Trained by N.M. Pratt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

Love Me Whole by Nicky James

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Shame( No Shame 4) by Nora Phoenix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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