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.

Anything For Him( More Than Anything 2) by T. T. Kove

Title: Anything For Him          Word Count:201 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:How could we ever make a relationship work while living nine hours away from each other?

I’m a broken man. Thanks to my boyfriend’s psychiatrist uncle, however, I might finally get some much needed professional help to come to term with my past and my post-traumatic stress disorder. But it all feels hollow and empty without Geir—because he was the one who made life worth living. 

We might as well live a world’s apart. He can only visit during holidays now that he lives in the capital, and I can’t face going to a big city. A year’s a long time. Can a tentative relationship such as ours survive that long apart?

My Review: Geir shows up at his new home and immediately is overwhelmed by a seizure. When he wakes up , he meets his step mom and her kids for the first time. Even though he is still a little bitter,he acknowledges the beauty of the place. He misses Jorgen like crazy , but he looks forward to meeting another friend. Geir calls up Jorgen’s best friend’s brother Nik and introduces himself.

Nik is unapologetically gay, very flamboyant and super sweet. Geir’s father doesn’t approve of his new boyfriend or his friend. This saddens Geir, but he knows having a friend like Nik will keep the loneliness at bay. They get along famously.Unbeknownst to Geir, Jorgen is certainly not doing as well. Within the month that Geir has been gone, he has fallen into a deep depression. Not only is Jorgen lonely, therapy has been brutal and very evocative bringing his demons to the fore.

Jorgen has suffered an accidental overdose from trying to dull the pain. He is under suicide watch and is forced to go home with his uncle Thomas. Thomas is very kind and always quick to lend a helping hand. Jorgen runs into his cousin Andreas’ boyfriend Alex in the middle of the night. They both find that they have something in common with missing their boyfriends. Also, they both have issues that cannot be easily overcome. Jorgen realizes that it is time for him to open up himself a little. Alex and Jorgen become great friends and their trauma that they have endured due to their families bond them together.

Even though they are apart for almost a year, they keep in contact through phone calls and Geir writes letters to Jorgen which he cherishes. Life continues for both  of them simultaneously with Geir becoming more confident and Jorgen becoming stronger and  more mentally stable. Jorgen has started going to therapy more regularly and their is a vast  difference in the status of his mental health. Although he still suffers from PTSD and panic attacks, it is easier for him to control it before it even starts.

When Easter comes around Jorgen spends a week with Geir’s family. He is happy to embrace his boyfriend again and it is clear to see that their feelings have not waned for each other. They have a really sexy frottage session that pushes their relationship over into the sexual realm. Before then, Jorgen had avoided anything too blatantly sexual. They were both ecstatic and have hopes for the future that they could grow sexually. They leave each other with plans that Geir would move in with Jorgen in a few months when school ended.

Jorgen feels that he needs to explain about his childhood sexual abuse to Geir. He knows Geir suspects, but he is finally ready to open up to him  and trust him with his deep dark secrets. Jorgen writes all this in a letter and strips his soul bare. He had a truly horrific childhood with an uncle that sexually abused him on a daily basis for years. Meanwhile, he was also physically and mentally abused by a mother who suffered from multiple personality disorder. His family is definitely the personification of dysfunction. When Geir reads the letter , he is devastated and the truth is certainly heartrending.

Geir is ready to start his life with Jorgen so he can fill it with all the love that he deserves. Jorgen invites Geir and his family to a barbeque/ coming home party for his cousin Andreas. It was great to see Andreas and Alex back together , still very much in love. They give Geir hope for where he would like to see his relationship with Jorgen in the future.

Jorgen and Geir have their own intimate welcome home party. They definitely make up for lost time. Being with Geir in a sexual way allows Jorgen to reclaim his sexuality and the innocence that was taken from him. Jorgen marvels at the purity and intimacy of making love with Geir. They are both amazed at how good it feels to be with each other. They are sooo sexy together in their explorations. I really enjoyed watching both these young men blossom and break out of their shells.
Yet again, this one was not overly filled with sex, but I think that actually made it better. Their love story was made even more authentic, pure and intimate due to the lack of sex. I give this
my ratings of 4- not for the sex, but for the intimacy and love that overcame all the trauma that these two endured in their young life.

