Ghost ( Executioners 1) by J.M.Dabney

Title: Ghost                                     Word Count:157 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Biker Gay Romance

Blurb:Gideon Jane earned the name Ghost for his reclusive nature when he joined a group of guys in Powers, Georgia in a band called Executioners. It had been his way of settling into small town life after living in New York for the past twenty years. He loved the band and his small organic farm. What he didn’t love was being single, but it appeared it was his new reality. He didn’t want his ex back, although he did want something. What that was eluded him until the evening he walked into Nightingale’s Books.

Small town girl Harper Sage knew pain, and she’d lived with it—she had the scars both mental and physical to prove it. It would’ve been easier to hop in her car to find safety and anonymity, but Harper stayed to prove she was stronger than hurled fists and bruising prejudice. She found herself within the safety of a close-knit group of rough bikers and bar bouncers. That didn’t mean it was all perfect.

What’s a girl to do when she craves normalcy and acceptance: she just smiles. Choices are made, some with dire consequences and others that bring her closer to her dream. Will she make the right decision or finally discover escape is her best option?

Author Note: This book contains scenes of violence and descriptions of self-harm.

My Review: We have been introduced to Harper through the Twirled and Brawlers Crew. They have all tried to take her into the fold, because she is one of the sweetest, most kindest people they know. There is just one problem, Harper doesn’t see her own self worth. Harper is transgender and from a very early age there has always been a miscommunication between her sense of self and who she wants to be. Harper has a very low self-esteem and she has only ever found release from her depression through self harm. After her last suicide attempt her best friend Kyle inviegled her promise not to ever self harm again.

Harper has found another way to feel pain, his name is Bill. Bill is a homophobic bully who likes to take out his anger on Harper and uses her in despicable ways. He is not above using and abusing her body and pysche. Harper wants to get out , but there is a tiny little part of her that wants to die. She bears many scars on her body and soul from Bill. When Harper meets Gideon otherwise known as ‘Ghost’ by the Executioners and Brawlers Crew, she feels a tingle and yearns to be normal.

Ghost thinks Harper is one of the most beautiful women he’s ever met. He tries to get Joker, Harper’s self professed protector to open up about her. Ghost is warned and definitely chastised about hurting Harper. Ghost gets to know Harper slowly. For Harper, this is a new and scary experience as her relationships with men usually equate to pain. It is Twitch, the well loved twink of the Brawlers Crew that encourages her to take a chance on Ghost.

Inadvertently, that chance comes when Bill hurts Harper so badly she ends up in the hospital with bruises and knife wounds. Ghost goes into protective mode and takes her to his farm. Harper spends weeks with Ghost healing and slowly getting acclimated to what a healthy relationship could look like. Ghost pampers her as much as she allows and he sees a new spunky side of Harper unfolding when he coddles her too much. Watching the banter between these two is fun. Their sexual heat slowly simmers but is well worth the wait. Under that gentlemanly exterior lives a passionate Ghost. He gently unleashes his passion on Harper who combusts at the slightest touch.

For the first time, a man’s touch allows Harper to feel beautiful and embrace her true self and identity. It is through Gideon’s passion that Harper truly embraces her transgender body in all its glory. Gideon knows the time for subtlety has passed the morning after their glorious night together. He expresses his true feelings to Harper and she is still in awe that a man like Gideon would want a relationship with her. Before she can allow her newfound feelings to settle in , Bill attacks again. He uses a rifle this time and Joker gets hurt. Luckily, its just a flesh wound and Joker will be on the mend soon. Once again , Bill is in the wind.

Harper’s life starts crumbling and she feels guilty for bringing Gideon into her mess of a life. The Brawlers Crew let her know how much she means to them by opening their home to her for a respite. Gideon continues to shower her with love and it overwhelms her a little, but it is just what she needs to feel secure. His unwavering support in the face of danger gives her the strength to carry on. Harper does all the ‘couply’ things with Gideon.

After the Executioners finish their band practice one night, Bill strikes again. It is Gideon who gets hurt this time. Joker tousles with Bill for his gun and Bill will definitely not be coming back this time. The bane of Harper’s existence is finally dead. However, this act of violence has put Joker in a catatonic state and forces him to flee his ‘brothers’. They are all worried about Joker, but they know that in time he will recover.

