New Beginnings (Second Chances 2) by Megs Pritchard

Title: New Beginnings Word Count: 244 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb: Ben Parker
After the murder of his friend and a failed suicide attempt, Ben is left grief stricken and struggling to cope with his guilt.
Living with someone he barely knows, he lashes out and eventually leaves unable to accept the positive changes in his life after spending time on the streets.
When he realises that he can’t go back to his old life, Ben returns to the new home he’s been provided, hoping Geoff will let him return.
Accepting help, Ben begins to process and come to turns with everything he’s been through and also his developing feelings for Geoff, the man he is now living with.

Geoff Foster
Having taken in a broken young man, Geoff struggles to help him and control his growing attraction. When his offers of help are thrown back in his face, Geoff is horrified when Ben walks away, leaving with no intent to return.
Geoff, never expecting to see Ben again, is shocked when he discovers that Ben wants another chance and is willing to accept his help to move forward from his past.
As their relationship develops and deepens, each discovers emotions they didn’t know they were capable of feeling. When Ben’s past comes back to haunt him and threaten what they are building together, will it break them or make them stronger?

This books contains homosexual relations, swearing and historical abuse.

My Review: Ben Parker has been living a rough life. He is a homeless prostitute who has just lost his best friend Adam to a violent death. He feels guilty for not protecting Adam from his untimely demise. Being a rent boy on the streets of Manchester is not without its dangers, but before his death Adam was taking excessive risks that could have been avoided. They usually work in pairs so one can watch the other’s back while he’s busy with a customer. Ben takes Adam’s death to heart and has attempted suicide. He was lucky enough to be found by his other friend Tom who just got out of the lifestyle.

Geoff Foster has a lot on his plate. He has recently taken over his father’s law firm where he is one of the solicitors. To top it all off, he has acquired a new houseguest. Geoff offered to help Tom and his boyfriend Seb to take care of Ben when he was released from hospital. It’s been 2 months though and Ben doesn’t seem to be getting better. Geoff thinks that he has bitten off more than he can chew and he now realizes that he doesn’t have the tools to help Ben. It is becoming clear that Ben is not only dealing with his failed suicide attempt, but also his time spent on the streets and the horrors he lived through.

Ben is in a very dark place in his mind. He is almost catatonic and refuses to eat. He just lays around wishing he was dead. He is plagued by the ghosts of his past. Ben keeps on reliving the horrific abuse both physical ,verbal and emotional that his mom and step father doled out. The main thing that’s been embedded in his brain is that he is useless and not worth the air he breathes. He is starting to believe his stepfather’s words. Especially now he thinks that he has failed Adam in letting him die.

Geoff is at his wits end and calls in the help of a professional psychiatrist. She comes in and explains the 5 stages of grief to him. She doesn’t get much out of Ben, but he does agree to see her again and she suggests a journal. Before she leaves she reminds Geoff not to push too hard with Ben. It doesn’t take long for that to happen with Ben being in such a volatile state of mind. Things go downhill fast when he is introduced to Geoff’s brother who let it slip he knows about Ben’s past. Ben is furious and feels betrayed by Geoff. He stormed out into the night and Geoff worries he has gone back to his old life. Geoff finds out he is not wrong, when he finds Ben going into a stranger’s car. Geoff muscles him away from the car and takes him back home. He gives Ben two choices: stay with him or go back to the streets. Sadly, Ben packs a bag and leaves.

Geoff is disappointed, but he knows he has to let Ben go. He understands that there is no helping someone if they don’t want it. Geoff is worried about Ben and he hardly sleeps. It isn’t until a week that Geoff comes home to the sound of the shower running. He is shocked to see Ben, but he is so relieved. According to Ben, even though he knew that staying would be his best option, he needed to go back to the streets. He felt that was what he deserved, but being homeless again was an eye opener for him. Ben knows now that he no longer wants to live like that. He hasn’t the will to fight to survive anymore on the streets. He wants to fight to live now. Ben started writing in his journal and its as if a dam has broken. It helps him to process his pain. He explains the horrors of his childhood to Geoff, the reasons that led him to living on the streets. It is clear that Ben is ready to accept the assistance and move forward.

Ben and Geoff slowly get to know each other. The attraction that has been simmering from day one, is finally revealed when Ben kisses Geoff. Geoff puts a stop to it before things get too far , there are things he needsto explain to Ben. Geoff lets him know that he would love to be in a relationship with him, but he needs Ben’s submission. Ben is wary, but Geoff explains the aspect of the BDSM lifestyle he adheres to is dominance/ submission rather than pain. Geoff gives Ben time to come to terms with the lifestyle and gives him some websites to research. Ben is nervous, but he knows deep down inside he would relish giving total control to Geoff. When he finally hands over his submission to Geoff , it is a beautiful experience. Geoff cherishes Ben and shows him that through his submission, he is actually freeing himself. It is all about Ben and his gratification.

For the first time, someone takes the time to give Ben pleasure.He is overwhelmed with Geoff’s lovemaking and the care he takes. Ben is still worried, because he is yet to reciprocate. Geoff proves to him how much he wants him the next night. All that pent up passion and dominance overflows when Geoff ravishes him. This unleashes something within Ben, causing him to be so desperate and scream for his lover. It is utter bliss for them both. They are perfectly suited.They go over a contract together outlining things that they want to try and their hard limits.

