Teddy and his Bear(Oh My! 1) by Andi James & Lila Wilde

Title: Teddy and his Bear    Word Count: 286 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:At twenty-four, Teddy should be used to feeling abandoned and unwanted. After all, he’s been dealing with it most of his life. But a recent breakup takes him completely by surprise and now he’s on his own again. Nursing new and old hurts, he leans on his makeshift family and finds solace in a growing and unexpected friendship with an older man.

Forty-two-year-old Barrett has successfully ignored his biggest need for years. His last boy left him questioning everything he knew, and he is determined to lead a vanilla life, no matter how much his friends try to convince him to be true to himself. When he learns his favorite barista needs a new place to stay, he offers a solution that leads to spending more time with the younger man.

A change in circumstances brings both men together and their buried feelings to light. Teddy knows he’s attracted to Barrett but isn’t sure if he’s ready to risk his heart again, and Barrett is losing the struggle against his dominant nature. Will learning Barrett’s sexy secret be too much for Teddy, or is it just the thing he never knew he needed?

Teddy & His Bear is a 90K word slow-burn, May/December, Daddy kink MM romance featuring
one hot Daddy, his sweet new boy, coffee, and unicorns.

My Review: Teddy is devastated when his two boyfriends sit him down and tell him they no longer want to be a triad. Teddy is flummoxed , when they explain that they would rather be a pair. They say it’s easier to explain to people. Teddy’s heart shatters when they let him know they’ve been considering it for a month. Teddy leaves feeling as if his whole world has imploded. His best friend Tony and his boss/ friend Claudette help him to pick up the pieces.

Teddy pushes himself to work, but the questions keeping swirling around in his head. What did he do wrong? Most importantly, he wonders why he wasn’t enough for them. This is the thought that really brings him to the brink of tears. Teddy is so distracted by these thoughts that he almost fell off a stool at work. His life is ultimately saved by one of his customers,who happens to be a traveling doctor Barrett. The concern in Barrett’s eyes and being in strong arms causes everything to overflow. Barrett holds Teddy while he cries and he pours out his heartbreak in his story.

Needless to say, Teddy is embarrassed to see Barrett the next time.Barrett is just sad to see Teddy so heartbroken. He wishes he could make Teddy’s world right again. Barrett knows deep down that he sees all the perfect qualities of a ‘boy’ in Teddy. These qualities are the siren song to his repressed ‘Daddy’ persona. There is just one problem, Barrett has put away his ‘Daddy Dom’ after his last boy left him years ago. Barrett has forced himself to live a vanilla lifestyle after his last ‘boy’ accused him of being a smothering daddy. Barrett is scared of making the same mistake again.

Knowing that Teddy needs a place to stay, Barrett offers to rent him a room over his garage. An easy friendship forms between this unlikely pair. Their friendship fills a void in both of them and goes a long way to piecing back together Teddy’s shattered heart. They cook dinner together, binge watch tv with Teddy being the voracious snuggler. Teddy shows Barrett the fun side of life, a part that’s been missing in him for so long. He receives the nickname Bear from Teddy , who sees just how much of a cuddly teddy bear Barrett can be.Barrett enjoys taking care of sweet Teddy, even though he knows it’s not his ‘boy’.

Things change between them at a Halloween party. Teddy acts on his crush for the sexy silver fox Barrett. Their heat reaches combustible levels and they both get exactly what they need. Once the sun comes up though, they both decide that they should remain friends only. That doesn’t work out too well as they can hardly resist each other. When Teddy hurts his ankle at work, Bear steps up as a Daddy Dom taking care of his ‘boy’ unofficially. Teddy enjoys Bear taking care of him, especially when Bear slips and calls him baby boy. Teddy doesn’t understand the significance until his best friend Tony explains that Barrett is a Daddy Dom.

Teddy starts doing his research about the Daddy/ boy dynamic. The more he learns, the more he sees this is the connection he’s been missing. Teddy makes the decision to get his Daddy to see him as the perfect boy. Bear can no longer resist, once he sees his boy’s acceptance of their power play. He falls right back into his Daddy role with such ease. Sparks ignite between Daddy and his boy, their connection is effortless and they fall into their roles seamlessly.

