Tank ( Ballsy Boys 2) by K.M. Neuhold & Nora Phoenix

Title: Tank Word Count: 306 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: A fake relationship with the guy I hate more than anything. Kill me now.

Shallow pretty boy, conceited fuckboy, immature assclown. Take your pick, they all apply to Brewer. The world is his ass buffet, and we’re all on the menu.

I’ve never hated anyone like I hate Brewer. But when Rebel pairs us to do a scene together, I have to admit I’m looking forward to taking all my irritation out on his…well, you get the picture. When one scene turns into a whole fake relationship, I’m not sure we’re going to make it out of this without some bloodshed.

But then something weird happens. The more time we spend together, the more I see a different side of him…and dare to show a different side of me. What the hell is happening?

** Tank is the second book in the sexy, emotional Ballsy Boys series. It can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s more fun reading the series in order. Expect plenty of laughs, a whole lotta steam, and all the feels as you get to know these Ballsy Boys.

My Review: It is certainly true that there is a thin line between love and hate. Porn star Tank, Ballsy Boys illustrious ‘top’ hates Brewer with a passion. All he sees when he looks at Brewer is a carefree playboy who believes that the male specimen is his personal buffet. There is a perpetual smile always on Brewer’s face, he is a veritable class clown and he lives to annoy Tank. In all their years working together , the boss man Bear has never put them in a sex scene before. It isn’t until Rebel(former porn star now turned assistant director)decides to shake things up that things get real interesting.

The two porn stars balk at the idea of doing a scene together, but they both need the money too much to turn down the gig. Their sex scene literally breaks the internet with how explosive the action gets. Tank ‘tops’ Brewer with all he’s got and Brewer takes it like a champ. To them , its just them doing their jobs, but everyone around them sees the chemistry that cannot be denied. They are so sexy together and the directors decide to capitalize on their success by turning it into a series. They are now slated to do 10 more movies which will force them to be continually in close quarters.

Working together has not necessarily made them closer, but what it’s done is allow a glimpse into each other’s lives. They are both extremely private, outside of them working together they know absolutely nothing about each other, not even their real names. They are both extremely shocked when they end up in an English Lit class at their college. Tank certainly has to revise the airhead playboy image that he has of Brewer who he now knows as Micah , doctor in training. Brewer didn’t think that Tank was dumb, but he would have never thought that behind all that brute strength was an architectural genius named Peter. They decide to pair up on a class project and this gives them even more access to their personal space. They start hanging out, eating meals together and enjoying each other’s company watching old movies.

It isn’t until after awhile that they even realize they have formed a tentative friendship and that they no longer hate each other. When their producers suggest that they engage in a fake relationship for more ratings and more money, it isn’t the hardship that it would have been prior.Tank lets Brewer know that they have to be mutually exclusive for their farce to work. Their fake relationship segues into a real relationship without them even noticing.

Micah opens up to Peter about his childhood trauma of losing his twin. Peter heart twinges when Micah suggests that the wrong twin died. This internalized behaviour stems from how his parents always made him feel for living when his other half was dead. Tank knows that Brewer feels vulnerable, but he gives him comfort in his big sturdy arms. Tank realises that his feelings are not one-sided when Brewer makes his birthday special. Its the first time anyone has made him feel special. His insecurities peek through and Brewer is the only one that’s ever seen him as more than a big brute of a man.

Peter doesn’t hesitate to open up his home to Micah when his roommate kicks him out. Their relationship is still not defined, but there are certain nuances that are painting a clear picture. Tank has made himself Brewer’s self-appointed caretaker. He finds simple pleasure in making sure he eats properly and gets enough sleep in between bouts of sweaty man sex. They continue to grow together in real life and on set. Brewer tackles Tank’s vulnerability at bottoming. He makes it spectacular for his big grizzly bear. There isn’t a part of Tank’s body that wasn’t loved on. It is obvious that Brewer is well acquainted with physical love. However, he could have been knocked over by a feather when he realizes that he has fallen for Tank. Micah is so in love with the sweet Teddy bear that is Peter.Nevertheless, he is also very afraid of this emotion. After suffering from unrequited love all his life, hopelessly waiting for his parents to love him, Micah decides that Peter has to make the first move.

