Unbroken (Phoenix Club 6) by CJ Bishop

Title: Unbroken               Word Count: 191pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: CALEB, Part 3

Can damaged hearts be unbroken? Betrayed love learn to trust again?

Samuel’s discovering of Caleb’s extra-curricular activities with Brock incites a confrontation that leaves Caleb broken and in despair.

With only the hope of freeing Nick to cling to and give him a purpose to live, Caleb is devastated when his brother suddenly tells him to stop trying to get him released. Angry, hurt and confused – and feeling as if all he’s endured was for nothing – Caleb feels abandoned by those he loves most and is willing to do whatever it takes to make the pain inside go away.

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: Caleb acknowledges that his life has now turned into hell. It is not until Samuel confronts him with so much rage and pain in his heart,that he wants to just die. Samuel is so disgusted and feels so betrayed that he hurts Caleb by saying horrible things. Caleb thinks about suicide, but its the thought of his brother that keeps him going. Caleb feels so bereft and all alone, but Dane proves him otherwise. Dane checks on him and tries to get him to talk, but Caleb just sobs uncontrollably until he falls asleep.

Dane meets up with Samuel to figure out what’s going on with his friend. He is shocked at what Samuel reveals. Dane is the one that watches the video with an objective eye and points out certain idiosyncrasies that he sees. He puts the puzzle all together and realize that Caleb is doing all of this under duress as a way to help his brother. Samuel sees how despicable he acted to the man that he said he loved. Dane comes up with a plan to get the two lovers back together.

In the meantime, Caleb suffers emotionally and physically. Brock abuses Caleb and shows how reprehensible he is by raping him repeatedly without conscience. Brock slaps him around and he is angry that Samuel seems to know something. Caleb can hardly walk when Brock is done with him. Once again, its Dane who finds him curled up in his bed. He can see that Caleb is in pain , but he says it’s just the flu. Shortly thereafter , Caleb gets a call from his brother Nick wanting to talk to him urgently. Before he can even finalize plans to go to the prison, Brock calls him saying that he has a few questions for Nick so they should fly there together. Caleb is very tensed around his abuser, but he would do anything for his brother. Nick notices Caleb’s despondency, but Caleb plays it off and they try to work through the case.

It turns out that Nick has a few secrets he is ready to reveal to Caleb. When the two brothers are alone, Nick suggests that Caleb just drop his case. Nick has a new boyfriend Chrisian in prison and he is loathe to leave him unprotected. This pushes Caleb over the edge when he believes that all the atrocities he has endured is all for naught. He believes that this kid’s life takes precedence over his. Caleb leaves the prison feeling angry and like his brother threw him away.

Samuel calls Dane in tears when he stumbles upon the newest video of Caleb being raped and brutalized by Brock. Dane calls in reinforcements in the form of Gabe, Cole, Max and Horatio. They are all enraged and ready to kill for sweet Caleb. They realize they have to be tactical in how they deal with this situation as Brock has a lot of pull in the legal world. Their plans include Nick , since this is the only person who Caleb loves and trust unconditionally. Nick is incensed about what has happened to Caleb, and when he finds out his own boyfriend has been taken by another inmate ,he unleashes his fury.

It is Samuel who sets things in motion, enlisting the help of a seasoned lawyer at the same firm as Brock. To Brock, reputation means everything. Samuel exposes him for the monster he is and gets him arrested. He knows Brock will make bail soon enough, so there is a back up plan in effect. The dangerous air surrounding Gabe is put to the test when he promises Caleb that the boys of the Phoenix Club takes care of their own. Brock is introducedto the ‘cowboy’ and ‘Indian’ who mete out punishment befitting the crime. No man will ever be raped by Brock again.

