Born Again Sinner by Daryl Banner

Title: Born Again Sinner       Word Count: 410 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: “Cody Davis is gonna make a sinner out of me.”

Yes, I know exactly who he is.
The wounded soldier at the end of Willow Street. Intimidating. Devastatingly handsome. Muscular body chiseled from stone. Deep dark eyes that dare you to come near. Attitude for days.

And I just became his caregiver.

Everyone warned me to stay away from him – including my father, the respected minister of our small town of Spruce. But clearly I’m too stubborn to heed good advice, especially when Cody Davis is as frustratingly attractive – and persistent – as they come.

As the preacher’s son, I have strict morals I must live by. But each day spent with that aggravating hunk makes me question them. My safe and fragile world is turning upside-down, and I’m not sure I have the strength to stop it.

And even worse: I’m not sure I want to.

Temptation this bad never looked so good.
This soldier is gonna make a sinner out of me.

* This is a standalone male/male romance set in the same fictional small town as “Football Sundae”. Steam, humor, and a whole lot of southern sass guaranteed. *

My Review: The whole town of Spruce knows that Cody Davis has been injured and back home from the army. Most of the town gossips that he is a crazy recluse. Cody’s mom has been doing the best she can by hiring caregivers to take care of her son. She’s at her wit’s end after losing all the previous caregivers for one reason or another. As a last resort she hires Trey Arnold, the preacher’s son who is also a nurse’s assistant.

The first time Trey meets Cody he realises that Cody is ill-mannered and has a lot of unresolved anger issues. Cody makes it quite clear that he doesn’t need any help and he is happy living in his slovenly mess. Cody is very resistant the first few visits and tries to intimidate Trey at every turn. Trey persists and puts on a brave face and strong stance so that he can give Cody the help he needs.

Things come to a head when Trey pushes too hard and Cody lashes out by bringing up Trey’s dead mother. Trey tries hard not to cry but it is clear when he left how hurt he was. Cody knows right away that he has gone too far. He feels guilty for the way he has hurt Trey. This guilt intensifies when Trey doesn’t return for three days. Cody knows he has to make amends.

Cody shows up to church on Sunday and he can feel all eyes on him. People stare and watch him with pity. He is about to turn around and leave when he finally sees Trey. He gives Cody a smile and make room for him. Cody limps his way to the front and squeezes in beside Trey. This means the world to Trey and he knows this is Cody’s way of atoning for his harsh words. They are moving into another realm of the caregiver/ patient relationship that they have.

Trey and Cody goes out to eat and after Trey takes Cody to a nice little private lake. When Trey starts helping Cody with some water exercises for his injured leg, Cody’s body reacts to their physical closeness. Cody is trying to clue Trey in to the fact that he is very attracted to him. It isn’t until a few days later when Cody seeks him out at work that Trey realises that they are developing a stronger connection. One outside the cocoon of Cody’s home where prying eyes can see them now.

Cody is brash and he doesn’t beat around the bush. He shows Trey his attraction without flowers and subtle seduction. For once, Trey gives in to his secret wishes and his long repressed heart’s desires. Cody reveals to him the world of carnal pleasures and it doesn’t take long for Trey’s long held repression to turn to an overzealous passion. Cody finds it adorable and allows Trey to explore.Trey is torn between the morals he grew up believing and this newfound world where passions rules his every decision. When he unwittingly falls asleep at Cody’s , he panics. Trey lies to his father for the first time to cover where he has been. Immediately, he is ashamed of his actions.

Cody is trying to be a better person. He likes the person he is when he is around Trey. Cody feels worthy of all the attention and caring he receives from the ‘well -loved upstanding’ citizen such as Trey. When Cody shows up to the 50th anniversary at the church as Trey’s companion,people definitely take notice. By the time they get to the after-party at the prominent Strong ranch,tongues are certainly wagging.

We are revisited by previously loved characters Tanner and Billy Strong. They are living happily in wedded bliss. Cody finds that he is actually enjoying himself talking to Trey, Tanner and his husband while reminiscing about high school. The atmosphere is relaxed and he is enjoying being himself around other gay men. By the end of the night , Cody ends up staking his claim on Trey, revealing to Tanner their newfound relationship.

Trey tries to leave Cody to go home, because he doesn’t want his father suspicious. Half way there , he realizes that Cody has unlocked his true nature. He can no longer be the pious, self righteous puppet that he projected before. Trey is ready to give himself over to the passion unfurling inside him. He knows for sure that he is in love with Cody, but he doesn’t think Cody is ready for that kind of commitment. Trey knows that what they have will be worth the fight. After a wondrous night together, Trey goes home feeling high on life and ready to confess to his father about his relationship.

Everything goes to hell when he walks through the door. His father starts quoting scriptures about the prodigal son.Trey runs off, going to the only place he feels close to his mother who he knows loved him unconditionally. He has a bit of a come to Jesus moment, where he actually has a heartfelt conversation with the spirit of his mother. He falls out of a tree and hurts himself. Cody is surprised and worried when he gets a call from Trey’s father who is heartbroken and ashamed that he has run off his only son. He is apologetic and desperately needs Cody’s skills in finding Trey.

