Sparkle ( Passions Book 2) by Jerry Cole

Title: Sparkle                          Word Count: 226 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Sparkle Jones is a rising star, with a cult following, and a closet full of great shoes. Life is good in the limelight. Now, all he needs is somebody to share it with. Despite the glamorous trappings of his life, Sparkle can’t escape his fear of living and dying alone. When the self-proclaimed diva agrees to accompany a friend to an upscale bathhouse, he never expects to run into the one man who will change his whole world and teach him what love is all about. 

Simon Burns learned early in life how to thrive as a good-looking gay man. His well-earned reputation as the ultimate one-night stand and his skills as a lover are legendary. The straight-acting player has lived a double life for decades, keeping his private sexual escapades casual and anonymous. When tragedy hits close to home, he finds himself wondering if it’s all worth it. Is the player finally ready for love? 

When these two worlds collide, sparks fly and neither man can deny their feelings. But the road ahead will not be easy. The bonds they build are put to the test, and they must decide if they are willing to sacrifice the lives they have built for themselves separately for the chance at something permanent together. 

Please Note: This book contains Adult Language & Steamy Adult Activities, it is intended for 18+ Adults Only. Novel, approx. 50,000 words+ in length. HEA (happy ever after ending). Does not end with a “cliffhanger”.

My Review: Sean ‘Sparkle’ Jones is definitely a diva. He is very sassy, likes to be pampered and lives to sparkle. When he meets Simon Burns in a bathhouse, he is certainly not expecting anything to come from it, even though he is impressed by Simon’s business acumen when he explains that he owns the bathhouse and some of the visions he has in store for the future. When they meet by chance for the second time later that day Simon knows he cannot let Sparkle get away from him again. Simon is the kind of guy who only does one night stands, but something about Sparkle intrigues him and leaves him wanting more. Simon gives Sparkle an indecent proposal he can’t resist ; be his exclusively for as long as it feels good and live in the lap of luxury. Sparkle decides to give Simon a try and he thinks he might have met his match.

Things are not smooth sailing between the two, but they have great chemistry in and out of the bedroom. Simon claims that Sparkle help him to forget and he relishes that after a hard day’s work  at his day job in the financial district. It turns out that Simon is actually Sparkle’s  best friend Jerrod’s boss. Sparkle doesn’t want to rock the boat since he knows Simon wants to keep his professional and private lives separate, so he keeps this tidbit secret. It soon becomes clear that Simon doesn’t trust easy, when he thinks that Sparkle might be poisoning him. Sparkle is outraged that Simon has come to all the wrong assumptions and conclusions when he finds his laxative. Sparkle is hurt that Simon doesn’t trust him and immediately thinks the worst, that he might be a gold-digger.

Sparkle leaves with a broken heart, but affirms to follow Jerrod’s advice to remember what makes Sean happy. For the first in a long time Sean takes out his art supplies to try to find the boy he once knew . He got down on his knees and prayed and cried. There were still remnants of Simon in his life and it came in the form of a package. Simon had paid for an expensive kitchen  appliance that Sparkle could use at ‘their’ house. Sparkle calls Jerrod to vent , but doesn’t get the chance when Jerrod is too busy to talk because his boss has taken a few weeks off to deal with a family crisis.

Sparkle sets his pride aside to go see his man and ascertain the nature of the crisis. Simon isn’t quite unwelcoming, but he is at his emotional breaking point. He breaks down and tells Sparkle how bereft he is that he is about to lose his mother.  Sparkle comforts Simon and lets him know that he missed him. He swallows his pride and suggest that they delve into their relationship together and stop pretending. Simon accepts as he is tired of being lonely and Sparkle is the only one that fills that void. Sparkle was able to meet Simon’s mother and get her stamp of approval before she died. He was able to find a little bit more of Sean when he sang a soulful song at Mrs. Burns graveside. It was definitely heartfelt and the perfect balm to soothe his lover’s soul.