Finally, Caleb understands how much he is loved by his friends. Dane finds him in the nick of time to pump his stomach after he has attempted suicide. He takes him to the hospital where Devlin takes care of him. Samuel apologizes to Caleb and tells him how much he still loves him. The fear soon starts to recede for Caleb once he realize that his hell has come to an end. Caleb and Nick have a tearful reunion where they each meet their respective boyfriends. Samuel is in charge of dealing with both Nick’s and Christian’s appeals. Horatio and Max are in turmoil as Max keeps pushing away his love. We are introduced to a new boy Angel who will continue the saga. I give this my ratings of 3-it was ok. For some reason I just couldn’t feel connected to Caleb, maybe because he was cold and standoffish for so long.

Torn in Two (Phoenix Club 5) by CJ Bishop

Title: Torn in Two                     Word Count: 120 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: CALEB, Part 2

Torn by the discovery that Attorney Brock Coulson is also Samuel’s stepdad, Caleb is forced to choose between retribution for his brother and his new found love for Samuel. 

But when Coulson makes the choice for him, insisting he stop seeing Samuel or the deal is off, Caleb doesn’t resist the man’s stipulations. He refuses to allow his own wants and desires to hinder his quest to free his brother – even if it means sacrificing everything else, including his own dignity. 

Torn between love of a brother and love of his heart, Caleb must choose who he will sacrifice.

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 tension between Brock Coulson and his step son Samuel are unmistakable. Harsh words are thrown around when Brock tells him to get his whore out of his house. Caleb is decimated by this title, but he has no choice if he wants Brock to work on his brother’s case.  When Samuel drops home Caleb , he apologizes profusely, but Caleb asks him to leave because he is not feeling well. Samuel knows there is more to it, but he decides to give Caleb some time.

Caleb is certainly not shocked when Brock shows up at his apartment. It chills him to have Brock in his private space , but he knows he can’t renege on his arrangement no matter how vile it is. Brock takes pleasure in belittling Caleb and making him feel every  bit the whore. Caleb fully understands the kind of deal he made and he knows that it will  corrode his soul.When Samuel sees Caleb, he knows something is horribly wrong and he can feel Caleb pulling away emotionally, but he tries to give him space.

Caleb’s boss Max always tries to help his boys through their emotional turmoil, now it’s his turn. Horatio Kaplan proved  himself to not be a villain after all with Abel. We had an inkling that  Kaplan had experienced loss in his life and that’s why he encouraged Abel to get back together with his sexy doctor. Now we see that there is history between Max and Horatio. These two men are both pining for each other and  Horatio reminds Max of the love they once shared. Max is hesistant, but he wants to remember the passion that only Horatio offers.

When Samuel visits Caleb again, it is to find his mood downtrodden. Samuel had a feeling this was coming, but is still destroyed when Caleb tells him their relationship is over without giving a reason. Samuel leaves ,but he is not giving up. Caleb and Brock are on their way to visit Nick. Nick is ecstatic, but he is suspicious about how Caleb can afford an attorney like Brock. There is just something about Brock that rubs him the wrong way, but for Caleb’s peace of mind, he tries to believe in Brock.

Caleb tastes the true monster that is Brock when they get back to the hotel room. Brock is cold and ruthless and has no care for Caleb’s pleasure. He tries to dominate Caleb’s spirit and erase every ounce of Samuel’s loving touch. Even though it was consensual, what Brock did to Caleb was rape in the most visceral sense. Caleb soon finds out that his degradation is just beginning. He realized that Brock has filmed the act of depravity and he forces Caleb to pretend he likes it.

Don’t go snooping if you don’t want the answers. Samuel finds this out first hand  and is devastated by what he finds. He is beyond horrified when he finds video files on Brock’s  computer of himself in the nude. Samuel is disgusted at the huge invasion of his privacy, but he is sick to the stomach to realize that his step father is perverted and looks at him in a sexual way. However, nothing rips him to shreds until he sees Caleb in the act with Brock saying how much he likes it. To be continued….. I give this my ratings of 3- it was ok.

When Worlds Collide( Phoenix Club 4) by CJ Bishop

Title: When Worlds Collide             Word Count:123pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:CALEB, Part 1

What do you do when the right love finds you at the wrong time?

