more important to me? Intimacy or connection?

My Review: These two characters have been secondary ones in previous ‘More’ novels. Thomas is the uncle that’s basically been taking care of all his siblings children by opening up his home to them. Thomas is a doctor and he leads a very busy life. Throughout it all, he has always done the right thing. He has found the time to take care of all his nieces and nephews and given them the love that they never got from their parents, his siblings.

It is during Christmas vacation that Thomas meets Leo, Alex’s brother. Alex is Andreas’ boyfriend who Thomas has been so kind in letting into his home. Leo is instantly drawn to Thomas’s aura. He seems to be  a man who is so kind and patient with his family. That is like a lure for Leo as he is not used to seeing families being so caring of each other. Leo and Alex’s home life was quite turbulent with parents who were neglectful.

Thomas and Leo get to know each other really well when they start going on long walks away from the family. They are both struggling in their own way. Thomas is getting anxious about being alone since most of his nieces and nephews are getting ready to go away to college. Leo is just not used to being surrounded by so many people. Leo knows he is socially awkward and he feels like he will always be alone and this scares him. They comfort each other and the pull is so irresistible that they start kissing. When things start getting too heavy, Thomas pulls away.

Thomas admits to Leo that he feels their connection, but he explains that he is asexual and will not be able to pursue a physical relationship. Leo is willing to learn how to be with someone who is asexual, because he is not willing to give up the connection that he feels. They hide their relationship from the family, until they can figure out where it is going. Leo needs to go back to finish college which is in another city.

Leo continues their long distance relationship by going back every weekend with Alex to see Thomas. Their bond grows stronger , but it gets harder for Leo literally, to keep his hands and erections away from Thomas. Thomas explains that he is not disgusted by watching Leo pleasure himself, he just can’t participate. Leo feels a bit embarrassed and he struggles with his conscience and making his erections disappear. He doesn’t want Thomas to feel like all he wants is sex, but his body has not gotten the memo that sex will be off the table in this relationship.

As they become closer, secrets begin to unfold. We get a better understanding of how messed up Thomas’ family truly is , plagued with sexual predators and mental illness. We know from previously, that Jorgen , one of Thomas’ nephew was sexually abused by his uncle. Also, Thomas reveals in confidence to Leo that his father sexually abused his sister for years before she killed herself. That abuse resulted in a pregnancy,  the child is none other than Ben , Thomas’ nephew who he raised from birth. This sheds new light and understanding into why Thomas might be asexual. If all he was surrounded by was unhealthy sexual relationships when  he was younger, maybe this is his mind’s way of finding something ‘ normal’.

They both keep on working out the kinks in their relationship. They go away to a cabin for Thomas’s birthday and both come to the conclusion that they need to tell the others about their relationship. In a way it was very anticlimactic when Leo told Alex because he already had an inkling that something was going on. Turns out that the cousins know as well and they all discussed it and are very happy that Thomas is finally happy. They are both making plans for the near future and settling in nicely as a couple. I give this my ratings of 3- it was ok. You can give it a try. It was very hard for me to wrap my mind around Thomas’s asexuality and I lost the connection between these two characters a little.

Anything For Him( More Than Anything 2) by T. T. Kove

Title: Anything For Him          Word Count:201 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:How could we ever make a relationship work while living nine hours away from each other?

I’m a broken man. Thanks to my boyfriend’s psychiatrist uncle, however, I might finally get some much needed professional help to come to term with my past and my post-traumatic stress disorder. But it all feels hollow and empty without Geir—because he was the one who made life worth living. 

We might as well live a world’s apart. He can only visit during holidays now that he lives in the capital, and I can’t face going to a big city. A year’s a long time. Can a tentative relationship such as ours survive that long apart?

My Review: Geir shows up at his new home and immediately is overwhelmed by a seizure. When he wakes up , he meets his step mom and her kids for the first time. Even though he is still a little bitter,he acknowledges the beauty of the place. He misses Jorgen like crazy , but he looks forward to meeting another friend. Geir calls up Jorgen’s best friend’s brother Nik and introduces himself.

Nik is unapologetically gay, very flamboyant and super sweet. Geir’s father doesn’t approve of his new boyfriend or his friend. This saddens Geir, but he knows having a friend like Nik will keep the loneliness at bay. They get along famously.Unbeknownst to Geir, Jorgen is certainly not doing as well. Within the month that Geir has been gone, he has fallen into a deep depression. Not only is Jorgen lonely, therapy has been brutal and very evocative bringing his demons to the fore.

Jorgen has suffered an accidental overdose from trying to dull the pain. He is under suicide watch and is forced to go home with his uncle Thomas. Thomas is very kind and always quick to lend a helping hand. Jorgen runs into his cousin Andreas’ boyfriend Alex in the middle of the night. They both find that they have something in common with missing their boyfriends. Also, they both have issues that cannot be easily overcome. Jorgen realizes that it is time for him to open up himself a little. Alex and Jorgen become great friends and their trauma that they have endured due to their families bond them together.

Even though they are apart for almost a year, they keep in contact through phone calls and Geir writes letters to Jorgen which he cherishes. Life continues for both  of them simultaneously with Geir becoming more confident and Jorgen becoming stronger and  more mentally stable. Jorgen has started going to therapy more regularly and their is a vast  difference in the status of his mental health. Although he still suffers from PTSD and panic attacks, it is easier for him to control it before it even starts.