This tragedy drew them closer and things heated up for them in the bedroom. Simon slowly starts to embrace being in a relationship with such an effeminate man. When he sees how proud Sparkle is to show him off, he realized that he needs to do the same. When Sparkle begs him to go out to a big shindig for the financial sector Simon agrees. Sparkle reveals his secret about knowing Jerrod and Aaron. Simon is a little bit surprised, but other than that the night is going great. 

That is until Simon ends up in the emergency room. It turns out that he has a perforated ulcer and that’s why he has been feeling sick and in pain. Sparkle is very supportive and the perfect boyfriend, while Simon turns into the worst patient. All of his insecurities about the age gap in their relationship comes to the surface. He sees Sparkle as someone who is far too vibrant to be wasted on an old man like him. Sparkle sees that Simon is a little bit down , but he just thinks its because he is in pain. He tries to over-compensate by being upbeat.

Simon starts pushing Sparkle away and he definitely notices the difference when their sex life plummets into the abyss. A misunderstanding further compromises their situation when Sparkle walks in on what he thinks is Simon receiving a blowjob. Sparkle is very upset , but he remains confused at the look of resignation he saw on his lover’s face. Jerrod is the one that steps in and has a chat with Simon. Simon confesses the truth and Jerrod explains that he has never seen Sparkle so in love with anyone. This gives Simon hope for their future. He shows up at Sparkle’s apartment ready to grovel and win back the affections of his sweet man. He is very open and vulnerable when he approaches Sparkle and tells him the truth. Sparkle wants to give him a hard time,but it is that vulnerability that convinces him to give him another chance. He sees a cinch in Simon’s armour and realize that he is not infallible. Simon   suffers from the same fear of loneliness and not being enough for his partner. Sparkle decides to forgive the big man , but lets him know he has a lot of groveling to do. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Finn: A Bully Novella 2 by Morgan Campbell

Title: Finn: A Bully Novella             Word Count: 157pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:It all started with a doll…

All I wanted was to be a kid,

to have fun with my friends and make mistakes.

But little did I know that my father had other plans.

A daily life lesson constantly spat in my face.
Every day, for years, I’ve been told that I’m wrong.

That I’m a mistake.

That I’m a sinner.

That no matter what, I’m an abomination.

A reminder that’s been drilled into my head;

beaten into my body and soul;

like a punch to the gut;

shoved in my face,

that what I am is a betrayal to my family.

Simply for being me. Simply for being gay.
Now, all I want is to be free from this nightmare that I’m trapped in.

To find the one that got away.

The one with the hazel eyes…

All I want is to find him

so he can save me from myself.

**This is not a standalone and is book two of the Bully Series. This book may contain certain triggers**
My Review: Here we have the other side of the story. We get to see the same journey of the characters through Finn’s eyes. For me, I wouldn’t say it was total redemption for Finn. The truth of the matter is that Finn is definitely a flawed character and you just have to accept him despite his shortcomings and foibles. Finn’s journey starts when he is a five year old boy, hero 

 worshipping his father. He is soon disillusioned with his perfect family life,when his father beats the hell out of him for asking for a doll for his birthday. 

The horrors of his childhood continued everyday until he was 15. Finn and his mother was beaten on numerous occasions especially when his father believed that he wasn’t being manly enough and showing gay tendencies. Finn obliterated his true self to the point where he was so deep in the closet and constantly lived in fear of being exposed. He hurt and bullied his high school crush Grayson so deeply that he pushed him to self harm. When Grayson disappeared from school, Finn feels guilty but pushes him to the back of his mind and continued on with his selfish teenage life.

Finn’s armour cracks a little bit when he gets to college and meets his confident gay roommate. He finds a bit of acceptance with Gunnar who reveals to him the joys of exploration through sex toys. Finn feels very liberated when he tries an anal plug and dildo Gunnar gifted him for the first time. Finn becomes more self aware and gains a new understanding of his sexuality. He relishes the idea of being a ‘bottom’ and wants to embrace it fully. These explorations go no further when Gunnar graduates and leaves him alone. Finn falls back into the destructive cycle of lying and pretending. He hooks up with Allison who soon turns into his wife, because of an unplanned pregnancy. He tries to suppress that part of himself still undeveloped and unexplored, but this facade can’t be sustained for very long under the pressures of real life.

