Bryan & Jase ( Something About Him 1) by A.D. Ellis

Title:Bryan & Jase               Word Count:364 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: Jase Rafferty grew up hiding his sexual curiosities—until he meets Bryan Keating. Bryan’s sexuality is no secret, and being deployed overseas together allows the two men to forge a solid friendship. The sexual attraction is undeniable, but after one lust-filled week, they must go their separate ways.

A year later, a chance meeting gives them one more weekend together, even though they know Jase can’t risk his military career or his family obligations to be with Bryan. 

Several years pass before Jase finally accepts the desperate longing in his heart and body. But when fear and hatred threaten to tear them apart, Jase must make a tough decision, one that he isn’t sure he and Bryan can overcome. Together, they must choose to weather the storm or say goodbye forever.

Bryan & Jase is a military, gay-for-you romance with a single daddy doing the best he can.

**This is a male/male romance meant for ages 18+ due to adult language and adult situations.**

My Review: Bryan Keating and Jase Rafferty first met during their stint in the army. Bryan always knew he was gay and had a little bit of a crush on Jase. There is only one problem, Jase is definitely straight and has a wife back home, albeit a skanky cheating one. He is certainly not happy and plans to get a divorce as soon as he gets back on American soil. During their final months, Bryan’s feelings grow deeper and deeper for Jase. Bryan is perplexed at his interactions with Jase, sometimes he is overtly flirtatious yet he maintains that he’s straight.

Drunken confessions lead to Bryan admitting to experimenting with other guys. Jase’ interest is piqued, but Bryan is still waffling with indecision. When they are almost discovered during a make-out session, Jase freaks out and pushes Bryan away. Jase’ s feelings are hurt and he decides to cut his losses and avoid the closet case. It isn’t until their last week in the army that Jase approaches Bryan to apologize. There is just something about Bryan that draws him in, he can no longer resist. The flames between them ignite and turns into a raging inferno. They have a beautiful blissful time together. It is with tearful goodbyes that they go their separate ways, knowing that It is unlikely that they will see each other again.

It isn’t until a year later that these star crossed lovers would meet again. They reconnect at the airport on their way to an army buddy’s wedding. Bryan is pleasantly surprised to see Jase, but slightly shocked to see him still with his wife and a 4 mth old son Gray in tow. Bryan immediately falls in love with the sweet little boy and the picture of fatherhood that Jase presents. It is clear to see Jase’s love for his son, but it is not lost on Bryan that Jase is still not happy with Sierra. They end up staying in the same hotel and the story unfolds. Jase tells Bryan about the hellish life he leads. Sierra is threatening to expose Jase’s secret since she somehow found out he is gay. She is devious and uses his son as a blackmail tool to get Jase’s money. Bryan consoles his lover and they are able to spend some precious moments with Gray. Jase starts to see a future with Bryan, he just doesn’t know how to make it happen. Jase is still in the army and he knows he won’t be able to cut off his son’s support system that he has with his family. Jase’s father is a career minded homophobic army man. For the time being they go their separate ways and continue their long distance relationship through phone calls and text. 

Everything comes to a halt and soon the text and phonecalls stop on Jase’s end. Once again Bryan decides to set him free and try to move on with his life without Jase. Bryan tries to date other men. He is a very successful investment banker now and decides he wants something more meaningful than one night stands. He meets a nice guy named Braeton and they hit it off. However, there is still something missing , he is just not Jase. Bryan tells Braeton about Jase and he totally understands. They are able to maintain their friendship.

Fast forward five years, at the gaming convention. A lot has happened in Jase’s life, he is now a single dad and ready to truly embrace life. His unfit ex-wife has signed away her maternal rights to run off with her sugar daddy. Jase decides to move to Bryan’s city to try to find him. This part seems a bit farfetched to me, but hey what’s romance without a bit of whimsy. Bryan has always talked about going to the biggest gaming convention and that’s where Jase is headed. It’s Gray who reunites these two men when he bumps into Bryan. They are both ecstatic to have found each other and right away Bryan offers up his home. They fall into each others’ life without too many problems.

Jase is ready to embrace being a gay man and allows things to happen naturally without confusing Gray. Gray has a few problems with bullies at school, but Bryan falls right into his role as step dad with some positive insights on how to deal with homophobic bullies. Jase and Bryan’s relationship flourishes and becomes stronger day by day. This is soon ripped asunder when Jase’s parents makes a surprise visit and discovers Jase’s secret. Jase’s homophobic dad threatens to take away Gray from him. Both men are torn apart and Jase’s fear of losing his son takes over. 

After seeking legal counsel Jase goes back home to Bryan where he belongs, ready to fight to keep his little family together. They had a lot of obstacles in their way but they finally prevailed. I give this my ratings of 3- it was ok give it a try.