It all comes down to the last mini movie in the series. They have to make some sort of declaration and it just flows naturally. Their words are geared to the movie , but it’s also fitting for their roles in real life and they both understand that this is raw and truly authentic. Their lovemaking is slow and tender bringing forth all their pent up emotions. They forget about the cameras and just focus on each other. They are explosive together. After the scene finishes and they move on with their regular life, Peter knows he needs to do a grand gesture. Micah deserves the words and the world is his platform as he turns to his Instagram to lay it all on the line. Peter’s declaration of love is well received by Micah and returned tenfold. Their final act is to open up to the Ballsy Boys family, allowing them to meet the true personas behind the facade. Ballsy Boys have quite a few secrets we can’t wait to uncover and explore. I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

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Facing West: A Forever Wilde Novel by Lucy Lennox

Title: Facing West                   Word Count: 300 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Nico
I left my family and tiny Texas hometown fifteen years ago to escape small-town gossips and to give my mom and sister the chance at a better life. But when a phone call from an attorney back home informs me that my sister passed away, leaving me custody of her newborn baby, I’m shocked out of the steady life I’ve built for myself running a tattoo shop in San Francisco.

The thing is: I don’t do babies. And I don’t do small towns. Or commitment. And I especially don’t do family. My plan is to go back to Hobie just long enough to sign adoption papers, giving my niece the kind of stable, loving family I could never provide.

But the moment I meet my niece in the arms of Weston Wilde, my sister’s best friend and the town’s handsome doctor, my plans begin to change. Because suddenly, I see a different future. One with the very thing I thought I never deserved: a family. If only I can convince West that I’m not the same good-for-nothing kid ready to bolt when things get tough.

Weston
There’s one thing I know for sure about Nico Salerno: he was a good-for-nothing as a kid and judging by the purple-haired, tattoo’d punk who shows up at his sister’s funeral, he hasn’t changed. There’s no way I’m letting him take custody of my best friend’s baby.

But the more time I spend around him, the more I realize that his rough exterior is just a shell and that beneath all the tattoos is a scared, insecure man searching for a place to belong. And pretty soon I know exactly where he belongs: in my bed and by my side.

The problem is, he abandoned his family once before, how do I know that if we become a family he won’t do it again?

Facing West is the first in the new Forever Wilde series about the huge Wilde family from Hobie, Texas, whose patriarchs aren’t above a little meddling if that’s what it takes to help their grandkids find true love.

My Review: Nico Salerno has his own life far away from the small town of Hobie, Texas. He owns his tattoo shop and has been making his own way for the last 15 years without any contact from his family. Colour him shocked when he gets a phone call from a lawyer saying his sister has died and he needs to settle her affairs. He is heartbroken for a sister he believed hated him. There are a lot of feelings swirling around inside of him, at the very top being anger at the town and at the people he believed hated and resented him for being gay and abandoning his family.

Resentment is strongest coming from the esteemed Dr. Weston Wilde, his sister Adriana’s best friend. West sees a tattooed punk who only cares about himself and abandoned his family. He is worried that the same fate is about to happen to the precious 4 month old Pippa, Nico’s niece. Nico states clearly that he knows nothing about babies. From the very beginning, there is tension between Nico and West. West has his preconceived notions about Nico and Nico hates the fact that West judges him unfairly without knowing his story.

It soon becomes apparent that the two are attracted to each other. West doesn’t want to want this man who he knows is itching to leave everything and everybody from their small town. After witnessing Nico in confrontation with the closeted town sheriff Curt who is also his step brother , West goes to check on him. What he finds is a broken-hearted Nico who cries for his sister and his mother who he’s only learnt recently passed away years ago. Nico is faced with many regrets from his past. There is a tender moment between Nico and West when West offers him comfort and dulls his loneliness for just a moment.

Once West sees this side of Nico, all his protective instincts come to the surface and the attraction he held at bay can no longer be curtailed. When he decides to go after what he wants, Nico responds favorably to his dominance. Their night is filled with intense passion with moments of vulnerability on both their parts. They both realize that the journey they are about to embark on is not only about sex. With Pippa involved and both of them invested in her, things get real pretty fast.

They both realize that they make a good team and a familial bond is definitely being formed between them and Pippa. Nico starts reconciling the sister he knew with the one that West describes. He starts to realize that his sister apparently grew up and was respected by many in their small town. He regrets missing out on the relationship that could have been. This realization makes it even harder to think about leaving Pippa to be adopted by strangers. Their comfortable domesticity soon comes to a halt when disturbing information about Pippa’s father comes to light.

West is the father, at least that’s what the birth certificate states. Nico is shattered when he hears the news and doesn’t even allow West to plead his case. West is clueless as to why he is listed as Pippa’s father. He can only speculate as to why his best friend Adrianna would do that. He just wants to make it clear to the man he’s falling for that he never slept with his sister.

Nico does what he does best, he runs. It becomes hard for Nico to acclimate to his past life. He has been back for weeks , but his whole life feels so empty until West shows up at his tattoo shop. West claims his man in front of his friends. He expresses his love for Nico and for the first time Nico feels like he belongs. Nico goes back home to his small town Hobie, a place he now realize has always been in his blood. They know they will face challenges, but with the help of the Wildes, they will make it. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

Grayson( A Bully Novel 1) by Morgan Campbell

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

Blurb:Ten years ago…

-Grayson- 

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

A choice that nearly cost me everything:

my friends, my family, my life.

