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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Guns n’Boys 6: Bloodbath by K. A. Merikan

Title: Bloodbath            Word Count:305 pgs

Genre: Dark Gay Romance

Blurb:“I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

“All you need to know is that you’re mine.”

Seth would follow Domenico to the depths of hell. He promised to always be at Domenico’s side. But hell becomes all too real when they infiltrate the world of Toro – a notoriously security-obsessed arms dealer, who has eyes and ears everywhere. 

Seth becomes unable to steal even a moment of intimacy with Domenico, and the tension grinds them down each day. Beyond the deceptive paradise of Toro’s villa, violence is an everyday occurrence, and the swimming pool could just as well be filled with blood. To survive, Seth has to become the man Domenico needs him to be, but in the process, he might lose who he truly is.

With Seth trained up, and Mark as backup, victory is so close Domenico can taste it. They just need to prove themselves to Toro as valuable assets. With each day though, Seth seems to be drifting away from Domenico, hidden behind a mask of cruelty and indifference. It is exactly what Domenico asked of him, so why is it so difficult to see Seth become his mirror image?

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: mafia, cartel, assassin, organized crime, homophobia, human trafficking, undercover, family ties

Genre: Dark, twisted romance / crime thriller

Erotic content: Explicit scenes

Length: ~115,000 words

WARNING: Adult content. If you are easily offended, this book is not for you.

‘Guns n’ Boys’ is a gritty story of extreme violence, offensive language, abuse, and morally ambiguous protagonists. Behind the morbid facade, there is a splash of inappropriate dark humor, and a love story that will crawl under your skin.
My Review: The journey of Seth and Domenico continues with Seth taking care of their makeshift family. Seth is in his element in the kitchen cooking exotic food. This is reminiscent of the easy life of leisure he used to have at the beginning of this series. Domenico as usual is relaxed and happy when his man is cooking for him. The newest additions to their family, Mark the teenage boy who they ‘adopted’ and Miguel the former cartel boss who they’ve joined forces with to fight against their common enemies.

They are on a mission to takedown Toro and the Morenos. Dana is their inside source to Toro since she has been sleeping with him. She reveals to Dom that she is pregnant , but thinks she will have an abortion. Dom is furious on the innocent child’s behalf and we see once again what a cold-hearted  bitch Dana can be. She reveals some of Toro’s plans and Dom is excited to get his plan underway.

When they instigate the first part of the plan, everything goes awry. Seth is forced to kill once again. This proves to Dom that his head is in the game, but he also sees the innocent , sweet part of Seth receding more and more. It seems they have bit off more than they can chew with this latest scheme. Unbeknownst to them, the boat that they have captured is trafficking a teenage girl and this is their only way to infiltrate Toro’s camp as smugglers. Dom and Seth are pretending to be brothers and this definitely does not sit well with Seth. He knows that they can’t be openly gay, but now he has lost the right to touch Dom intimately because of their ruse.

They pull off their con successfully and are now guests at Toro’s mansion. It is slow going though because everywhere has cameras and bugs. Seth is trying really hard ,but he is slowly losing his composure at some of the cruelties he witness. Dom is in his element, because he is used to playing the spy from his days in the mafia. Dom sees this as a way they can finally get their lives back and return to their home in Italy one day. In his mind, Seth questions whether this new plan to go back ‘home’ is worth endangering their lives.

Things go off without a hitch for a few weeks. They lounge by the poolside and play the part of criminals. Their cover is blown to bits when the Morenos show up. The younger brother Nero Moreno is a well known gay man who likes to make all these macho men squirm with his flirting. He is instantly attracted to Seth and sits on his lap, this causes Dom to go ballistic. Hotheaded Dom approaches them and pulls Nero up by his hair. Everybody is definitely shocked when Dom ‘outs’ them and tells Nero to get his hands off his man .

Seth is shocked and furious at Dom’s lack of control. He is upset at the new predicament that they have now landed in and argues with Dom. In the heat of the moment, he reveals secrets that he was forced to keep for their son Mark. Seth recently found out that Mark is bisexual and has been sleeping with the teenage girl who was meant for the elder Moreno. Dom is outraged that Seth could keep something like this from him. Without thinking he slaps Seth around and Seth responds with aggression of his own. Dom tries to pull back as he remembered the rift they had the last time he was physically aggressive towards his husband.

Their physical aggression soon turns into passion and they find themselves kissing and touching, something they have long been denied. These two hot men are like a furnace burning for each other. The chemistry between these two always makes for some hot sexy times. Although, I must admit they always end up making love at the most inopportune times, but I guess the danger enhances their passion to a frenzied state.

It becomes clear that they are now pariahs in Toro’s mansion. Since they have been caught in a lie Toro demands that Seth proves that he can get his hands dirty. Toro tells him to cut off a little girl’s hand. Seth is willing to do mostly anything to keep their cover intact, but he finds this request to be horrifying. Toro takes exception to Seth’s defiance and takes him as his prisoner. When Toro’s thugs go to fetch Dom, Dana comes through and helps Dom to kill the men and get away. Dana promises to stage a distraction to get Seth away. The waiting almost kills Dom and he is distraught at having put Seth in a position of danger  yet again.

Domenico is overwhelmed with relief and joy when Seth and Miguel meets him in the designated tunnel. It is a double edged sword however , because their son Mark is still trapped in the mansion. Everything goes to shit and by the time they get back to the mansion chaos reigns. Mark is able to kill one of the Morenos and two of his thugs when they come to take Charlotte away. Dana is able to use some kind of poison that puts everyone to sleep. Domenico is impressed and very proud that Mark has learnt his lessons well. 

Domenico certainly doesn’t know when to quit while he is ahead. Even though they are all safe and free to walk away unscathed, he decides that he needs to go after Toro who is planning to get away in his helicopter. Dom tells Seth to stay behind as he cannot afford any distractions. Seth is definitely hurt when he thinks that Dom doesn’t think he is man enough. However , he is placated when Dom assures him its only for his protection.Seth always seem to have a sixth sense where Dom is concerned or maybe its just the fact that he loves him so deeply. There he is watching his husband from afar, when he noticed that Dom might be cornered and  in trouble with Toro and his thugs. He doesn’t hesitate to get the job done. He kills them with his high-powered rifle, leaving only Toro alive  so that Dom can interrogate him. 

Dom is impressed and elated that his husband has once again saved his ass. Time and time again throughout this series, we have seen the ruthless side of Seth when it comes to taking care of the love of his life. The main thing that has been constant and steadfast is that even though Seth abhors violence, he will step up to the plate and protect his loved ones. I really enjoyed this book and I think that Dom finally sees Seth as his equal in terms of his emotional strength in the way he deals with their harsh world. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.