At age 17, Caleb Dean’s world is ripped apart in a matter of minutes, tragedy striking sudden and violent. Now, four years later, Caleb is still trying to undo what he deems to be his fault. 

Taking work wherever he can get it, Caleb finds his way to New York and The Phoenix Club. Stunning the crowd with his debut performance, Caleb quickly catches the eye of Brock Coulson, an aggressive defense attorney with a secret lust for young male strippers. 

With his brother incarcerated from an unjust sentence and the victim of brutality behind those walls, Caleb will do go to any lengths to get his brother out of prison. But his plans to negotiate with Coulson get interrupted when Caleb meets Samuel. 

He knows not to get too close, but Samuel is a whirlwind of passion, sweeping him off his feet and refusing to let him go.

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: From the first moment Samuel laid eyes on Caleb it was insta-lust. Caleb was just as smitten and couldn’t resist Samuel’s playfulness. They immediately hooked up and there was no turning back for Samuel. He told Caleb it was love at first sight. Caleb was a bit hesitant, even though he was intrigued by the chemistry he felt flowing between them. Caleb is the newest stripper at the Phoenix Club, his debut was a smash hit. He seems to be carrying a heavy load with all the personal baggage he has in his life. His  brother Nick is imprisoned and he blames himself. Caleb knows he shouldn’t be starting any new relationships, but he finds the pull towards Samuel irresistible.

The more they hook up, its the more the lines get blurred for Caleb.  He would like to keep things chaste,since he knows the line of work he is in, but Samuel is pushing for boyfriend status. Caleb only has one goal in mind and that’s helping his brother Nick out of prison.He doesn’t want to be derailed from that track by enjoying something for himself, he feels too guilty. Plus, he  knows there will be unsavory acts that he will probably have to engage in such as ‘private dances’ to get Nick out. However, Samuel seduces Caleb into being his boyfriend during the height of passion. His tactics are deliciously underhanded and it forces Caleb to accept, but a tiny part of him is thrilled to be a part of something so normal.

Dane, one of his coworkers at the Phoenix Club tries to draw Caleb into their close-knitted family. Caleb remains standoffish, because he believes the fewer people  he gets close to, the better. When Caleb decides to go visit his brother in prison, Dane offers him a ride. As much as he loathes getting close, Caleb accepts. When Caleb sees that Nick has been beaten up, Caleb once again feels guilty. It is clear to see the love between the brothers. Caleb is emotionally wrecked when he returns to the hotel and  turns to Dane in his time of need. Dane knows that Caleb is not thinking clearly , but he can’t resist the charms of this sexy young man. Dane’s interest has  been piqued since Caleb’s debut dance. Turns out that Dane is a gentleman so he lets Caleb down easy.They make their way back home in silence.

Caleb first stop is at the club, he wants to see if he can set up an ‘arrangement’ with the high powered attorney who he did a private dance for. Brock Coulson wants all of Caleb, especially his sexy little body, but Caleb knows his soul will definitely be tarnished. The parameters are set up and he has made a deal with the devil. Now , he just needs to break it off with his boyfriend Samuel before things go any further. Sweet Samuel has set up a lavish date night for him that makes it so hard to carry out his plan. Everything is going great when they are interrupted by the untimely arrival of Samuel’s mom and step-father . Caleb knows he’s in trouble when in walks Brock Coulson. His heart shatters and he knows this will tear Samuel apart. To be continued….. I give this my ratings of  3- it was ok. There is just something that was missing for me that caused me not to connect with Caleb and Samuel.

Ghost ( Executioners 1) by J.M.Dabney

Title: Ghost                                     Word Count:157 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Biker Gay Romance

Blurb:Gideon Jane earned the name Ghost for his reclusive nature when he joined a group of guys in Powers, Georgia in a band called Executioners. It had been his way of settling into small town life after living in New York for the past twenty years. He loved the band and his small organic farm. What he didn’t love was being single, but it appeared it was his new reality. He didn’t want his ex back, although he did want something. What that was eluded him until the evening he walked into Nightingale’s Books.