Teddy adapts to the Daddy/ boy lifestyle as if he was living it forever. It definitely doesn’t hurt that he has the most amazing Daddy, who always puts his boy’s needs first. They continue to build their relationship and it grows exponentially with the time they spend together. They hit a bit of a snag, when Teddy finds out that his exes are in the process of adopting a child. This brings about all of Teddy’s insecurities and feeling unworthy. Barrett is sad to see his boy so tormented. He decides to show him how grateful he is to have Teddy in his life, by officially asking him to move in.

They enjoy the newness of their relationship and explores the lifestyle by visiting Barrett’s old kink clubs. This opens up a new world of possibilities for Teddy. He indulges in new experiences and being more open with his sexuality and his exhibitionist side. He revels in belonging to his Daddy and finds a newfound joy in being a Daddy’s boy and taking his punishment spankings and orgasm denial when necessary. This was certainly a feel good story that had me smiling the whole way through and very emotional at times. Barrett, the ever patient Daddy Dom was always there to soothe Teddy’s fears and insecurities. In the end , Teddy’s confidence and happiness was unshakeable because of his Daddy’s love. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

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Livingston (Trenton Security 1) by J.M. Dabney

Title: Livingston Word Count:186 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:He was the Beast without the escape clause.

Francis “Liv” Livingston was a beast. No matter if he wore a perfectly tailored suit or if he was in his tactical gear, people avoided looking at him. He was always first to volunteer for the jobs only a person with a death wish wanted. Tomorrows weren’t guaranteed. His boss had come to him and told him he needed him for a job. Linus knew the jobs he liked, but when he opened the file, it all went to hell.

Beauty was only skin deep.

Fielding Haskell made his way in the world on his looks. He’d earned his first film role before he could read a script. He didn’t want the fame. He wanted to go to college. He wanted a man who didn’t look at him and see how pretty he was. Unfortunately, a so-called fan only cared how attractive he was, and it earned him a personal bodyguard and a vacation. He looked forward to the break until he met the man in charge of his safety and wondered if the danger he left was worth dealing with a sudden attraction to a man who was colder than ice.

My Review: Liv has lived in the shadows, ever since he was a boy and his crazy cultish mother lit his bed on fire. He has burn scars on 75 percent of his body.Liv’s always stood apart from the rest of the Trenton Crew and the other Crews, even though they are a brotherhood in every sense of the word. He knows compared to his crazy handsome counterparts, he is the ‘beast’ of the lot. With all the Crews pairing up lately and raising families, he holds out no hope that will be his future. Liv takes all the suicide missions that his boss Linus hands out and he loves his solitude. From the moment he lays eyes on Fielding Haskell he knows he’s in trouble.

Fielding Haskell is an up and coming movie star who is in need of protection from a stalker. His parents want to protect their interests in their meal ticket. They try to control all aspects of Fielding’s life especially his weight gain. Fielding is practically half starved in Liv’s opinion. He is petite and androgynous and something in his demeanor calls to the dominant in Liv. Liv tries to be professional, because he knows there is no sense in an attraction between them. After all he is the ‘beast’. How could the most beautiful man love him or could he?

Fielding is intrigued with the man named Liv. He sees his scars and feels empathy for the pain he must have endured. Fielding is a very tactile person and all he wants to do is to touch the scars to feel the smoothness against his cheek. He wants to feel the hair that grows on only the one side of Liv’s body. Fielding feels an attraction to the big sexy gruff man who he knows is off limits. Being enclosed in Liv’s rustic cabin allows Fielding to feel a sense of freedom he has never known. He instinctively defers to Liv’s dominance and trusts him to do what’s best for him. Liv gets a taste of what it would mean having a ‘boy’ of his own for the first time. Can he have an ‘ever after’ like all his other paired up brothers?

When Liv goes on a mission and leaves Fielding alone , he gets a true understanding of the responsibility of being in a relationship. All he can think about is returning safely home to his ‘boy’. Having a gun shoved in his face, certainly put things in perspective for him. Once he gets home, in spite of his insecurities, Liv knows he needs Fielding for however short-lived it will be. Liv surprises Fielding with an induction to the crews on their Sunday bike ride. Fielding feels so free and safe with Liv. Liv opens up about his scars while Fielding talks about how he is a prisoner in his own everyday life. Fielding shares his dreams of wanting to be a normal person without restrictions on his diet or actions. Their idyllic bliss is interrupted when they receive a new note from Fielding’s stalker. Liv is furious and it drives him crazy to think he might have put his boy in danger. They come up with the ruse of faking Fielding’s death to draw out his stalker.