Finn becomes very unhappy in his marriage and starts cheating on his wife with a man. For the first time in his life , he feels free to be who he was meant to be.After his first time with Gary, he makes a vow to stay away but he is reeled in by the forbidden feelings he was taught was wrong. He gets carried away by the newfound feelings he has for his beau. Finn is soon caught red handed with his pants down. There are some tears, but Allison has reconciled that her marriage is over. However, she cautions Finn to be totally honest the next time around and stop hiding. So far , Finn is definitely not painted in a great light. His resume consists of bullying, cheating and an all around self centered bastard.

The next chapter of his life begins with him finally  standing up and accepting who he is , a gay man. He is reunited with Grayson, his high school crush. It is a rough rocky road and they both have to find the strength to forgive each other for all the bad blood between  them. Finn especially will have to find the strength to forgive himself for all the pain he’s inflicted on his loved ones. He knows that even though Gray has forgiven him and proposed, he needs to get Gray’s families’ blessings.Finn bares his soul to them and at the end they have no doubt of his love and devotion for Grayson. There is definitely a fairytale ending with them getting married and two years down  the road still blissfully happy and welcoming their  baby girl. I give this my ratings of 3 – it was ok, it was nice to gain a different perspective of their journey together.

A Bit of You (Love in Xxchange 7) by Bailey Bradford

Title: A Bit if You             Word Count:200 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Billy’s been the bouncy, perky, somewhat slutty drink server at The Xxchange since it opened, and frankly, he’s tired of those labels, but it will take the love of FBI agent Liam Stone to give Billy the strength he needs to become the man he’s always wanted to be.

Billy’s used to everyone looking at him and seeing a perpetually perky, goofy twink.

Inside he knows he isn’t those things, or not only those things, at least. He isn’t sure how to get anyone to see past that. He isn’t sure if he can stop acting the part, either. It’s always been easier to let people see what they expect to see. But lately he’s been thinking, and he’s not at all sure the easy way is the right way.

Liam Stone came to The Xxchange to blow off a little steam.

An FBI agent working on the kidnapping case of one James Stratton, Liam figures he’ll head back to Dallas as soon as he can shake the dust off his heels. Then he sees Billy and Karma slaps Liam on the ass. How many times has he scoffed at the idea of love at first sight, thought people who said it happened to them were full of cow patties?

A lot, and now he’s been hit between the eyes with something he can’t quite explain, except it all has to do with Billy. Now if he can protect the man from a sadistic jerk and help Billy come to terms with his past, maybe they can have the happy ending they’ve both always wanted.

My Review:  From the first moment Agent Liam Stone laid eyes on Billy in club Xxchange, it was insta-lust. Billy has that androgynous, effeminate look that turns Liam’s crank. This is not always ideal, since this brawny FBI agent doesn’t advertise to the world that he is gay. Billy’s exuberance and sweet smile draws him in like a moth to a flame. Liam’s horniness is tempered by the scared, nervous vibes Billy is exuding. Before he knows it Billy disappears out back and when he hears the owner Xavier Talbot looking for Billy he gets concerned.

Liam follows Xavier and the bartender Troy outside and is shocked to see Billy laying on the ground hurt after being assaulted by Randy, Xavier’s brother.  Xavier is pounding the hell out of Randy since he sees Billy more like an adopted little brother than an employee. The guys are surprised at Liam’ s presence, but they let it go when Liam explains that there is just something special about Billy.

Liam stays by Billy’s hospital bed  for awhile just watching the sexy little blond. Liam is surprised at the depth of his feelings since he’s never even spoken to Billy. Xavier allows Liam to stay with Billy because he sees a longing in his eyes that can only mean he cares for Billy. When Billy awakes to find the sexy hunk of a man is not a figment of his imagination,  he is definitely excited and it’s  a bit hard to hide.

Liam is so tempted by Billy, but he would really like to show him how special and precious he is before having sex. Liam lets Billy know that he wants more than one night together. All of Liam’s good intentions fall to the wayside, when he gets Billy back to his hotel room and he begs to be touched. Billy loves the chivalrous side of Liam , but he desperately wants the horny beast he sees lurking behind his eyes.The pull between them is so strong and they enter into a whirlwind romance. Their first night together is filled with so much passion and intensity.