The Price of Falling by Melanie Tushmore

Title :  The Price of Falling          Word Count : 81,000

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Mike Miller thought he was an average high school student. Your all-American, football playing, middle class kid. He didn’t mind being normal and fitting in, until new student Jason Reilly showed up. What was it about Jason that was so magnetic? Surely he shouldn’t be feeling things for another guy?

As Mike slowly starts to ignore everything else in his world, he finds not everything about Jason is what it seems. When he discovers Jason will do anything for cold hard cash, he enters in an agreement that could leave him broke for life.

A tentative story of discovery following the lives of two unlikely lovers.

My Review : What starts out as an indecent proposal  slowly turns into more. When Jock  Mike Miller  first meets the new kid in his class Jason, he is enthralled by his  beauty. There is just some nameless emotion that draws him closer. Mike builds up his courage when he notices a trend of Jason getting into different cars with older men. He propositions Jason , a blowjob for money. Jason accepts, even though it seems as if he wants nothing more to do with the Jock outside of their transactions. Mike falls deeper under Jason’s spells the more time they spend together. Mike always has to gauge Jason’s mood, he seems to come with a lot of baggage and he’s perpetually angry. 

Jason is very manipulative and Mike becomes a slave to his needs. Jason holds him by his short hairs and uses his  body as a weapon against him.Their relationship is very one-sided and Jason gives very little, while Mike uses up most of his college fund for his sexual escapades. Their affair seems so cold and pathetic at times and Mike just allows Jason to take advantage of him.

Things came to a head when  Mike gets tired of being a doormat. He questions Jason about their relationship,  demanding that Jason define it.As usual Jason is very nonchalant and this angers Mike to the point where he gets physical, knocking the juice Jason was holding out of his hand. When Mike saw the fear in Jason’s eyes he felt lower than dirt, knowing that he had crossed over into an unforgivable  territory. Mike does his best to try patching things between them. They are in the middle of having make-up sex when Mike’s dad unexpectedly comes home and catches them in the act.  Mike’s conservative father turns into a bigot right in front of his eyes, calling him all types of unsavoury names. Mike’s dad basically  banished him from their home , pulling him out of school and sending him off to live with one of his business partners. 

 Mike is ostracized from his family and friends, all but his sister Alicia who loves him unconditionally. Mike is incredibly  lonely and shell-shocked. Blake becomes a pseudo-father for him and it is with his encouragement and love that Mike regains some of his self-esteem and grow into the man he was meant to be. Mike supresses a major part of himself and even starts dating women in the hopes of gaining his father’s acceptance. When he finally sees his father for the first time, in over two years since he’s been banished,  Mike comes to the realization that his father still sees him as a disappointment and is not willing to overlook his sexuality. Mike becomes truly angry and decides to not try gaining his father’s acceptance and love anymore.

It is really sad to see how one decision can ricochet and cause so many wasted lives. It always boggles my mind to see how some parents can be so intolerable to their own flesh and blood’s sexual preferences. Their self serving attitude has such a diliterious effect on all their lives and causes so much much pain and suffering to all involved. 

It takes Mike four years to finally get out of his slump and admit to himself that he is gay.  He plays around with a few guys and feels reborned and exhilarated for having these experiences. It seems , he is finally living again when  he is reminded how short life can be. Mike gets a call saying that his father has had a massive stroke. His family is turned upside down when it seems as if his dad might not recover successfully. In her grief, Mike’s sister who has stood by him through thick and thin admits to something horrible she did when he got sent away. Alicia has hidden letters that she had gotten from Jason to pass on to Mike saying how sorry he was. Jason went as far as giving her most of the college fund which Mike had given him as payment for sexual favors. 

Mike is furious and he searches hard to see if he can put the pieces of his life back together.  When he finds Jason,  he is devastated at his condition.  Jason has become a heroin addict who is in pretty bad shape. Mike tries to salvage things  by placing Jason in a facility,  to see if he can  recover the Jason he once knew. Just as he thinks he will be able to revisit his life and reclaim what was once lost, Jason runs away from the rehab facility. Mike is at his wits end, but he keeps doing all he can nonetheless. When Jason is found  Mike goes to him and begs him to come home with him to New York . After a lot of back and forth , Jason relents.

All is definitely not smooth sailing for their tentative relationship.  Being a recovering addict, Jason is often moody, sullen and extremely rude. Jason is like a recalcitrant child at the best of times. The dynamics in the house with Jason , Mike and Mike’s sister is definitely tense. Mike is caught in between the two people he loves the most and theydefinitely make it clear that they hate each other. Alicia decides that three is a crowd and moves out for the betterment of their relationship.