Small town girl Harper Sage knew pain, and she’d lived with it—she had the scars both mental and physical to prove it. It would’ve been easier to hop in her car to find safety and anonymity, but Harper stayed to prove she was stronger than hurled fists and bruising prejudice. She found herself within the safety of a close-knit group of rough bikers and bar bouncers. That didn’t mean it was all perfect.

What’s a girl to do when she craves normalcy and acceptance: she just smiles. Choices are made, some with dire consequences and others that bring her closer to her dream. Will she make the right decision or finally discover escape is her best option?

Author Note: This book contains scenes of violence and descriptions of self-harm.

My Review: We have been introduced to Harper through the Twirled and Brawlers Crew. They have all tried to take her into the fold, because she is one of the sweetest, most kindest people they know. There is just one problem, Harper doesn’t see her own self worth. Harper is transgender and from a very early age there has always been a miscommunication between her sense of self and who she wants to be. Harper has a very low self-esteem and she has only ever found release from her depression through self harm. After her last suicide attempt her best friend Kyle inviegled her promise not to ever self harm again.

Harper has found another way to feel pain, his name is Bill. Bill is a homophobic bully who likes to take out his anger on Harper and uses her in despicable ways. He is not above using and abusing her body and pysche. Harper wants to get out , but there is a tiny little part of her that wants to die. She bears many scars on her body and soul from Bill. When Harper meets Gideon otherwise known as ‘Ghost’ by the Executioners and Brawlers Crew, she feels a tingle and yearns to be normal.

Ghost thinks Harper is one of the most beautiful women he’s ever met. He tries to get Joker, Harper’s self professed protector to open up about her. Ghost is warned and definitely chastised about hurting Harper. Ghost gets to know Harper slowly. For Harper, this is a new and scary experience as her relationships with men usually equate to pain. It is Twitch, the well loved twink of the Brawlers Crew that encourages her to take a chance on Ghost.

Inadvertently, that chance comes when Bill hurts Harper so badly she ends up in the hospital with bruises and knife wounds. Ghost goes into protective mode and takes her to his farm. Harper spends weeks with Ghost healing and slowly getting acclimated to what a healthy relationship could look like. Ghost pampers her as much as she allows and he sees a new spunky side of Harper unfolding when he coddles her too much. Watching the banter between these two is fun. Their sexual heat slowly simmers but is well worth the wait. Under that gentlemanly exterior lives a passionate Ghost. He gently unleashes his passion on Harper who combusts at the slightest touch.

For the first time, a man’s touch allows Harper to feel beautiful and embrace her true self and identity. It is through Gideon’s passion that Harper truly embraces her transgender body in all its glory. Gideon knows the time for subtlety has passed the morning after their glorious night together. He expresses his true feelings to Harper and she is still in awe that a man like Gideon would want a relationship with her. Before she can allow her newfound feelings to settle in , Bill attacks again. He uses a rifle this time and Joker gets hurt. Luckily, its just a flesh wound and Joker will be on the mend soon. Once again , Bill is in the wind.

Harper’s life starts crumbling and she feels guilty for bringing Gideon into her mess of a life. The Brawlers Crew let her know how much she means to them by opening their home to her for a respite. Gideon continues to shower her with love and it overwhelms her a little, but it is just what she needs to feel secure. His unwavering support in the face of danger gives her the strength to carry on. Harper does all the ‘couply’ things with Gideon.

After the Executioners finish their band practice one night, Bill strikes again. It is Gideon who gets hurt this time. Joker tousles with Bill for his gun and Bill will definitely not be coming back this time. The bane of Harper’s existence is finally dead. However, this act of violence has put Joker in a catatonic state and forces him to flee his ‘brothers’. They are all worried about Joker, but they know that in time he will recover.