Shortly after, Liam has to go back  on the case of a missing man named James Stratton who happens to be Xavier’s boyfriend Chase’s best friend.Liam and his boss Agent Glenn Shearing go on a wild goose chase and after a few bum leads , they find James severely malnourished and beaten, but alive. Liam misses Billy fiercely, but he is hoping that the time apart will show Billy that they have a future together. They spend the time texting whenever they can and Billy realizes how much he misses his man. 

When the couple is reunited, Liam gets to see a more confident Billy. There is a role reversal where Billy aims to please Liam. Billy takes on a more dominant aggressive role and Liam is pleasantly surprised at how good it feels to bottom for his sexy little blond. Liam is definitely feeling sexually liberated. Their relationship continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Liam knows its too soon ,but he asks Billy to move in with him after professing his love for him. The only reason Billy is hesitant is because he has a few secrets that he thinks will make him unworthy of Liam’s love.

Billy is nervous to reveal secrets that he has never told another soul. With his newfound confidence comes bravery. He tells Liam how he was abused by his aunt’s lovers at an early age and when he couldn’t take it anymore he ran away and started hooking on the streets at 15 and that’s how Xavier found him. Liam makes a vow to  find those responsible for hurting his sweet Billy. With his resources at the FBI , it doesn’t take him long. Its small consolation when Liam confronts one of the men to find him withering away in a nursing home. Liam knows that justice will be served in the end.

Billy decides to take the plunge with the love of his life and move in together. He’s also decided to further his education at college with the support of his sexy lover Liam. Liam has a few insecurities that Billy will find someone younger, but he knows he needs to trust in their love. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

A Bit of Me ( Love in Xxchange 6) by Bailey Bradford

Title: A Bit of Me              Word Count:309 pgs

Genre:  Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Chase Murphy lost everything—money, his best friend, and his confidence-but one man wants to help him regain what was taken from him along with a love that Chase never expected to have and doesn’t believe he deserves.

A chance encounter gives hope…

Xavier Talbot has everything a successful man should, or at least he thought he did. Suddenly he discovers that his brother is a sick sadistic jerk, the boy he found on the streets and raised for the past several years is going to give Xavier a clear understanding of ‘empty nest syndrome’, and the club he’d built up from nothing, The Xxchange, now seems like a sleazy place instead of the GLBT paradise Xavier had imagined. Then a chance encounter with one man gives Xavier a bit of hope in his rapidly depressing world.

…but will they discover love together?

Chase Murphy only wanted one thing—to find his best friend, James Stratton, who’d been kidnapped by a vengeful sociopath. Hurt and stranded in a town he has no intentions of staying in, Chase meets a man he wants to hate, but he can’t stop thinking about Xavier Talbot no matter what he does. Slowly, seductively, the town and its inhabitants draw Chase in and make him rethink his opinion on forming friendships and the possibility of a long term relationship. He isn’t sure he wants to hang around to see if things would work out, but it isn’t until James is found that Chase discovers the truth about what it means to love people, as friends and, for Xavier, as a lover.

My Review: Xavier Talbot, owner of club Xxchange can be described in so many ways: snarly, sexy, dangerous and definitely dominant but never vulnerable. But that is exactly how he feels when he thinks he is about to lose Billy, his faux brother/ son. Xavier has protected Billy since he picked him up off the streets since  he was 15. Billy is very effeminate and a twink to boot. He is always getting into trouble since he bites off more than he can chew with the burly men he’s attracted to.

 When Xavier finds his own brother Randy assaulting Billy for the second time, he goes off the rails and beat the holy hell out of his brother. Xavier is helped  by FBI Stone who also comes to rescue Billy and who promises that he wants to become a more permanent fixture in Billy’s life. Xavier’s bond with Billy feels threatened and he just knows that his place in Billy’s life will be usurped by this sexy FBI agent. He feels insignificant and he knows he is experiencing the empty nest syndrome even if it hasn’t happened yet officially.