 I am a firm believer in the fact that we don’t choose who we love and the heart wants what the heart wants,  no matter how devastating that love might be for us at times. The heart’s resiliency can be very potent and allows us to carry on through anything. It bounces back from all unforgivable occurences over time. They say that time heals all wounds and that is definitely true in this case. Mike and Jason eventually gets to a point where they have a healthy relationship with the normal ups and downs of everyday life. This is truly a coming of age story and it spans quite a few years. It is a journey in young love that eventually culminates in an everlasting love that withstands all the pitfalls of life. I give this my ratings of 4 –  because of the perseverance and resiliency of a love that had many obstacles thrown in its path. 

Going the Distance by John Goode

Title :  Going the Distance                 Word Count : 81,982

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance / Young Adult

Blurb : Looking like the perfect all-American boy—tall, handsome, and athletic—makes it easy for Danny Monroe to blend in with the in-crowd of a new high school. It’s a trick he picked up moving with his father from one Marine base to the next. When you aren’t going to be around long, it’s better to give people what they want. And what they want are his quick hands and fast feet on the basketball court.

On court, he can be himself and ignore certain strange developing urges. Everyone knows you can’t like boys and be a jock, but for Danny his growing attraction is becoming overwhelming. At the thought of losing the only thing that matters, Danny starts to panic and realizes he has a choice to make: happiness or basketball.

My Review :  It must be extremely  hard to try to outrun yourself,  it’s virtually impossible. Army brat  Danny  has first hand experience of this, since the first time he was caught fooling around with his friend at a sleepover and the friend hung him out to dry. His father was exceptionally dissapointed  in him and threatened to send him away. Danny promised his dad that it would  never happen again and suppressed any desires or questions  he ever had about his sexuality.  This holds true until he meets Cody Franks, one of the guys on his basketball team,  an all around  good  guy. Cody and Danny forms a bond where they become the best of friends,  but there is a doorway that is opened in their relationship  that could lead to some thought provoking questions. After a team member sees them kissing on the court one night, Danny pushes Cody away, shuts him out and stops being friends with him. Danny didn’t even get to say goodbye or apologize  when he heard that Cody was moving away.

 Danny is devastated but he does nothing more than push his true self further away.The more you deny your true self is the more you lose the most important  part of yourself. Danny decides the best way to lose himself is to do it through something that he loves and is good at, basketball. This works for all of two minutes, until he starts changing into an unrecognizable  bitter team captain who has isolated and backed himself into a very  far corner. 

After getting dressed down by his coach after a lost game due to his inflated ego, Danny gets into a horrible  car accident. After having an out of body near death experience,  Danny sees himself for what he truly is. It takes his accident for him to finally face up to the truth, that he just might be gay. He has to come to realize  that  he is lucky to be alive and he  needs to stop using other people as a way to hide and deny his sexuality. He faces a constant  battle with his sexuality. His friend  Nate helps him to cope after his accident. Nate accepts that his friend is possibly gay, but Danny refuses to acknowledge  the truth of his desires.

This novel truly resonates with me because it touches on the many facets of life. This is a true coming of age story that talks about love, heartbreak, disappointments, faith, perseverance and throughout  it all fear. Danny gets a lot of things wrong along the way, but that just makes him a teenager and human. It takes a lot of soul searching  and Cody reappearing for Danny to gain forgiveness for his harsh treatment . He has to learn to love himself first and foremost  before he can find love. In my estimation  this novel was definitely a journey. It shows the struggles that many gay or questioning athletes feel that they need to go through to prove themselves to the world. Danny’s journey leaves us on a cliffhanger  with many unanswered questions. I give this my ratings of 3- it was ok, give it a try.  I was left unfulfilled and yearning to  see where Danny would end up.  

Favorite Quotes : 1. “If we are servants of God, and I mean true servants and not just in name, then we have an obligation to love everyone in the name of the Lord. Not just the people we agree with and not just the things we can understand, but everything. Saint Augustine said it best when he wrote ‘Cum dilectione huminum et odio vitiorum.’ It translates as ‘With love for mankind and hatred of sins,’ but nowadays we just say love the sinner, but hate the sin. And though it is true we must love the sinner, I think Augustine got it right the first time. With love for mankind. That is the point, for all of mankind. Not the white folks or the straight ones or the nice ones, for all mankind. ( If we all lived our life by these dictates, the world  would be a  far better place.)

2. You think the answer is hating them? You’re wrong, dead wrong. And I assure you, if you think the fact you are here, dressed up on a Sunday, is a golden ticket to heaven, it isn’t. You want to quote Corinthians and tell me that the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, or men who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God, then be sure to finish the quote with thieves, greedy people, drunks, revilers, and swindlers too. You think having money and wanting more is good? Not according to that quote. You want to think getting the best out of a deal is good, you’re better off finding another passage to defend it.” (People are always quick to throw stones in a glass house, rather than see the sins and wrongs that they  have committed. )