Harper and Gideon are able to proceed with their relationship without a cloud hanging over their head. Harper relishes her newfound self confidence and enjoys the love that continues to blossom fruitfully with her sexy ‘bear’. At long last, Harper gets her happily ever after when Ghost proposes. I really enjoyed the first in the Executioners series, I can’t wait to read about Joker. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

 

Take the Long Way Home by J.A.Rock

Title : Take the Long Way Home          Word Count : 74,152

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Dresden Marich has failed out of high school three months shy of graduation. He’s infatuated with his online friend, Evan, alienated from his family and former classmates, and still trying to recover from his father’s death six years ago. He’s also keeping a troubling secret about his older brother, Gunner, who is away at boot camp.

Then Dresden meets Caleb, a judgmental environmentalist who’s hardly Dresden’s fantasy come true. But Caleb seems to understand Dresden’s desire for rough sex, big feelings, and, ultimately, safety. As Dresden becomes embroiled in a farmers market drama involving Caleb, a couple of bullying tomato enthusiasts, and a gang of vigilante vegans, he discovers he might be willing to trade a fantasy relationship with Evan for a shot at something real with Caleb.

But Dresden fears telling quick-to-judge Caleb his secret, and the news that Gunner is coming home sends him fleeing to California for a chance to meet Evan in person and hopefully fall in love. When the encounter doesn’t go as expected, Dresden faces a choice: stay in California and carve out a new life, or take the long road home to his family, Caleb, and a past he must face if he has any hope for a future.

My Review :  Dresden Marich has seen a lot of pain throughout his short life of 18yrs. He was there at 12 when his father was found dead sitting in front of the television.  Shortly thereafter,  his brother who is two years older climbs into his bed and sexually abuses him. He is a little bit  messed up in his head and at 18 he is a high school drop out. Although he has told his mother about the abuse,  she hasn’t done anything to help him other than to hold him while he cries and tell him to keep quiet about what his brother Gunner had done. 

Dresden has taken the initiative to see a therapist to talk about his issues. He is not sure how he feels about sex, he can’t  always maintain an erection and he puts himself in some very risky sexual situations. Dresden’s only friend is Evan, someone who he only talks to through the Internet.  The only thing he knows of Evan is that he likes Indie music and he’s seen a picture of Evan’s waxed ass. Dresden is searching for something and he realized that he just might be looking in all the wrong places. Especially, if what he is looking for leads him to strange men who just wants to piss in his ass crack. Dresden feels  weirded out by allowing one of his Internet hookups to act out his fantasies and sully his body in this manner. He gets out of there post haste and promises himself to be more astute to the weirdos.

From the first moment Dresden meets Caleb a 24 yr old who owns his own business selling wood, there is a strange connection that he is not sure if he’s comfortable with. Caleb doesn’t pursue Dresden but he makes it obvious he is interested when he kisses Dresden.  Dresden  opens to him like a flower in bloom. Caleb facilitates Dresden need for a little pain during sex. He becomes unhinged in Caleb’s arms when he puts pressure on his throat, tugs at his ear and presses hard on a cut on his thigh during their make out session. Dresden feels totally safe in Caleb’s arms and there is an unnamed emotion that is released with their coming together. Caleb is very quiet but  there is just something about him that causes Dresden to open  up and tell him personal things that he can’t tell anyone else. Dresden doesn’t feel the need to cut and self harm when he’s around Caleb.

They practice erotic asphixiation where Caleb restricts Dresden’s oxygen and he gets a big thrill out of this kink. As much as he likes what happened when he was with Caleb,  he doesn’t want to like Caleb. Dresden  just doesn’t think that Caleb is the one He likes Evan, his online pal who sends him links to porn sites. He really wished that his connection with Evan was as strong as the one he felt with Caleb.

Caleb and Dresden starts hanging out a lot and he is introduced to Caleb’s  friends. Their relationship progressed nicely,  without too much drama. Dresden realizes that Caleb understands him more than anyone he’s ever known. They experiment with quite a few kinks rolled into one and it makes the story that much hotter. They role play Caleb kidnapping Dresden  and the slight fear he gets is invigorating. Dresden has faith that Caleb will not hurt him, but there is  still a level of unsurity that causes butterflies in his stomach.

Dresden  is a very complicated character and there is a bump in the road of their relationship when Caleb tells him  to sort out himself. Dresden is not able to process his feelings after hearing that his brother Gunner is coming home from boot camp  in a few days. He acts erratically which is  understood under the circumstances. He lashes  out and runs off to California to meet his online friend Evan. His journey is a waste of time when he meets  Evan and sees that  he is definitely not what he imagined. Dresden is very dissapointed,  but his time away is an eye opener and makes him even more determined to get his life in order. 