Harper and Gideon are able to proceed with their relationship without a cloud hanging over their head. Harper relishes her newfound self confidence and enjoys the love that continues to blossom fruitfully with her sexy ‘bear’. At long last, Harper gets her happily ever after when Ghost proposes. I really enjoyed the first in the Executioners series, I can’t wait to read about Joker. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

 

It Can’t Be You ( Phoenix Club 1) by CJ Bishop

Title: It Can’t be You            Word Count: 175 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

ABEL

Blurb:19-year-old Abel Sims – hot, sexy stripper – is a favorite at the gay strip club The Phoenix. Having no family but his 16-year-old sister, Savannah, and coming from the streets – The Phoenix club has become his home, the other boys his close-knit family.

Abel doesn’t trust the outside world and is content to remain within his safe haven. But when an overzealous customer sends Abel to the ER, he meets young, handsome Dr. Devlin Grant. The instant attraction he feels for the man stirs up the nightmares of his past, causing him to resist his new feelings. But when Savannah gets sick and ends up in Devlin’s care, it becomes impossible to avoid the doctor.

And just when his heart is ready to trust this new found love – Abel is confronted with a disturbing fact about the doctor that reaches deep into the past he has been hiding and running away from.

ABEL is an emotionally charged, sexy, heart-wrenching love story that will break your heart, then put it back together again.

Warning: This book contains homosexual relations and crude 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: Abel is one of the sexy young strippers at the Phoenix Club. He is only 19 yrs old , but he has lived a very rough life from an early age. He does his best for the only person that’s ever loved him, his sister Savannah. Savannah is 16 and very sickly. Abel has spent all his life protecting the very fragile young girl, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything. Abel was repeatedly rape by one of the counselors at the shelter they stayed at. Abel stayed quiet and endured his abuse, so that the counselor wouldn’t start on Savannah.

When he is hurt at work by an overzealous client who tried to rape him, his friend Cole takes him to the hospital. This is where his path crosses Dr. Devlin Grant. Devlin is very interested in the sexy young man, but he tries to maintain his professionalism. Devlin causes Abel’s heart rate to kick up a notch. Abel feels a frisson of fear, because for the first time he is attracted to someone and would like to pursue it. Abel knows he has too much baggage and he feels like his life is too tainted for a man like Devlin. He makes an effort to keep his disinterested facade in place. After all, Abel won’t have to see Devlin  once he leaves the hospital.  
                                                                                     

 Little does Abel know that their lives will be even more intertwined. When Abel’s beloved sister falls sick in the middle of the night, Abel calls his friend Cole who helps them to the hospital. Devlin happens to be the doctor on call. He is very surprised to see Abel so soon, the young man who has dominated his thoughts. After running a battery of tests, Devlin gives Abel the most devastating shocking news, Savannah is HIV positive. Abel feels gutted and his world starts imploding around him. Abel blames himself and scrambles to find an explanation for this diagnosis. He thinks back to one of the nights when they lived on the streets and went dumpster diving for food. Abel remembered  something pricked Savannah and she said it felt like a needle. Everything is clear to Abel now and he just knows he has to do whatever it takes to keep Savannah alive.  

A solution falls into Abel’s lap via an indecent proposal. His boss Max tells Abel about a proposition he has received on his behalf. Horatio Kaplan a wealthy client of the club wants to pay Abel handsomely to spend time with him sexually. Abel feels disgusted and dirty , but he knows there is no other way to pay for the care Savannah will need. Abel visits Savannah everyday in the hospital and he is always tortured by his ever growing feelings for the handsome doctor. Devlin starts developing serious feelings for Abel, but he soon realizes Abel has been hurt deeply and is very skittish.

Their first attempt at a coffee date goes horribly wrong when Devlin encourages Abel to have faith that his sister will be alright. This touches a nerve in Abel , because of all the memories it brings up of the horrendous injustice of the rapes that he endured when he was no more than a child. Devlin realizes that Abel’s outburst stems from a far deeper pain than him saying the wrong thing. His suspicions are tentatively confirmed by Savannah when she breaks down and tell him the life they have lived thus far. Devlin cries for these two beautiful souls who have sustained so much pain.   

