Angels and Demons ( Phoenix Club 9) by C.J. Bishop

Title: Angels and Demons Word Count:137 pgs
Genre: Dark Gay Romance

Blurb:ANGEL, Part 3

Desperate to save Maddy from the growing dangers, Angel must defy Wade’s threats and risk everything to escape with his younger brother.

But when hope betrays him yet again, and Maddy disappears into the night – Angel is left alone to face his abusers and struggle to determine truth from lie.

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 never-ending cycle of Angel’s abuse continues. Angel tries to placate Wade and Byrd by taking on more high paying customers. He almost succeeds in hiding some of the money , so that he and his younger brother Maddy can run away. It doesn’t go well for Angel when Wade finds out of his ‘ treachery’. He punishes Angel by letting Byrd have his wicked way with him. Byrd brutalized Angel sexually and threatened to do the same to innocent Maddy the next time.

As much as Angel would like to give up , he knows he can’t let anything happen to his sweet baby brother. Angel continues the farce that is his life and keep on turning tricks in the club. Angel’s boss Max frowns on prostitution in his club. When he hears a rumour that such illicit acts are happening, he is furious and can’t wait to find out who’s the culprit. Max sets Gabe and Cole to keep their eyes and ears out. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to figure out that the pimp is Wade. Gabe tries to seduce him so he can find out who his boy is.

Meanwhile, Dane is drowning his guilt and sorrow in a bottle. Not only is Angel being abused, but his personal life is in the toilet when the truth is revealed about Dane. Angel is devastated that Dane is one of the masked men from his nightmares. The one true hell that started his life on this treacherous slope of abuse and rape. Angel blocks out the feelings he has for Dane as he knows that there can be no future with someone who he believed has hurt him this way. Even though Angel knows that Dane wasn’t a part of the gangbang rape he experienced in the past, he just can’t forgive him. To Angel , Dane is guilty by association and by not helping him when he needed it the most.

Dane has gone MIA and everyone can see Angel is hurting. Angel pushes all his so-called friends away. He knows it will only cause him more pain to get attached. His focus is on getting enough money to run away with Maddy.They are all so shocked when they find out that Angel is the one turning tricks. Gabe and Cole corner Angel in order to help him, but the fear in Angel is so stark that he ran away while he could. He ran straight into the arms of his high paying client who pays him a whopping five grand. Angel sees salvation for him and Maddy finally. He is soon disabused of this notion when Byrd and Wade catches them. Maddy is able to run away , but this time Angel knows he is going to die when Byrd starts raping him.

Everyone is frantic at Angel’s disappearance. Dane has been found finally and he tells his friends the whole sordid mess of his part in Angel’s past. They forgive him when they see that he is just as much a victim as Angel was. Angel is able to get in a phone call to the Phoenix Club before his horror show starts. All his friends can hear Angel being raped. Dane is going crazy , not knowing where to begin looking for Angel. He is devastated hearing Angel’s cries. When Maddy shows up on their doorstep looking for help for his brother, they hope they can make in time.

Dane goes ballistic When He gets to the apartment and not much of Byrd is left when he is done. The horrible men who made Angels’ life hell is put behind bars. Angel needs serious medical attention and is rushed to the hospital. When Angel wakes to find a tear-stained wrecked Dane, his heart aches for all he sees. He forgives Dane wholeheartedly. It’s been a trial for both these men, but they are learning to forgive each other through their love that’s forged in the fires of hell. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

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When Angels Cry (Phoenix Club 7) by CJ Bishop

Title: When Angels Cry         Word Count: 131pgs
Genre:Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: ANGEL, Part 1

18-year-old Angel’s sudden arrival at the Phoenix throws Dane’s heart into a frenzy.

But after losing out so recently with Caleb, he is in no hurry to feel the heartache again and resists his own rapidly growing feelings for the young man, unaware that what Angel needs most right now is someone he can trust and feel safe with.

Caught up in an abusive situation at home from which there seems no escape, Angel’s prime objective is to protect his little brother from the same hellish existence he himself has been thrust into at the hands of their sick minded stepbrothers.

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: All Angel has ever known in his life is pain. Him being the new member of the Phoenix Club is a way to lessen some of that pain. Angel lives with his two step brothers, Wade and Axel. Wade is a horrible human being who started exploiting Angel’s innocence from an early age. Wade knows that Angel would do anything to keep his little brother Maddy safe from the harsh realities of their world. He uses that to keep Angel in line. Angel has struck up a deal with his brother that as long as he brings in good money, they will leave Maddy untouched.

Angel tries to sharpen his skills on the dance floor , by getting one of the other dancers help. It is going good with Ricky, but Angel only has eyes for Dane. Dane is one of the sexiest men Angel has ever laid eyes on, but for some reason Dane keeps his distance. Dane is intrigued by Angel’s innocence, but he doesn’t want to fall in the same trap like before. Dane fell a little bit in love with Caleb before and that unrequited love killed him. Angel knows he needs to be focused in order to make enough money to get his brother away from Wade and Axel.

