Frozen 1:Innocent by Scarlet Blackwell

​Title: Innocent    Word Count: 38,349

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: Gabriel Black is at his remote Alaskan cabin finishing his new novel when a man breaks in and holds him prisoner. Ethan is frozen to the bone and carrying a gun, his origin a mystery. Heat ignites instantly between Gabriel and Ethan and the lines between captive and captor soon start to blur. Ethan is an enigma, a man surely on the run, maybe a dangerous criminal, but Gabriel is drawn to Ethan’s broken spirit and damaged soul. What secrets is Ethan keeping and is he, as he claims, innocent?

My Review: Gabriel Black is at his cabin trying to write his next novel when he is surprised by an intruder. His first impression of the man pointing a gun at him is that he is very handsome. Gabriel knows he’s in trouble , but so far his captor Ethan has not hurt him. Ethan is definitely in trouble with the law, but there is a vulnerability and a gentleness that belies the fact that he could be a hardened criminal. 

Gabriel gets hot and bothered by his sexy captor after sleeping the whole night pressed against his body. He tries to seduce Ethan the next morning , but he has to admit to himself that he is not just doing it to gain his freedom. There is a sexual tension between these two men.  Gabriel is really turned on by Ethan and it’s obvious to him that Ethan is repressing his sexuality.

 Gabriel has to remind himself that he has a partner back home even though things have been rocky for them lately. He is almost sure that their relationship is about to end, but he still wants to remain loyal. Confirmation of the end of their relationship comes when his partner Jack calls to tell Gabriel that he has been having an affair with Gabriel’s best friend Jordan. The betrayal hits Gabriel extremely hard and he breaks down in front of Ethan. 

Ethan feels horrible for the heartbreak that Gabriel is enduring because of his cheating ex. Ethan wants to comfort this sweet man, but instead he gives him some time alone to pull himself together. Gabriel’s sobs are heartrending and after what seems like hours he is all cried out. It is at that moment while he’s watching tv that he sees the manhunt on for Ethan who allegedly killed his boyfriend. He escaped from prison after serving 3 years so far. Ethan explains to Gabriel that he is innocent and was framed for the murder.Gabriel chooses to believe Ethan , because he desperately needs to explore the connection he feels with this man and there is an obvious innocence surrounding Ethan. Before they can go even further Ethan is caught and sent back to prison. 

Gabriel is shaken up and decides to distance himself from the situation by going back home. He is met by an empty house and realizes that nothing else compares to the two days he had with Ethan.  Gabriel decides to become actively involved with Ethan’s case. Ethan is happy to hear from his lawyer about Gabriel’s involvement. For the first time since being sentenced, he starts hoping for the future.

Gabriel and the lawyer go through the evidence with a fine tooth comb. Eventually , all their hard work and dedication pays off when they find the real culprit. Not only do they find the suspect but they also find another victim chained in his basement. It takes no time at all to free Ethan when they’ve found the real killer. 

Gabriel is hiding close to his car on the day of Ethan’s release, not sure of the reception he will get.Ethan is overwhelmed with gratitude and as happy as Gabriel is, he is also worried that this is all they have between them. He decides to give Ethan some space to be with his family. Ethan feels abandoned and goes over to Gabriel’s hotel room to give him a piece of his mind.  Ethan is angry, but it doesn’t take long for their passion to combust. They experience the same feelings that they had started to explore at the cabin. They realize that  while the foundation of their relationship is a  bit unsteady, they can make it. They are both willing to make the effort and take it one step at a time and see where it can lead. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Kiss Me by Scarlet Blackwell

Title : Kiss Me                Word Count : 73,817

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Dexter is a rent boy falling for his new client. Logan is a homicide cop falling for his rent boy. Now madly in love, Logan discovers Dexter is dangerously in thrall to a gangster whose clutches he can’t escape. When the gangster finds out about the two of them, he targets Dexter’s friend in revenge. The quickest answer is a safe house, but how long will it be safe?

My Review : There are some relationships that are just destined to fail from the very beginning. From the moment Dexter Anderson first met Logan Maden he knew he was in trouble. Dexter has made his living and become somewhat successful by being a high class prostitute. He has his own website and a nice clean hotel room he rents from his friend Michael. Logan is a cop, a detective in fact who seems to have intimacy issues. Dexter is very wary at first, having this illicit illegal arrangement with an officer of the law. 

Dexter soon realized that Logan is everything that he could have wanted and then some. There is a certain innocence and naiveté surrounding Logan and this is endearing to Dexter. Dexter is very attracted to Logan, more than he’s ever been to any of his customers. He finds himself wanting things from Logan, that someone in his profession has no hope at attaining. Logan is very hesitant and distant in their interactions,  but after a few months he starts to open up. Dexter is weak and always so turned on with Logan that he ends up breaking one of his cardinal rules, no kissing. The first time they kiss , Dexter feels himself plunging into the unknown. He tries to keep himself aloof and jaded, but Logan’s kisses rejuvenates a part of him  that has been dormant.

