When Worlds Collide( Phoenix Club 4) by CJ Bishop

Title: When Worlds Collide             Word Count:123pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:CALEB, Part 1

What do you do when the right love finds you at the wrong time?

At age 17, Caleb Dean’s world is ripped apart in a matter of minutes, tragedy striking sudden and violent. Now, four years later, Caleb is still trying to undo what he deems to be his fault. 

Taking work wherever he can get it, Caleb finds his way to New York and The Phoenix Club. Stunning the crowd with his debut performance, Caleb quickly catches the eye of Brock Coulson, an aggressive defense attorney with a secret lust for young male strippers. 

With his brother incarcerated from an unjust sentence and the victim of brutality behind those walls, Caleb will do go to any lengths to get his brother out of prison. But his plans to negotiate with Coulson get interrupted when Caleb meets Samuel. 

He knows not to get too close, but Samuel is a whirlwind of passion, sweeping him off his feet and refusing to let him go.

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: From the first moment Samuel laid eyes on Caleb it was insta-lust. Caleb was just as smitten and couldn’t resist Samuel’s playfulness. They immediately hooked up and there was no turning back for Samuel. He told Caleb it was love at first sight. Caleb was a bit hesitant, even though he was intrigued by the chemistry he felt flowing between them. Caleb is the newest stripper at the Phoenix Club, his debut was a smash hit. He seems to be carrying a heavy load with all the personal baggage he has in his life. His  brother Nick is imprisoned and he blames himself. Caleb knows he shouldn’t be starting any new relationships, but he finds the pull towards Samuel irresistible.

The more they hook up, its the more the lines get blurred for Caleb.  He would like to keep things chaste,since he knows the line of work he is in, but Samuel is pushing for boyfriend status. Caleb only has one goal in mind and that’s helping his brother Nick out of prison.He doesn’t want to be derailed from that track by enjoying something for himself, he feels too guilty. Plus, he  knows there will be unsavory acts that he will probably have to engage in such as ‘private dances’ to get Nick out. However, Samuel seduces Caleb into being his boyfriend during the height of passion. His tactics are deliciously underhanded and it forces Caleb to accept, but a tiny part of him is thrilled to be a part of something so normal.

Dane, one of his coworkers at the Phoenix Club tries to draw Caleb into their close-knitted family. Caleb remains standoffish, because he believes the fewer people  he gets close to, the better. When Caleb decides to go visit his brother in prison, Dane offers him a ride. As much as he loathes getting close, Caleb accepts. When Caleb sees that Nick has been beaten up, Caleb once again feels guilty. It is clear to see the love between the brothers. Caleb is emotionally wrecked when he returns to the hotel and  turns to Dane in his time of need. Dane knows that Caleb is not thinking clearly , but he can’t resist the charms of this sexy young man. Dane’s interest has  been piqued since Caleb’s debut dance. Turns out that Dane is a gentleman so he lets Caleb down easy.They make their way back home in silence.

Caleb first stop is at the club, he wants to see if he can set up an ‘arrangement’ with the high powered attorney who he did a private dance for. Brock Coulson wants all of Caleb, especially his sexy little body, but Caleb knows his soul will definitely be tarnished. The parameters are set up and he has made a deal with the devil. Now , he just needs to break it off with his boyfriend Samuel before things go any further. Sweet Samuel has set up a lavish date night for him that makes it so hard to carry out his plan. Everything is going great when they are interrupted by the untimely arrival of Samuel’s mom and step-father . Caleb knows he’s in trouble when in walks Brock Coulson. His heart shatters and he knows this will tear Samuel apart. To be continued….. I give this my ratings of  3- it was ok. There is just something that was missing for me that caused me not to connect with Caleb and Samuel.

Collars & Cuffs 4: A Dance With Domination by K.C. Wells

Title : A Dance With Domination          Word Count : 75,176

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Recently returned to the UK after living in the States since he was eleven, Andrew Barrett is determined to keep busy and make a new life for himself. He works full time as a copywriter and strips at a club on Canal Street on weekends. But it still leaves him too much time to think. Then he finds the BDSM club, Collars & Cuffs, where at twenty-nine, he is their youngest Dom. Young doesn’t mean inexperienced, however. All this activity keeps him focused with no time to dwell on the past. But the past has a way of intruding on the present.

It’s been four long years since Gareth Michaels last set foot inside Collars & Cuffs. But when he finally summons his courage and steps back into his former world, he finds the man who drove him away is still a member, and what’s more, he wants Gareth back. Two men in pain need the freedom they find in each other, but it takes another man’s horrific plans to make them see it.

My Review : The concept of a stripper Dom was very inventive. It was very hard for me to reconcile the two different personas living within Andrew. Andrew is a fairly young Dom at 29 who has moved back to Manchester after living in the states during his teen years. As soon as he moves back to Manchester,  Andrew secures a membership with the popular BDSM club Collars & Cuffs where he impresses co-owner Leo Hart with his Shibari prowess. There is no one else at the club who has as much experience with ropes and the intricacies of Shibari knots. Andrew has quite a few years experience as a contortionist and this comes in very handy in his job as a stripper. This is where he meets his coworker  Gareth,  a shy young man with whom he has become  friends after giving  him tips on how to give a lap dance.