Max and Horatio are still pining over each other, but seeing the turmoil that Max is in, Horatio decides to go away. This kills Max, but this is what he needs to separate himself from the overwhelming feelings. Horatio is half way around the world entertaining another young doppelganger of Max. Even though it is not ideal , he still finds a friend in Seth. Gabe and Cole are still very much in love, but Gabe starts being furtive and taking secret phone calls. Cole has caught on and it makes him very nervous that Gabe is keeping secrets from him.

When Angel is hurt by one of Wade’s friends Byrd, he becomes desperate. He enlists the help of Dane to give him some lessons for sensual dancing. The chemistry between the two is off the charts and soon leads to something more. Angel seduces Dane with his innocence and Dane’s guards around his heart are pushed away. After they fall into a blissful sleep, Angel is caught in the grips of one of his nightmarish memories. Dane sees that loving this boy could be the thing to go break him. He is running scared and pushes Angel away, telling him that their hook up was a one off thing. Angel is heartbroken and leaves in tears, knowing that yet again he was nothing special to another man. To be continued….. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Sex & Mayhem 6: One Step Too Close by K. A. Merikan

Title : One Step Too Close        Word Count : 135000
Genre : Dark Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : – One love. One motorcycle club. Two stepbrothers.

Ryder. Controlling. Ambitious. Protective.

Jed. Self-destructive. Trapped. Lonely.

Their love? Forbidden. Taboo. All-consuming.

For Jed, the Coffin Nails Motorcycle Club is family. With them, he learned how to think, what to enjoy, and how to fight, but there is one thing he knows his friends can’t find about. They would never accept him as gay, and so his life is a constant struggle with desires that fill him with despair. Only there is a much darker secret lurking in Jed’s heart. His feelings for his stepbrother, Ryder, go far beyond brotherly. Trapped with a yearning that can never be fulfilled, Jed spirals out of control and unwillingly puts the love of his life in danger.

Ryder is climbing up the ranks. Recently promoted to sergeant-at-arms, he has it all: drive, respect, and the love of his biker family. When his stepbrother gets into trouble with the law, Ryder decides to take the blame and save him from a long sentence. Deep inside, he knows there is nothing he wouldn’t do for Jed, but through a desperate attempt to suppress his own hidden desires, he might irreversibly break the man he secretly loves.

But finding out what they feel for each other will test their loyalty to the Coffin Nails MC and change their lives forever.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: Outlaw motorcycle club, criminal activity, forbidden love, stepbrothers, blackmail, homophobia, alpha male

Genre: M/M dark romance, suspense, drama

Length: 135, 000 words (standalone novel)

WARNING: Adult content that might be considered taboo. Explicit content, strong language, violence. Reader discretion advised.

My Review : The life of an Outlaw biker is definitely not an easy road to travel. Step brothers Jed and Ryder knows this only too well. They belong to the Coffin Nails MC, Louisiana chapter. We were first introduced to these bikers in the third installment of Guns N Boys where they butted heads with Dom and Seth Villani. The two step brothers are both harboring deep dark secrets. Not only are they secretly gay, they are both secretly lusting after each other. K.A. Merikan does it again, where they take a secondary character who is totally unlovable and make their readers succumb to them as main characters.
Jed is now portrayed as this vulnerable, yet cocky young man that remains true to his initial character, but also showcasing his true personality.Ryder has always been the strong voice of reason that takes care of his younger brother Jed and keeps him in check. Ryder would do almost anything to protect his brother. Over and over again we see him stepping in to save Jed from his self destructive ways. It soon becomes apparent that Jed is slowly dying inside from self hatred and this unrequited taboo love that he feels for Ryder is overwhelming.
Things come to a head when Ryder saves Jed from committing suicide. All of these pent up feelings overflow when Jed explains to Ryder why he believed this was the only way out. Ryder feels guilty for the pressure that he himself forced on Jed by telling him to supress his homosexual tendencies. He feels especially ashamed and hypocritical, because he knows that he is guilty of repressing these same taboo feelings for Jed.
Finally coming together was refreshing and very explosive for both of them. They delved into their new relationship with a hunger and passion only two starving men would know. Ryder treats Jed to all the love and caring that he’s always entertained for the younger man and Jed willingly soaks this up. They enjoy a full week without too much interruptions, but they know they have to deal with the harsh realities of their lives soon.
As usual Ryder has to protect Jed when a video surfaces of him in a compromising situation. Jed’s devious ex Dana is using the video to blackmail him. Luckily they are able to diffuse the situation, but before they know it they are back in another shit storm. Their passion makes them careless and their unnatural relationship is exposed to one of their vindictive comrades who is homophobic. Surprisingly, he keeps their secret.
The secrecy of their sexuality becomes too much for Jed and he outs himself to the members of the club. This doesn’t go over well and is definitely not accepted. They decide together to go Nomad. They leave their chapter and ride the open roads on their own terms. They are much happier for their decision and even though they have lost their MC brothers, what they have gained with each other is incomparable and can withstand anything. I really enjoyed this one and I believe this was the perfect novel to break my self imposed hiatus. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

Wet Paint by Will Parkinson

Title : Wet Paint     Word Count :70,995           Genre : Young Adult / Gay Romance

Blurb: Although Addy’s heart and body bear the scars from his life before he was adopted by the Deans, he’s ached for something he thought he would never find. Until he met Benny. He isn’t sure how anyone can care for someone as broken as he is, even though he wants it desperately.