When he meets Chase Murphy, a friend of his former employee Adam, he knows he is just the man to fill the void. Their connection is very electric, but there is only one problem, Chase is determined to fight their connection every step of the way. Chase has been tortured by some bad people from Adam’s past and even though he is hurt, he is on a mission. A mission to find his best friend James Stratton who  has been missing for awhile and feared to be dead. Chase believes he has no time to pursue whatever he feels brewing between him and Xavier. Also, Chase has a few issues with intimacy. He is definitely a self professed top in the bedroom and looking at Xavier it is clear that he is definitely very toppy and dominant. Chase just doesn’t see how things can  work out for them. 

These guys realize how potent heir attraction is when they see each other again, but Chase is still fighting it. Also , Chase is in the midst of receiving confirmation from agent Liam Stone that his friend James is alive, but has been thoroughly tortured. He pushes all thoughts of Xavier to the side,but his fantasies are too vivid and he lives through these. Chase tries to be honest with himself and in his dreams its feels liberating to be vulnerable and bottom for Xavier.

Things come to a head when Xavier is drugged at his club by a twink named Paulie. Chase is livid that something like that has happened to Xavier. He can’t seem to stay away anymore. As soon as Xavier is out of the hospital, Chase goes up bluntly to tell him that he wants him. Xavier counteracts by letting Chase know he doesn’t bottom and that he is not looking for a one night stand. Chase has to rethink everything he ever understood about himself and sex. He compromises, but it wasn’t very hard since he can’t lie about the way Xavier makes his body open up. Their first time is combustible even though they don’t go all the way. Xavier knows that he will have to earn Chase’s trust.

Trust comes in increments for them and soon these sexy strong- willed men find out what its like to be vulnerable while falling for each other. They both open themselves up to each other, both doing things that they said would never be a possibility because of their dominant personalities. The trust that they feel for each other is amazing and definitely a good foundation on which to build their relationship. 

Chase proves to Xavier that he is in it for the long haul. He pools their resources together and makes plans with Xavier to revamp their club the Xxchange into something more sophisticated. Xavier also helps Chase to sneak around trying to find out the secure location where his friend James is being hidden. Chase is so happy to see that even though James is just a little broken , he is still alive. They are all hoping to to have James recover to his former self. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

 Love in Xxchange 5: Ex’s and O’s by Bailey Bradford

Title: Ex’s and O’s            Word Count: 294 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Adam Masterson paid a steep price for doing the right thing, but it might be more than worth it if he can get through tough cop Les Stanton—and if they can survive one man’s plans for vengeance.

He tried to do the right thing…

All Adam Masterson tried to do was the right thing—stop a psychotic man from hurting anyone else. While he may have succeeded, he also put himself in the crosshairs of the man’s wealthy father, and Adam soon finds himself battered, homeless and unemployed. When his mother is also evicted from her home, Adam packs up his car and takes Charlene, his mother, with him as he heads to Texas to plead for help from someone he isn’t sure will help.

…so they might have a chance together.

When officer Les Stanton pulls over the beater car with Montana plates, he already knows who is in the vehicle. His friend Josh has been complaining about his partner, Nick, helping out the too-attractive blond from Montana. Les soon finds himself irresistibly drawn to Adam. Even his fear of Charlene can’t keep him away. Now, if he can just let go of the past and learn to trust, he and Adam might have a chance-unless one wealthy man swearing vengeance destroys them both.

My Review: Tough as nails Officer Les Stanton has always thought of himself as straight. Until he meets the spunky blond named Adam who he stopped for speeding. Les recognizes the name from his friend Josh, so he is surprised at the bruises he sees on Adam’s face.He remembered that Josh told him that Adam had been run  out  of town after taking down his would-be rapist. It just so happens that the rapist’s Dad Mitch Rollins Sr. is very rich and has quite a few people in his pockets. A few of his goons roughed up Adam, before he got away with his mother Charlene. 