Dresden tries his best to repair the bonds of relationship between his mother and brother. He makes peace with what was done to him and chalks it up to the error of judgement of someone who was grieving.  He decides to forgive Gunner and lay it rest in the past. His final step was to fix the bond between Caleb and himself by laying it all on the table and sharing his past with him. Dresden lays his past at Caleb’s feet and allows it to set his future free. Caleb lets him know that he wants all of him , the good , the bad and the ugly. They work together on their blossoming relationship to become better men for each other. I give this my ratings of 3 – it was ok, give it a try. 

Favorite Quotes : 1. He hooks his arms around my legs and starts kneading the backs of my thighs, then my ass cheeks. He takes his mouth off my dick and slides his tongue from just behind my balls up to my asshole. Pulls my hips down toward him, until my ass is on his face. Then he spreads my cheeks and starts working his tongue inside me.( Hot, hot , hot.)

2. My breath catches and my body shakes. I try to dig my fingers into the couch’s upholstery. I feel him stretching his tongue inside me, lengthening it. One guy I hooked up with rimmed me, but it was a lot droolier, and I didn’t worry about whether my ass tasted gross because he was pervy and really desperate to eat me out. But I feel kind of bad for Caleb, because how can an ass not taste like shit, really? I only worry about it for a second, though, and then I’m grabbing my dick to keep from coming as Caleb squeezes my ass and goes to town, slurping and biting and yanking my hips down so I’m completely sitting on his face. The wet sound is driving me almost as crazy as the sensation. He places a hand on my shoulder and drags his nails down my back, and I arch and grind my teeth. ( I’m happy that this was talked about, because I find that oftentimes rimming  is glossed over in romance novels or talked about with euphemisms such as ‘manly flavor ‘. Let’s be real, as hot as it is, it is a little bit gross. I’m all in favor of this though as I do believe that sex is messy and a little gross at times😉.)

When all the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry & J.A.Rock

Title : When all the World Sleeps                           Word Count :110,500

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Daniel Whitlock is terrified of going to sleep. And rightly so: he sleepwalks, with no awareness or memory of his actions. Including burning down Kenny Cooper’s house—with Kenny inside it—after Kenny brutally beat him for being gay. Back in the tiny town of Logan after serving his prison sentence, Daniel isolates himself in a cabin in the woods and chains himself to his bed at night.

Like the rest of Logan, local cop Joe Belman doesn’t believe Daniel’s absurd defense. But when Bel saves Daniel from a retaliatory fire, he discovers that Daniel might not be what everyone thinks: killer, liar, tweaker, freak. Bel agrees to control Daniel at night—for the sake of the other townsfolk. Daniel’s fascinating, but Bel’s not going there.

Yet as he’s drawn further into Daniel’s dark world, Bel finds that he likes being in charge. And submitting to Bel gives Daniel the only peace he’s ever known. But Daniel’s demons won’t leave him alone, and he’ll need Bel’s help to slay them once and for all—assuming Bel is willing to risk everything to stand by him.

My Review : I guess this is what you get when you have two great authors collaborating. Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock gave us a perfect smash hit. The plot in this book was so different than anything that I’ve come across thus far.  It kept me interested the whole way through. The main characters were totally real and they had very honest reactions within the given scenarios.  The main characters are not the typical lovable innocent characters. However, they are people that you can have respect for in how they live their lives.

Daniel is a tortured soul who has been to prison for allegedly torching his tormentor’s house with him in it. He is out on parole on the defense that he sleepwalks. No one believes his defense and they think he is just a meth head. Mostly everyone in town despises him for being a murderer and for his atrocious behaviour when he sleepwalks. His behavior through most of the book is very self destructive,  but then you realize that most of the times he is truly unaware of what he is doing because he is sleeping. He spends his waking moments thinking of torturous ways to keep himself awake because he fears what he will do if he sleepwalks. He really tries hard to keep himself in check with lots of pain, clamping his balls , sitting on upturned bottle caps while naked and nothing really works.