Liv knows this is the time to make Fielding his in every sense of the word. His daddy is certainly not gentle and he relishes the feelings and all the passion. Fielding embraces every bit of pain,because he knows he is seeing the true Liv. Fielding offers up his virginity freely , because he knows he’ll never find another Liv. It makes him sad his daddy doesn’t want to keep him, but he doesn’t push for more. Fielding lives in the moment and the passion between the two is incendiary.

Fielding is worried about the man he thinks of as his ‘daddy’ when the team notices that Liv is not checking in. Their feelings overwhelm them as soon as Liv walks through the door, he is jumped by his boy who is ecstatic to see his daddy safe and sound. Liv takes Fielding to the woods to stay with his even crazier friends Horace and Freddie. Being in the woods gives Liv even more freedom. They end up giving a passionate performance of their lovemaking to the voyeuristic duo . Seeing Liv’s imperfections and Fielding’s beauty tantalizes them, making them have hope for themselves. After a week of roughing it, Liv decides it’s safe to go back to the cabin.

The stalker has become desperate and he uses Little , another member of Liv’s team to get to Fielding. He snatches him from right out of their office building using the guise of visiting Little. Fielding is surprised he knows his kidnapper, he was a child star he worked with years ago. It doesn’t take the team long to find Fielding. Liv is spitting mad and wouldn’t hesitate to eliminate the stalker if Sheriff Camden Pelter didn’t hold him back. Liv takes his boy home and pampers him, knowing that he has to let him go soon. What does a man like Liv have to offer someone like Fielding? The answer comes to him from the matriarchs Lily and Peaches who impress upon him his true worth as a son , brother, friend and lover.

Within moments of coming to pick up Fielding, his parents pour on the insults about his weight gain.Liv doesn’t even hesitate to order his boy back to his side. Finally, he sees the truth , there is nobody else who can take care of Fielding like he can. He acknowledges that he loves his boy unconditionally and only he can provide for all of his boy’s needs. Fielding is ecstatic and can’t wait to continue his life with his daddy. For sure, there will definitely be a wedding put on by the matriarch.I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

No Fear (No Shame 3)by Nora Phoenix

Title: No Fear Word Count:325 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: Aaron is drowning. After coming out as gay, he lost his parents’ approval, his job, and his sense of identity. He feels like a freak who doesn’t fit in anywhere. His last hope was his brother Josh, but Josh can’t seem to forgive him for how Aaron treated him when they were teens. Not that Aaron can blame him, because he did treat Josh like crap.

All Aaron wants is for someone to accept him, guide him, because he doesn’t have a clue. When sexy jiujitsu teacher Blake takes him in and starts mentoring him, Aaron has hope for the first time, even though he can’t understand what Blake sees in him.

Blake doesn’t do relationships. At all. He’s more than willing to help Aaron find solid ground under his feet, but that’s it. Until insecure, vulnerable, and surprisingly sexy Aaron gets under his skin, triggering all kinds of protective instincts that make Blake long for more. He wants to take care of Aaron, give him what he needs, but how can he convince Aaron of that?

When Josh’s friend-with-benefits Indy’s past finally catches up with him, it endangers them all—and leads to heartbreaking decisions for everyone involved.

No Fear is a steamy M/M romance that ends with a HFN for Aaron and Blake, but has a continuing storyline as well. It’s the third book in the No Shame Series, and is not a stand alone novel, so make sure to read the first book (No Filter) and the second book (No Limits) first. It contains hot sex, a little kink, more hot sex, very mild puppy play, and a beautiful friendship-with-benefits that transcends labels. Also: trigger warning for mentions of sexual abuse.