Les decides to take Adam to the hospital where Josh works as a nurse so he can patch him up. Josh’s partner Nick and Adam are really good friends and this makes Josh a tiny bit jealous since Adam is so gorgeous and twinky. Josh is just as much a twink and he sees him as competition. After seeing how downtrodden he is, Josh decides to cut him some slack and offers Adam and his mother Charlene his old apartment to stay.

With the help of friends , Adam soon gets himself a job at the club Xxchange. Adam doesn’t mind the work , he just hates that he has to fend off the owner’s brother. Adam decides to put him in his place and almost breaks Randy’s hand in the process. When he is called to the office , he is almost sure that he will be sacked. He explains himself to his boss Xavier telling him he was just defending himself. He is in the process of showing Xavier the bruise on his buttocks, when Les walks in. The possessive beast rises up in Les and he just can’t stand anyone else seeing the man who he wants for himself. Les is furious when he sees Adam’s bruises, he just wants to kiss them away.Les is surprised at the feelings Adam incites in him, he never really thought about his sexuality since he is a virgin. Adam is happy at the possessive traits he sees within Les, it makes him feel special and definitely wanted. That night he goes home with Les.

Adam makes Les  want to share all his secrets. Les opens up to Adam and tells him that he is a virgin. Adam can’t believe that this big sexy cop is untouched, he knows that there is a story there. However, Adam decides not to push and accepts it for the gift that it is. Their first time together is explosive and Les knows that he has found someone very special in Adam. Les wants to explore with Adam, but he feels vulnerable to let someone so intimately in his body. He enjoys himself thoroughly with Adam and he realizes that there is no shame in the passion between two men.

Things are going great for them and the sex is out of this world. It has certainly opened up their eyes to having a more long-term relationship. It doesn’t take long for things to go south though. Chase Murphy , the PI who helped Adam send the would be rapist to jail shows up thoroughly beaten, but tries to warn him. Before he can get the words out, Chase falls unconscious. Les is worried that Adam and Charlene is in danger and offers his home as a sanctuary even though he is a bit uncomfortable around Adam’s mom. Adam is scared out of his mind that he has put his friend’s lives in jeopardy. Les lets him know that they will face things head on , because he loves Adam and wants to spend his life with him.

That moment was the turning point for Les where he decides to reveal his whole self to his lover. Les had a horrific childhood and his mother was a monster. She purposefully made Les and his brother sick by slow poisoning them. She succeeded in killing his brother and Les was able to expose her to the authorities before she killed him. It is no wonder he has certain trust issues and is standoffish with Charlene.

After Les’ revelation , things definitely progressed in their relationship when Les realized that their was no judgement , just unconditional love. Their is definitely a storm cloud hanging over their happily- ever- after  and this comes in the form of more thugs sent by Mitch Rollins. This time they are sent to kidnap Les and intimidate Adam in their  home. With the help of friends Josh and Nick, the situation is thwarted. Adam is frantic with the need to find his man and is happy when Les is finally found. They are happy to hear that this whole debacle is resolved with the death of Mitch Rollins who was gunned down when he tried resisting arrest. They can finally move on with their lives without fear. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

For a Reason ( Sizzling Miami  Series 2)  by Jessie G.

​Title: For a Reason ( Sizzling Miami  Series 2)      Word Count:366 pgs           Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Former Marine and full time big brother, Bull Connor spends his days helping those in need of a second chance and his nights fighting the inner demons that won’t let go. During a routine tow he comes face to face with the only person who refuses to need him and the one man he wishes would.

As a throw away, Ian Jones is used to being alternately overlooked or ridiculed but hasn’t given up on the idea that with just one chance he could turn it all around. Rescued by the one person who neither overlooks nor ridicules him, he longs to be seen as more than just a man in need.

Ian isn’t pining for the family he’s never known but when they descend, unwanted and uninvited, Bull must prove that he’s the man who will protect Ian’s long neglected heart by sharing the demons that torment his wounded soul.

My Review: In all his 25yrs, Ian always had a rough life. He was left in a dumpster by his crack addicted mother on the day that he was born.  Ian always felt as if his life was pointless since nobody ever wanted him and he bounced around from foster homes. Regardless of all of this, he has strived to pull himself out of the gutters by going to college to get a computer science degree.  Ian is on his way to a job interview when his car sputters and dies in the Miami heat.