When Easter comes around Jorgen spends a week with Geir’s family. He is happy to embrace his boyfriend again and it is clear to see that their feelings have not waned for each other. They have a really sexy frottage session that pushes their relationship over into the sexual realm. Before then, Jorgen had avoided anything too blatantly sexual. They were both ecstatic and have hopes for the future that they could grow sexually. They leave each other with plans that Geir would move in with Jorgen in a few months when school ended.

Jorgen feels that he needs to explain about his childhood sexual abuse to Geir. He knows Geir suspects, but he is finally ready to open up to him  and trust him with his deep dark secrets. Jorgen writes all this in a letter and strips his soul bare. He had a truly horrific childhood with an uncle that sexually abused him on a daily basis for years. Meanwhile, he was also physically and mentally abused by a mother who suffered from multiple personality disorder. His family is definitely the personification of dysfunction. When Geir reads the letter , he is devastated and the truth is certainly heartrending.

Geir is ready to start his life with Jorgen so he can fill it with all the love that he deserves. Jorgen invites Geir and his family to a barbeque/ coming home party for his cousin Andreas. It was great to see Andreas and Alex back together , still very much in love. They give Geir hope for where he would like to see his relationship with Jorgen in the future.

Jorgen and Geir have their own intimate welcome home party. They definitely make up for lost time. Being with Geir in a sexual way allows Jorgen to reclaim his sexuality and the innocence that was taken from him. Jorgen marvels at the purity and intimacy of making love with Geir. They are both amazed at how good it feels to be with each other. They are sooo sexy together in their explorations. I really enjoyed watching both these young men blossom and break out of their shells.
Yet again, this one was not overly filled with sex, but I think that actually made it better. Their love story was made even more authentic, pure and intimate due to the lack of sex. I give this
my ratings of 4- not for the sex, but for the intimacy and love that overcame all the trauma that these two endured in their young life.

Louder Than Words( More Than Words 3) by T. T. Kove

Title: Louder Than Words              Word Count:210 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Life might be good now, but that’s all about to come to an end soon, and what then?

I’ve had a turbulent few months; surviving a gay bashing, dealing with my abusive parents, and getting used to my new life with my equally as new boyfriend. I could do without his best friend who doesn’t like me—or maybe he does? 

Life’s about to become even more turbulent though. The last term of our education is well underway, and it’s time to figure out what I’m supposed to do next. Only I don’t know what I want to do with my life. Andreas knows, and he’s got it all figured out, but I don’t. 

Can our new relationship survive what lies ahead? More importantly, can I survive it?

My Review: The story of Andreas and Alex continues. Alex has had a rough time in life starting with his neglectful abusive parents. He self-harms as a way of coping and was ready to end it all when he meets Andreas. Andreas means the world to him , he has given him a reason to live. This is almost taken away from him when he is gay-bashed by Andreas’ best friend’s brother Marcus. For awhile there Alex lived in fear,  but therapy has helped both him and Andreas to recover from this trauma.

Andreas and Alex are looking forward to finishing up school and embarking on college. They have a few trips planned before Andreas has to go to the army for a year. Alex is worried about what life will be like while Andreas is gone. He feels like he only just started living. Andreas tries to reassure him that they will be fine. It is fun to watch how these two have grown as a couple and especially Alex as an individual.

Alex has stopped cutting and even though he  hates his scars , he is being more open about his issues. There were lots of sexy times with Alex and Andreas when they start exploring their sexuality during their vacation. They visited a sex shop and bought some great toys and handcuffs. Alex explores his submissive side and Andreas was only too happy to indulge him. 

Alex definitely feels less socially awkward, he now feels a part of Andreas’ friends. He sees himself in a new light and this bolsters his self confidence. Andreas’ best friend Glenn opens up to Alex about his conflicted feelings towards him and Andreas. It seems that Glenn is a bit in love with both of them. This boggles Alex’s mind, but it certainly makes him happy to know that Glenn doesn’t hate him.

Their summer is filled with lots of sex and some truly passionate moments. Andreas gives Alex a night to remember before he goes off to the army. However, Alex is still sad when he wakes up to find Andreas already gone. He sobs uncontrollably and it’s Ben, Andreas’ cousin who picks up the pieces. In that moment, Alex realizes that he has friends to help him through their year apart. 

Alex only lasts three days before going back to his coping mechanism. He cuts thin lines into his wrists and it seems to hurt more since he is out of practice. He feels thoroughly ashamed and he cries at the hopelessness he feels. He befriends another of Andreas’ cousin Jorgen and this helps a little. Jorgen misses his boyfriend Geir who had to go away as well. They commiserate together and Alex knows he will be fine. He knows for sure that he has found another friend. 

Alex soon goes away to school where he shares an apartment with his brother Leo. He is overwhelmed his first day,but Andreas calls and reminds him how strong he is and this helps him a lot. Alex acknowledges that he is dependent on Andreas , but Andreas is his lifeline the one that showed him the true meaning of love. He gets stronger day by day. It is the passion they share together that helps Alex in the end. Andreas encourages Alex to use the toy he got him before leaving while thinking about him. Alex is a bit uncomfortable and embarrassed at first , but he relishes trying new things.

It is two months before Andreas comes home for a few days. It is clear to see the growth in Alex as he has made a new friend from school. He is happy to see Andreas and they make the most of the few days reconnecting and reinforcing their love. It is definitely not easy for Alex, but he lives day by day with a stronger support system than ever. He is counting down the days to embark on their forever love and life together. I really enjoyed this and I give it my ratings of 5- bring out the vibrators.