My Review: We were introduced to Aaron Gordon in the previous installment of this series. We met him as Josh’s younger brother who turned his back on him when he came out. First impressions of him were that he was a spoiled brat who comes from an uber religious family. He comes off as being a self entitled kid who got everything handed to him. Now that he has come out himself, his parents kicked him out. Aaron is no longer the golden boy and he is rudely awakened to some of the horrors faced by many gay men around the world. On his first foray out to a club, he is beaten badly and gets a few bruised ribs for his troubles. Aaron shows up on Josh’s doorstep and even though they are not close, Josh lets him stay for a bit. Things are very tense for awhile and it soon becomes clear it’s not gonna work. Aaron is perceived to be very lazy and expects to be taken care of. He doesn’t have the wherewithal to clean up his own mess. It is Josh’s boyfriend Connor who steps in and gives him an ultimatum: pay his own way or he has to stay somewhere else. Josh finds him a safe space to stay with Indy’s juijitsu professor Blake Kent.

Blake seems to be a very rigid man , but he has a very kind heart and he looks out for others and champions the weak. He opens his home as a safe space to people who have been abused. Blake is empathetic to Aaron’s situation, but he soon loses patience with his slovenly ways. Blake takes Aaron to task, letting the arrogant young man know he needs to pull his own weight. After Aaron cleans the studio without complaining, Blake heart softens when he realizes that Aaron is trying. After a very candid conversation, Blake understands that what he saw as arrogance is actually Aaron’s vulnerable insecurities coming through. Aaron is a lost puppy, who has lost all his sense of self and identity.

Blake gives Aaron carte blanche to ask any question he wants. This leads to some sexual explorations when he finds out that Aaron is still a virgin. Blake decides to pay it forward and lead this innocent young man into a gay new world. First order of business is to get Aaron some sexy underwear and a new wardrobe. After careful scrutiny, Blake deduces that any form of sexual identity that Aaron might have formed while living with his parents would have been eradicated. Blake sees through the fear of rejection and perceives that Aaron may possibly want to identify with a more gentler, feminine side of himself. He knows he is spot on when he sees the joy on Aaron’s face when he tries on a more feminine wardrobe. This also brings out Aaron’s sexy side. Aaron is feeling a new sense of self and decides to have the sexy dominant Blake relieve him of his virginity. Blake decides to give him a taste of the gay nightlife first to see other options before he takes on the much coveted job of v-card defiler.

Aaron knows from the moment he steps in the club that there is no other man for him. He sways sensually to the music and Blake knows right away that he is willing to break all his rules for this sexy Aaron. Blake knows that there is definitely something building between them that defies his no relationship rule. He is certainly intrigued by this sweet cuddle puppy who has turned into a terrier. When they start getting too frisky for the dance floor, Blake makes the decision to take sexy Aaron home. He is on his way home when he noticed something weird at his studio. Someone’s trying to break in, he stealthily creeps in and overheard them talking about finding Indy. Blake knows he has to warn Indy.

It is the middle of the night and its clear to see that Blake has woken up my favorite quartet. Blake is a little bit shocked to see the openness and sexual familiarity displayed by these four men. It makes him curious about their relationship. When he explains what’s happening,it is Josh who comforts Indy by kissing him. Looking at Noah, it is obvious that he isn’t upset at Josh kissing his boyfriend Indy. The same goes for Connor when he walks in. The easy camaraderie amongst these four is clear. They use sexual banter and nuance to comfort each other. What Blake is envious of is the love he feels radiating from all of them. However, it is very tense between the two brothers Josh and Aaron. The pot finally boils over when Josh lashes out at Aaron for not standing up for him when they were younger. Aaron is brought to tears and he apologizes for hurting Josh. It is Indy who appeals to Josh, showing him that Aaron was only a scared 15 yr old boy then. Blake cuddles his ‘puppy’, letting him know he is no longer alone. Blake sees deep inside his boy, knowing the pain he carries inside is keeping him from embracing his true sense of self.

Blake knows that with all the pain Aaron has endured, he just needs someone to take care of him. Blake takes Aaron on a date and he loves the connection that he feels with this needy young man. Something in Aaron calls to Blake and he explains the BDSM lifestyle, especially the daddy/boy dynamics. It doesn’t quite fit though;when Blake explains about puppy play, all the pieces snap into place for Aaron. Puppy play definitely resonates with Aaron and accounts for all the weird, clingy, needy feelings he is prone to feeling.Blake decides to step up to the plate and fulfill this need in his boy, which surprisingly calls out to the dominant nature within himself. Before they can go home to explore the new dynamics in their relationship, Aaron asks to stop by to check in with Indy and his men.