From the moment, the tow truck driver Bull lays eyes on Ian, he wants to protect him . Ian has always been wary of macho men who wear their strength like an armour. However , he soon realizes that Bull is trying to help him when he gives him a cheaper rate for the tow. This puts Ian on edge,because he knows that nothing in life is free. Bull tries to get Ian who he has dubbed ‘Red’ to open up to him. There is something about Red that touches him to his very core. When he sees the fleabag motel where Red lives, he  just knows he can’t leave him there. Bull is just in time to see the manager harassing Red for his overdue rent.  Bull gives him no choice , he forces Red to pack his bags and move in with him.

Red is overwhelmed by Bull’s overbearing ways. After thinking for awhile , he realizes that Bull has given him a chance for a fresh start. Ian is wary, but he thinks he would love to get the chance to know this kind-hearted sexy bear of a man. Bull makes it very clear that he is attracted to Red, but Red is so scared of his feelings. Red has never been in a relationship. He has a low self-worth caused by the people in his past  and doesn’t understand what Bull sees in him.

As the time goes by, Red sees how altruistic Bull is in the way he takes care of all the needs of his family and friends. Red decides to take the plunge and give their relationship a go. Red wants to ensure that he is the man who takes care of Bull’s needs. Bull takes care of his’boy’ and shows him the beauty of love between two men. Red explores his newfound sexuality and they dabble in a bit of light BDSM. Bull is the greatest teacher he could have ever imagined. He loves the many facets of his man, the aggressor, the nurtured and the sweet caring giver.

Not only does Red endear himself to Bull, but also to the rough and tumble crew of ex-cons that work at  Bull’s garage. They see a confidante in Red, someone they can show their true selves to without judgement. This trust and openness is what gives Red the strength to expose all his deep dark secrets to Bull. Red opens up and tells Bull his whole life story about the many times he tried to kill himself starting at the age of five, he tells of all the abuse physical , mental and sexual that he has endured throughout his lifetime. At first he is scared that Bull will see him as tainted, but seeing Bull’s tears has washed his soul clean and gone a far way to healing him. 

Their bond becomes stronger and they both learn to trust in each other. Their trust in each other is definitely needed when Ian’s family appears out of the blue. This sets everything in a tailspin. Ian is overwhelmed , definitely unsure and insecure as he doesn’t know what to think about having a brother and now a father. Things are very unsettled for him, but Bull is there for him through it all.

It is very painful for Ian to learn about his family, but he really wants to get to know his brother. It is harder for Ian to give his father a chance , because he doesn’t believe he is upset enough. It isn’t until Bull points out that his father is also a victim to his mother’s addiction and lies, that Ian relented a bit. Ian’s familial ties will definitely be slow going, but his love for Bull is surely on the fast track especially when Bull proposes. This was a beautiful love story and I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear. 

Grayson( A Bully Novel 1) by Morgan Campbell

​Title: Grayson( A Bully Novel 1)                 Word Count:315pgs    Genre:Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Ten years ago…

-Grayson- 

A month and a half ago, I made a choice.

A choice that nearly cost me everything:

my friends, my family, my life.

Who knew that choice would nearly cost me my future?

-Finn- 

A month and a half ago, I made a choice.

I chose to turn my hell into someone else’s.

I nearly ruined someone’s life because I couldn’t handle my own.

Who knew that choice would threaten my future?

Ten Years Later…

Grayson Michaels made that fateful decision as a teenager, he’s determined to not let the past define him. Control him. Bind him. Vulnerability is not an option. When his demons surface in the form of Finn Abbott, Grayson learns that everything isn’t as it seems.

Finn Abbott is trying to put his life back together. Divorce, house arrest, and a slew of lovers have only caused his life to spiral out of control. But a job offer comes along and everything seems to be back on track. That is until the ghost of a scorned boy returns in the form of a vengeful man.