High school senior Benny Peters has his whole life planned out for him, until a chaste kiss at summer camp opens a new world of possibilities. Determined to erase Addy’s insecurities, Benny works to take away his boyfriend’s pain and replace it with love.

When Addy’s past intrudes on their future, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what–or who–they face, they belong together.

My Review : My heart broke for Addy, he was such a sweet tortured soul. Addy is adopted and he is slowly learning to open up to these wonderful giving parents, the Deans. He has been put through the wringer and he is trying to overcome the trauma he has sustained after years of abuse. His biological father had abused him emotionally, physically and sexually from the age of six. Addy is a strong sixteen year old who is trying to put his life together bit by bit. He goes to Camp Care where he undergoes some intensive healing through the use of art. Best friends Taylor and Benny gives him the tools to express himself and allows him to see what true friendship means. He opens up even more to Benny on the one on one talks that they have. Addy feels safe with Benny even though Benny is such a big guy. He kisses Benny and it confuses Benny because he is straight, but there is just something about Addy he can’t resist.  He feels the need to cherish and protect Addy and show him what pure love is. 

Benny was the epitome of a great man. He was almost saint-like. Benny truly was the kindest person there was who looked out for his friends and others.  He hated watching the people he loved being bullied, so he was always there to protect them. Even though it was his first time with a guy, he took to it like a fish to water. He treated Addy like gold and made him feel special in a way that nobody else had before. Addy was resilient and he found his strength through Benny’s love. This was a sweet romantic story, not a lot of sex scenes but powerful nonetheless.  I give this one my ratings of 4 – not because it was steamy, but because the characters were resilient and learnt from each other what true friendship and loving is all about.

Saving Kane by Michele M. Rakes

Title : Saving Kane          Word Count : 83,269      Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : A twenty-something paramedic suffering from PTSD and a failing relationship with his high school sweetheart becomes embroiled in the tragic life of a young, gay man brutally beaten, raped, and left for dead.

Kane Abel can’t help falling for his caregiver, the handsome paramedic who saves his life, but he’s resistant. The one time Kane threw caution to the wind, he was left with a wired jaw and a tracheostomy. He can’t take much more hurt. But with his attacker’s promise to return, Kane lives in a constant state of fear, and with the ever-present paramedic, arousal.

Garrett Young struggles with the question of his sexuality, unable to get Kane out of his mind even as he fights against the demise of his long-time engagement with his girlfriend Amanda. Every day is complicated by his ongoing battle with PTSD and alcoholism, compounded by his fear for Kane’s life.

My Review : Kane is living a life straight out of a horror story. As a child he was pimped out by his drug addicted mother and father and eventually ran away at sixteen to become a prostitute.  He leaves a life of prostitution to become a bartender where he meets a handsome devil who takes him home to be Gay bashed and gang raped by six degenerate human beings. They leave him  battling for his life on his front step. This is where he meets his ‘angel’ Garett the paramedic who saves his life. Garett feels drawn to him and he can’t fathom why , because for one he is straight and has a fiancée.

  Garett has his own demons he is battling, he is drinking to take away the pain from a previous accident he had when he was a former fireman. Kane brings out a lot of Garrett’s protective instincts when he realizes that Kane is all alone. Garett takes Kane home with him  after his fiancée abandoned him for his excessive drinking. Being close to Kane is the only thing that culls Garett ‘s drinking and the awful nightmares about fire. The attraction between Kane and Garett sparks and before they know it becomes and all consuming fire. The sex between the two is hot and sensual. It’s all about cleansing Kane of the horrible atrocities that’s been done to his body. For Garett the sex is about awakening to a side of himself that he’s never explored and it’s a balm that heals his tortured soul. 

   The monsters that almost killed Kane are still out there and they soon come to realize that Jake the man who lured Kane to his demise is possibly a serial killer. Jake stalks Kane and the ones he loves relentlessly. He has promised to finish what he started. Garett  pulls closer to Kane when he realizes that there is a possibility he might lose these fledgling feelings that he has for Kane if the psycho succeeds with his plan. 

Garett and Kane are so good for each other because they rejuvenate each other’s spirits. In a way, Garett gives back Kane a piece of his childhood innocence that was lost while Kane does the same for him in a different way. Kane gives back Garett his childhood that was lost in the fire that took his mom away, he crushes that guilt that has driven Garett for all these years by loving him. Their love is something that is pure and cleansing. Awww, they make me believe in everlasting love.  

This book was riveting in it’s intensity. It’s one of those books that will live on in your memory with clarity. This is a new author for me and she definitely didn’t disappoint. I can’t wait to see what more she has in store for us. I give this book my ratings of 5*****- it was absolutely breathtaking,  the plot was spot on and kept me on the edge of my seat. The sex was super hot. Very lovable characters. I really couldn’t ask for more.