They aren’t there for too long before chaos ensues. The men who are hunting Indy show up. Blake jumps into the fray and disarmed two of them, but gets shot in the process. Connor kills 3 of the men. Indy knows he can no longer put his men in danger. He decides to go into witness protection. Blake is seriously hurt and flatlines twice. Luckily, Noah is there to pull him back. They are all in their own world of hurt. Aaron is constant and just like the ‘puppy’ he is, he never leaves Blake’s side. Everyone starts noticing how ‘clingy’ he is. Blake’s brothers Burke and Brad make derogatory remarks about Aaron. This brings up all of Aaron’s insecurities causing him to flee from the only home he has ever known. Blake is furious and takes his brothers to task for their judgement. Blake expresses his love for Aaron and continues to text his ‘puppy’. Aaron is so far gone in his loneliness, he drives quite a few states away and find a job at a motel.

Everybody’s world seems to be imploding.Connor comes up with a plan for him and Josh to free Indy, but it involves being separated. Connor has quit his job and gone back to the criminal elements of his past life in Boston.Indy has gone into witness protection and is in an unknown location fending for himself. Noah feels like he is losing himself, especially when he finds out that Josh has to be booked in a psychiatric ward for his PTSD. Blake is recovering slowly and missing his ‘puppy’, but he diligently sends text messages on an hourly basis letting him know how much he is missed.

It only takes Aaron a month to figure out what the sentiment behind Blake’s messages mean. Even though Blake hasn’t said it outright, Aaron knows he is loved. As soon as Blake opens the door, Aaron knows he is home. A sense of peace flows over him as soon as he is back in Blake’s arms. Blake presents him with a gift of a perfect pink collar and matching leash to welcome home his puppy. Aaron is at peace with himself and his unique needs and he is definitely ready to embrace his true identity. The sexual energy between these two is very palpable and showcases the full extent of their trust and love for each other. I really enjoyed how naturally the puppy play aspect was introduced by the author. It was not overly salacious, just two men being in love and freely expressing that love ,as it should be.

Indy once again proves to be a superhero trapped in his little ‘twinkie’ body when he ends up saving himself as well as a federal agent Miles who will star in the next upcoming book of this series. The plan Connor has set in place is perfectly executed without any of the key players falling under suspicion. At last, Indy is free, all the men of the Fitzpatrick clan who has hurt and hunted him are dead. I can’t wait to see the fabulous quartet that is made up of Indy , Noah, Josh and Connor reclaim their lives. Another amazing addition, the next one will be a threesome, can’t wait. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

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.

Romancelandia 1: Too Stupid to Live by Anne Tenino

Title : Too Stupid to Live                         Word Count :80,500
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong…can they?

My Review : Sam can be described as a dorky flaming gay guy. He is a little bit shy and far too insecure. He has his head in the clouds and his nose stuck in a romance novel most of the times. It is definitely not surprising when he gets run over by a horde of rugby players when he gets a little too close to their field. Sam looks up a little bit dazed, only to be confronted with the most beautiful blue eyes on the most brawny highlander. Welllll, that would definitely be the case if he was a character in a historical romance. He is jarred back to the present when the rugby player gives him a hand while smirking at him. Sam decides to take his chances and awkwardly asks the sexy rugby player out. He is brutally shot down when the guy lets him know that he is not his type.

When Sam’s best friend Nik has a party, he eagerly attends hoping that he can just forget his humiliation with the sexy guy. Sam is utterly shocked when he comes face to face with the same guy , only to realize that it’s Nik’s boyfriend’s cousin Ian. Ian can be described as the worldly fuck’em and leave’em type. He immediately notices Sam as the dorky guy he knocked over on the playfield. As the night goes on , he becomes more intrigued by Sam, especially since his cousin Jurgen warned him to keep his hands off. He is a bit like a kid in a candy store, he just can’t resist the chase. By the end of the night, he has decided that he has to get into Sam’s pants.