More Than Anything 1 by T.T Kove

Title: MoreThan Anything                 Word Count:276pgs

Genre:Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:He might’ve been the right person—if I hadn’t been so damaged and he hadn’t been so young.

The first time I met him, he had a seizure on the pavement in front of my flat. When my efforts to find someone who could take him off my hands failed, I let him spend the night. He was already asleep anyway, so it wasn’t like I had any choice. 

What started out as helping someone in need, slowly turns into something much more when he keeps appearing in my life. But how can he want someone like me? Someone so damaged and traumatised from my past that it keeps on messing up my present? When just one simple touch from someone is enough to bring on a flashback, a relationship with another person isn’t exactly within reach.

My Review: When Jorgen first sees the young man in front of his home , he is not sure what to expect. He immediately understands the signals as soon as the young man falls to the floor and start having a seizure. Jorgen is familiar with epileptic seizures since his uncle used to have them frequently. He takes the young man inside who he now knows is Geir from his ID. Jorgen lets Geir sleep in his bed , while he watches over him. Geir wakes disoriented, but he is met by the most handsome man he has ever seen. Jorgen is a little bit un-communicative, but Geir sees the kindness through his action.

Jorgen meets Geir by chance a few more times and it seems that he has become his self professed rescuer. Geir is being bullied at school on their second meeting and Jorgen runs off the bullies. Geir is a lonely young man and all he wants is just a friend. Jorgen is concerned about their 5 yr age difference and he knows he is a bit attracted to Geir. Jorgen is in no position for any type of intimacy though as he experiences flashbacks and panic attacks from being touched.

Geir is very attuned to Jorgen and realizes certain triggers and topics that make Jorgen quite uncomfortable. He tries his best not to push too much or be too inquisitive. Geir is wise beyond his 17 yrs and he knows for sure their is something traumatic in Jorgen’s past. The friendship between these young men blossom, but they don’t get very intimate. They are perfect for each other. Jorgen is scared of physical intimacy , because of his past sexual trauma from his childhood. Geir is not the typical teenage boy who constantly has sex on the brain. He thinks that his sex drive might be muted because of his epilepsy medications. With the lack of sex , they definitively get to know each other better through their conversations.

Their relationship doesn’t go any further than a few passionate kisses , but they both know they are thoroughly in love with each other. Their love is certainly a special brand and they have something real.This is soon torn apart when Geir’s father announces that they will be moving in with his girlfriend in another city. Geir is devastated and he feels like his father is being unfair and trying to ruin his life.

They promise to stay in touch and continue a long distance relationship. Jorgen tries to remain strong for Geir, but as soon as Geir leaves, he falls apart. Geir’s uncle is a therapist and he sees the common signs of PTSD. He encourages Jorgen to get help and Jorgen knows its time for him to get back to therapy if he wants to be the man that Geir needs. I really enjoyed this, for the heat level I will give this my ratings of  3 -If you are not all about the ‘sex’, give it a try.

Grayson( A Bully Novel 1) by Morgan Campbell

​Title: Grayson( A Bully Novel 1)                 Word Count:315pgs    Genre:Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Ten years ago…

-Grayson- 

A month and a half ago, I made a choice.

A choice that nearly cost me everything:

my friends, my family, my life.

Who knew that choice would nearly cost me my future?

-Finn- 

A month and a half ago, I made a choice.

I chose to turn my hell into someone else’s.

I nearly ruined someone’s life because I couldn’t handle my own.

Who knew that choice would threaten my future?

Ten Years Later…

Grayson Michaels made that fateful decision as a teenager, he’s determined to not let the past define him. Control him. Bind him. Vulnerability is not an option. When his demons surface in the form of Finn Abbott, Grayson learns that everything isn’t as it seems.

Finn Abbott is trying to put his life back together. Divorce, house arrest, and a slew of lovers have only caused his life to spiral out of control. But a job offer comes along and everything seems to be back on track. That is until the ghost of a scorned boy returns in the form of a vengeful man.