Ben knows he needs to move forward with his life in all aspects. One of the things he needs the most is closure after Adam’s death. Geoff suggests that they need to bury Adam whose body is still left unclaimed. Ben also come to the conclusion that if he wants to feel like an equal to Geoff, he needs to finish up his education so that he can pursue a career. They continue their explorations of the physical side of their Dom/sub contract. Geoff schools Ben on being the perfect submissive for him. Kinky handcuffs come in play while Ben addresses Geoff as Sir. It is such a turn on for both of them and Ben ascertain that this is what he has been missing all along.

Their relationship enters into another realm when Geoff decides he wants to introduce Ben as his partner. They go to one of Geoff’s high class work functions and Ben is remarkably nervous. It is clear how proud of him Geoff is, so that soothes his frazzled nerves a bit. That peace soon shatters when one of his former regular customer recognizes him. The man corners Ben in a bathroom and try to blackmail him into sex and Geoff into selling his business. As hard as it is for Ben, he acknowledges that he needs to trust and believe in Geoff’s love for him. They have both professed their love for each other and there will definitely be challenges. They just need to face them together and they can conquer anything. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Psycho ( Brawlers 2) by J.M.Dabney

Title: Psycho                               Word Count: 129 pgs

Genre: Biker Gay Romance
Blurb:Welcome to Brawlers Bar…

Life wasn’t easy when you were certifiable, Gerald “Psycho” Clemons lived on the fringes of society. Five years he hadn’t thought twice about riding with a group who saw most laws as flexible. When the leader of the group turned crazier than Psycho, he stepped in and made the man pay. He’d never been rewarded for his temper before, yet that’s what happened when he earned a permanent place and a job as a bouncer. Everyone walked a wide circle around him, and he liked it that way. One look from his cold black eyes and he had people backing up. Then he met a man who had to be crazier than him. 

Decadence Bakery was Ben Morin’s dream come true, and he loved it, but he grew tired of his lonely existence. Six months earlier he’d turned on the open sign and hopefully changed his life for the better. Ben loved his small cottage in the middle of nowhere even with the 3 a.m. rumbling of motorcycles and loud music at the farm next door. Although one thing he didn’t love, was his new hobby of watching one of the terrifying men next door. What could a little harmless peek now and then hurt?

Sweet and older wasn’t his type, but Psycho couldn’t deny the need to possess the beautiful baker. It was stronger than even the insanity he barely kept at bay, could he have a man who looked passed it or would Ben run like all the rest?

My Review: Psycho, his name says it all. Psycho is one of the Brawlers crew who is known to be psychotic and crazy as hell. He has had a rough upbringing and this has defined his life to a tee. Psycho’s life is inundated with violence and tenderness is a very foreign concept. Lately,he finds himself yearning for someone to call his own. He has scrutinized his bosses Scary and Tank’s triad relationship to their husband Elijah. Reason being that Scary and Tank are rough and tumble bikers like himself and Elijah is gentle and sweet. What he really craves is the love and gentleness that he sees flowing through this triad, he wishes that he knew how to make a relationship work like that. 

Psycho is confused about dating and everything that goes into a relationship. When he meets the older sexy baker Ben Morin, he wants to see where it could lead. They have a very awkward first meeting where Psycho takes care of Ben after he has been accidentally knocked down by his employee. Psycho is extremely gentle, taking care of Ben’s bleeding nose without even thinking about it.  However, he spoils this tenderness by demanding that Ben goes home with him. Ben is definitely not used to a persona like Psycho and he is confounded by his request. As tempted as he is by the big sexy biker, he doesn’t do casual hookups. Psycho feels rejected and doesn’t even wait for Ben to explain.

Psycho goes back to Brawlers feeling dejected and sulking. It is Scary who decides to help the confused man and give him a few dating tips. Psycho is still wary, but decides to give it another shot. His chance comes when Landon ,one of the Twirled crew tells Ben about the wedding that his crazy mishmash family is having. Ben decides to make a cake for the triad wedding, leaving Elijah ecstatic. Ben has definitely found new friends with most of the partners of the Twirled and Brawlers crew. Psycho suggests nicely that they chill and watch some movies. Ben is surprisingly comforted by Psycho’s stilted conversational skills.

Their relationship starts off slow when Psycho keeps on second guessing his every move with Ben. Ben sets him at ease by telling him to be himself. He continuously reassures Psycho that he enjoys his company, verbal diarrhea and all. Once Pyscho sees this for the truth, everything takes off at full speed. It soon becomes clear that Psycho likes his sex rough and tumble, just like how he lives his life. This certainly is nothing like the vanilla sex Ben is used to , but he finds it refreshing and sexually liberating. He gets a kick out of being Psycho’s ‘boy’ and loves  it when he is spanked. This certainly leads to some sexy man on man action.

Ben soon realizes what he has set himself up for being in a relationship with Psycho, when Psycho lands himself in jail beside his friend Joker. Ben is just mad that his man is kept for over two days, he is not mad at Psycho for getting caught beating the hell out of the man who put Harper,a transwoman in the hospital.  Ben understands that with Psycho he will have to take the good with the bad. His acceptance and his support of Psycho’s personality goes along way to forging the strong relationship that Pyscho has  dreamed of recently.

Ben is honoured to be a part of Psycho’s rough, crazy biker family. He even goes so far as to befriend Psycho’s ex wife Bernie and her  beautiful wife. Psycho is so much more relaxed and secure in his love for Ben. They are even talking about kids in their future. I really enjoyed this one. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.