When Ian corners Sam in his room, Sam is torn because he knows he is not Ian’s type, but he greedily accepts the attention showered upon him by this sexy stud. Ian pushes all of Sam’s hot buttons and he has the right commanding presence to make Sam fall to his knees and worship him. Sam is a little bit ashamed by how eager he is, but he has never had a hotter night than he did with Ian. Ian’s foundation is altered as well, because something felt different about his experience with Sam. There is just something about the geeky guy that he can’t forget.

Ian comes up with a proposition that he thinks they can both benefit from, but he has certain ‘parameters’ set in place. He makes it very clear that they are not boyfriends, they are just guys hanging out who occasionally have sex. Sam would really like to tell him where to shove it, but he is also excited by Ian’s dominance and he can’t resist exploring the glimmer of hope in the back of his mind.
Sam lives his life by the mandates of the romance novels he likes so much and the more he gets to know about Ian is the more he realizes that Ian is far from that ideal …..or is he?

Ian is a tortured soul who has some issues he is working through with a therapist. He is still navigating fully coming out of the closet to some of his coworkers, friends and family. Ian knows he will lose some along the way, but he is ready to take that chance to be with Sam.He is soon able to acknowledge that the parameters that he set for their ‘relationship’ is not able to confine the ever growing feelings he is having for Sam. On the other hand, there is Sam who is very insecure and definitely not sure of his own footing in whatever it is that they are doing. He is trying to shield his heart as best as he can , so that whenever the inevitable heartbreak happens, he will survive.

A turning point comes in their relationship when they come across one of Sam’s ex boyfriend one afternoon. Ian feels a sense of jealousy, but moreover he wants to protect Sam when he gets a glimpse of how the guy treated Sam. He sees where Sam’s insecurities stem from and makes it his point of duty to help him see his self worth. Their bond becomes stronger when Ian teaches Sam to trust him when they explore Sam’s submissive tendencies. He takes a scene out of Sam’s romance novel where he role-plays the part of a highland laird. As corny as it sounds , this solidified their relationship in a way that nothing else could. This was the means to show Sam how perfect he is, just the way he is in all his awkward dorkiness.

Like most romance novels, there is a big misunderstanding in the plot where Sam thinks Ian is trying to break up with him. It takes Sam being almost gay bashed for them to reconcile and admit to each other how much they love each other. I really enjoyed this one, there were funny moments and hot and steamy sessions between these main characters. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Blue Collar by Sean Micheal

Title: Blue Collar                                      Word Count :42,500
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Kendall Webber is deep in the closet. Between working in a garage, having been in the army and a fundamentalist preacher step-father who sent him to summer camps to make him straight, he’s learned to hide his sexuality from absolutely everyone.

Still, when Barton Willis the Third roars into the garage with his Mustang, Kendall can’t help but look, just a little. When Barton not only looks back but invites him in, Kendall’s whole world is turned upside down.

Can Barton help Kendall let go of the past and the attitudes he had literally beaten into him?

