Stay ( Working out the Kinks 1) by K.M. Neuhold

Title: Stay Word Count:205 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance/ Puppy play

Blurb:What happens to a couple when one of them discovers a new kink that he’s not sure his partner will be into?

Dear Art,
I’m sure you get messages like this all the time, but I feel like I don’t even know who I am anymore. I suppose I should start from the beginning… Three weeks ago, I saw puppy play for the first time, and now I can’t stop thinking about it. Wait, no, that’s not really the beginning… Ten years ago, my best friend who I’d been in love with my entire life told me he loved me too.
For ten years, I’ve been living in complete bliss with Lars, the man of my dreams. Don’t get me wrong, we have our fights and disagreements (mostly because I do irritating shit, and every once in a while, he reaches the end of his patience), but he is my other half in every way. I didn’t know I could love someone the way I love him.
Then, the puppy thing happened. It’s not so different from when I realized I was gay; there was a moment where everything sort of clicked into place, and my whole body was like “Yes, that’s what we’ve been trying to figure out all this time.” At first, I thought maybe I should just let it go because it’s not the kind of thing I can imagine my partner being into. But last week I went into a kink shop and ended up walking out with a puppy hood. I stashed it in our guest bedroom closet and haven’t even had the courage to take it out and try it on again, let alone show it to Lars. I don’t know what to do. How do I bring this up to him? And what if he isn’t into it? I feel like I don’t recognize myself anymore, and I don’t know where to turn. Please help.

Sincerely,
One Lost Puppy

My Review: Jonah and Lars have loved each other from the moment they could walk. First as friends and in the last ten years as lovers. They have the kind of relationship where even after ten years,the flame still burns bright and they are more in love now than ever. Nobody is perfect, but their love comes pretty close. The chemistry between the two men is off the charts and watching their love story unfold will leave you smiling from ear to ear.

Jonah and Lars know everything about each other, or at least that’s the thought. When they decide to venture to the pride parade for the first time, something pings Jonah’s curiosity. Watching a group of men dressed up as ‘puppies’ strangely illicits a sense of longing in Jonah. Jonah feels bereft when Lars mentions how weird the puppy kink seems. That is the very first time that Jonah hides his true feelings from Lars, because he disagrees. Jonah thinks the ‘puppies’ are cute and wonders what it would be like to be so carefree.

For the next few weeks, Jonah secretly delves into the world of puppies. He browses websites and reads all the articles he can get his hands on. He is guilty of soaking up all the info he can get and he is convinced that this is the path for him. There is just one problem, how does he explain that he wants to try puppy play to Lars? Lars have noticed the slight changes in Jonah, seeing how secretive and withdrawn he has become. He is at a loss and grasping to figure out what’s the problem.

Lars stumbles on the answer to his internal questions when he gets home unexpectedly early one day. He catches Jonah trying on his new puppy hood. Jonah is clearly embarrassed and extremely nervous about Lars’ reaction, waiting for his rejection. Seeing the vulnerability on his lover’s face, Lars calmly opens up the conversation. Lars doesn’t reject Jonah, he gives him the comfort that he needs. Lars is just so happy to have his lover back, instead of the secretive, distant man that Jonah was becoming. Jonah explains everything and why he feels so drawn to puppy play.

Lars being the ever supportive , loving partner that he is plunges right in. He vows to be the best master to his pup. Lars lets Jonah know that this journey will be one that they will take together. Jonah is overjoyed, but obviously he is still a little shy and uncertain in some aspects. There is now a new dynamic to their relationship that they are both willing to explore. Jonah lets Lars know he wants to play a more submissive role in their everyday life. Lars relishes being more dominant and cottons to the idea of being able to organise Jonah’s daily routines to alleviate some of his lover’s stress. Being a doctor Jonah already has a lot to deal with at work. He is ready to relinquish that control to Lars when he gets home. There is definitely a newfound freedom to Jonah’s personality.

Lars has loved Jonah through many different seasons. This is certainly a never-ending love. Jonah’s commitment to being the best master pushes them both to go to a trainer who helps them to navigate this new world. They both gain a lot of insight from their lessons. Lars learns commands and boundaries as a way of communicating with his new pup. Puppy play is definitely a freeing time for Jonah where he turns into this over-exuberant pup named Lucky. Seeing Jonah so ecstatic and at peace makes Lars falls even deeper in love with him. They are both gaining confidence in their respective roles and Lars is surprised at how well he has acclimated to being a master. This dominant and possessive side is one they have never explored, but Lars finds that he really enjoys it.

For their upcoming eleventh anniversary, Lars decides to ‘put a ring on it’. He presents Jonah with a ring and collar with a lock. Jonah is overjoyed and hands over his gift which turns out to be a cock cage. This takes their sex lives to new heights. The thought of truly being the master of Jonah’s erections and orgasms more than revs up Lars. Jonah loves seeing his man so dominant and possessive.