When we are introduced to police officer Joe Belman, we see that he treats Daniel just a little bit better than the townspeople.  He upholds the law, but he is trying very hard to not have any feelings other than disgust for a convicted murderer. At first he really doesn’t believe in the sleepwalking defense. However,  the more Bel is around Daniel, he realizes that he is truly unaware of his actions.  Bel takes on the role of self appointed protector for Daniel as well as the general public.  He goes to Daniel’s house and handcuffs him to his bed and watches out for him while he sleeps nightly. There are certain strong feelings that seeing Daniel in handcuffs evokes in Bel. He is not quite sure what this means for his relationship with Daniel, but he knows he wants to give Daniel some rules and structure where he can find peace and where they both can find some enjoyment.

Bel anticipates Daniel’s needs and he pushes Daniel to do things that he wouldn’t necessarily think he would get off on. It’s clear to see that Bel knows nothing about being a Dom and he really isn’t even sure if he considers himself as such.Eveything about their relationship is self exploratory for both of them, because they both seem to be in uncharted waters. Bel has never really had anyone that he could explore with sexually and all the deep dark parts of himself are untapped. On the other hand, Daniel has done some BDSM but not with the intention of having fun or receiving pleasure; he has mainly done it as punishment or to keep himself awake. Bel is really curious to explore this BDSM element to their relationship, but he is not quite sure where to draw the line so he looks towards Daniel’s body and responses for cues.The exploration for me was very hot. The sex scenes were very steamy and they really floated my boat.

 It is wonderful to watch Bel clod through the quagmire of feelings that are associated with being a Dom and it is good to see Daniel feeling happy and at peace with being submissive. Their relationship is definitely not sunshine and flowers. It is an uphill battle for the two of them right up until the end. This book is definitely not for the feint of heart, it’s certainly not one one those cutesy romance novels. I loved it all the way through and at times I felt like pulling out Daniel’s hair for being obtuse, but it was really a great read. Some of it might seem farfetched, but my sister sleepwalks and I totally get it. I’ve seen her do some pretty crazy stuff while sleeping and not remembering any of it the next day. I give this my ratings of 5 – bring out the vibrators. You’ll definitely need it. 

 

Box of Nails : Making Repairs by Sean Michael

Title : Box of Nails : Making Repairs                     Word Count :33,500

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Something terrible happened to Mike, and he’s been living in the attic of Devin and Barney’s house ever since. He’s shy, he’s scared and he cuts. Paul and Jeff do what they can to make sure his razors stay clean and that he’s fed, but they’re both worried that it’s not enough.

When Barney’s friend, police officer Angus, attends a summer party at the house, he catches sight of Mike in the shadows and is immediately drawn to the young man. Mike is clearly in need of help and that’s what Angus does best.

Will Mike let Angus in? And if he does, is there anything Angus can do to help Mike out of the nightmares of his past?

My Review : Mike is this very fragile, beautiful soul that we’ve been introduced to at Devvie’s house of twinks. He has been damaged and traumatized by the harsh cruelties of life. He manages to barely survive each day a little at a time by cutting to help to ease the pain. He can’t work or leave his apartment. It falls to Paulie and Jeff to bring him non-perishable food items such as peanut butter and jelly  to keep him alive. Every now and then Paulie coaxes him to come out of his apartment for a meal and this is such a huge step for him. This was such a heartbreaking and heartwarming story to watch all these friends help to nurse Mike back to health, putting him back a piece at a time. In walks Angus,  he is drawn to Mike’s fragility from the very first moment and his cop’s instincts come out making him want to protect him from harm. Angus is the most gentle , caring person you could ever meet. He helps Mike by being consistent and offering friendship and pulling him out into the light. He is non-judgmental and offers Mike the ultimate gift of blood play, he controls cutting Mike and this provides a safe environment where he doles out specific amount of cuts at a time as reward. This goes a far way in allowing Mike to trust him and fosters a relationship between the two that grows into something really special. Angus is there for Mike through his good days and his bad days, forever being patient, gentle and loving. The sexual part of their relationship took awhile to build up because of all the fear and anguish that this act brought to Mike’s pysche. It was oh so beautiful and special when Mike’s sexuality was awakened  and brought back to life. It was precious to watch Mike embracing this side of himself wholeheartedly with Angus.This is one of the best stories I have read from this author. It really touched me to the core , it was all about conquering  and embracing vulnerability and fragility and turning into something positive. When Angus suffers an injury at work,  we see Mike the brave boy coming out of his shell and he decides to do everything possible to protect his master, even braving the big bad world. I loved this book. It deserves my ratings of 5 – not because of the hot sex but for the raw vulnerability, fragility, reawakening and repairing of these two lovely men.