My Review : From the moment that Kendall meets Barton Ellis the third at the mechanic shop where he works, he knows he’s in trouble. Barton is just as flashy as the cherry red mustang that he wants to be serviced. It soon becomes clear that’s not all he wants serviced. Kendall is a bit uncomfortable around Barton and this feeling intensifies when his boss suggests that he should drop the flirty Barton home. Barton invites him to dinner as a thank you and Kendall tentatively accepts not wanting to offend a customer .
Kendall is very nervous around this man who exudes class and money. Barton pushes Kendall to open up to his desires. He sees something in Kendall that he can’t wait to tap into. Ken is very resistant to his advances at first, but clearly he is attracted. Barton stirs something that has been long held dormant inside him. Barton pushes him to explore their passion for each other and even though it feels really good it is tainted by shame. Through their conversations Barton realize that someone has had a hand in making Ken feel that his homosexual desires are wrong and needs to be repressed.
Kendall reveals that he was sent to conversion therapy when he was younger and this makes Barton want to hurt the people responsible. Barton makes it his mission to make Ken feel good about himself and he offers his home as a safe space to be free. Their explorations become less one-sided and Ken revels in these new feelings that Barton brings out. It takes awhile for Ken’s shyness to disappear, but there is a whole new world that Barton would like to gift him on a silver platter. Barton loves his toys and he has a wide array that he wants to introduce to Ken. The first toy he tries on Ken is the sound which he inserts in his penis. Barton explains that this will give him a more intense orgasm without the ejaculation. Ken is a bit unsure, but he gives in to Barton and truly let go. The feeling is exhilarating and so overwhelming that he breaks apart in Barton’s arms.
The more time they spend together is the closer they become to each other. Ken starts opening up about his horrific experiences as a kid at the conversion camp. Barton heart goes out to the little boy who was abused , but surprisingly not broken . He is amazed at how remarkable of a man Ken has turned out to be. He continues to show Ken just how much he adores him by inviting him to come live with him.
They get really comfortable with each other and start to live a blissfully idyllic life. All this changes slightly when they go on a shopping trip to the mall. Kendall is brought back to the real world and all his fears of discovery. While he is shopping he comes across his sister who he had not seen in months. It brought home how much he missed his sisters. He introduces Barton as his friend and leaves a card with her to contact Barton if ever she cant reach Ken. Its when they run into one of Ken’s homophobic coworkers where things get dicey. Ken knows he is going to face a lot of questions on his return to work.
The atmosphere definitely changes for him at work and puts a little distance between the young couple. It isn’t until Ken gets pushed at work causing him to break his wrist and leg that Barton knows the severity of Ken’s troubles. Barton is furious that someone would hurt his sweet young lover. He corals some of his high powered friends to help and convinces Ken to sue the garage and everyone involved. Ken realizes how in love he is with his sexy man. Barton has only ever encouraged him and Ken truly feels a sense of purpose in life now. In the end, he opens his own garage where he can use his skills as a mechanic and be his own boss. I really enjoyed this book, but I believe that the ending was too abrupt. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Men in the Shadows 4: The Porn Star by Rain Carrington

Title : The Porn Star              Word Count : 382 pgs
Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Sammy is looking for the man who could make him feel the way Neil had, and finding it impossible. A secret admirer starts to leave him roses and notes, stalking him. Sammy is intrigued, but with college, his job at his father’s garage and his new tutoring gig, he doesn’t have a lot of time to guess who it could be. Secretly, though, he hopes that it is Neil, who he couldn’t stop wanting.
He finds out and soon begins to explore his kink, to be watched. A video is uploaded to a website and attracts the attention of a porn producer. IS this Sammy’s big break, or will it end in heartbreak?
The student Sammy starts to tutor is a rich and difficult man named Andrew. Andrew disregards and berates anyone who crosses him, including the new personal assistant his father hired to “babysit” him.
Tom is a former Marine with a secret agenda, keeping him in the job with the privileged man he doesn’t know if he’d rather slap or kiss. Once Andrew’s parents announce their impending divorce, Andrew goes off the rails, only to find Tom there to catch him.
Through the last two years, Malcolm and Kirk have lived and loved, but when Sammy asks Malcolm to keep a secret from his big lover and his biker brothers, including Road Dog, Sammy’s father, Malcolm agrees, only to be found out and losing everyone who mattered the most to him. Can he and Kirk find their way back to one another, possibly with the help of the big Marine they met through Sammy?
Secrets, intrigue, murder and unspeakable acts abound in this final installment of the series. Three couples unite and are put to the test by family, friends and new jobs. Can three men come out stronger or end up another casually of their Men in the Shadows?