Abel tries to keep his distance and pushes Devlin away as he knows its for the best. He is in no position to start any kind of relationship, when he is burdened with so many issues. Abel goes ahead and set up the parameters for the ‘arrangement’ he will be entering with Kaplan. Abel’s friends Cole and Gabe help him  in a most pleasurable way to get used to intimacy so that he won’t get a panic attack when he has consensual sex. It is Cole’s and Gabe’s  loving friendship that keeps his demons away. The only place Abel really feels safe is in the controlled environment of the strip club.

Abel is shocked and nervous when Devlin shows up in one of the private rooms in the club saying he wants to talk. Abel is so afraid of the hopes and dreams he sees reflected in Devlin’s eyes, but he is weakened by his desires to taste something good and wholesome for a change. Abel gives into his desires to take something just for himself. The spark between the two soon turns into an inferno and they both give into their carnal desires. Devlin leaves after with hopes and the promise of a lunch date. Abel doesn’t want to give Devlin false hope or hurt him, but he wants this.

Devlin proposes a way to help Abel take care of Savannah financially through a fund set up with insurance from his brother’s death. Abel feels a glimmer of hope to have an alternate plan. Devlin tells Abel the story of how his brother Craig was a counselor who was killed by one of the teenagers he tried to help. Immediately Abel’s hopes are dashed when he realizes that Devlin’s dead brother Craig and his former abuser is one and the same. It turns out that Abel is the teenager who killed him. To be continued…..I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

 

 

 

I Need A Hero by Peter Styles

Title: I Need A Hero                Word Count: 156 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Hurt and harassed, can his hero save him?

After a brutal sexual attack during his high school years, Harris Zelgman steers clear of the hustle and bustle of city life. Running his family’s comic book store and casually dating his friend provide Harris with all the excitement he needs. When he’s accosted and saved by a new hero, the Shadow Hunter, everything changes for Harris.

Seeking more security in a dangerous world, he enrolls in a self-defense class–where he learns more than he ever imagined. The instructor, Jonah, although strangely familiar, is sexier and more manly than anyone he’s ever known. As the two men fight against the ills of society, they learn how to truly trust each other. But when Harris discovers the truth about Jonah, his trust in his new instructor is shattered. Will Jonah prove his love and dedication to Harris and be the real hero he’s needed all along?

In this 50,000 word gay romance novel, one man discovers the hero within himself as he learns to trust his heart and life with another man. With steamy scenes and a sexy superhero, you’ll yearn for a hunky hero of your own. But with love, comes struggles and setbacks that threaten any true romance. Can one man discover how to save his heart while losing it along the way?

My Review: Harris Zelgman can definitely be called a nerd. He owns a comic book store and spends all his free time having lively discussions with his two best friends Gary and Leonard about superheroes. Harris has been hurt in his teenage years and he has allowed himself to be closed off. He is very insulated and surrounds himself with limited friends. Harris hooks up from time to time with his best friend Gary rather than trying to be in a relationship. This way of life is safe for him as he doesn’t allow himself to become romantically involved with Gary even though they have sex. Harris is very good at compartmentalizing his life and he definitely keeps their friendship separate and apart from their fling.

When Harris’ store is robbed and he is almost sexually assaulted, it brings up a lot of old residual feelings of being scared and helpless. The sexual assault is foiled by a real life superhero vigilante called the Shadow Hunter. Harris is extremely grateful and slightly in awe of his new protector. He is also a little bit attracted to the Shadow Hunter but he feels his expectations are too unreasonable where this superhero is concerned.

After the attack , his friend Christy encourages him to take up private jiu jitsu classes at the YMCA. Harris is blown away when he first lays eyes on his instructor. Jonah is a sexy hunk with muscles, in a perfect world he would definitely be the man of Harris’ dreams. Harris sees Jonah as another unattainable dream in his life. This does not stop Harris from pushing all of Jonah’s buttons. They soon form an easy relationship and Harris feels much more confident with the things he has learnt from Jonah. Jonah soon reveals to Harris that he is attracted to him and would like to pursue a more romantic relationship with him. Harris is shocked and scared to make the next step, but he really wants to be brave and move on with his life.