After seeing Andrew entering Collars & Cuffs one day, Gareth is intrigued and something that has been long dormant is reawakened within him. Gareth has to make the decision to open up doors that he closed a long time ago. He pulls out his collar and revisits his past lifestyle by going back to Collars & Cuffs where he was once a sub. His return is well received by Leo and many of the other Doms and subs who greeted Gareth fondly. 

Andrew is quite surprised to see  Gareth,  but very pleased as this opens up new possibilities for the direction of their friendship. It is hard at first for them to find  the balance  between the two personas in both their lives. Gareth is not sure how to refer to Andrew now that he knows he is a Dom, should  he now call him Sir? One thing he knows for certain is that Andrew’s Dom side is calling to the submissive side in him. They become even closer when they start going on friendly dinners when they are not at the strip club. Gareth starts developing feelings for Andrew  that is getting harder to suppress. On the other side, Andrew finds himself so in tuned to Gareth’s body when he is onstage moving like a seductive  nymph.

Their attraction  comes to a head when  Gareth puts on a show onstage that reels in Andrew and gets him hooked. Their passion simmers backstage and finally explodes when Andrew takes home Gareth. There is a guttural edge to their passion that allows them to delve so deep within each other. They flow together so seemlessly. It is absolutely perfect, the best night of their lives. That perfection comes to a screeching halt when Gareth sees a picture of a young man that could have passed for his twin. Gareth starts thinking that maybe he is just a stand-in for  his ‘twin’ in Andrew’s affections. Having been tossed over by his previous lover, this cuts Gareth to the core that he might be so easily replaceable yet again. Not thinking rationally, but from a place of heartbreak,  Gareth flees the scene.

Andrew is deeply perplexed and extremely  hurt when he realized that Gareth had left him. It is clear to see that they both have some unresolved baggage from their  past. The tension  between the two is very pervasive especially at work. When Gareth confronts him about the boy in the picture, the truth comes in the form of devastation. The boy in the picture is Brian,  Andrew’s  former sub who was taken from him far too soon when  he was murdered in Las Vegas. Andrew was desperately in love with Brian and has definitely not let go. Gareth’s heart breaks for Andrew,  but he is still left wondering where he figures into the equation.  Andrew understands that he needs to let go off Brian. He is left  bewildered,  not knowing what to do. He seeks out solace in the comfort of friends. It was great for him to commiserate with Leo who had been through a similar situation when he lost his sub Gabe. Leo showed him that there is life and love after death. Andrew and  Gareth both realize that they have demons to conquer while they take their relationship at a slow yet steady pace.

I’ve really come to like this series,  because each pairing is so varied in their likes,  dislikes and in how they navigate their Dom /sub relationship. Andrew and Gareth definitely  set the parameters for their relationship and it was far from what is accustomed in the service element of BDSM. They are more relaxed on protocols and more fluid in their interactions with each other. I must say that the Doms in this series really put their subs needs first and foremost and they are far more generous sexually in the bedroom. I was introduced to even more aspects of BDSM that were unfamiliar  such as Shibari,  electro play, cock and ball torture , a little extreme for my tastes. Otherwise the sex between these two was really scorching-hot. I really enjoyed this addition to the series,  it was a little  unconventional and I liked that. It gets my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear. 

Favorite Quotes : 1.   Andrew got down on his knees behind Gareth and spread his cheeks wide, groaning as he caught his first sight of that tight pink rose that begged for his tongue. He buried his face between the smooth cheeks of Gareth’s arse and dived right in, licking over his hole with a slow, flat tongue that had Gareth panting in seconds. Andrew teased him, running his tongue around the rim before pressing the tip insistently against the muscle, demanding entrance. Gareth reached back and pushed his head forcefully, making it clear what he needed, and Andrew was only too happy to oblige. He loosened him up with his tongue, aware of Gareth’s hips bucking frantically. They were both too close. Andrew got to his feet and slid his engorged cock through Gareth’s crease, at the same time reaching around him to wrap his hand around Gareth’s dick, which was rock hard. He slid faster, rocking up with his hips as he rubbed his cock over that hot hole, keeping in time with his hand. ( I really love a man in bed, who enjoys giving pleasure. It’s the best gift ever, soooo hot.)

2. And then Andrew was fucking him, thrusting all the way inside him, filling him completely. Gareth cried out as Andrew plowed into him, balls slapping against his, fingers digging into his hips as he rode him hard. “Oh, God, yes.” It felt amazing. Gareth got up onto all fours and pushed back to meet each thrust, loving the sounds that were pouring out of Andrew, harsh groans as he slammed into him. Gareth had never felt so alive.