My Review : This book really showed how to bring the two halves of our ‘selves’ together and how to reconcile the disparity between the two. First of all, we meet Sammy who is a sweet young man who seems to be lost. Sammy has been hurt by a former lover and has decided to cure his pain by sleeping around. This helps him for a time, but lately he has realized that these encounters are leaving him unfulfilled. When Sammy starts getting notes from a secret admirer, he has to admit that he is somewhat intrigued. He tells his best friend Malcolm who seems to be worried for Sammy. He suggests that it could be the work of Sammy’s former lover Neil. Sammy agrees with Mal, but even though he still feels hurt over Neil’s betrayal, deep down he hopes the notes are from him. Sammy goes through his everday life as usual, going to college, working at his father’s garage and doing some tutoring to a spoiled brat named Andrew.
Things come to a head when Neil reveals himself as Sammy’s secret admirer. Sammy’s immediate reaction is to walk away from Neil as he knows no good can come from it. Neil persuades him and begs him for a chance to apologize. Neil is sorry for the way he betrayed Sammy. He knows that he messed up before and got Sammy’s friend Malcolm hurt, but he was also the one who helped find Malcolm when he was kidnapped. Sammy wants to forgive Neil and he realizes that he is still very much in love with him. He is in a quandary, because he knows that his family would definitely not appreciate him getting back together with Neil. Sammy’s father Road Dog, belongs to a biker gang, and he has forbidden his son to ever speak to Neil again after all the problems he caused the family .
Against his better judgement, Sammy decides to give Neil another chance and take things slowly . Neil is ecstatic that he gets to be with his sweet Sammy again. They agree to keep their relationship a secret for the time being. Things are going great with them and within no time they have totally reconnected. Neil is the only man that has been able to bring out Sammy’s kinky side, he is a bit of an exhibitionist. Neil caters to Sammy’s exhibitionism by filming their passionate lovemaking and uploading it to a porn site with Sammy’s approval. Sammy is beyond excited to see the thousands of views that their video has gotten. This sparks a flame within Sammy which can no longer be tamed.
In the meantime, another relationship is being formed between Sammy’s spoiled brat student Andrew and his live in bodyguard Tom. Andrew comes from a family of wealth and he is rude and disrespectful to everyone. He is over priveledged and his father has paid his way through life. He is failing his classes and Sammy realises that the true problem lays in the fact that he can’t read. Andrew goes through life ,covering his failings by being rude and not letting anyone get close to him. He pushes everyone to their breaking point, so that they will eventually leave him. This did not work with Tom, who he thoroughly pissed off with his attitude. Tom is a former marine and a Dom and he is absolutely fed up with Andrew’s disrespect. He is outraged and resorts to his natural inclination to discipline. It isn’t until he starts spanking Andrew and hears him screaming and sees the tears roll down his face , that he realize he does not have the right to discipline him. He starts to apologize, but he sees something in Andrew’s eyes and demeanor that appeals to him. Andrew thrives on punishment and their is a sparkle in his eyes that was never there before. Tom decides to hone Andrew’s submissive nature and turn him into the perfect slave . Tom wants to be his master so bad and soon sees the reality coming through.

It was truly an awakening for both of them to see the rich snobbish attitude taken over by the true mindset of what it means to be a perfect slave to his master. Andrew knows that his true purpose in life is to service Tom in all aspects of his life. Tom initiates Andrew to the life of a slave surrounded by like minded friends. Andrew endures a lot of pain with all the devices used by master Tom and his mentor, but he relishes it and receives pleasure as well. Andrew’s lessons in submission is definitely not for the feint of heart. Tom is a hardcore Dom and there is a lot of pain play , hot wax play amongst other things that I couldn’t fathom. However , the one thing that resonates with me is the open love that these two men experienced once both of their dreams are fulfilled.
Sammy’s feelings for Neil are becoming overpowering and he feels he can no longer hide his relationship from his family. To say his father was upset is a true understatement. Road Dog walks away without speaking to his son. His confession also opens a can of worms when it is revealed that Malcolm kept his secrets. Malcolm’s husband Kirk who is a member of the same biker gang as Road Dog believes that keeping secrets from his biker brothers is a true breach of trust. This causes a rift in their marriage and Malcolm walks out on Kirk. I was really sad to see this as they are my favorite characters.
They have been through a lot and they are really a solid couple.
They all have to pull together when trouble comes in the form of Andrew’s rich daddy. He is the head of a pharmaceutical company that developed a drug that can ‘cure the gay away’. Finding out that his son is gay would definitely cast a shadow on his wonder drug causing him to lose money, so he decides to have his son killed. This is where Malcolm comes up with the brilliant idea that the members of the biker gang could protect Andrew for a fee. It was very interesting to see the different kinds of friendships that were formed amongst these three couples. They all faced the dangerous ordeals with the support of their friends. They endured and came out victorious as three devoted couples. Tom was able to find his perfect slave in Andrew. Neil was able to cater to Sammy’s kinky side and this allowed Sammy to appreciate the man he knows and loves. Kirk was able to reaffirm the strength of the bond that he has with Malcolm.I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.