Things get a little bit confusing in Harris’ mind with his relationships between Gary , the Shadow Hunter and Jonah. All three men represent different things in Harris’s safe world and it starts rocking the foundation. Gary is a safe bet for him, but there is certainly no future there. He sees the Shadow Hunter as unattainable, something of a fantasy. Jonah is an unexpected, uncertain future that he would love to believe in , but feels as if he doesn’t deserve. Harris knows that he needs to make a decision once and for all.

This comes in the form of Harris having farewell sex with Gary, ending their friends with benefits arrangement amicably. It just happens that Harris puts on an erotic display for the Shadow Hunter when he notices him watching from afar. Harris explores the Shadow Hunter voyeuristic tendencies and is rewarded when the Shadow Hunter gets involved in a mini show of his own. Harris is exhilarated, but his insecurities rear their heads when the Shadow Hunter keeps away.

Harris decides to let Jonah in and share his past telling him about being sexually assaulted as a teenager. Jonah is very sad that happened to Harris and he starts revealing secrets of his own. Things come to a head when Harris realizes that Jonah is none other than the Shadow Hunter. Everything clicks in place and Harris becomes embarrassed at the things he revealed to the Shadow Hunter. Harris sees this as a breach of trust and this pisses him off enough to walk out on Jonah.

Even though Harris feels a sense of betrayal at Jonah’s revelations, he misses the camaraderie that they shared. Harris gets a chance to forgive Jonah , but it comes at the unfortunate time of another attack. They both get attacked by the same thugs who Jonah helped to put behind bars. It is Harris who steps up to the plate this time and becomes a hero with his new and improved jiu jitsu moves. Harris takes them out once again, hopefully for good this time. He takes Jonah home pampering him and taking care of his bruises. They come to an understanding that they will no longer have any secrets between them.Flash forward three years into the future and Harris and Jonah are secure in their newfound love and enjoying a wonderful relationship. I really enjoyed this and I give it my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

 

Someone to Hear Me by T. A . McKay

Title: Someone to Hear Me             Word Count:290pgs
Genre:Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Kohan has a simple life but he’s happy. The only thing that’s missing is that special someone to come home to at night. That is until he literally bumps into Ares, a man who sparks his interest, but he rushes off before Kohan can talk to him. When he sees the stranger again, Kohan is determined that he’s not going to let him escape this time.
What Kohan doesn’t know is he’s falling for a guy that has been through more than he could ever imagine, and when Ares’ dark past catches up with him, there might be a chance that neither man will walk away unhurt.

We all dream of finding that one true love, the person who completes you, and when you find them you should hold on tight to them. But what happens when that dream turns into a nightmare, one that you can’t escape from? Ares is running from a past that almost cost him his life, a past that changed everything.
When he meets Kohan he’s scared of letting someone in, scared that history will repeat itself, but finally he sees that not everyone is out to hurt him. He sees that maybe someone could love him without causing pain.
But when the thing Ares is hiding from appears again, it takes him right back into that dangerous past and he doesn’t know if he will survive it this time.

My name is Ares, and the man I married is the person who will probably kill me.
I want to leave.
I want to escape.
I don’t want to die.
My name is Ares and I want Someone To Hear Me.

Please Note this book contains scenes of domestic abuse that some people may find uncomfortable.

My Review: It is never easy when someone who swore to love and cherish you breaks your trust. Twenty five year old Ares learns this the hard way, after he wakes up in the hospital with his life irrevocably changed. After being beaten and terrorized numerous times by his husband Micah for the slightest infractions, his husband finally went to far. Micah has beaten Ares so badly that his face is left disfigured with a scar bisecting his forehead and he is now deaf. As many victims do , Ares blames himself for what Micah did. Even though Micah is imprisoned, Ares still lives in fear for his life.