Fate is a fickle friend. Questions need answered and debts need repaid. What happens when past and present collide? Can two people destined to be enemies find love instead? As they say, there’s a fine line between love and hate.

My Review: It is a well known fact that bullying is on the rise in the 21st century. It is made even more prominent with cyber bullying becoming increasingly popular. For every case that we here about and all the young lives that have been lost because of discrimination, small- mindedness and vitriolic attacks which ultimately leads to self-hatred for these poor victims, my heart goes out to them. 

Grayson’s story touches me to the core. Sixteen year old Grayson knows he is gay, he is proud but doesn’t flaunt it. He has a family who loves him to pieces, he has two best friends who care . Grayson has just entered into a budding romance with his boyfriend Logan that has the potential of blossoming into something beautiful. Grayson is a true artist who sees an underlying beauty in most things. Herein lies the problem,  he does a painting for his school art project where he highlights one of the popular jocks Finn as his idol. The jocks take offense to this and start targeting Grayson every chance they get. It soon becomes clear that the homophobic Finn has something to hide, he has secret desires that he cannot allow his friends to see. After he beats Grayson up, he kisses him in an unwarranted moment of passion. It is sad to see how Grayson withers under the pressure of the attacks and become a shell of his former self. At first he tries to hide it from his family and friends, but they soon become involved when the jocks start cyber bullying him through his Facebook account. Grayson is tormented and his self worth is being depleted from the physical and emotional abuse that he is enduring. Only his boyfriend Logan knows that Grayson has started self -harming by cutting. He urges him to stop and for awhile Grayson tries to do better for his family. However, the pain becomes too overwhelming when he sees how worried everyone is about his situation. Grayson decides to take himself out of the equation and makes the decision to commit suicide.

Fast forward ten years,we are reintroduced to Finn who has led a very messy life. He has just signed his divorce papers after being caught cheating with a man. All those hidden desires culminated into many different affairs with many different men over the years. Although we could say he is a sleaze ball, he has a backstory that sheds some light on the situation during his teenage years . Finn grew up with a homophobic father who started beating him from the age of 5 when he asked for Barbie dolls. It took him awhile , but he learned to repress his true self and in turn took out all his rage and pain on poor Grayson who had put a spotlight on him and almost expose to the world that forbidden self. It certainly sheds some light on why Finn is the way he is. However, he is trying put his life back together. He has just landed a job to do the advertising for a tech firm. It is clear to see that he is very talented and soon he becomes an office favorite. The manager quickly signs him up to go to a tech convention with the boss for two weeks.

 It is very surprising for everyone when the boss who turns out to be none other than Grayson flips out on Finn. Finn is definitely ashamed when he sees the boy who he tormented so many years ago. He is also elated to see that Grayson is alive and well even though the man in question is pulsating with anger. Grayson is almost to the point of having a meltdown so he calls reinforcements in the form of his family and friends. His support team is very strong, his two best friends who are now married to each other, his ex Logan who is still a close friend , his mother and his uncle. It is obvious that he has flourished since his failed suicide attempt.

It is great to see how confident Grayson has become and in the next few weeks he gets his revenge on Finn by making him his errand / whipping boy. This doesn’t really make him feel good about himself though. He quickly realizes that He still has an unrequited crush on Finn and this mortified him. He just can’t believe he would feel anything besides hatred for Finn. It also causes the reader to feel empathy for poor Finn who is also a victim of his own horrific childhood.

Things come to a head when they head out on their trip. They get caught in a snowstorm where they meet in an accident. They end up taking refuge from the storm in a cabin. It is there that Finn purges his soul and unburdens himself to Grayson. As much as Grayson would like to remain rigid, it is obvious that Finn has paid in his own way for his sins. He sees the scared little boy within Finn. Grayson decides to give the feelings that are peaking through between them a chance to grow. Their relationship is challenging especially when they get back to the real world where Grayson’s family is afraid of him getting hurt again. They realize that they have to set aside outside views and opinions and focus on what they feel towards each other. This was enlightening and shows the true spirit of forgiveness. I give this my ratings of 4- because we all have redeeming qualities no matter the mistakes we make in our past. There is nothing too big for true love to overcome.