They can no longer wait to be married so they decide to elope to Niagara Falls. It is a beautiful ceremony where they become lifelong partners and husbands. They culminate their wedding night with the hottest sex ever after a week of Jonah being in a cock cage. He loves that feeling of being owned by his master. I really enjoyed the beauty of the love between Jonah and Lars. It is proof that true love can survive mostly anything. It shows an all encompassing love that allows for individuality. Most of all it allows for changes that come with growth when two people share their lives together and become one. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

PS: I must admit that I still don’t fully get the whole ‘puppy play’ aspect, but I certainly will not bash it. Love is love and everyone should feel free to be who they are and love who they want.

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Closet Case ( Sexy Nerd Boys 4) by K .M. Neuhold

Title: Closet Case                        Word Count: 168 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Jax

That awkward moment when you accidentally fool around with a closet case. I have a strict policy against dating closeted guys. Confused straight guys? Absolutely. Guys who don’t mind being out and proud? Duh. But closet cases are a hard pass. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt with a giant picture of a broken heart on it. It would be a lot easier to stick to my dating rule if Matthew Hart could be slightly less irresistible. 

Matthew

Being a closeted gay college football player is not all it’s cracked up to be. After I broke my high school boyfriend’s heart by refusing to come out of the closet, I swore off serious dating. I don’t want to hurt anyone like that again, and I’ll admit I’m protecting my own heart in the process, too. It was a lot easier to stick to my no dating rule before I laid eyes on Jax Greene. He’s exactly my type in every possible way. If there’s even the slightest chance that history won’t repeat itself, I want to see where things might lead. Convincing Jax to give me a chance though might be the toughest play I’ve ever made. 

**This book is the first M/M installment of the Sexy Nerd Boys series, but can be read as a stand-alone. Recommended for 18+ due to language and all kinds of hot sex.

My Review: Jackson is very ‘out and proud’ and that’s the way he likes it. His former boyfriend Beck was a closet case and he has decided never to make the same mistake twice. Jax has hookups but nothing meaningful. When he meets the sexy straight looking quarterback Matthew in his anthropology class, he decides to flirt a little. Matthew sees Jax and knows that he’s definitely his type. He can’t seem to get Jax out of his head.

When he goes to hangout with his friend Hadley and her boyfriend, he is surprised to see that Jax is a mutual friend. Jax re-evaluates his little flirting game when he realizes that Matty is not straight, but rather gay and firmly in the closet. Jax has certain rules in place to protect his heart from another relationship filled with secrets and lies. Even though they are both lonely, they decide to stay in the friend zone, especially when they are paired up for their anthropology project.

It doesn’t take long for Jax to realize that he can’t just be friends with the sexy stud muffin that is Matty Hart. Things get hot and heavy between them after they go to a gay club with their friends. Jax watches another guy who is his look-alike hit on Matty and that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. Jealousy rears its ugly head for Jax and Matty knows he needs to take his man home and prove that Jax will be his. 

They settle in a mutually beneficial sexual arrangement that works for them for awhile. Jax knows that he has fallen into the same trap he has avoided since his last breakup, but he can’t resist Matty. He genuinely likes him and it helps that he is a cuddle bug. They have quite a few meaningful nights canoodling while watching Marvel movies and making out. Matty loves all the quirky little things about Jax and wishes that his NFL aspirations didn’t conflict with a future as a gay man.

This bone of contention soon comes to a head when both halves of Matthew’s lives clash at a frat party. Jax is surprised to see Matty at the party and approaches him in front of his football buddies. He is harshly rebuffed and this hurts more than he can say. Matty feels horrible about how he treats Jax, but his fear of being outed is a powerful thing. Jax lets him know that he can’t continue living a lie and walks out of his life. 

Matty is broken by the turn of events and turns into a zombie. His friend Hadley tries to drag him out of his slump, but it’s his mom who finally pulls him out and tells him to stop hiding. A big part of Matthew’s self image and his view on ‘coming out’ is steeped into the vitriolic standards of how a ‘real man’ should be according to his father. When his father was alive he would verbally abuse him and call him a sissy. Matthew acknowledges to himself that he needs to stop caring what other people think, because he can’t see a future without Jax. Matty knows he needs to make a grand gesture to win Jax’s heart and that comes in the form of their anthropology project. They chose the topic on homosexuality and how it’s viewed in different cultures. When Matty starts talking about sports culture and how homosexuality is tied into ideas of masculinity,  one of his teammates shout out that there are no gays in football. Matty doesn’t even think, he just shuts his teammate down and outs himself in front of the whole class. A statement that was once panic inducing, has now liberated him. Jax is in shock, but he supports his man and is very proud that Matty has finally found himself. They celebrate by consummating  the new parameters of their relationship expressing their love with lots of sweet kisses.

This is certainly a happily ever after and we get a glimpse eight years in their future where we see them  settled and getting ready to celebrate their daughter’s first birthday. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear. It was just the right amount of angst, sweetness and sexual chemistry between Jax and  Matty. Loved it!!!