Fate is a fickle friend. Questions need answered and debts need repaid. What happens when past and present collide? Can two people destined to be enemies find love instead? As they say, there’s a fine line between love and hate.

My Review: It is a well known fact that bullying is on the rise in the 21st century. It is made even more prominent with cyber bullying becoming increasingly popular. For every case that we here about and all the young lives that have been lost because of discrimination, small- mindedness and vitriolic attacks which ultimately leads to self-hatred for these poor victims, my heart goes out to them. 

Grayson’s story touches me to the core. Sixteen year old Grayson knows he is gay, he is proud but doesn’t flaunt it. He has a family who loves him to pieces, he has two best friends who care . Grayson has just entered into a budding romance with his boyfriend Logan that has the potential of blossoming into something beautiful. Grayson is a true artist who sees an underlying beauty in most things. Herein lies the problem,  he does a painting for his school art project where he highlights one of the popular jocks Finn as his idol. The jocks take offense to this and start targeting Grayson every chance they get. It soon becomes clear that the homophobic Finn has something to hide, he has secret desires that he cannot allow his friends to see. After he beats Grayson up, he kisses him in an unwarranted moment of passion. It is sad to see how Grayson withers under the pressure of the attacks and become a shell of his former self. At first he tries to hide it from his family and friends, but they soon become involved when the jocks start cyber bullying him through his Facebook account. Grayson is tormented and his self worth is being depleted from the physical and emotional abuse that he is enduring. Only his boyfriend Logan knows that Grayson has started self -harming by cutting. He urges him to stop and for awhile Grayson tries to do better for his family. However, the pain becomes too overwhelming when he sees how worried everyone is about his situation. Grayson decides to take himself out of the equation and makes the decision to commit suicide.

Fast forward ten years,we are reintroduced to Finn who has led a very messy life. He has just signed his divorce papers after being caught cheating with a man. All those hidden desires culminated into many different affairs with many different men over the years. Although we could say he is a sleaze ball, he has a backstory that sheds some light on the situation during his teenage years . Finn grew up with a homophobic father who started beating him from the age of 5 when he asked for Barbie dolls. It took him awhile , but he learned to repress his true self and in turn took out all his rage and pain on poor Grayson who had put a spotlight on him and almost expose to the world that forbidden self. It certainly sheds some light on why Finn is the way he is. However, he is trying put his life back together. He has just landed a job to do the advertising for a tech firm. It is clear to see that he is very talented and soon he becomes an office favorite. The manager quickly signs him up to go to a tech convention with the boss for two weeks.

 It is very surprising for everyone when the boss who turns out to be none other than Grayson flips out on Finn. Finn is definitely ashamed when he sees the boy who he tormented so many years ago. He is also elated to see that Grayson is alive and well even though the man in question is pulsating with anger. Grayson is almost to the point of having a meltdown so he calls reinforcements in the form of his family and friends. His support team is very strong, his two best friends who are now married to each other, his ex Logan who is still a close friend , his mother and his uncle. It is obvious that he has flourished since his failed suicide attempt.

It is great to see how confident Grayson has become and in the next few weeks he gets his revenge on Finn by making him his errand / whipping boy. This doesn’t really make him feel good about himself though. He quickly realizes that He still has an unrequited crush on Finn and this mortified him. He just can’t believe he would feel anything besides hatred for Finn. It also causes the reader to feel empathy for poor Finn who is also a victim of his own horrific childhood.

Things come to a head when they head out on their trip. They get caught in a snowstorm where they meet in an accident. They end up taking refuge from the storm in a cabin. It is there that Finn purges his soul and unburdens himself to Grayson. As much as Grayson would like to remain rigid, it is obvious that Finn has paid in his own way for his sins. He sees the scared little boy within Finn. Grayson decides to give the feelings that are peaking through between them a chance to grow. Their relationship is challenging especially when they get back to the real world where Grayson’s family is afraid of him getting hurt again. They realize that they have to set aside outside views and opinions and focus on what they feel towards each other. This was enlightening and shows the true spirit of forgiveness. I give this my ratings of 4- because we all have redeeming qualities no matter the mistakes we make in our past. There is nothing too big for true love to overcome.