For the first time in his life, Cody truly knows what it means to be in love. Cody is hopelessly in love with Trey and he knows he need to find him at any cost. When Cody finds Trey , he is thankful that he is not too late. He struggles and stumbles through a vicious storm with the unconscious form of the love of his life. By the time they get to the hospital, they are both in need of medical attention. When they are reunited, they profess their love for each other, knowing that through their love they can conquer everything. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

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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.

Protecting Braden (  Custos Securities 2) by Luna David

Title: Protecting Braden        Word Count:328pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: Zavier “Cade” McCade, former Army Special Forces and creator of Custos Securities, finds himself in a situation he never thought he’d be in—he’s fallen in love with Braden Cross, the gorgeous pastry chef he’s guarding. Cade has lived his life as a protector: of his country, his family and friends, his clients, and now, the man he’s in love with. He thrives in dangerous and stressful situations. But nothing could prepare him for Braden’s decision to put himself in danger.

After a vicious attack from his stalker leaves Braden fighting for his life, Cade will stop at nothing to see the man responsible punished. Time passes, but Braden’s attacker hasn’t given up and Cade’s afraid he never will. As Cade and the most trusted members of Custos Securities track Braden’s assailant, Braden struggles to rebuild his life and re-establish the fragile trust he and Cade had worked so hard to build. Braden knows if he’s going to survive the chaos surrounding him, he’s going to have to give Cade everything he has—mind, body, and soul.

More determined than ever to hunt down the man that nearly killed the love of his life, Cade will do everything in his power to ensure that he and Braden will be able to live the life of their dreams with nothing and no one standing in their way. Meanwhile, hidden just out of their reach, an increasingly deranged stalker watches…and waits.

Author’s Note: Although this book can be read as a stand-alone, it is highly recommended that you read book 1, Trusting Cade, first. For those of you that prefer warnings—trigger or otherwise—use the “Look Inside” feature to find them within the first several pages. For those of you that prefer to be surprised, avoid the front matter of the book. . . Happy reading!

My Review:  The second book in the Custos series is just as exhilarating as the first one. It picks up where the first one left off. Braden is laid up in the hospital in a coma after being held captive and beaten by his stalker ex Eric. Eric is in the wind and Cade his lover is in warrior protective mode. Cade is overjoyed when Bray finally comes out of the coma. Bray is a bit overwhelmed and jumping at shadows after the traumatic event that he had to endure. Bray stays in the hospital for awhile and Cade is the there by his side throughout it all. The juxtaposition of seeing how dominant and caring Cade is makes for a super hot read.

It is slow going for Bray’s recovery and it soon becomes apparent that he is suffering from PTSD when the nightmares and panic attacks starts. It is hard for Braden at first,  he feels like a burden to Cade because of how clingy and dependent he has become. It takes awhile for him to adjust and be peaceful in his own skin. It takes Cade’s brand of passion to soothe his soul. Bray knows that he needs his lover’s big hands all over his body to take away some of the lingering fear and stain that he feels. Cade and his men are on constant protective detail to Braden, his nana and  his best friend Maya.

Cade and Braden’s relationship is solidified even further when he meets Cade’s family. Bray is nervous at first, but  he falls in line seemlessly when he realize how warm and down to earth they are. Cade starts making permanent plans for their life and partnership. He decides to open up a branch of Custos securities and to get a bigger home for him and Bray to live in. Braden is ecstatic to be making these plans with his overprotective man . Their bliss is short-lived however, when Eric makes a reappearance in their lives.

Braden is kidnapped again and Cade is hurt this time. Through his pain , Cade still manages to be a super hero and find Bray through tracers. By the time Cade gets there with his men , Bray has been shot in the stomach. Cade loses control and  pounds Eric to dust and ends up killing the madman after Eric made another attempt to hurt Bray. Finally, it is over but the recovery is not as easy this time around.

There is an instant where Braden actually flat-lines and it is a heart-rending  moment to see how devastated Cade becomes. It takes too strong men Cooper and his brother Gideon to bring him around. It is testament to the strength of their love that it takes hearing Braden’s heartbeat to get Cade focused again. They have a long road of recovery for both of them mentally, physically and psychologically ahead of them. Their love has definitely withstood many trials, but through it all they have remained strong and protective of each other.

Braden and Cade both decide to delve deeper in the dominance and submission realm of their relationship. Cade offers him a contract, but Bray refuses something so formal. He trusts Cade implicitly to know how far to push his boundaries sexually while keeping his every need in mind . This works out perfectly for them and definitely adds a super hot element to the sexual chemistry that’s already a living entity between them. Braden relishes the power he feels when he fully submits to Cade. 

When they move into their dream home, Cade finally proposes to Bray who willingly accepts to become Braden McCade. Flash forward two years, Cade and Braden are still totally in love with each other and their circle is now completed with twins Harper and Hunter McCade had by surrogate Maya. This was the best ending possible. I really enjoyed Cade and Braden’s epic love story and I look forward to reading the third in the series. I give this my ratings of 5- bring out the vibrators, because this has every little nuance that I could ever need in a great romance.