Ares suffers from PTSD and he has panic attacks if he is surrounded by too many people. He flinches at every shadow , and he is virtually a hermit. He knows he has to do something to reclaim his life. Ares’ therapist suggests that he find a job and meet new people. Ares finds a job as a cleaner at a newspaper office and that’s where he meets Kohan. Kohan is a journalist and he is immediately intrigued by the quiet man who refuses to look at him and make eye contact.

There is just something about Kohan that makes Ares feels safe. Its the safest he’s felt in a long time with another man. The two men form a tentative friendship and Kohan soon realizes that he wants more, but he sees a dark fear hidden in Ares. Ares finds himself confessing the horrors of his past, at least some of it. Kohan is saddened to know that such a sweet man has been hurt by such a monster. Kohan is extremely patient and understanding with Ares and his issues.

Everyday Ares gets a little bit stronger mentally and continues on his quest to reclaim his life. He makes a concerted effort to open up more to Kohan even though it scares him. He doesn’t feel like its fair to take things any further with Kohan for fear that he won’t be able to follow through. Kohan notices every time Ares takes two steps forward he retreats a little. He refuses to let Ares push him away, because he knows he is the light that Ares needs to step out of the shadows.

Things heat up between the two after Ares attempts a night out with Kohan and his best friend Sophie.Ares feels almost normal after a few drinks, he definitely feels desire when Kohan rubs against him while they dance. He gives in to the pleasure and allow himself to feel again. Kohan realize that underneath that fear is a very passionate willing young man and he wants to stoke that flame. These moments are heartbreaking and oh so tender and just what Ares needs to move past his pain.

We see all the atrocities Micah perpetrated against Ares through his nightmares and flashbacks. One thing that comes through is how much Ares blames himself. He fears he will make the same mistake with another man because he feels like he can’t trust his own judgement. This is a continuous setback in his relationship with Kohan. Kohan’s strength and patience is constant, because he knows its what Ares needs whenever he catches a glimpse of his past pain.

Kohan soon realizes that the key to making their relationship work is to treat Ares as normal as possible and not like he is fragile glass. Ares is able to experience the beauty of a relationship and receiving pleasure without the repercussions of pain. It is exhilarating for Ares the freedom he is finally experiencing. Ares takes charge for the first time in his sexual encounters. Kohan relishes this new dominant side of Ares and he allows him this freedom of taking the role of top. He understands that this role empowers Ares and continues to strengthen his positive personality.

They make plans to go out to meet with Kohan’s brother Carey and his new beau Duncan. The whole night starts going downhill from the beginning when Duncan doesn’t turn up. Carey’s in a foul mood and this causes the brothers to argue. Kohan is upset that Carey isn’t even trying to get to know his boyfriend. Ares gives them a moment . He has a panic attack when he thinks he sees someone who looks like his ex Micah. Ares bolts from fear and leaves in a cab.

Once again Ares does not trust his instincts and this proves to be his downfall. It turns out that Duncan is actually Micah who is out of prison on a technicality. Micah attacks Ares and the horrible abuse starts right away. Ares tries to break up with Kohan through a text. Kohan goes straightaway to his house, but Ares is firm in pushing him away. Kohan respects Ares’ wishes and go on a three day drinking binge. It isn’t until a family crisis that his brothers pulls him out of his stupor.

By the time Kohan figures that something is wrong, Ares has been held hostage for more than a week with his despicable ex. The abuse he endures is horrendous and almost pulls Ares deep down in the dark abyss. It isn’t until Micah hurts Kohan that Ares gets the courage to defend the love of his life. Ares kills Micah and ends his cruel reign. Kohan just got a taste of the atrocities that Ares must have experienced, but it scarred him pretty good. Kohan has nightmares and flashbacks now, but it is Ares’ steadfast presence that keeps him sane . I really enjoyed this one. It had the right amount of angst. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.