Who knew that choice would nearly cost me my future?

-Finn- 

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

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

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

Who knew that choice would threaten my future?

Ten Years Later…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stockton Wolves 1: Get Off my Case by Lisa Oliver

Title : Get off my Case         Word Count :69,777

Genre : Paranormal Gay Romance

Blurb : The first 20,000 words of this story were published as a free read for the Goodreads MMRomance Group Love’s Landscapes Project. 49,000 words have been added to make this into the book my characters wanted it to be.

Shane West was used to being the only wolf shifter at the Stockton Police Department. His enhanced senses helped him do his job efficiently and he prided himself on keeping control of his animal instincts. Gay from the first day he’d shifted, he also expected to live his long life alone, and provided it meant that he didn’t have to come into contact with any of his ex-pack, he told himself he was happy. And he was. Until Dimitri Polst was assigned as his new partner.

Confirmed ladies man, Dimitri Polst knew Shane from before he’d ever shifted into his wolf form. Two years older and from the same pack, Dimitri had made it his teenage mission to bring as much pain and humiliation to pretty-boy Shane as possible. But years later, he searched for that pretty boy, now all grown up, with a completely different mission in mind.

Being fated mates was hard enough, but when one man is straight and the other one has no reason to trust, then sparks are bound to fly. Add in a serial killer who is making inroads into the gay population and a possible shifter involvement, and Shane and Dimitri have a lot of thing to overcome before they get their HEA.

My Review : Shane has come a far way to become the man that he was destined to be. He is definitely not the geeky little short stuff who got picked on constantly by the bigger wolves in his pack. Shane has put on some bulk and he has left  his pack behind after telling his parents that he is gay. Being gay is something that is not acceptable in his old pack, so he decides to sever all ties and move to Stockton where he is a respected detective, despite his sexuality.

  One of Shane’s main tormentors from high school was Dimitri. He always had a crush on Dimitri and this is what made it so hard for him. After Dimitri’s first shift, he realized that Shane was his mate. However,  Dimitri is straight and he keeps on denying his mate bond for several years.  His wolf fights him on this and this is one of the main reasons he moves to Stockton to be with his mate. Shane is a bit stand-offish and very confused about forging a relationship with his mate.Their relationship is definitely not one demensional and it causes great conflict, no matter how they feel pulled to each other. Their life is fraught with tension, both their professional and intimate lives. There are many barriers that have to be overcome  due to them being enemies in their teenage years and all the hurt feelings on both sides. There are some things that just can’t be erased even though it’s been forgiven. Sometimes it’s the hard truths in our lives that help us to heal and it can also repair torn relationships. 

The passion between the two wolves is electrifying and is cause for some really hot sex scenes. For  Dimitri,  sex with a man is uncharted territory but he soon revels in his explorations.  For Shane who always identified as being gay, sex with his mate was a reawakening of his senses and a co-mingling of their souls. It was so much fun watching these two navigate the  sexual side of their relationship.  They were both evenly matched sexy dominant men. They were switch hitters who each had a turn to get into each other. This led to  lots of marathon sex and I was right there with them all the way. 

Our notions about our sexuality are usually deeply ingrained from a really young age . This is why Dimitri’s constant denial that he is not gay is understandable , but it causes untold  pain for his mate. Even though he’s thought about claiming his male mate for years, actually putting it into practice is entirely different and is cause for quite a few setbacks on his journey to lifelong happiness. For me   this added a touch of realness to their situation because it showed that  despite them being shifters, their relationship wasn’t uncomplicated. It wasn’t all about forever love and all their problems would dissappear once they mated. Relationships take lots of work and we all make mistakes along the way. I really appreciated this quality and how it makes Dimitri seem genuine in my estimation. That being said,  my heart broke for Shane for the rejection, confusion and hurt he was undergoing from a man that should cherish him above all else.  It is testament to Shane’s strength that keeps him going throughout it all.

By working together in both a professional and personal capacity,  they were able to learn a lot about each. They were able to put the past were it belonged and conquered all obstacles that stood in the path of their happiness. This was really a full-bodied story , all the components worked for me. The back story was great and I really liked the secondary characters that were introduced. I am hoping that they each get their own stories. It was great fun watching it all unfold. I applaud Lisa Oliver for another great read, I am never dissapointed.  Dimitri and Shane have a beautiful happy ever after to their love story.  They were able to trust and love each other wholeheartedly.  I give this my ratings of 5 – bring out the vibrators.