Logan starts pushing for a relationship  and Dexter keeps on pulling back. He is afraid that his life of prostitution will sully Logan’s innocence. Also, there are unsavoury characters in his life that promises to hurt the people who Dexter loves the most. Dexter’s friends beg him to seek help from Logan when Ivan a known hit man continuously hurts him physically. He doesn’t heed the warnings and then it becomes too late.

A tragic story unfolds when Ivan goes to Dexter’s house in a jealous rage and Ivan kills Ennis, his best friend’s fiancé. It is such a heartwrenching set of events and  Dexter shoulders the blame, as well as he should after so many repeated warnings. His best friend Daron who is out of his mind with grief blames him. Logan does some finger pointing of his own, while tampering with evidence so that Ivan can be put away for life. Logan knows that a person’s lifestyle plays a big part in how they are seen by the jury. He is trying to make sure that Dexter’s prostitution doesn’t cause any further repercussions. 

After a hit is put out on Dexter and Daron, they are moved to a safe house. Logan becomes embroiled in the case after he kills a dirty cop to protect  Dexter. His innocence is under the microscope and everybody’s life is turned upside down with no hope of a happy ending. The evidence is looking very dismal for Logan’s  plight when the trial starts. He becomes very bitter when he is left standing by himself with harsh accusations being thrown at his character. Logan starts doubting their love and outright blames Dexter for the whole mess.

Some relationships are too toxic to survive. So many lives have been irrevocably changed and there is no coming back from certain actions. Logan ended up killing Ivan , because of his love for Dexter. Is it really love though, when it destroys someone so completely? Logan ended up in prison and Dexter did a stint  in a mental institution. 

 It’s twelve years after the fact and everyone is still standing like stagnant putrid water. Daron is still grieving Ennis, Dexter hasn’t had the will to move on with his life or become attached to anyone. He is a shell of his former self. When Daron reveals to Dexter that Logan is getting out, he has a bit of a downward spiral. So much loneliness,  desolation and regrets make for a bittersweet reunion for the two men. They have a lot of soul deep purging of anguish and broken dreams that they need to get out. They have a happily ever after. 

I’m not sure how to feel about this one, because I don’t believe that love can conquer all. As bad as I feel for Dexter, I really do believe that he was at the root of all this chaos which ensued and reigned over so many lives.  I think that the others payed a far higher price for his mistakes and to me that is not forgivable. I give this my ratings of 4 – because there are truly flawed characters in real life and even though I don’t believe in their everlasting love,  it’s enough that they believe. 

Lonely by Scarlet Blackwell

Title : Lonely                       Word Count : 22,330

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : When the love of Austin Bale’s life—Rupert the German Shepherd—is critically injured in a car accident, he has to find seventeen hundred dollars and fast. Austin lives alone, works a minimum wage job and has no one he can turn to. The only thing he can offer vet Lynton Brooke, by way of payment, is himself.

Lynton takes him up on his offer and is soon smitten by the reclusive Austin. Both men recognise a kindred spirit, a lonely soul that needs a mate, but Austin is too aware of their different backgrounds. Can he ever hope that Lynton could be the one?

My Review : Austin is caught between a rock and a hard place. His  beloved dog has been run over and he can’t bear to lose his only friend in the world. He knows right off the bat that he wont be able to pay the vet’s bill. He is barely living from paycheck to paycheck.  Not knowing the young man’s situation, the sexy vet Lynton tells him something will work out.In an act of desperation,  he offers his body as payment for surgery for his beloved dog. As much as Lynton is interested,  he turns Austin down.

Austin leaves feeling dejected, worrying about what will happen to his dog. When he goes back to check on his dog the next day, Lynton tells him he’ll take him up on his offer. Austin is relieved that the dog will be taken care of, but deep down inside he feels dissapointed and a little bit cheap. On one hand he despises Lynton for taking what was so freely offered,  but he is  also secretly turned on. Lynton realizes that Austin’s perception of him has changed  for the worst, but it is hard for him to renege on their illicit bargain when he wants Austin almost desperately. They are off to a bad start, but luckily Rupert the dog keeps on bringing them together. It helps that they have great chemistry and they are very passionate when they are in bed together. Lynton realizes that he has fallen for Austin, he just hopes he can win him over. Austin is a little stubborn and extremely proud and it is hard for him to accept financial help from the richer , more stable Lynton. I say stop looking a gift horse in the mouth. I was finally happy that he got over his issues and moved in with Lynton who is more than capable of taking care of them.  This was short  and sweet with lots of hot sex. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.